Happy Birthday

Not much more to say.  This would have been Kev’s birthday.  We would have started celebrating days ago when he planned out exactly what he wanted.  The kids would have all been here.  Family and friends, helping us enjoy the day.  Enjoyment for Kevin, work for me.  What I wouldn’t give to be complaining about how much work it was.

Today’s reality was it was an easy day for me work-wise, but one filled with silent tears.  Great memories, but memories that are overshadowed by heartache and sadness.  Maybe one day I will be able to wake up on the 28th of August and not feel the sorrow, but that day isn’t here yet.  So for today it is Happy Birthday thoughts and wishes for a man whose melody continues on in the great cosmos as stardust, magical beautiful stardust.

A New Day

Things have changed at my house; good things fortunately.  It’s been 17 months since Kevin died and since then I had elected to stay in the house and live by myself.  Whether that was the right thing to do, or perhaps it wasn’t the best thing to do, doesn’t really matter.  It was a choice I made and it brought me to this point.

At this point, things have now changed.  My house is full of energy and life again.  My daughter, her fiancé and their 18 month old have now moved in.  Actually, I suggested it.  The timing was right.  The real estate market here has gone silly, with prices that were way beyond what a house should sell for.  So, I thought, why not see if they could sell their house and capitalize on the market.  No harm really.  They could afford their house, it was a bit small, but a good house, but they could also see if there was interest in buying it.  If they could make a good profit on it, why not.  They could move in with me until the market corrects, and then the money they make will go a bit farther.  A good plan I thought, it just depended on whether the house sold or not.

It sold alright, in one day.   Craziness!  They had a viewing before it even hit the market.  Only three weeks to closing date, which, with a small child, is quite the push.  They managed though and now are residents of the family homestead.  There will be some growing pains as we get used to each other, but that’s to be expected.  There will be some adjustments for me, yikes, old girl that I am, I forgot what it is like to have a toddler around.  Baby goes to bed and we whisper, no matter what room we are speaking in, we whisper.  We could be in the garage and still speak in hushed voice, Lord knows we don’t want to wake the little man child up.

It’s not forever, it’s just for now.  I think a year ago I wasn’t ready.  I needed to face my loneliness as well as my needs.  To do some hard thinking, preferable to avoid, but necessary on a multitude of levels.  And writing, wow I have written out my thoughts throughout the months that have passed.  As I got the house ready to welcome the kids,  I found steno pads, index cards, notepads; any blank writing sheets, I filled them up.  I don’t recall writing half of them, but I did date and number them all.  There are whole weeks of time that I know better than to look at, I wasn’t in a good place.  Likely it will be years before I revisit those thoughts.

I am glad to have some activity back in the house.  Glad to hear voices other than my own and those on the darn television.  Happy to have people to just coexist with, especially ones I love.  So I will enjoy it for now.  Hopefully it will work out fine for the duration, but what will be will be.  When the time is right they will move into their own home again, which they need to do and are already planning.  I think though of how hard Kevin tried to get them to move in with me as he got sicker and sicker.  I wouldn’t hear of it, I didn’t want them to see me at my lowest, hell, I didn’t want to even be in my own skin then.  Kevin was so worried about me and was still trying to take care of me even after he was gone.  Funny how it turned out.  He would be pleased.

 

It’s the little things

It will be 17 months on the 29th of this month.  I’ve had to deal with a lot of the big things that changed after  Kevin died.  Looking after the house on my own, paying the bills, facing everyday without him.  Unavoidable, unrelenting reality.  You can’t not face it and still be considered sane.

Thus, over the course of time, most everyday things go back to a state of routine.  Newly created out of necessity, but still a state of routine.  Sometimes there is a flash of sadness, anger or resentment about it, especially when something isn’t going right, but overall, it becomes just the way it is.

Always, though, there are those things that come out of nowhere.  Unprepared, they are like a sucker punch, you just didn’t see it coming.  It’s okay when you are alone or out of public sight, but when it happens at work, or someplace public, it is just darn awkward.

This week a coworker returned to the workplace after having been off due to the death of an aged parent.  Sorrow is still sorrow and I know that, but the selfish side of me is bitter, and I feel ripped off.  I don’t begrudge the sorrow of my coworker,  I just hate the unfairness of it all, why does one person live to a ripe old age and not another?  The force of my emotion surprised me.  I am embarrassed that I can’t express my sympathy and ashamed that I feel the way I do.

It’s these types of things that make me realize that, although on the outside I may appeared healed and on the path to closure, actually I’m still far, far away from the even keel I so want.  I want my composure back, securely fitted, so that it doesn’t slip off revealing anything raw or weak or ugly.   When things are going along smoothly, without any ripples, I almost believe I am there.  Then, it just takes one little thing, and that little thing can come from just about any direction.

Breaking bread not breaking down

Dinner out with the grief group ladies again last night.  Nice meal and no shortage of conversation.  It ended with us all reflecting on where we were in life through no choice we had individually made.  The reality is that we have started to come out the other side.  Friends and family around each of us has too.  But, and that word was accompanied by a heavy sigh, those around us, particularly those in our circle of friends, have yet to travel this path.

i was pretty much the first in my social group to have a spouse die.  Oh sure, we all have lost parents by now, but spouses – no.  Likewise for my lady friends.  We talked about that, and how arbitrary life is.  Then one in the group made the observation that once you can wrap your mind around the fact that you are really and truly alone, then there are occasions when you are okay with not having to consult, worry or limit your actions or activities because of other commitments.  But more bluntly – if I wanted to go to bingo every night there is no one to stop me.  This can be a good thing and a bad thing, no?  (And, for the record, I don’t go to bingo every night!)

Let’s face it, it is hard to find an upside when you have lost the love of your life, but you have to look for something.  For us, the four of us that met for dinner, we all appreciate the fact that we had good relationships that endured.  We had spouses that left us in a position to have a decent quality of life.  We have family and friends that stepped up to the plate and helped fill the void. Things that are important and that many others will never have.

We booked our next meal out for mid-September and I think we even identified a theme:  what difficulties we faced and how we coped, and can that information benefit others.  We could talk about that, or we may just talk about the Olympics.  It’s something to look forward to.

Equal Opportunity

I innocently overheard a conversation at my workplace last week. It was between two of my coworkers; they sit fairly close by. There is no ego shortage in my particular area of work. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and we all have strong opinions. But I hope that we all have the capacity to accept others’ input, thoughts and ideas. What I overhead suggested that maybe we don’t. We talk at length about stereotyping, systemic barriers and racism, and we all try to watch out for it in our language. But there are those times when a simple statement should be examined, when we need to sit back and say, wow, did I just say that? That’s not right.

It’s those dismissive statements we make, assumptions about a person based on how they present themselves. When a person is sized up and judged on appearances. When someone is dismissed as offering less in the workplace because of their educational background or the type of work that they do. When we make judgments without knowledge, statements without facts. You never know what a person has to offer. Appearances can be deceiving. What a person knows can’t be measured. There are all sorts of contributing factors that help build a person’s knowledge base. Universities can and do churn out thousands of MBAs, PhDs and the like, but having the head knowledge and firing up the neurons to make meaningful connections between that information and the real world, the practical application – for some it just doesn’t happen. For others, even without formal education they will make the connections, they can do the job. It takes all kinds.

So what was it that I overheard? It was a comment related to a job competition and how administrative clerks where applying, and how they should know their place. And yes, I weighed in with my thoughts, they got my input. I started off in the admin pool, I could list off at least six other people now in much higher profile positions than me that started off as admins. I also told them about a young man I worked with 15 years ago, he started as an admin – now he is a director in a division with hundreds of employees. Even with formal education in a specific field you sometimes have to take what you can get and then start down the path to where you want to be. Just because someone is presently acting in an administrative position doesn’t mean they don’t have the knowledge, skills and abilities to progress outside of the clerical realm. It’s called equal opportunity.