Monday, June 13, 2011

In retrospect I am...more than a year later. Have I healed? Yes. Are there scars? Yes, again. Regrets? Not a single one. Given the choice I would live every moment again. The good times, the wounds, the joy, all of it was worth it. It has been (and I hope will continue to be) a life well-lived.

I still miss my Eric. But I have mostly healed and know that I hope to live as long as possible without him. He will always be part of me. What he brought to me is still here. And I am still grateful for it.

I am part of a very large family of bloggers. My son and daughter blog. My brilliant nephew Brian in England blogs. My grandmother kept a diary. I haven't read it, my brother refused to share it with me, saying that it was the most depressing thing he had ever read. (Not all blogs are readable, apparently).

Okay, perhaps I am not completely healed. Perhaps there will always be scars. And some are still a bit tender. Well, dammit, they were worth it. I would do it all again. And if the opportunity arises, I will go for it again. I will take the risk. If we scurry into our holes every time we are hurt, all we will experience is darkness. Surely, that is not what we were meant to do.

Life is too short to spend it in the darkness.

Friday, September 3, 2010

An Irish Blessing

I just ran across an anonymous Irish blessing that I clipped from the newspaper not long ago and thought I would share it with you. I keep it taped to my refrigerator.

"I wish you not a path devoid of clouds, nor a life on a bed of roses,
Not that you might never need regret, nor that you should never feel pain,
No, that is not my wish for you.
My wish for you is:
That you might be brave in times of trial,
When others lay crosses upon your shoulders,
When mountains must be climbed,
And chasms are to be crossed,
When hope can scarce shine through.
That every gift God gave you might grow along with you.
And let you give your gift of joy to all who care for you.
That you may always have a friend who is worth that name.
Whom you can trust,
And who helps you in times of sadness,
Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side.
One more wish I have for you:
That in every hour of joy and pain, you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you and for all who care for you,
This is my hope for you,
Now and forever."
I have friends like that. And I am so grateful

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Times They are a Changin'

Last night I sat down to watch the returns of the South Carolina primary and realized that I had no one to talk to about it. I called or texted several friends who were for one reason or another unavailable but found myself left to my own thoughts. Now I LOVE election nights. Doesn't matter if it's a primary or a November ballot. I can't wait to see who won or who didn't. Makes no difference who I voted for, I just can't wait to see who won and try to figure out why it happened.

My political roots go very deep. My parents were very bright people, very involved in their community both politically and socially. Neither ran for office, but they cared about their neighbors. My Father's obituary (written by the local newspaper) called him a philanthropist, as he was. My Mother was involved in numerous social organizations and worked very hard to feed, house, and otherwise care for those less fortunate.

When I was growing up in South Carolina in the 1950's and 60's there was only one political party. The election was the Democratic primary in June. My family was active in the re-establishment of the Republican party in South Carolina. They believed strongly in the two-party system and worked hard for it's rebirth. They really did not mean to create the monster that the Republican party became in South Carolina. Lexington County became, within a few years, the most Republican county in the USA. Today the Democratic party is a shadow of it's former self...but hopefully, making a comeback. It is happening slowly.

I was very involved in that early movement to a two-party system and became politically aware at a very early age. I like to think that my views have matured a bit since then. Some of my friends from those days of the early 70's are still very died-in-the-wool Republicans. Gosh, isn't that what we were striving to change? My goal(naive child that I was) was to create a choice between parties. I know that the motives of some of those early Republicans were not pure. They were reacting to President Johnson, the Civil Rights Act, and a lot of other things that were happening to change society in those days. The majority of those changes were way past due.

Today I find that I have a difficult time finding candidates whose views I am comfortable supporting. So I find myself mirroring the old "Chinese menu" stereotype; one from column A, two from column B. But by golly, I can do that because, although they aren't quite equal, there ARE two parties in South Carolina. Once, again...Thanks, Mom and Dad

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Love Is In The Air

Well, it is springtime and love is definitely in the air. At least three people I know have found new loves and are waxing poetic. I am truly happy for them all. Truly happy, not even a little bit jealous, which kind of surprises me.

It has been a year since Eric died. The anniversary gave me pause but I found ways to spend it with people I love and we found ways together to remember him with love and joy and thankfulness that we had that "bigger than life" presence in our lives for so long.

For me it has been a year of sadness and recovery from that deep, deep pain of his loss. I miss him daily of course, but I am learning to build a new life. And in some ways, a new me.

Eric observed once, early in our marriage, that we were very "insular." Although we were social and had friends and family with whom we made lots of wonderful memories, all we ever really needed for company was each other. It made us a little socially lazy at times. Our preference was usually to just stay at home. If we went out, we did not usually bother asking anyone else to go with us. I have no regrets about that, I treasured every moment with him. But this year, I was forced to re-create my life.

Making allowances for the time I needed to myself to grieve, I reached out. I renewed friendships, made new friends, started a blog. I even experimented a bit with a few dating websites.(See my blog of March 24 if you'd like to know how that turned out!) And I've learned a few things about my "new" self.

I thought I would be interested by now in a new primary relationship. I thought I would be really lonely and longing for male companionship. To my surprise, right now the need for male friendship and conversation is filled by my male friends and my son. I always knew that I would never find another Eric but I am open to the possibility one day of another relationship. But not now. Maybe never. Who knows?

I am surprised at how jealously I guard my "alone" time. And at how content I am to do just as I please. No matter how much in love you are, being in a good relationship requires time and commitment to the happiness of another. It requires that you both occasionally do as your other wishes to do. That's the part called "sacrifice" by some but it is something you gladly do when you love. I did it happily for twenty-plus years...and would still be happily doing it if the fates had allowed.

But right now, I need something different. I am content...for now. Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Change We Really Can Believe In

My daughter recently made public, by virtue of her blog, that she and her husband plan to divorce.

The decision was made thoughtfully and was a joint decision. They are behaving like civilized adults, vowing to put their children first always and are determined to make rational and fair decisions in all matters. They want to remain friends and cooperative co-parents. I am pained by their decision but very proud of them both.

As a veteran of divorce, I prayed that my children would be spared the same. But, alas, it was not to be. My divorce was the first in my family and a shock to everyone. I believed then, as I believe now, that sometimes marriages do have to end. People change and what once felt just right is sometimes outgrown. Not everyone understood that I had to leave but I really felt that I would wither away if I stayed.

My only regret is that others were hurt by that decision and my guilt was once overwhelming. Now I see that we have all survived very nicely and have moved on, hopefully learning something in the process. Life well-lived is often a bumpy ride.

In her blog, Gamecockmama (link on this page), my daughter wrote about how much she admired the marriage that Eric and I had and realized that she and her husband did not have the same bond. She noted that even when we fought she could see how much we loved each other.

Did we fight? I didn't see it that way. I remember spirited discussions. I remember taking polar opposite positions in certain matters. And, okay I'll admit it, we were occasionally angry with each other.

But we did love each other through those differences. Leaving never occurred to me nor to him. We fought fairly and always about the subject at hand. Nothing was "off the table" for discussion but we respected each other's vulnerable spots and avoided deliberately hurting each other. Thus, we always felt safe in our marriage. But the bond must come first. It really is kind of important to marry the right person.

I hope Mandy and Ed both find the happiness they seek and the right people with whom to share the rest of their lives. They both deserve it. And so do their children.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Count Me Out.Com

Okay. I have a couple of friends who have met really nice men on one internet dating site or another, I know it can work, but Damn, all it gives me is the creeps. Encouraged by my friends, I signed up for a few, but I just hate it.

Most of what you get is these drones who write what they think we women want to hear."I love long walks on the beach'" Yeah? Who doesn't? "I love to cuddle." (I don't, particularly). "I want a woman who loves to travel, is adventurous,....blah blah blah." Please spare me.

If I say I want to meet locals and you contact me from Othersideofnowhere, Oregon, don't expect a reply.

These sites bore me to tears. Tell you what, I'll pursue my interests, read the books I like, spend time with my friends and family. If you and I are lucky enough to meet and you are a really good man...Great! Otherwise...I'm busy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Australia - It's a Puzzle!

Such an amazing place is Australia. My recent visit took me to New South Wales - a wonderful mixture of scenery. The mountains meet the sea in a spectacularly lush landscape rich with flora and fauna. Australia in NSW can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a forest or a desert. Huge sand dunes stretch for miles between the deep blue sea and lush vegetation. They actually offer camel rides through those dunes!

The people I came across in my travels were unfailingly friendly. They were patient with the inability of my Southern ear to comprehend much of what they said and cheerfully repeated and repeated again until I finally understood. Although the restaurant portions were as generous as anywhere I have been, there were surprisingly few overweight Australians. (There were, however, lots of barefoot ones - even in the shopping malls!)

Their good nature does seem to include a certain amount of tolerance toward a rather intrusive government. Australians are required to vote under threat of fines. An interesting concept but one that in reality pretty much guarantees both apathy and the devaluing of the privilege. We complain about voter apathy here but I think I would really prefer that lackluster voters stay at home on election day. Are we not more likely to sell what we don't value to the highest bidder? Or just blindly mark our ballots to avoid the fine? Many people have died ensuring our right to the franchise but I suspect they would also include the freedom NOT to vote.

While I was there, the Australian government decided that their citizens were using entirely too much regular unleaded gas and announced a plan to eliminate that choice in favor of either ethanol or premium unleaded at the gas pumps. Oh, and by the way, they were also raising the price of ethanol by three cents at the same time. Much more expensive and not really good for your car? Tough.

But the piece de resistance was a little poster I noticed in my sister-in-law's house. She found it amusing and hung it on the inside of the bathroom door for light reading. Called "One Minute on Your Motions" and published by the NSW Digestive Nurses Association it offered (I kid you not) instructions on how to properly poop. Is it really so complicated?

One is instructed to sit leaning forward with a straight back, elbows on knees and feet on a small wooden stool. Under the title "Go" we are directed to "Without straining, relax and widen the back passage. Do not hold your breath." The back passage?

Under "Finish" you are instructed to "draw up the back passage firmly." Finally under a very bold "DANGER" we are informed that "Regular straining leads to hemmorhoids, prolapse and leaking from the bladder and bowel." My goodness, I never knew the potty was fraught with such peril. The cartoon with it was really cute, though.

I'm sorry I didn't make a copy. I don't have anything nearly so interesting to read in my bathroom.