The Doomsday Clock Ticks On

I watched a video of a brief message from Professor Noam Chomsky, someone whose name I did not know until I talked about him with my friends Ginny Champagne and Rosalind. Chomsky is a world famous linguist, in the caliber of Zygotsy and Piaget, who has dedicated his studies toward elucidating the human capacity for language and thought.

He was addressing a group of solar scientists and telling them that we are at a precarious place in human history … that the climate changes may indicate the failure of humans to use their capacity for rational, moral thought to adjust lifestyles for the betterment of earth and the protection of life thereon.

I watched the video after watching the fifth of six hearings of the committee to investigate the insurrection of January 6th, 2021 in Washington DC. It was a stark followup. The 1/6/21 committee is making a compelling case with reliable witnesses to lead the department of justice toward including Trump in the guilty column of participants of the insurrection and attempted coup. The sixth hearing will be held within the next week and then it will be up to the DOJ to pick up the evidence and run with it.

Whether they will succeed in charging, convicting and sentencing the 45th president remains to be seen; whether done or not, the doomsday clock is ticking forward. Trump certainly broadened the substance of evil in our world during this new millenium … and he has had plenty of company doing so. The United Kingdom has a virtual Trump clone in Boris Johnson, currently on his way out of the prime minister’s role, and South African countries, South American countries, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Brazil and God knows how may other countries are experiencing upheavals politically and socially. Climate Change, the war in the Ukraine and Russia have contributed to worldwide famine in Ethiopia, other African countries and Southeast Asia … the list of humanity’s desolation seems endless and overwhelming.

I’ll include the link to Noam Chomsky’s warning here … do lend him your ears, and then please your heart, and mind, and morality.

Another March, Another Season

And winter ended this week … rain and sleet fell last night, but that is to be expected here in March. “In like a lion, out like lamb” is the old saying for the month, with no mention of the 70 degrees one day and 35 the next. No wonder my friend has a cold lingering on after pneumonia.

I’ve returned again to FanStory, a writers’ group where I review others’ poem and write some of my own. It’s better than more hours spent just scrolling through Facebook. Once in a while I compose something that has meaning and is worth sharing. Those I’ll save and when there are enough I’ll print Volume III of POETRY TO SHARE. Some I write are not meant for friend and family, who might misconstrue the intent in my verse.

I’m working on my tax forms, paper and pencil this year rather than Turbo Taxf, which has frutrated me these past few years. I don’t like not being able to see the form and read the directions for each entry, and I guess that show a lack of faith on my part, but it worries me to be unsure of my entries. My typing is worsening year by year … I often have to delete and retype whole words because of tremors creating double letters, and weak fingers hitting adjacent keys and sometimes omitting letters not typed hard enough. It takes longer to type than it used to. And sometimes I miss the errors and feel foolish afterward

My goal tonight is to finish copying the figures of my rough draft federal form onto the paper form I will submit, and then tomorrow finish transferring federal figures onto the state form. Then I wil take a day off before proofreading everything once again. (That will be Monday, and I’ll be in Boston at the hospital for a follow up on work done last year.) Last year I had a tiny (less than $50.00 refund) and I know I will be paying on both forms this year, but here in Massachusetts (and Maine, which used to be a territory of Massachusetts) we celebrate Patriots’ Day on Monday, April 18th, so I don’t have to submit until the 19th. The real due date is the 15th of April, but as that falls on a Friday, and the IRS does not receive mail on weekends, there is the delay. And for some reason, Wisconsin also observes Patriots’ Day, so they have an extra day to file as well. Who knew?

So back to the tax papers. This should be the last year I will have to include Schedule C forms, and I am looking forward to a simpler form next year. Did I say ‘looking forward to … next year?’ That’s an unusual phrase for me. I’ll reword that … I’ll be relieved next year to file a simpler form.

Wihing a comfortable Spring to all~

Terry

Doing My Best To Go On

I closed Quilters’ Quarters this week, and will use the remaining fabrics for charity quilts in the years ahead. I’ll pay state sales tax at the cost level on what I didn’t sell, to replace the unpaid taxes I owe on the wholesale fabric I bought tax exempt for the shop … and then it will be mine to use as I wish. I ran the shop with Rick for five years affter retiring from teaching, and then five more years since his death. It is all I could do; I know he can not come back to be with me, and I failed in my effort to go to be with him. Running the shop was our happily ever after dream come true, but the happiness died with him.

I don’t pretend that I can do all that we did together, now by myself. I can maintain the house with hired help for necessary repairs, and I can keep myself busy with housework and quilting and writing but the happily ever after shop is a dream now ended.

I’ve had a few new health issues this year. The skin cancer is currently in remission; no new biopsies have come back positive for basal squamous or malignant melanoma for over a year now. Normally that would be good news and something to celebrate. But there is no one here to celebrate it with me. Rick was my partner in dealing with the many surgeries and wound care, and he deserves the credit for bringing me through those. I wish he were here to celebrate it.

I’ve had a kidney stone that led to my working my way through three new doctors; urologist 1 prescribed a hormone treatment for the uti that would have ‘strengthened my vaginal walls’ and supposedly also clear the infection in my bladder; disappointed with that, I went on to the next who would have done a stent surgery but not in a hospital setting, and as it required major anaesthesia the anaesthetist told him it could not be done in that health care setting. The third urologist was the lucky charm. He works at Beth Israel in Boston with a full staff of assistants and students, and in a month’s time he put the stent in, waited for it to ease the stone out, but when it didn’t move out of the kidney he removed the stent after blasting the stone with a laser.

However, in the course of those visits and treatment, questions arose concerning my parathyroid glands, and I just finished comleting a 24 hour urine test, which I will return to Boston tomorrow for their review. I spoke with the enterology surgeon yesterday, and he explained that the test results for calcium and parathyroid hormone ought to have been done simultaneously and weren’t, and the slight elevation in the pth would normally be offset by the normal calicum reading but as they were done separately they need to be repeated, and the 24 hour urine collection will double check that. It is all still a mystery to me, but I did tell him that surgery would not be my first choice, as I would prefer to die a natural death. If he were to tell me that hyperparathyroidism was a painful condition I might agree to a surgery if needed, but if it could be a tolerable end of life, I would prefer that. He said he understands. We’ll see, if the question arises. I’m guessing it won’t, because so far nothing that I’ve had to endure with the MS diagnostics, the skin cancer surgeries and the innumerable MRIs and blood tests have not given me any cause to believe the exit is ahead. I’m still here, waiting.

Christmas Day is just ahead: the fifth anniversary of Rick’s death, and the fourth of my attempt at joining him in the hearafter. Please God, could you give me a lift here? I’m ready but unable to try and fail again by myself. How many more years alone? No one could ever replace him in my life. I miss him so much.

Uncertainties

I belong to a widow’s group on Facebook, and read a post there yesterday. It was written by a woman whose anniversary is approaching, and she aked was it proper to celebrate it, even with her husband gone. I and many others responded that she ought to feel free to celebrate or not, her choice. Many of us also said we celebrate ours.

But one response said that the bible says there is no celebration of anniversaries in HEAVEN … someone else asked her where in the bible that was written, and someone else researched it and said he found a passage that said no one would be married in heaven, but he didn’t think that negated marriages that took place here on earth before heaven.

Which, of course, made me think of the many different beliefs that different religions have regarding life after death. If one believes in reincarnation, one expects a new life to follow, and perhaps a new partner. If one believe in love everlastng, as I do, one expects to be reunited after death wherever we are. If one believes that there is no life after death, one is truly alone when their partner passes, (or doesn’t pass to somewhere?)

It will be five years this Christmas morning since Rick’s death, and I still have dreams involving him. One morning last week I woke up quite upset with myself for not having scheduled his vaccine shots for covid. Another night I dreamed that he and I were vacationing and I lost my way in the hotel corridors and couldn’t find him or our room. And another night I dreamt that he was upset with me for offering to take care of young children when we were supposed to be on an anniversary trip. Sometimes I dream that he is just quietly sitting on the side of our bed while I am sleeping. And other nights i have dreams but he is not there, and I am looking for him and asking peoplle to hellp me find him. One night I dreamed that he met me in the hospital corridor and said he hadn’t died, it was all a case of mistaken identify and I apologized for having let all his shirts be donated or cut up for quilts, and offered to go shopping and buy him all new clothes, shoes, boots, coats. I am often exhausted when I do wake up after such dreams.

So, will he be waiting for me in Heaven if I ever get there?

More Memories

I saw a post on Facebook that asked “What do you remember of your life before the MS diagnosis?” And it caused me to think back…

I remember always being the one of nine who felt car sick on our mystery rides … if I sat near a window, it was better, but if I sat in the middle of the seat it was worse. I don’t remember talking about the sick feeling … I just remember staying quiet for most of the ride.  No one else said whether they felt the same or not.

I remember hyperhidrosis symptoms … wet hands that my dancing school partners and kindergarten classmates never wanted to hold, but I also remember that none of them made a big deal of it, and a few were clever enough to hold my wrist instead. In high school, I remember my clothing being soaked from armpit to waist at the end of each day, but I don’t remember any classmates making a big deal of that, either. It was just who I was.

As a teen, I remember my mother’s frustration with me as I stayed at school after classes to avoid housework, and on weekends when dusting the mopboards I would sit on the floor rather than simply bend over to do them. I didn’t try to explain that it made me dizzy to bend over. Why didn’t I tell her?

As a young adult, I remember always feeling tired … no question that my excessive sweating robbed me of electrolytes, but I didn’t know that then. We didn’t carry bottles of water through our school days in high school and college back in the day, so dehydration built through the day. No one else seemed to share these symptoms, or perhaps if they did, they kept it to themselves, as I did. My mother in law would always ask me why I was so tired, and did i sleep well? I always responded that I felt okay, and she always asked why I was “only okay,” and not fine, because I was young and ought to have lots of energy. I didn’t know how to explain the fatigue I lived with … I didn’t try to tell her.

l remember being a confident student … studying came easily to me, and I could remember things on a page clearly. I know my parents had different expectations of me, as my going to college was a first for a daughter, and cost money, and prevented me from paying board to help with family expenses, as my two older sisters had done. It was a change for them, and for me. So after two years of college, and an associates’ degree, I left and took a full time job and paid board and saved money for my wedding. I walked two-plus miles every morning to catch the car pool of older women going to my place of employment. I swatted at biting mosquitoes along the sidewalk-less roads in spring, summer and fall, and picked my way carefully through the lumps of snow plows pushed to the side of those roads in winter. That year before my wedding, between my school years and my wedding, seemed the longest one, but at last it ended and I was married to my true love.

Within a few months of our wedding, we were expecting our first child, and I had ‘hyperemesis gravidarum’ for eight months of my pregnancy, until I left on maternity leave. I quickly ran out of sick leave during that first year of full time employment, and ran out of my bosses’ patience with my frequent absences, but I was determined to be a ‘modern mother’ and returned to full time work after our daughter’s birth. But there were four other young mothers that year, and each of us was denied the upgrade that the rest of our division had received while we were out on leave. When I asked my boss how long it would be before we would be given the raise, he said a year or so, when he was sure we wouldn’t get pregnant right away again.  I gave him my two week’s notice then, and resigned. When our daughter started school, I returned and became a teacher with a secure salary and benefit package. The hours of work as a teacher exceeded those I would have spent as a tax examiner, but the financial status was equal, and would suffice for both of us. That freed Rick to care for his and my parents and our second child full time, and to pursue his love of woodworking part time.

Life went on, symptoms of something came and went, but I didn’t seek out a reason for the numb feet, dizziness, fatigue etc. until all four of our parents had passed on. I wonder, looking back, whether not knowing that these symptoms had a reason and a definition of MS would have changed my life choices. I wonder if my parents and in laws would have viewed me differently had they known I had such a condition. I wonder if my mother would have been more patient  … and if my mother in law would have been more or less inquisitive about my well-being … it doesn’t matter. I did all that I tried to do … had the career that I knew would be secure and provide for our retirement. I married the most wonderful man,, and I believe he would have married me even if we had known the diagnosis.

Reminders

Tonight I was out to dinner with my friend Betty, and I was greeted by another woman who was just leaving the restaurant. She greeted me by name, saying she was glad to see me, and how was I, and wasn’t it nice to be able to be out to eat again after the year of pandemic. I smiled and answered her, but was embarrassed that I could not introduce her to Betty as I did not know who she was. I knew I knew her, but didn’t know from where, or from when. After she left, I told Betty I didn’t remember her name, and we laughed gently together. But it bothered me.

It reminded me of the day in my classroom ten years ago when a student came up and asked if he could make up a quiz he had missed due to absence. When I looked up from my paperwork, I realized I had no idea who he was, though it was already February of that school year. I knew then that I would have to admit to the progression of cognitive losses, and I talked with the principal and began the process of early retirement, much to my dismay. In retrospect, I gained those last five years of Rick’s life, and they were a gift for both of us.

I’ve always had difficulty, these past ten years, in recalling proper nouns (names of places or people) but not since that long ago day have I drawn such a complete blank. By midnight tonight I had, by process of elimination, decided what her name was and why / how I knew her. But even after figuring it out, my heart was racing, and my anxiety was rising. So I came downstairs and took my blood pressure: 171 / 110, with a pulse of 102. That’s unusually high for me, especially at night when I’ve been sitting or lying down for a while. I had recently stopped taking the lisinopril my doctor had prescribed this past spring, as I felt it wasn’t really doing much … but I will begin taking it again tomorrow, and recording my BP more regularly again.

Each of my friends have expressed some unusual fatigue, worry, disappointment and sense of loss this past year, due to the pandemic. I have, as well. I haven’t had an updated MRI or other neurological tests for the past several years, and am wondering if I ought to contact my retired neurologist’s partner … I don’t really want to, as the discussion of MS vs Parkinson’s is always unresolved, and I am not in favor of treating something so indefinite. I may just ask my primary care doctor her advice.

Mary and I spent part of today clearing old things out of the back room … two very large bags of disposables, and another two bags of donatable clothing… she worked more steadily than I, as I had to keep stopping to rest, soaked to the skin despite the lower temperatures today … seventies rather than the nineties we’d been having the past few days. Two weeks ago we emptied my clothing closet of years of school clothes, and those six bags are still sitting optimistically in the back of my vehicle. I’ll call Big Brother Big Sister, and/or the Epilepsy Foundation, to see if they will come and pick up the donations.

And I plan to make an appointment with the funeral home to lay out a plan for my own services, before the time comes. It is not something I want to leave up to Trish or Rob … it is something I do want to make clear and easy for them. I’ll have to find the insurance papers before I do that, so I know what I’ll have to work with. I think it ought to be enough. One more task to take care of along the way…

Where did five months go? Where did five years go?

Yesterday was our fifty-first wedding anniversary, and my fifth since Rick’s passing. I chose again to spend the day alone, remembering him, remembering happiness. I have a hard time explaining the emptiness to myself, and never try to explain it to others. I am just empty.

I remember the day my dad talked with me about his own ‘stoic’ stance in the face of life’s challenges … I very much follow his model. I remember the day Rick died … I remember not falling apart … not shedding tears at the hospital as the doctor suggested I could decide when to have him off the ventilator… I remember talking with Trish on the phone, and with Rob there in the hospital room … both of them agreed that we ought not keep him alive on machines, and so I told the doctor it was okay to disconnect.

I remember the phone call soon after we arrived at home, Trish and I. I remember answering the caller’s questions about Rick’s health, and about his expressed wish to donate his corneas, to honor his mother’s macular degeneration. The caller wanted him to donate more, and I remember my hesitation, and then agreeing with her … thinking quietly it doesn’t matter anymore. I remember the funeral director’s surprise and reluctant agreement to deliver him to the donor center, and his vehement statement that he would let them keep him only one hour, and then he would bring him back to town. And I remember receiving one note, many months later, from someone who benefitted from receiving some of his bone and tissue. I remember how that kind note disturbed me … I remember wondering if I had agreed in error… And I remember crying, sobbing, and falling apart that day, finally. I was alone in my tears.

And so here I am, in my fifth year of being alone. What have I accomplished in those years? What did I expect to accomplish? The past two years have been greatly altered by the pandemic. Everything positive that I had been trying to accomplish came to a quick stop. The quilting group at the Senior Center, the private lessons here in the house, the new free motion machine I’d bought with such optimism, the cans of paint I’d bought for touching up the house, the brick path in front of the shop that has relentlessly collapsed in front of the door year after year, demanding my attention and taunting my efforts…

There are things I have put to right during these five years … a new furnace in the shop, a new furnace in the house, a new electrical circuit-breaker board replacing the old fuse boxes in the house, a new storm door and front window on the shop, and a landscaper in the summer and a plow guy in the winter hired …

There is still so much left to do, before I will feel ready to leave this home that Rick and I believed would be our forever home… a happy place where we would finish life together. I never thought I would be here alone, without him. I tried to leave, to join him, after one year of being alone … but I failed in that effort, and regret that failure. I made staying here even harder, even emptier. The pandemic worsened that emptiness, that aloneness … it is beginning to come to an end, and I am beginning to spend time in the shop, but have few customers (two in three weeks.)

I read a post on Facebook the other day. It said I always thought I would spend the rest of my life with you … but I take comfort that you spent the rest of your life with me. It is slim comfort, but I am happy that Rick is at peace … safe home … I just wish we could have finished together.

As the Days Darken

December used to be a month of happy expectations … as a child, I looked forward to glass wax stencils on windows and to Santa, and always found a stack of presents on a chair in the living room next to the tree … as a student and later a teacher, i looked forward to a week’s respite from early school mornings, and homework evenings … as a wife and mother, I planned decorations for the holidays and baked pies and cookies for celebrations.

As a retiree, I enjoyed five Decembers with Rick, painting tree ornaments for his shop, and taking rides to see decorations and light displays in town and in surrounding areas… we enjoyed shopping for and visiting with presents wrapped for our children and grandchildren … we sang Christmas Carols together on the long rides up to Maine and back again.

And it all ended four years ago, with Rick’s sudden death. I did my best, that first year, to carry on with the holidays, hosting a small group for Thanksgiving … shopping with friends for my grandchildren … finishing quilts requested by friends … I had the furnace in the shop replaced, intending to carry on with his toys and my quilts … I convinced myself and everyone around me that I could continue on … and it was all fine, until it suddenly wasn’t.

Three years ago, having waited nearly a full year for Rick and I to be united, here or there, I was still alone. And on the darkest night of that year, I did my best to rejoin him. I worked methodically that night, did the laundry, put it away, did the dishes, put them away, sat at the table and wrote my last wishes, took my medications in large quantity, had a glass of red wine to help the pills,. and lay down to sleep, and believed I would awake in Rick’s arms again.

But the best laid plans … the best intentions … I had forgotten that my medications were time released. instead of awaening to Rick’s smile, I was still alone. I got up, tried to get to the kitchen, perhaps thinking that another glass of wine would help … I fell to my knees, unable to continue to walk. I lowered myself the rest of the way to the floor, and fell back to sleep there in the dining room. I dreamed that I would just have to wait a little longer.

But that sleep did not bring me to Rick. Some friends interrupted that slow passing. They were calling me from beyond my old windows … I could hear them but I could not respond. If I could, I would have asked them to go away, to leave me to find my peace, to find Rick. But I couldn’t make a sound come from my throat. Dreams are like that. I had dreamed like that before. At some point, those friends called the police for help, I guess, and they came in and woke me and asked what I had done. i think I told them … I remember asking them to leave me so I could be with Rick. I remember crying there on the floor, telling them I just wanted to be with Rick.

I don’t remember the ambulance … I do remember being woken again in the emergency room, with people walking ahead of and beside my stretcher, asking me why … I told them again I wanted to be with Rick. I remember suddenly shaking, either in fear or anger, I don’t know which. One doctor asked if I was epileptic … someone said no … and then I went back to sleep.

I was in the ICU for a day and night, but did not know that. I woke again a day or two later, in the CCU, and they brought me breakfast. A cardiologist whom I remembered meeting a year earlier on another hospital visit came to my side, removed the oxygen cannula from my face, said he had no physical reason to keep me there and asked me to sign into the psyche ward for a few days, to get on my feet. When he left, the nurse helped me to the bathroom, then I got dressed in clothes someone had brought from home for me. Another nurse came to bring me to the psyche ward. She had me push a walker, which was hard because my left arm was in a cast. I remembered then that I had fallen a few days earlier. I remembered that getting dressed was harder, but I had been able to do it myself. I knew that I was tired of always having to do things myself. I just wanted to be with Rick … how could he find me here? So many rooms, so many doors, so many people asking me to follow them… I just wanted to go back to sleep, and wait for Rick.

Here i am, three years later, in another December. I plugged in the window candles … another year where the neighbors will see from the outside that i’m observing the holidays … the inside is still cluttered with fabric for the quilts I am making … and with laundry and dishes waiting, and with envelopes and packages of gifts for my kids and grand-kids … tomorrow is the Santa parade, and I will go out to the shop to get some of Rick’s wooden toys to give for the Marine’s Toys for Tots truck that will pass by with Santa.

The month will continue on. The pandemic this year may prevent my going up to Maine to deliver presents … the vaccine won’t be here until spring, and we can all hope we can get together then, at least. But for now, the days will darken minute by minute until that darkest day is here again. I have a few weeks to clear some clutter before then … I want to go through closets and drawers and give clothes I never wear to people who need them. It will keep me busy here inside, alone, safe from the pandemic, and still waiting for the day Rick and I will be together again.

Emotional Imbalance: Relief, Disdain, Persistence, Impatience

The election is behind us, and that is a relief. Many millions of votes have been tallied by dedicated public servants and volunteer monitors, and I’m grateful to their work and dedication to honesty and fairness.

I view the opposition’s stubborn refusal to accept the final results with disdain … the toddler in the white house cannot accept the people’s choice. Worse, his enablers and followers will not do their duty and assist the winner in a peaceful transition of power.

My FACEBOOK page will carry some mild congratulatory posts sharing the joy in looking forward to a new era in our politics .,. I will continue to advocate responsible behavior relative to the pandemic … I’ve made over eight hundred free to all fabric face masks and will continue to do that through the winter, as we continue to see rising case numbers of the Coronovirus while waiting for labs to perfect a vaccine.

My frustration with those who express virus-restriction fatigue … those who continue to reject the public health value of wearing masks … those who believe staying safe is ‘the other guy’s’ responsibility … those who profess that they keep themselves healthy and others who have conditions have to worry about themselves … As a teacher, I believed and professed that everyone is educable … that there is no disability strong enough to prevent at least some cognitive growth … yet no matter how any times it is said, repeated, rephrased, restated, reworded to redundancy, half of Americans voted for the man who denies the efficacy off masks and social distancing. I have lost patience with those.

I am practicing deep breathing … I practice cautious behavior in isolating from large groups public and private … I wear my mask when out grocery shopping… I do my best to eat healthy food … I take my medication routinely … and I try to set achievable goals for each day. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t. But I continue to try.

It is not my right nor my responsibility to tell others to do so. All I can do is ask.

A very hot, humid August, again.

I am not comfortable with summer weather when it gets humid … I love living in New England but miss the four seasons we used to have. Had you noticed that we seem to have “Spring” for about two weeks instead of three months? And the same with “Autumn?” I miss those transitional seasons … the temperate weather, the changing foliage … and I do feel that Climate Change is responsible ~ of course, that means that I believe we are responsible.

The Pandemic continues to thrive here in the United States, thanks to our leaderless government. I remember when it began here, in mid-March, and the governor of our state issued a shut down order that closed most businesses, all schools, and eliminated most daily commutes.  Leaders in other countries were experiencing the same, and suddenly the canals in Venice were clearing … fish were returning … earth was breathing a sigh of relief and rewarding our restraints with natural beauty and cleaner air and water.

But that was Spring, and it was short lived.  It was soon hot rather than warm, and sticky rather than fresh. Summer arrived ahead of time, as has been its habit these past few years, in this new century. It is part of the reason I continue to deny that this century is part of my life … I believe I was not meant to go on living further into it. But here I am.

I am fortunate, and grateful to be so, in having air conditioning downstairs and upstairs in my home. Two window air conditioners are more than enough for me to be comfortable. I even have one out in the barn, the shop … but I haven’t had to run it more than once or twice this summer as the shop is open only to me and one or two isolated friends who visit for free mask fabric.  But even when the house air conditioners are running, if I am moving around, loading laundry or dishes into the washers, or folding laundry or sitting at my sewing machine making masks, I am, in relatively short order, soaking wet with perspiration.

The refrigerator, only five years old, stopped working this month. I ordered a new one online (as no one answered the phone at Lowe’s) and the new one, same model, arrived three days later.  Within a week, I returned it and bought yet another as frost was building up at the freezer door. The kitchen was a disaster as I had to empty the fridge but didn’t throw away things like jellies and jams … I plugged the old upright freezer back into the outlet in the backroom and moved the frozen foods out there, and had to toss out the yogurt, milk and a few vegetables while I waited in the hot weather for the replacements to come. The second new one is beginning to show frost again at the freezer door, so I’ve turned the temperature lower as one of the delivery men suggested … if it continues to frost up, I’ll go back to Lowe’s in person and arrange to return it and go for a different model, praying it will fit into the same size opening between the kitchen cabinets.

Rick always handled such things … I miss him still, every single day and night, and am realizing again and again how much easier it was to do things as a couple rather than as a half … We had a way of balancing each other … when I was worried or upset about something, he stayed calm and handled it, and me … and when I could see different options and raise possibilities, he listened to me and we worked out the details. But these past three and a half years, I have had to replace the furnace in the barn, then the furnace in the house, and then my vehicle, and now my refrigerator.

I’ve had to decide alone how to deal with the Pandemic and the shop, and chose to give away fabric to those making masks, and to sell at cost fabric that people are buying for their families and friends’ quilts. Today I gave away three yards of 108″ wide backing fabric and a queen size package of batting for a quilt a friend is making for one of her friends undergoing surgery next week.  Bit by bit, bolt by bolt, the inventory will decrease, and so my property tax on the shop will decrease, until eventually it will be little enough to allow me to think seriously about whether I want to continue to operate the business, or decide, again alone, to sell and move on to someplace easier to manage.

I still toy with the dream of moving back to Scotland, or back to Canada, where my grandparents were born and raised. I know they came here looking for a better life, but they did not have a president in the White House that was anywhere near as deranged, dangerous and despicable as we have today.  If he manages again to rig the election and return for another four years, that will convince me to do my best to be accepted into Scotland or Canada … I just want a peaceful place to finish this life and rejoin Rick.

Time will tell. There is no one here for me to hug, given the Pandemic. I have not seen  my grandchildren, and for the first time I can honestly say neither has anyone else. Old people are supposed to stay away from the young I have an ache where I ought to have a full heart enjoying ‘watching them grow.’  Not even photographs to appease that longing … but “it is what it is,” as the president said.  Hundreds of thousands are dead, since this Pandemic started. I am alone here.  It doesn’t mean I have to like it. And I don’t know how long it means I have to endure it. I have to make another decision, again alone. It would be so much easier if Rick were here to make it with me. We could go off to our happily ever after together. But he has gone on ahead, and I’ll have to make the journey alone … I tried once and was interrupted by well meaning friends … Lesson learned ~ it can’t be here, where I thought it could be, where I wanted it to be, peacefully, securely. But somewhere new, and better… it will take time, and many arrangements, and more decisions, and closures … and all alone.

fabricating fiction

Louise Jensen - Writer - www.louisejensen.co.uk

Diane Ravitch's blog

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