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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Cold wintry days


This photo is out back with sunshine now and almost 30 degrees.  Frigid wintry days are tolerable with sunshine.  Last night we had the snow predicted, but less than the 8" forecast.  Still the 3-4" required work by our plow guy today, who was working alone, and didn't show up until after 11 o'clock this morning.  Sitting here I began to fret wondering when he would be here,  not that I was going out anywhere, but being alone gives me time to fixate which is not always good.  My thoughts can become very distracting to my own peace of mind.  It happened yesterday..  All day I'd heard the winter storm weather advisories and predictions of snow beginning late afternoon and lasting overnight.  For the first time since I don't know when, I decided not to risk going to Saturday evening mass.  I regretted that because I could have made it, snow did not begin until an hour after I'd have been home.  I was annoyed with myself for listening to weather predictions and expecting the worst.  I told myself that if it stormed although I would be but a mile away in town,  if it got sloppy, icy in the dark that is more than I need to handle.  I try to be protective of myself.  I have no one to call back here at the house so I let fear take over.  And it wasted my mass time.  Attending mass at least once a week comforts me, it is tgthe e social event of my week despite not socializing before or after.  Well not to worry further, I had already let worry mess with me.  Our Diocese has the attendance dispensation in effect and I coukd stream or watch Sunday morning. I did that,  I had 3 masses here this morning on TV and streamed ours from church last night.  Spiritual communion x 4.  If Jerry had been here he would have known better about the weather which he pondered and studied endlessly.  He'd have assured me I could go or not.  Just one more example of how I miss him in life now. 

I go on, I do my best.  Yesterday I talked with a local lady, another widow, whom Jerry had known family  from way back.  She had sent me a very thoughtful sympathy card and said to call to chat sometime,  so I did.  She is older and not going out to church with the pandemic although someone is bringing her communion.  Her husband died well over a year ago, but she still misses him and admitted she has lots of lonely times.  But she has an adult daughter here and they do a lot for her including taking her to their home for dinner then sending leftovers home with her.  She said it is good that I enjoy cooking because she does not for herself.  I hear this same distress from many widows.   We talked about how wearing winters are and how this isolation is magnified, compounded with grief. Commiserating  with someone else who knows understands is  good.  She admitted to having no hobbies and that all she does is watch Hallmark channel on TV,  At least I have endless tasks.  She said she gets tired cleaning too.  But we do it, although our homes are not getting dirty, it is busy work, but want to keep the home neat tidy too, my lifelong trait.

Another photo from the past.  Jerry looked for the bar he finally found for downstairs until he found what he liked.  He did not settle nor rush.  How I wish he were still here to enjoy it.  But wishing does not make it so..this was in healthier times....we didn't know what was ahead.  That is a blessing because we could go along and enjoy.  I think we did.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Half after being whole and learnings

2014 Us on October cruise 
  I love this photo from our October 2014 Cruise  along the Eastern Maritimes and to Quebec.  It was over our 47th anniversary.   The last  cruise we took It shows how we adored each other, we really did  and now I so miss that.  I miss the hugs, being the other half of a whole and the companionship that was the normal for what was us. I know I can treasure the memories and rejoice that we had each other  for 53 years but that doesn't resolve feelings of loneliness.  Something I have never before truly experienced.  A feeling I do not like, not at all.  

 I am learning about being alone, nothing unique just to me I am sure. So many  have warned me about with this widowhood, singlehood.  One is that folks really go there own way about their own business or on with their own lives and  so here I am.  I was somewhat stung by Jerry's son's comment on the phone last week overlooking something that concerned me,  "life goes on."  Yes it does, indeed and although I have often said that,  I thought, " how smug, oh you just wait."  Wait until you have a good solid tragedy and you will no longer spout trite sayings.  How easily these adages slip out of the mouth of the unaware.  Yes life does go on.  Mom always said so and having been widowed young, pregnant with me as my father lost his life in WWII, she knew tragedy.  But someone who brushes everything off with this casual remark will have their day.  

I lament wintry days if I do not get out of the house because  I may not hear nor see another human being.  Although people say call if you need anything, how can I call and just say, "hey I need to just hear someone." This is what happens without family.   Things happen and I realize I have no one to discuss them with. I can talk to myself and so far myself is putting up with me.  What if myself gives up too?

Last night the cable box on the tv in the living room quit, as I discovered when I tried to turn on the tv and no reception.  I had vacuumed earlier so thought perhaps I had loosened a plug, but not so.  I discovered the reception box had no little red light as do the others for the other tv's.  Jerry would have known this right away, but  I never paid attention.  So fortunately this morning I called our provider which is also our local phone, internet and video service provider,  a co-op with good local service.  Yes she acknowledged, the box likely was no good.  Then she asked if I felt comfortable replacing it myself or would I want the technician to install it.  Yes,  although I could see the box, I prefer someone to install who knows what to do.  I made an appointment for Thursday although they could have come this afternoon but I had another appointment for this afternoon. I thought at the time.  It is not urgent because there are 2 other tv's I can watch.  One in the kitchen that I have on when I'm out there, fixing dinner, etc.  And the big nice screen downstairs where I have begun to retreat in the evenings just as we used to do.  But I didn't have Jerry to talk to.  I had no one to talk to when today's appointment had to be rescheduled, when they called and asked for tomorrow, well I'd already booked the TV service for morning and so who knows how long these things can take.  So now today's appointment will reschedule to Friday.  This is all just routine stuff, but stuff we would have talked about or handled differently.  Jerry would have installed the tv box himself,  I wouldn't have even had to be here.  But most of all there was no companion to talk with. The aloneness of it is haunting at times and it will always be. 

I received a grief newsletter from the hospice service and one coping strategy they recommend is to journal, daily.  I am using this blog for that as my grief journal in away.  Well since I had ceased blogging and lost all followers, several of whom passed away, I can write here.,  No one will read it anyway.  I used to keep journals for years but no longer.  In fact I  will soon be destroying those because the entries are truly personal and I have no one that I want reading them after I'm gone or even while I'm here. 

I stumble around some days without anywhere to go, so I go to mail something at the local post office just to get out of the house for a minute or two although I could easily put it in the mailbox and let the carrier pick it up.  I need very little at the store so no need to  go to the grocery store.  In fact I must begin to use the multitude of food stored up here on hand.  I do not need that much for just me.  So that eliminates another activity, grocery shopping.  Not that I've done it that frequently during this pandemic and with Jerry's illness.  But still I realize now the need is less.  

Emptiness, nothing I need to do.  And while I am grateful to not have pressing needs days are wide open for what?  Something else I  have confirmed is that just because you hire someone and pay them to do something for you does not make them your friend.  This I learned because a local friend who has done work for us and who still does snowplowing, etc called to ask if I wanted to sell a battery charger because he needed one.  I do not know much about  the many tools and equipment Jerry had so told him he could come and look down in the shop himself.  That was a mistake because while down there although there was  no battery charger, he got ideas about other tools he spotted and asked about my selling them.  Right now all I  am trying to do is sell 2 snow blowers that I will  not use and without any luck whatsoever.  So I told him I was not ready.  did not know the value, etc.  The next weekend he called again and came with his adult son whom he'd told about the air compressor.  He asked if he could show it to him so again I gave him the keys to the shop and let them go down there.  Now I know they would not take anything  and it was too cold out for me, but I regret playing into this.  Here is where I  confuse friendship with other motives.  When they came back up the son casually offered me $100 for the air compressor.  But at least my inner self, stinkometer,  or maybe it was Jerry's protective spirit told me, "not so fast.." I replied I did not know the value and was really wanting an inventory and appraisal but I would think of it and get back to them.  I googled and laughed,  the model Jerry has is heavy duty nearly commercial grade if not commercial,  valued over $1000.  And Jerry took pride in all his tools and equipment, everything was top notch and in pristine condition.  So although I know I will not get full value, it is worth more than $100. Do they think I am that na├»ve or are they dumb?  Or were they just trying to pull a fast one on me? He commented that Craftsman was a cheap brand  and I knew that was not at all true so I was on alert then. Jerry had nothing cheap.  I could hear Jerry saying, "see I told you not to blindly trust people, just because they say something..."  I called another local good friend who laughed and told me, "oh no,  not on your worst day, that is worth way more than $100."  Besides he agreed I would be  ahead to go with a professional appraisal and inventory and pro to hold an auction.  That is what I will do eventually.  I have learned that they haul the stuff out and sell through their warehouses and online.  That is preferable to me.  Don't want throngs of people coming around here.  But back to the friend who caused me to feel uneasy, I called him the next day after fussing with myself,  I hesitated to say too much but merely repeated that I was not ready and wanted  get appraisals, etc.  I refrained from saying more.  I was somewhat concerned about offending him ?  What?  But yes I was.  I resent that I trusted someone I though to be a friend, and now wonder, what is the motive? Is it innocent as I presumed or wanting to take advantage?  I have learned to  be cautious.  And again thankful I do not need to rush to make decisions.  This solo life has challenges.  That is how my days go.  I miss Jerry.  . 

It has only been a month now since Jerry passed on.  I am sure I will have even more revelations.  I suppose I will go along and learn, but I will be cautious.  As many warned me, be careful because  people try to take advantage when they can..  .  

Monday, January 18, 2021

STYMIED that's a good word

 Stymied means impeded , hampered, blocked,  all how I feel lately as January goes on, our gloomy grey overcast days continue and  sometimes I never leave the house. Days when  I never see another human...It has now been a month since Jerry died and some moments I get overcome and tears run out my eyes.  I let that happen because I know it is better to release.  I know about grief and yet here I experience a new level to me.  All alone,  this is what bugs me the most.  The days where I never see another where I do not talk to anyone other than on Facebook or when I call someone on the phone, those are the longest days.  

This photo came up as a reminder today on my Facebook page,  it was from 2014 this same date  at the former Legion in town which is no more. It is now a room in the Event Center, a change that has not been fully  for the better.   Like so many other photos that appear, these are reminders on FB there used to be  two of us.  Life was that way.  But we had each other, now I have me, period.  Yes I will and am fine, but yes this is taking more than I can muster at times.   

The worst is when no one calls me.  I expected that.  People go their own way. At first folks are more concerned and while they are sincere in caring life goes on for them.  People generally are doing all of what they do as they go along, despite the offers, "if you need anything,  just call...."  Yes there are time I do call because I just want to talk to hear someone  and sometimes because I do need some advice or help.  Like Saturday when I asked a friend to stop in after I asked about a locksmith. Earlier in the week  I found two old  metal lock boxes shoved back on a shelf on Jerry's side of the closet and could not open them.  O Apparently Jerry had shoved them thee and forgotten about them.  I shook them,  they made noise and were kind of heavy so I did not know what was inside.  One had a key taped underneath but although it fit the lock I could not get it opened.  I thought I would have to take it to a locksmith but Saturday a good friend came was finally able to  get it open with the key.  It was from my late Uncle in PA and had ammo.  Inside was the key for the other box, also from my  uncle.  So he opened and it also was ammo, different bullets.  I thought Jerry had all that inside the gun safe or in another area we have in the cellar because he was meticulous about that and wanted me to be too.  But guess these he just forgot about over years.  Mystery solved.  I was thankful and relieved.  

I do not want to be morbid but this loneliness of widowhood is an experience I dreaded yet expected yet never thought it would get to me as it has, and yet here it is, and I must walk along this path. The cold temps outside although the snow has been minimal prevents me from going out for fresh air and a walk. Locals say this has been a decent January and yes, as to snow but doggone cold and overcast days.  We did get an overnight snow dump Thursday, the 14th.  It was wet and heavy, but the snowplow guy I hire took care of the driveway and front walk. I shoveled out back later that day and what would take me 30 minutes took 45 with the heavier snow.   It was ok but I was a bit stiffer afterwards.  Photo below shows out the garage door but not the side to the left where I also cleared the way.  

The isolation of winter is detrimental and as our roads and streets are clear I could go out, but where to go with covid?  And who to go with?  There is no more mall to go browsing and I have little interest in shopping anymore, what for?  I need to shed stuff and so I do gather and donate lots.  I am becoming a regular at the local Salvation Army where I take several bags a week as I continue to clear out Jerry's clothes.  I have made good progress but stop after a time, enough becomes enough.  It is one instance where I wish I had company someone to work along with me.  Yet I cannot just pester people to come  along when I have a moody twinge.  

 I have been keeping busy around here.  The last couple days I was sorting through coins that we collected over the years,  and some that we brought from PA from my late uncle.  The  ones that are silver I might take to a coin dealer but I googled  many of the others, including a lot of those bicentennial quarters and the ones from different states that were issued.  Most are only worth the face value so when I go to the bank I will take them and cash in for currency.  All that  messing around and there is only $81 from that  fiddling around, but I just as well get currency to spend.  We have 2 full collections of all the state quarters in an album and I will keep those,  who knows why.  I get into these moods or funks and while keeping busy is good I can begin to  feel "why bother."  I will just have to talk me through it. I cannot be stymied by grief nor widowhood.  There used to be support groups but covid decimated any of those also.  So it is me.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Jerry's Obituary and the smiles from Beyond

Today,  January 10, 2021,  just a month now since he passed on and left this valley of toil and tear, I had Jerry's full obituary published in the La Crosse Tribune with the photo.  I was awakened by a phone call from a local friend who was drinking his morning coffee and read it with tear so he called to tell me how beautiful and touching it was.  I have heard from many today and from FB all over echoing the sentiment.  I worked on it for quite awhile, editing, adding, deleting and finally had to stop myself, I could have gone on and on and there is a time to say "enough."  I have included a link here to the newspaper but I am also including the entire obituary here on this blog site.  After I share another "coincidence"


Back when Jerry was struggling, it became difficult for him to talk a lot because he labored to breathe, he would not talk on the phone but whenever his best longest pal, Bob Shaw would call from CA he would gather enough steam to talk with him. They went back to before my time, Air Force days; they  used to call me the 'newcomer."  He was like a brother to Jerry.  We spent lots of times together over many years in CA because we had no families near us, they were from Indiana and Phyllis observed once, "we  didn't have families here so we made our own together. " Well Phyllis passed in May and Bob was left behind after their lifetime of 60 years or so together, he never really got over losing her although her health was poor and as he said he expected it but when it happens it still is not easy.  I know. In December Bob called Jerry for what would be the last time, they talked, they could still recall the very date and almost the time when they first met at McClellan AFB in CA when Bob arrived.  We'd laugh because neither Jerry nor I could recall the exact first date we met although we knew where and how, in fact we first met at Bob's American service station in Sacramento. But that was them, tight guys together.  Shortly after that call, no more than a few days, Bob passed away suddenly in CA,  he too had health challenges but nothing was imminent.  He lived at home alone although next door to son and daughter in law whom he called them and said he did not feel well and should go to the hospital.  Shortly after arriving in the ER Bob took his last breath and died, his heart lungs all stopped at once.  When they called to tell us, I fell apart and cried which  do not do that because I have been thru so many losses. I know none of us get out of this life alive. But I told Jerry and he simply nodded his head calmly, as if he knew, maybe he did. About a week before Jerry died he said to me that he was thinking about seeing Shaw again, and I reminded him, he said, "I know" and because  there were times when he did not quite make sense I said, "Oh I thought you wanted to drive to CA."  he replied, "no that's not what I'm talking about."  He knew.  Then December 11, Jerry took his last breath and everything heart, lungs, stopped at once as he left this earth and his weakened body. Less than a month apart, similar deaths the two pals are together again Beyond.  .Well today with the multiple comments again on my FB post sharing the obituary, I noticed a reminder, "today is Bob Shaw's birthday"  Wow those guys are smiling at me from Beyond!  I did not realize it was Bob's birthday when I chose this date.

Here is the entire obituary.::::

  .  On December 11, 2020 at home in La Crescent, Jerry fought his final battle with lung fibrosis and cancer, holding the hand of his beloved wife Pat, and with son, Al beside him. He drew his last breath and peacefully passed to eternal comfort and light. Born May 7,1937 in La Crosse, WI to Florence (Behrndt) and Gerald Jr. Morrison, Jerry grew up on the Behrndt family farm, Pine Creek, La Crescent. Later they moved into town. In 1950 his mother moved Jerry and his sister to Hawthorne, CA to marry his stepfather, Lyman Larson. Jerry returned to La Crescent, living with his grandpa Charlie Behrndt and relatives. He enlisted and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1954-1964, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served at many bases including Parks AFB CA, Keesler AFB Mississippi, Korea, Hawaii, Prince George, British Columbia, and the Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing at McClellan AFB, CA. He was proud of his Fort Gordon, Georgia tactical special operations training and radar control skills in flying missions all over including surveillance off the Florida coast during the Bay of Pigs invasion. His favorite station was Prince George, BC, which he visited many times later. He lived by the Air Force motto, “Aim High.”

Jerry was employed by American Oil Company after the Air Force and later opened his own service stations and auto repair shops as well as working for auto dealerships in northern CA. In 1967 he married the love of his life Patricia (Pat Ball) in CA. They built their first home in Fair Oaks, later moved to the Placer foothills of Newcastle, CA where he operated his auto repair business Newcastle Auto Tune and Electric, specializing in electronics. He was trusted, respected and relied upon by the foothill’s community, a charter member of the Newcastle Golden Spike Lions Club. He visited La Crescent family often. They purchased their retirement home in 2003 when he spotted the detached garage/shop and had to have it, they relocated in 2005.

He enjoyed many things in life auto racing, NASCAR, ,collecting watches and clocks, raising mandarin oranges on the Newcastle acreage, trout fishing in the Sierras, camping, hunting on horseback in the mountains, working check points on the Western States Tevis 100-mile trail ride through the Sierras, flying, the challenge of diagnosing and repairing electrical or mechanical things, studying satellite weather patterns, and above all traveling with Pat in RV’s and motor homes all over this country and Canada through the years. His love of driving and urging Pat to “load up” earned him the nickname “Wagonmaster.” One favorite trip was to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana where he took a spin around the track. He said his big hobby was “keeping an eye on Pat.” In winters they enjoyed snow birding south and attending American Coach Rallies. Jerry was content at home in La Crescent, working in his shop and mowing his lawn and hillside. He valued his membership in the Gittens - Leidel American Legion Post 595 where for years he’d gather with guys for afternoon beers around the bar.  

Pat is grateful to Dr Peter Franta for his outstanding medical care and friendship and to the Mayo Hospice staff, especially health aide Trinity.

He was preceded in death by parents, sister Dianne (Morrison) Underwood in CA, son Stephen Morrison in CA, and his longest time closest friend from early Air Force days Bob Shaw of Fair Oaks CA. He will be forever missed by his soul mate, wife Pat, of La Crescent. He is survived further by son Al Morrison (Angel) of Rancho Murietta CA, daughter Bernadine Morrison of CA, sister Barbara Ferguson (Marty Berringer) of Denver, CO, brother Rodney Larson (Katie) of Riverside, CA, grandchildren especially his “sunshine”’ granddaughter Janine Morrison (John McNerney) of Pine Grove CA, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends all over the country as well as locally.

Gerald requested only military honors which will be provided upon interment at Preston Veterans Cemetery later in the spring. Memorials are requested in Jerry’s name to the Gittens -Leidel American Legion Post 595 of La Crescent, American Lung Association or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Widow a term and phase of life.


January 1, 2021 out the front window

 With winter in full swing, although we have minimal snow by MN standards, it is grey and overcast. Without the blue skies and sunshine for a couple days, my mood, could swing low, in fact it calls for me to sit beside this  desktop computer and turn on my happy light for an hour.  That helps. Fresh air is another tonic  but the overcast gloom and the 20 something degree temperatures are not conducive to my spending
 much time outside.  .  

   A FB friend another one of us now singles or my term a more recent  widow, asked me, "has the term "widow" hit you yet? So hard to process our hubby's are gone 

  • 1
  • I replied, "Strange you would mention, I have been talking to myself about that. Self, I say, you are now officially a widow. Self replies, " a widow?" Yes, I say, that means solo. Self says after a quiet moment, well I suppose I always knew it would be, Jerry was 7 years older. But he was always so healthy and the longevity, 97--100 year olds goes back generations in his family to hearty pioneers. It is a different term. I think of all the widows I know, odd to be one for sure."
  • So here I am a New Year, 2021, and flying solo.  I looked for the etymology of the word widow today and learned this, "widow is a woman whose husband has died. Back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was common to use widow as a prefix to a woman's name, instead of "Mrs." The Indo-European root word of widow means "be empty."  

I experience those spurt moments when feelings rise from within and  and spill out my eyes.  This morning I felt one and said, "oh this is getting worse"  here's what they all warned me about.  People ask if I am getting used to it and I say "yes"  what choice do I have. I have never been a whiner nor sniveler, it's very unbecoming and nobody wants to hear it.  .  

So far the worst is accepting quietness around the house. Not that Jerry and I talked all day long to each other, but it is just  knowing there is now no one except for God to hear me, and no longer hearing the din from his oxygen concentrator which had become like a roaring white noise background. I honestly cannot remember being without him after 53 years.  .When I do not venture out of the house I might not have any human contact other than by phone or Facebook that day. Despite how busy I am with packing away holiday decorations that were sparse this year and completing paperwork,  I miss real human contact.  I miss his hugs,  sometimes in a spurt moment or just for reassurance I walk into the coat closet where his jackets still hang and wrap the flannel wool jacket sleeves over my shoulders and  snuggle against it.  I would not wish Jerry back to suffer as he did towards the end nor to live in that bed, but how I do wish we could have continued our life.  It was not to be and wishes are useless. 

I miss his fix it ability.  He could and did repair any and everything, he was so handy, I always had Jerry to rely on and I did.  And well, frankly I have never had an aptitude nor interest in anything mechanical,  fixes or anything like that.  As long as it works, I'm happy.  We made a good team   He did that all and I went merrily along my way.  Packing away the Christmas things I had a couple mishaps,  I do every year, something breaks.  Jerry always rescued me and fixed it.  
  This year it was angel's wings that broke loose and I was slightly tempted to just toss her,  broken, forget it.  But I could not do that, a perfectly good angel, where would I find another like her.  So with a trip to the hardware  store in town and purchase of Gorilla Glue I did  fix her.  Then as usually happens another problem I pulled a section of the old roof loose from our first manger set that Jerry bought  when we were first married, 53 years ago, our first Christmas.  I did not want o put it away broken and wonder what happened over storage all year when I pull it out again. I examined and saw that I could reattach it easily with the tacks that stuck out but could see it needed glue as well.  This would be a good job for the white glue on hand.  I mean literally on hand, glue poured  all over mine, a dandy mess, but I did repair the roof.   While waiting for it to dry and feeling proud of myself I decided to add another touch, an improvement to this 53 year old piece.  When our ash trees were cut down years back I saved a couple pieces  of wood.  I did not know what I would do with them but wanted them, just in case.  Well, sure enough one piece could go onto the roof as an addition,  I stained it and added some paint and glue it there too.  When our weathe improves I will gather some more moss to reattach to the roof as it has shed over the years, but that can wait. 

So I am getting by. I figure it is a good day too when I learn something. Yesterday I learned the difference between hoar frost and rime frost which was unknown to me. A friend admitted she'd learned the term rime working crossword puzzles.

Taken from a ridge outside of LaCrescent
"Many woke up Sunday morning to a frosty and icy wonderland! What many often times mistake as hoarfrost can actually be a phenomenon called "rime ice." While they look very similar,  process of how they form is what's different.     

Rime ice often times forms in dense freezing fog, like we all saw last night. It is when supercooled water in the fog (water that is still liquid but below freezing) freezes on contact with the surface and turns to ice. Rime ice can often look like fragile ice needles when up close. It sure is fascinating!

Hoarfrost is when gas (water vapor) turns to ice without passing through the liquid phase. It generally forms on clear, cold and humid nights with little wind."

There it is another blogpost for today,  my time sitting by the happy light ahs passed.  So off I am. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Simple things in Solo lifie


With gratitude, I am feeling rather smart this morning. I found a switch and turned off the outside garage lights. Something simple that I knew zip about..

I am learning so many things about this house, things I never knew, never paid attention to as Jerry did it all and well I admit, I was really never interested, I could and did depend on him. He was so handy, I was spoiled. But now in my solo act I must learn.

I have wonderful friends and neighbors but do not want to pester them all the time. Over the past months Jerry tried to educate me, on many different things and I did pay attention, even took notes, because I knew it would be me alone someday.

Yesterday and last night I was puzzled and figured next week I'd have to call an electrician because the external garage motion lights have not been shutting off and on lately as they should. I noticed one was constantly on yesterday and through the night. I found a switch for the 2 large side ones but that one over the door? So last night I prayed this puzzle up with my prayers and miraculously this morning I felt told to step out to the garage and look up, aha a switch! Sure enough...I felt Jerry's presence, "yes you can figure these things out, good job." I still may need an electrician to reset it or replace, but nothing urgent.

Sometimes the simplest things can be the most vexing.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Likely my last post of 2020


December 11, here at home after fighting lung fibrosis and cancer for months, Jerry, my wonderful husband, the love of my life, my everything  while holding my hand took his last breath and slipped away into eternal peace and light.  Immediate a  look of peace and comfort washed over his face and he was gone.  It has been a siege but I am doing well.  I think because I know I did my best. 

 When we got the terminal diagnosis in late June that a suspicious spot had returned on his lung, that his lung fibrosis was accelerating, and no further  treatments could be pursued, we thought we had more time, we even thought he could prove the doctors wrong.   He said he felt so cheated there was so much more he wanted to do, places he wanted to travel in our coach, the castle on wheels. At that time I looked at him and vowed  "I will never put you in a nursing home.  If it is the last thing I do on this earth I will take care of you at home."  I did that,  I kept my promise.  It was not easy especially the  as he  became weaker and weaker.  He hated weakness and not being able to do anything. He apologized for the "hell he was putting me through"  He told me many times that he did not want to leave me.  I think when I was really able to assure him that I would be OK, he was able to give up the fight.  

 His world had  shrunk to our home, then our living room, then to his chair and hospital bed, ultimately to the hospital bed.  Our living room became his hospital room.  His last week of life was  roughest,  he was weak and so tired,  he had not been eating for weeks but whatever he wanted, eggs, pudding, ice cream  no matter what time of the day or night, I got that for him. It was not Jerry in that bed.  Miraculously he had hardly any pain just struggling to breathe, gasping at  times despite the oxygens concentrator that supplied him with supplemental oxygen 24/7 and  even more supplement using a mask from a supplemental tank.  He said the fibrosis was trying to kill him.  I  had been sleeping with one ear open for months but the last week I slept kind of on the living room couch with an ear and eye open lest he want something in the middle of the night. His last day of life was not expected nor predicted.  The hospice nurse had been here earlier.  No one predicted he had a week, days or when the time would be.  The fact is no one knows,  It is in God's hands alone.   

Preston Veterans Cemetery
I have not had to rush to make decisions. We had things set up.  He is cremated and will be interred at Preston Veterans Cemetery  near here, our newest MN Veterans cemetery  https://mn.gov/mdva/memorials/stateveteranscemeteries/minnesota-state-veterans-cemetery-preston.jsp.He would have liked that,approved of this choice I made. 

I am waiting until late spring, for the interment and the ceremony, our winter weather is not conducive to an outside event. I have no desire to stand in the snow or howling winds.  Perhaps this lousy pandemic will have subsided and then the few family can travel back for the service.  Jerry wanted nothing at all only taps and military send off.  He will get that for sure and be at rest among others who served our country.  When I am done I can be interred there too with him.  I  have not yet decided whether I will choose a columbarium of burial,  but lean toward the columbarium niche. I have time, something I have an abundance of these  days. 

There is so much to write about and I may chime in  sometime as I find myself wondering and wandering around the house.   Most of this saga I have shared daily on Facebook with friends  who kept in touch that way and who are  all over the country.  Now I am having to get used to a different life,  my final chapter,  solo.  After 53 years of marriage.  Although we had separate interests we were together through all that life threw at us.  We had a great life, we really did,  we expected it to go on longer.  But God had a different plan, why only HE knows. 

I have been working on the full obituary for Jerry to be run in the  paper sometime after these holidays, no rush.  I edit it daily.  I have been challenged to find a photo of just him,  I did not want one from his declining days here at home with oxygen canula, etc.  I was astounded that so many of the photos I have were not of Jerry alone,  most every photo  was with me.  But then over 53 years, he was ever with me.  I know he still is and he will be watching me from Beyond just as he said he would.  The first, top pic  is the one I will run for his obituary and had to crop it..  He loved that hat, wore it everywhere, it was him so the more formal pictures we had taken on cruises, etc are not how most remember him.  I used this next photo on FB to let folks know he had gone on to a better place.  This was 2018, again with the hat at a rest stop in SD on our way to an American Coach Rally. It's him,  my Wagonmaster.  My everything who now is eternally in light and comfort. 


Monday, November 2, 2020

Blessings can show up to lift us


This thought came via Facebook from a connected friend.  I reflected on the past weeks and the small moments that lifted my spirits.  Small moments to those who went beyond to help us, from a local pal who calls often just to chat and check in to the friends who came twice and mulched up the leaves with their mowers, pulverizing them into the grass.  They would not take a dime in payment.   Said they will come back and rake the rest.  I know they will if I ask...it is good to be able to rely on someone.

 A woman I did not recognize showed up at our door with a bag of Linda's Bakery pumpkin pie squares and apple pie squares.....We had met maybe 8 years back now and  really had not been in contact but she is friends with me on Facebook though seldom chimes in.  She wanted to bring some sweetness to us, felt I was a help to her and yet all I remember is talking with her a little about her caring for her mother with Alzheimers. 
We never know what effect we can have on others.  I was humbled with appreciation,  small for her but huge for me especially at the moment.  here are friends who will come and sit with Jerry if I have a medical appointment, etc.  It relievers me to have someone here,  gives me assurance and that is priceless.  

Another friend shared the name and number of a gal who can do outside work and who has been helping on their farm.  She, Megan, came and worked to clear out the leaves that fell and was very handy.  
She is a single Mom making money to help support her family and found a place in my heart.  She also has a female Great Dane, Sequoia, who accompanies her everywhere and  which lifted my spirits...shades of CA days with my wonderful old Great Dane Ace. Meantime the relentless winds of the weekend have brought tons of leaves from all over to our front,  I will have Megan return to deal with them but yesterday I removed 2 cartloads just from in front of our garage.... Small moments all but they do make a difference.  

I think about the Alabama group, and their song years ago, Angels Among Us, Truly that is what all these and other people who bring us foods from soup to cookies, bottles of wine. sandwiches and more to brighten our days. This is a link to the You Tube of the song,  it can still make me teary eyed.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?  app=desktop&feature=youtu.be&v=y_4Xfj2LRSA     I believe there are angels among us, sent downnn to us from somewhere up above, they come to you and me in our darkest hour.....

I pray I never forget to recognize these angels and God's hand of comfort while we walk this valley of the shadow.  Jerry's weekend has been a rollercoaster and the swing continues today,  Saturday he slept all day, by Saturday night he was in agony with prostrate tormented from morphine to help his breathing,  needed a catheter a midnight visit from another hospice nurse.  Sunday he was awake, alert, hungry and eating well...today he is sleepy again but did enjoy talking with his longest pal from CA and AF days back starting in June 1960 at McClellan AFB.  I shared with my priest yesterday that sometimes I feel there is a demonic presence trying to discourage me and I pray fervently then,  it is as my grandma said,"that devil lurks waiting to grab us"...this I cannot allow.  As another friend who recently lost her hubby to Alzheimers shared, "when our bodies betray us we have no choice but to fight"  Julie  knows because she has been fighting her myeloma for years, she is  the bravest person I know yet she encourages others...takes time to do that..  Yes indeed we are given more than we can handle, God alone knows why,  we humans will never fathom.