Another Year-Reflections

Tomorrow is my birthday.

The day after tomorrow will mark the sixth anniversary of Jim’s death. Time stands still. Time flies. It is amazing that it is six years since I last saw him. It is amazing that it has been six years since I last heard his voice. Well this whole process is pretty amazing and not always much fun.

I grieved when my mom died. I grieved when my dad died. I have grieved over the loss of friends and over the loss of others in tragedy, which we have seen so much of this year. The loss of Jim was different. I lost my life partner, my friend and my companion in mischief and dance. I describe the three and a half years leading to his departure, like a deck of cards thrown in the air. Just as they started to come down and I was picking them up, something else happened and the cards were thrown back up in the air again.

I am still picking up cards from six years ago. I didn’t know there were so many cards. Yet I have accomplished a bit along the way and each day I attempt to live life to its fullest. Some days it is a wee, tiny bit and other days are big a luscious and overflowing with awe and beauty.

I am beginning to realize that I may never have an answer to the question “What’s Next?” At my best I look for the large and small around me and find some marvel in it all. At my worst, I still find I can treasure my current surroundings and who I am.

  • I am not homeless.
  • I have this lovely little Roadtrek to call home.
  • My home is heated, which feels good on these chilly fall nights.
  • Elsie is always my faithful companion, in adventure and silence.
  • I know, oh how I know, I have many out there that support me daily, mostly in thought and prayer. Yet I know you are out there.
  • There are many books to read. On days where I don’t have much energy, I sit and read.
  • When I was younger I went through a short, period where everything was gray. I appreciate that I have never gone back to that place. I still can see and marvel at the loveliness of the places I visit and the people I meet. Color is a wonderful medium.
  • I have a family, sisters and nieces, that though not often heard from love me and support me.
  • And there is always my camera-I love taking pics even at my lowest.

There is always hope. In this coming year I am going to attempt to not be so hard on myself. I really don’t need to make far reaching decisions about anything. I want to focus on what is best for me at this moment in time, in this day and in this year. I want to experience a little more joy, wherever I can find it. And, although I am not sure I may want to settle down. I shall see on that statement.

I now understand a bit more of the statement from others that “you can move forward, while treasuring the moments Jim and you had”. I know that I can do both. And, ever since Jim’s passing he has been very good at helping me find my car keys. I have called on him more than once. This is one of the important reasons to keep him nearby as I adventure forth into life.

If you look on this site you will see a Go Fund Me tag. I have been raising money for the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship for 6 years. I am close to my goal of $25,ooo to make this a perpetual scholarship. I have about $8,000 more to go. I have been constant and steady in trying to raise this amount. If you would like to donate, small or large, some student out there at Grossmont Community College will thank you for your efforts.  I treasure each donation because I know about the thought and caring behind it. If you would prefer to donate directly to the college, here is their information.

Mail your donation to:

Scholarship Specialist
Financial Aid Office
8800 Grossmont College Dr
El Cajon, CA 92020-1799
Contributions are tax deductible

On to another year of discovery. Who knows what it will bring. I will continue to follow my own path, carrying the memories of my time with Jim forward. This year I pray that it will be just a wee bit easier. Each year seems to be getting that way. I am thankful for this.

I am thankful for 21 years of love, caring and relationship. I am thankful for being able to have those memories to help me move forward with my life, no matter what direction it takes.

Today I am thankful.

 

 

 

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My Inner Child, The Dentist & Jim

images-1I have been in San Diego for a little over a month. All scans, x-rays, and doctors appointments have been completed and the news is good. Well, almost all of the appointments have been completed. The only outstanding appointments at this time is the dentist. Yep, I arrived in San Diego with pain in my jaw (which of course I was sure was head & neck cancer). Day one was an appointment with my dentist, day two was an appointment with the periodontist, and day three was surgery to remove one of my back teeth and have a bone graft completed. Since then I have been through another gum surgery. I have one more to complete after I return from Christmas.

Have I told you that I really, really dread going to the dentist? All these dentists are very nice people but I have had very few good experiences with the dentist. It started when I was in fifth grade and continues to this day. Just in case you are not aware yet, dentists make me very uncomfortable.

No matter how hard I try to be adult and rational about all this, my little girl pops to the foreground and once again I am a mass of little girl feelings. I try to be an adult but often when I get to the dentist office and the news is not the best, I have found myself crying in the dental chair. I know I am not alone in these feelings. All I have to do is bring up the subject of the dentist and the person I am speaking with shares their own feelings of fear and dental dread.

13285233_143979346015699_1388150816_nAll of us have an inner child. I have read books about this. I have gone to workshops about this. I have, through meditation had conversations with my inner child. I think I acknowledge her existence but then, well, just mention the dentist and here she is again, taking over my present day existence.

It is bad enough I become a small girl at the mention of the dentist. This time, when I arrived for my first appointment with the periodontist, I discovered the office was in the same medical building that I took Jim to, three times a week for the last four months of his life. He received IV nutritional therapy to help him better tolerate his chemotherapy. People with head and neck cancer often receive feeding tubes because they cannot tolerate eating. This therapy also helped him live without the feeding tube.

Not only did I have to deal with all my dental fears, I also had to confront some issues around grief. Boy does that subject continue to pop up at interesting times. Once again I sat down in the dental chair, the tech came in and I started crying. Was this fear, was this grief, was this everything all mixed together? I will never know completely. It was hard to walk to elevator and return, once again to this building.

As I review these last several weeks and my visit to this dentist and building, in some ways I find this has been a bit healing for me. I have had time to reflect the moments Jim and I shared in our visits to the doctor who treated him. Jim and I always functioned well as a team. We shared everything. Some of those visits were fraught with anxiousness but we always were very good at supporting each other through our lives together. Sometimes he would sleep and I would go for a walk. Other times we sat and read. Yet other times we shared our thoughts and feelings with each other. It has made me miss him more. It has made me recognize how important those moments were in our relationship. It has made me realize how important all moments are in my relationship to all others.

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It is OK to acknowledge and accept my inner child. That little girl gives me the opportunity to laugh and play and look at the world with excitement and wonder. It is a little harder to acknowledge her when I am sobbing in the dental chair. I guess that is the time to acknowledge her most of all. At times like this I need to tell all of my selves “it’s OK”. If I need to cry, then cry. Usually after my sob session is over I can handle my time at the dentist better and I feel more adult.

Later this morning all of me is off to the dentist for a follow-up.

House For Sale, Adventure Awaits

 

imagesA while ago I mentioned in one of my posts that my goal for 2016 was to fix up the house and get it on the market.

Guess what I am in the middle of? Yes, you guessed it. I am in the middle of completing  some major interior and exterior projects on my house. Last week I had a cracked slab repaired, a new sidewalk with drainage on both sides installed, and a new driveway put in. It looks snazzy.

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Driveway drying

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My new sidewalk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is more to come. I have to get some drywall work done and then the interior will be painted. I am hoping to complete this by the middle of March and then if all things go according to plan the house will go  on the market.

Here is what I know about this process so far. It is stressful. It can be very stressful, at times. I feel that I have done pretty well dealing with the stress of it all. Oh wait I almost forgot I am getting over a cold but that is not stress related (who am I kidding). Every once in a while my not so favorite friend, anxiety, rears it’s ugly head. I try to remind myself that I am halfway through the repair and fixing up thing. It helps that Barbara, my friend and realtor is willing to listen to me. She asks the right questions too.

Once the house sells I head straight into the unknown. I am not planning to buy or rent another place immediately. I am going to sell most of my belongings, put the rest in storage and Elsie and I will live in my Roadtrek RV for the next year. If I really like it I may stay in it longer. If I don’t like it I may not stay a year. This is my plan at present.

stress-article-2015Moving into my Roadtrek is way more challenging to my stress level than getting the house ready for sale. When I was younger, I would pick up on a whim, pack and move. Sometimes I had no idea where I would end up. I am sure there was stress and anxiety with those moves too. I have found, as I have gotten older, moving has become harder and harder. Now I am want to move out of traditional housing entirely. What????

Since Jim’s death selling the house has always been in the back of my mind. It has nothing to do with our life together in our home. If it did I would stay here forever. This is what occurs when one finds oneself in a good and filling relationship. Creating a fresh start is important to me. I find that if I have to start over, I want to start somewhere fresh and in a place that is mine to create.

My problem with finding a home and space that is just mine is, I don’t where it is. I have been on two long trips and I thought each one would help me define where I want to live. I have learned some important things by traveling, yet where I want to live is still a mystery. Here is what I know:

  • I will not live east of the Rocky Mountains again-unless my family needed me. I love the wide open spaces of the west. I love all the mountains and the broad forever vistas. When I first moved to the Rocky Mountains in the 1970’s I never looked east again.
  • I have ruled out two thirds of the country. That’s good.
  • The Pacific Coast is amazing. I love camping and traveling it. I have found that I have been inexplicably drawn to the Pacific since Jim’s ashes went to sea.
  • I don’t mind some humidity. The humidity back east and in the south is overwhelming.
  • I love the lack of bugs in the west. I will put up with mosquitos and those pesky ants. But I don’t have to clean the front end off my vehicles after I drive them once.
  • There is something amazing to me regarding the fact that on any given day, year round, I can walk out of my house and go exploring. I don’t usually have to wait until the weather clears.
  • My car stays in good shape forever.
  • I have good friends all over the country and beyond. I have very good, loving and supportive friends in San Diego. Their support, caring and love would make it very hard for me to leave. All my friends have gone above the call in helping me during the last 3+ years.

Here is what I don’t know:

  • Where Do I Want to Live??????

Until I know more of what I want,  I don’t think I will buy. I may rent, after the year in my RV. I plan to keep an open mind and let in all possibilities.

Miss Elsie and I are going to become the traveling duo. Where do I travel to first? Maybe the photo below will shed some light on this question.IMG_2569

Yep that is right. I am pondering the Alcan Highway later in the spring, depending on the sale of the house. I have a lovely friend, Cat, who has a fifth wheel who wants to caravan with me. I am feeling the slight undertones of excitement. We would make a good team, me and Miss Elsie, Cat and her two dogs, Dory and Bodhi.

2016 continues to be an interesting year. I promise I will keep you up to date as the mystery of this year unfolds.

And the Adventure Continues.