Sunday, September 14, 2014

"What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?"

Today's post is the first of what I hope become essays on grief, that might help someone experiencing it. Grief is explained by some as a process, certain steps that everyone goes through.  If there is one thing I have experienced during this time, it is that there are different kinds of grief and loss.  It  cannot be categorized by steps experienced in certain order. 

There is little difference whether you know it is coming or not.  The result is the same, you are alone.  Maybe not at first, as right after it happens you are inundated with food, flowers and friendship.  Of course at this stage you are numb and feel as if all of this is a bad dream, so you can't take it all in.  I must caution not to get rid of all their stuff right away, suggesting that if you have help, let them pack it up and put it away for a while.  Reality comes calling after everyone goes home and you are left with all the reminders of your former life.  The person you shared everything with is gone.  You still talk to them, ask them what they think and desperately look for signs that they are with you.  And they are.  All that energy cannot just simply disappear over night. 

Even though you don't feel like it, it's important to stay in touch with friends, but always be prepared to  leave in a hurry, as at first it is hard.  I had to call my friends at times and ask them to come over and just sit with me for a while.  It helped beyond belief.  I an  m so blessed.  Visiting a grief counselor also did me a lot of good and the girls at Blessed Sacrament in Allegan were an absolute God-send.

It didn't happen overnight.  Sam has been gone not quite 2 1/2 years and I still have a long way to go, but what I am saying is it does get better, God brings new people into your life to help fill the void, not take their place, but to enrich your life.  Give you reasons to see you are really blessed and be able to pay it forward in some way.  I am much more spiritual than before and try to appreciate what I have and not just sad over what I have lost.

I believe grief is something we never truly get over.  As I read in a Jim Harrison book once, "A lifetime is not long enough to get over it."

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Sheriff of Tiny-Town







This is Waylon the dog, aka The Sheriff of Tiny-town.  That's what Sam always called  him when he tried to act like he was head dog in charge.  I could just imagine him with a little cowboy hat on coming into the bar under the swinging saloon doors.  Now you're really in trouble people.

This will be a short post as I want to remember Sam on the second anniversary of the day he left us, which is tomorrow, but I don't feel much like writing. 

What I wanted to tell you all is that I am now remembering the good times.  Every once in a while I hear him talking about the sheriff of tiny-town, or his morning mouth feeling like someone had been walking through it in little tiny barn boots, or his maladies as "just part of the wonderful world of being me".   Or how something exciting was "Spazmagorikal"

It has been so long that I only remembered the last couple of years of his life and his struggle to stay here.  His illness consuming us and becoming our life.  It helps going through all of our old pictures and seeing Halloween Parties where is dressed as the Big Bad Wolf, or the scariest of all The Devil, with red cape, horns and fingernails, Yikes!

One of the hardest parts of losing him is the time that has passed.  Two years since I heard his sweet voice or felt the touch of his hands.  He is alive in my heart, and always will be, and there is never a minute when I don't think about him. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

MARG AND ME







When I awoke this morning it was to the news that my dear friend Marg  Groetsema had passed the night before.   Marg is the first person to befriend me when we arrived in Vancouver the Fall of 2004.  Fortunately she and her Husband Dale lived just down the street from us and Dale worked with Sam at Boise, Inc.  We never lost touch throughout the years for which I am grateful. 

She was so supportive of me during some of my hair-brained business ventures.  Always showing up to make sure I wasn't alone when nobody showed up at one of my jewelry parties, candle parties, etc.
I was blessed because she thought I was funny.  One of the best stories I have is when I first moved in and she would have me down for coffee and it would always be so strong, I mean really strong, almost undrinkable.   She told me I was welcome to make the coffee the way I liked it if I wanted to.  Like a dummy, I thought she didn't know how to make coffee.  Never dawning on me that she liked her coffee EXTRA STRONG. 

Marg and I had a date at Starbucks on 192nd Ave every week.  That is where we shared all our news, including her Leukemia diagnosis.  It seems to me she always had a Toffee Nut latte, but I always had the flavor of the season.  What was the most fun was stopping over at the Pay-less Shoe Store after coffee and looking at all the new shoes that were out.  There was seldom a time that we walked out of there without any shoes.  What fun.  I never felt like a stranger when Marg was around. 

I am writing this through tears, knowing I will never get to see her again,  happy that I did get to tell her how much I loved her and hug her one last time when I was there to visit the end of February.

Today I pray that God will wrap his loving arms around her, and comfort Dale and Maria as they mourn the loss of their Wife and Mother.  Here's to you Marg, thank you for all the great memories and the love you shared with all of us.  We are truly blessed for having had you in our lives.




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Oh What A Beautiful Morning





I am fully convinced that God puts us where we need to be all the time.  I have been pissing and moaning this entire time in Atlanta.  The traffic, the people, the expense, among other things.  On the brighter side, I have spent more time with my Grand Kids in six months than I did the whole time I lived in Allegan, MI.  The restaurants here are great, and I get treated to dinners and lunches and brunches a lot by my Family.  And I missed the worst Winter Michigan has seen in fifty years.   

Most of you know that I have been feeling like this move was a mistake on my part.  But had I not come down here I would be up north kicking myself for not going.  So let's call it a learning experience.  Yes, right.......an expensive learning experience, but I cannot let that stand in my way.  Not now, not when I am trying to re-invent myself.   Sounds like a big job, but it must be done, because my life has changed and I am no longer Sam Bond's wife.  I am his widow.  A moniker I could due without, but it is what it is.  I need to look ahead and try to imagine my life without my husband, because up to now I have just been reacting to his death.  I must consciously plan a life without him.  He would be the first one to tell me this, so I will go with it.  

Today I woke up and the birds were singing and the sun was shining and I felt better than I have in a while, especially since the time change.  When I took the dogs out, I realized it was going to be really warm so I got myself around to walk.  I felt like taking a different route and I think that changed my attitude also.  As I was walking it dawned on me that I was exactly where I belonged today.  That this past six months HAD been a learning experience.  Once again I had to go through this to appreciate everyone and everything in my life and exactly where I fit into what had temporarily been a puzzle to me.  I feel like the darkness is starting to lift, and I must make it a point to keep all this in mind and keep moving forward with my new life.  

So boys and girls I am on my way back to Kalamazoo, MI, where the majority of my family and friends reside.  Where I am most comfortable, where my roots are,  where my heart is.  It is where I will spend the majority of my time, and as it stands now, I am welcome to visit the kids in Atlanta anytime I would like and stay with them.  To me that is the best of both worlds.  

Look out Kalamazoo, T Bond is coming home!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Adventure Of It All

"Look at this as an adventure,"  I donned my Santa Hat and after searching every where for my packing tape (including the garage) in the pouring rain,  my package was ready to be mailed.  Yesterday I had seen a post office right around the corner from me, so I loaded the box into my car, (in the pouring rain) and drove over there.  CLOSED SATURDAYS the sign read.  RATS I said.  Went back to my car (in the pouring rain) and tried to find a post office that was open today.  Thank God for navigation,  but got lost.  So I pulled into the Home Depot parking lot and tried again.  I navigated from there to the post office.  By now I am used to making two trips to arrive at one destination.    It's a good thing I have no time constraints.

So I arrived at the post office only to be told that the line was not where I was standing (the sign said it was), but I let the woman go ahead of me.  I knew people would be gunning for me because of the hat, but I was going to be cheerful, dammit.  The postal employees were friendly, referring to me as Mrs. Santa Claus.  Mission accomplished, package in the mail.

"I deserve a Skinny Peppermint Mocha Latte."  So I drive to Starbucks, which I can see from the post office.  So in the pouring rain I drive over and try to get in the drive-thru.  Evidently,  I was blocking a drive and this woman in a Lincoln Continental kept honking at me to move, so I pulled up so she could get around me.  I tried to stare her down but she wouldn't make eye contact.  Again it must be the hat and Michigan license plate.  The thickness of my skin needs to increase, but at 63 I am thinking that is a lost cause.  Personally I am sick of people being butts.  So I just smile at them and then say what I really think when they are not around.

I know I put myself in this situation,  but I do so enjoy being around the kids.  They love me and I love them, and that's the way it will always be no matter where I live.  I wish I would have realized that before I moved myself down here.  But it's only for a year,  I will look at it as an adventure.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Searching For Normal






I don't know where I belong.  There,  I've said it.  It's here in black and white and yellow and green polka dots.

Right now I am staying in Atlanta, to be with my Grand kids who moved down here this summer.  After selling our home on Lake Allegan,  being in Kalamazoo didn't feel like the place to be right now.  The weather is a damn site better (one of my Dad's sayings).   Since being down here, I have seen the kids and spent more time with them than the last couple of years when I was living only 30 miles from them.  That's the upside.

My life and everything I identify with has been turned upside down.  I am lost.  My precious Sam is gone and he is not coming back.  What the hell do I do now?  I am feeling my way through  the darkness.   It is going to take time and the things I do will puzzle some.  Truthfully,  I have not given myself the time I need.  

Right now I can't say this is a permanent move.  It probably won't be, but I will enjoy the time here with the kids who will help me heal. 

The reality is that I now have a new normal which I have yet to recognize,  let alone adjust to. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

Sitting here in my Mother's living room on Thanksgiving morning, I am compelled to post.  Thankful for so much that I have,  it is difficult.  Where to begin?

I am thankful for having my Husband and best friend for over thirty years.  We made so many happy memories and he has left part of himself in our Son Andrew.  Through example he taught him how to treat others, especially those he loves, a good work ethic, and maybe what not to do at times.  You do not have to be blood to have a child and leave a legacy. 

I am thankful for my immediate Family, Andrew, Max and Addie.  They are the reason I keep on going.  They are the light of my life.  I am so lucky to have my Mom who is ninety and very healthy and ambulatory,  my Brothers and their Families.  How I enjoy seeing all of my Nieces and Nephews and their Children grow and become responsible citizens of the world.  I am in awe of all of them.  They bring me such joy.

I am especially thankful for our Military who selflessly leave their Families for months, sometimes years at a time to protect the freedom that we so enjoy and take for granted all too often.

I am thankful for the little things, being able to have a hot shower every day,  enough money to  buy food and help others if I choose.  Oh I forgot.  I am thankful for my two canine kids, Waylon and Honey who gladly (sometimes grudgingly) hop in the car and accompany me on my travels.  Even though at times they can be pretty messy.  After our trip from Atlanta to Kalamazoo my car looked like we had field-dressed a deer in it.  It's nothing that won't clean up at some point.

We will all pause today and give thanks for what we have and what we have lost, for all of it makes us what we are today.