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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Is the show “Go On” realistic?

October 4, 2012 2 comments

The widow blog I subscribe to, Widowed Village, asked us to watch the show and then do a massive group review.  Before her request, I had no idea of the show’s premise.  Ever since Sarah was born, I try not to get hooked on new shows because I don’t really have time for tv.  However, I recorded it and watched it yesterday.  I would say the producers/network took a really big gamble by attempting to find humor in a new widower’s life.  I’ve only watched one show, but I’d say they did a darn good job.  Because of the situation this is probably one of the most well thought out shows.  It felt like a sitcom on the surface, with deeper tones if you wanted to see it, and an occasional splash of real feelings.  I had many similar feelings and thoughts as Matthew Perry’s character.  He just articulates it better.  I appreciate the show. 

But, of course, a child is not involved.  You couldn’t tastefully make that funny. 

Most of you read this on a regular basis, so you see how I try to find the sad, odd and unique humor in being a widow.  Jim and I had a quite morbid humor starting a few months after his diagnosis.  It’s normal, but we tried not to do it in front of others.  You have probably heard the saying, “You have to laugh to keep from crying.”  I am still walking that fine line on a daily basis.  Jim had a better sense of humor than me, so I try to see how he would look at ridiculous situations that I run into.

Sarah:  Last weekend, we got to ride Thomas the Train when he came to Burnet.  Sarah had a blast and was sad when we couldn’t go back the next morning.  However, I came across a problem that is not going to go away.  On the way home, I could see Sarah becoming sad.  I asked what was wrong.  She got that “look” and said she missed her daddy.  I took a deep breath, guessing the problem, and asked if she noticed the other daddies there (like I had).  She simply nodded her head.  I paused.  Then, I said I knew he wanted to be there with her.  I knew he would have had fun with us, and that I’m sure he was watching her have fun.  I hope that was the right thing to have told her.   

If there are going to be a ton of daddies around, I am of the mind to take her only to high quality, memory-making events and not run-of-the-mill ones.  It has to be worth her noticing the other kids have daddies (jealously) and for her to notice her daddy’s absence (sadness).  Yes, we have to get use to these feelings, but I’m not into doing it constantly.  What would you do?

Unfortunately, we were (I was) sized up at the event.  I felt demeaned and angry that I felt that way.  The woman in charge of economic development for the City of Burnet was conducting a survey.  She interviewed the dad in front of me, looked solidly at me, then skipped me and proceeded to interview the dad behind me.  You better bet I drove straight home when we left.  And how much do you think I want to go back to that town?  This happened the day after Sarah’s Stonewall Head Start/Ag-Extension Service sent home a registration form for a reading program asking for only the father’s information on the front, and on the back did not include widow/widower in the marital status section.  Head Start and the Ag-Extension Service each got a signed letter from me. 

I’m tired of this.  If I need to, I will single-handedly educate the entire Hill Country and become a huge single mother advocate.  I rarely point out that I’m a widow because I know it makes most people uncomfortable to discuss it and they typically can’t relate anyways.  However, I am not going to roll over and act as if all this ignoring is ok either.  I didn’t change.  The situation changed.

Note:  I forwarded a link to this blog entry to the economic department of the City of Burnet hoping for an explanation.  Both women conducting the survey quickly sent me long and very kind emails.  I completely read that long look the wrong way.  They were trying to not be disruptive to the event by not asking the same people to do the survey twice and by trying to asking every other family.  There were more things that happened this past week that I haven’t even mentioned, so I believe I’m especially raw at the moment.  Go to Burnet.  I will – especially to ride Thomas again next year.  Probably sooner to eat at the Cookie Café and Bakery on the square…

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It has been almost a year

September 20, 2012 2 comments

September must be the month Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies move through the Johnson City area.  I began seeing this butterfly everywhere starting at the beginning of the month.  As soon as I saw the first one, I started watering all our lantana and turk’s cap – butterfly favorites.  While watering one morning, one of these beautiful giants landed about a foot in front of my nose.  I told it “thank you.”  I love these butterflies because they remind me of the freedom I believe Jim achieved.  These are “Jim’s butterflies” to me now.  Not only because one was there for us during his graveside service, but because it seems to show up at the beginning of hunting season.

I didn’t want to change me or the way I lived.  But, after we lost Jim, there was no way to stop it from happening.  I knew Sarah was going to have to change too.  But, how do we change, live through it and come out in one piece?   I still don’t know.  But, the moving forward isn’t as raw and painful – most days.  Now that Sarah is able to speak so much better, she tells me things she remembers about Jim.  She is surprised when I am surprised at what she remembers.  Most recently it was how much higher Jim could swing her into the tub.  I feel an almost overwhelming sense of relief when she recalls memories of her daddy.  She has not forgotten him, at least for now.  She just literally couldn’t talk about him before.  The incidents that occurred during the week of Vacation Bible School really opened the door for her.

Quite incidentally, about a month ago I moved Jim’s cologne and my perfume to Sarah’s level.  She was curious, so I let her smell them.  The sweet and peaceful look on her face when she smelled Jim’s cologne stunned me.  When she refocused on me she softly smiled and said, “Daddy.”  Now she asks to smell it all the time.  Therefore, I smell it all the time too.  It was really hard at first, because I’m one of those that strongly link memories to smells.  Now I’m beginning to relax when I smell it too.  I still miss Jim daily and get mad at life when Sarah and I start having a lot of fun because he should be enjoying her too.  However, I have the sneaking suspicion they would have ganged up on me.  Her humor is so much like his.

I have made it through this year.  I tried to make it as easy on Sarah as I could.  And night time is still hard for both of us.  But, we’ll keep growing and moving forward.  I’m finding the best way forward is through.

“Someone was watching over you”

April 17, 2012 4 comments

On Saturday, I took my engagement ring to Throckmorton’s, a wonderful jewelry store and repair shop in southwest Austin.  The jeweler, David, was able to repair my crushed ring right then as my mom and I spoke with his wife, Tracey.  (Dad and Sarah were playing outside.)  Minutes later he brought it back to me looking brand-new.  Even the rough spot, where the ring hit the concrete, was smooth again.  That’s when Tracey looked at me and said, “Someone was watching over you.”  I just smiled and nodded my head.  I couldn’t tell her just how right she was. 

Actually, I think I had some extra help on both Wednesday and Friday. 

While driving home from Lubbock, I avoided hitting a dog.  Unfortunately, I did not avoid hitting a reflector pole.  It dented both my right wheels and completely removed my side mirror.  I was nine miles west of Mason.  No cell phone service.  I saw a truck starting to pull out of his driveway, so I limped the car over to him and asked Sarah to work with me because I just “boo-booed” the car.  Dwain let me use his cell phone to call Allstate for a tow-truck.  To paraphrase, they eventually told me, “We can’t find anything, but if you can, we’ll reimburse you.”  Thanks.  So, Dwain kindly offered to take me to town, and that’s when I told him I had a 2-year-old in the car too.  Then, he called his wife, Ouida, back at the house to let her know the situation and we were coming to her for help now.  (Sarah rose to the occasion, and very nicely stayed and played with Ouida and Chunky, the miniature daschund, while I ran back and forth to the car.)  Turns out her neighbor owns a little place called Dipsticks in Mason.  He sent a gentleman with a huge sledgehammer to bang the least dented wheel back into a useable condition.  It worked.  We got home.  And now we have friends in Mason.

On Friday, I decided to mow the rent house yard and my yard.  As I was mowing past the rent house’s storage shed, the mower suddenly jerked to a stop and turned off.  Thinking I was stuck on a rock again, I looked to where the grass comes out and saw some wire.  Dang.  I looked to the other side and saw the bundle of serious baling wire I was now tied to.  I got Jim’s wire cutters, but they couldn’t open under the mower.  I tried parking over a low spot but it wasn’t enough.  So, I called Paul Axtell and he came over with an ancient, mean-looking jack that is almost as tall as me.  He got the mower up high enough but it was still tough to cut the baling wire because he had to separate the three strands of wire to cut each one.  So, while he did that, I got on the other side to try and separate the strands on that blade.  Suddenly, but in slow-motion, the mower started to fall towards Paul.  I think I said something and tried to hold onto the mower.  As soon as it landed, I jumped up thinking, “Kris is going to kill me if I hurt her husband.”  He said the jack landing on his knee was the worst part for him.  I did ask him to please pull his arm out from under the mower so I could see it.  It was fine.  Then, I looked at my right hand.  The middle knuckle on my middle finger was bright blue and already swelling.  As I examined the scratches on my engagement ring, I noticed a little bit of blood.  I moved my ring up and saw it had barely cut into my finger and was starting to swell.  I quickly told Paul I was going inside to take it off.  As I was running into the house, he yelled, “Use soap!” behind me.  It came off pretty easily, but that’s when I saw how crushed it was.  (The jeweler said if it had been a normal engagement ring, the diamonds would have come out.  Jim never did trust me, so he set the diamonds down into the ring.  Smart guy. 🙂 )  When I went back outside, Paul asked the obvious question: why was I wearing my engagement ring?  I mumbled that humidity makes it hard to take off my rings (that and my Ehlers-Danlos).  However, even though I think that ring may have saved my fingers, I will take off all jewelry from now on. 

Jim should have turned 38 on Sunday.  Helen, Jim, Sarah and I laid wildflowers out on Jim’s grave, and Sarah and I sang “Happy Birthday” to him that night.  In my mind, he now starts to live in the world of the forever young.  He may not be here, with me, right now, but he is still near.  During our past, Jim protected my future, in so many ways.  I don’t know if Jim or God was responsible for all the help, but I am thankful to both.  So many things had to happen just the right way for everything to have turned out as well as it did.