Tonight will be only be the second New Year’s Eve I’ve spent by myself in 55 years. I don’t mind really; I plan to make myself a halfway decent home cooked meal, and count my blessings for what I have to celebrate. And I know, though I cannot physically feel him, Keith will be holding my hand.
To those who read this blog, thanks for always encouraging me to continue. It’s been a year since I started writing here and it has helped me a lot to deal with the grief of losing my husband and in the process I share these thoughts as honestly and openly as possible. While sometimes it may prove to be too much information, they are such raw feelings when they make their way to paper for whomever chooses to read. I’ve always been a writer and that was the one class that I excelled in during school. It comes easy to me – easier than speaking because I can pause when I want to and just type away and go back and edit my many run-on sentences. I’m glad the grammar police haven’t found their way here … yet!
I want to thank my on-line friends for being here for me 24/7 and for those of us who have built amazing, life-time friendships, wow – who knew? I freely admit to being an on-line junkie. I spend from the wee hours of the morning to late hours at night here. And you’ve all been there with me throughout the day and night!
Thank you to my friends and family that have checked on me and spent time with me – you will never know how much that has meant to me and I know, because Keith and I talked a lot about that; what would happen after he was gone, would friendships struggle going forward. I can honestly say that some friendships were actually strengthened and have become more than an occasional acquaintance over this past year.
Some relationships have gone away and Keith and I talked about that happening too, but honestly they weren’t much of a relationship to begin with – for Keith or for me, so I’m working on the forgiveness aspect and moving forward in 2016 with those who care to be a part of my life. People that make excuses that they are too busy or too whatever, really are not invested and it takes years of tears to overcome that harsh reality. I have never had a problem with honesty, it’s the only way I know how to be, but one of my goals for 2016 is to be drama free.
So again, thank you friends and family that have been here – for the long haul.
When Keith was healthy we took a few road trips and we took a couple of vacations, but it wasn’t until we started living in the moment that our traveling really took off. I think I got my maternal grandma’s gypsy spirit … of course I wish Keith were sitting next to me on the plane or in the car, but in some capacity I know that he still is.
So an amazing group of on-line “family” have gotten together to bring me to Florida in January! I am blessed by a pre-paid plane ticket by a wonderful woman who I pray will be well enough to be there and for me to hug in person, and the homes of three beautiful women who have graciously invited me to stay in their homes. When I was told of this trip, honestly, I was so overwhelmed with emotion that they would think to get me there (which I was working on anyway) but this just worked out so perfectly for all of us that well, again, I am just so blessed and grateful for their friendship. Florida in January when you live in Chicago, yes please!
In February, I will be attending an International Cancer Symposium which requires travel to Arizona. Arizona in February when you live in Chicago, yes please! As a volunteer for the PMP Research Foundation, I will represent this amazing organization with pride. We are an all-volunteer charity working hard by providing hope for current and future patients.. Funding research for this specific cancer is what we do, by generous donations and benefactors. Supporting educational seminars is as important to the public as it is to physicians and we are proud to sponsor events like this. Providing, up to date treatment information, clinical and research information is what we strive for.
And giving support to patients, caregivers and friends of those diagnosed, is important to me. I was able to do this for Keith and in many ways, I am blessed to continue doing this through him and his never-ending love for me.
2016 means other changes for me as well. My youngest daughter and her two children are getting married! Yes, I did say the kids are getting married because they are a family unit and I cannot be more happy for her and them as this blending becomes an incredible mix of nothing but love. I am blessed that I will have a son-in-law who is so caring, loving, hard-working and respectful to my daughter. He reminds me so much of Keith in his attitude and ethics. God bless their marriage always.
This marriage also means a change for my living situation. My loving grandson (4 years old in the coming month) likes to remind me daily that “Grandma, you are a very, very old lady” and sometimes, with all the chaos in our house, I think he’s right! I have never lived alone so once I figure out whether I sell or stay (although this is an awfully big house for one person) I am going to embrace the change. Talking to a friend recently, she explained how empowering it was for her to live alone. It’s just going to be different. And I will finally get to be a grandma for these two kids, instead of another parent – bonus!
2016 means, as I said above, drama free. I am not big on making resolutions because I usually break them (fairly quickly). But I am going to try to eat better – I will never be perfect with diet because I love good food and I love bad food too. I love donuts. I love greasy french fries. But to be really drama free, I have to be better at my choices so I don’t create a health drama!
Letting go of hurt and changing my way of thinking will greet me tomorrow. Forgiveness is something I have worked on this year and I have not been very successful. Some pain runs so deep that I’ve thought that only God can forgive those transgressions. I prayed a lot and asked forgiveness from Him in my ability to not be so forgiving. I have never intentionally hurt someone and if I have unintentionally done that, when made aware, I beg forgiveness. I am not perfect; I am human but I do know that after the last five years of my life, there is nothing more important than being with those you love and making time for them. I take nothing for granted in this life because it can change in an instant. Forgiveness only needs to be in my heart and I think I have that worked out. It will never change circumstances and will never change the past, but it will allow me to say, with a clear conscience, yes, I am able to move forward – without fan-fare, without drama. I’ve learned that all I have to do is “walk away” from things that bother me, now that is empowering!
Happiness and Music
I am choosing happy. One of the last conversations that Keith and I had been about happiness. No, I will never “get over” his death. But I am, as I have said several times, happy that he does not have cancer.
I am happy with the person that I am. I am happy to do good work to honor this man who honored me with his love and with his life. My love will always be with him, but as he always told me, “honey, you have the biggest heart of anyone I know”. I believe him now – because I still have this ability to care about others. I am not angry, really never have been and sadness sometimes creeps in for what may have been, but I am happy to be alive and happy that I have children and grandchildren and some parents still living; I have siblings and in-laws and cousins and aunts and uncles and friends! I am loved and that makes me happy.
Music is also my happy place. Some music shakes me to the core and I cry because it is so beautiful and speaks just to me –to my memories of Keith and us and to my memories of our son, my sister and brother and others who have gone before me. Some music reminds me of friends and good times spent together. And my favorite music is the music that reminds me of Keith and I where I literally get butterflies in my stomach because they were “our songs” and give me the feeling of I can’t wait to see him again feelings of love! Those are the absolute best!
Happy New Year!
May yours be healthy and prosperous and full of love and friendship. For me, I am counting my blessings. God bless you all.