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Bereaved Spouses

A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.

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This might be a rough time for many of you. Do what you feel you need to do to get through it. Remember, someone is here almost all the time to talk to you.

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Comment by Mary. Jane on November 28, 2019 at 12:21am

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone. I hope this day is gentle and kind to all of you.

Comment by Mary. Jane on November 25, 2019 at 11:50am

Thanks, Steve..ironically tornadoes were one of the reasons I moved back to the Bay Area, where I had grown up in, and lived except for 15 years spent in Oklahoma..and Melinda was terrified listening to me huddled in my storm shelter for hours, waiting for the BIG ONE. Last summer one came within miles of me...taking out a few miles of homes..and businesses so we agreed I would return. I knew they had had a big fire here  in 2017...which decimated dozens of residential areas close to,where I now live, but we figured lightening never strikes twice..so I wasn,t worried. Big mistake. 

Where I grew up has changed SO BADLY in those 15 years..poverty and homelessness is RAMPANT!  Tent cities with thousands of displaced people are all over the areas..due to the HORRIBLE greed of the SF Bay Area..there is no housing for these people...we are talking THOUSANDS of folks..living in tents and RVs. The cost of living here is STUNNING at best...the average yearly rent is $42,000 per year. 

Couple that, with PG&E the gas and electric company, who instead of FIXING anything, just add more overhead power lines that SPARK and start brush fires, cuz the land is rarely cleared...trees that have never been cut back..and dry drought areas..super high winds, no rain here for over 7 months.seriously, and their only fix is to shut off power to everyone in Northern CA.

it is as if I have moved to HELL. Rich people are buying housing apt buildings, and kicking out long term renters, we are talking people who have been living in places for over 40 years! 

And the CRIME in the big cities! I won,t even get started on that.. 

Also, the price of items is double what is is in other areas! Even Walmart charges DOUBLE what they charge for a simple pole lamp in Oklahoma..and when I tried to buy it online at $12 instead of $24...they said they didn,t ship that item to California. 

Thanks for letting me vent.  I was SOOOO delighted to read Virginia’s post, as I, too come here often, only to find a ghost site. 

Also, my apologies to Marsha..as I emailed her and never answered her reply...luv you, girl. 

Please everyone, let’s keep this place full of our postings...

OH THERE IS SOME GOOD NEWS...there is a monthly magazine in the park, that I have been writing for! I call my column “AS I SEE IT” and I write kind of Andy Rooney type things about life here..all with humor...but the editor is stepping down in January, so that will be ending. No one else has come forward to take over..I cannot do it, as my focus isn,t strong enough to do that..I haven,t even UNPACKED all the boxes I moved here..and I REALLY miss Bob...I cannot feel him as much here...which makes me very depressed.

Thanks for reading this.SO HAPPY TO HEAR FROM EVERYONE! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Comment by Steve G. on November 25, 2019 at 8:46am

Mary Jane,

Thank God you and kitty and your home are OK!

I have experienced in my life time multiple hurricanes and only one tornado all while living Florida.  It is scary and unsettling, however, they pale next to fire.  So glad dear sister to hear from you.

Love and hugs from me and Chuck.

Comment by Mary. Jane on November 24, 2019 at 8:52pm

Hey Chuck..yes I was/am very effected by the fires and power outages...so I will try to give the Readers Digest version. Even now, in each bathroom my toilets are flanked by numerous bottles of water.to b used in case I loose power..the toilets won,t flush. They are staying there even with company coming for Thanksgiving. 

For almost 2 months, power shut offs are frequent..but the Mobile Home Park has its own generator...but I lost WiFi and TV etc, a few times before Halloween

The area I live in is EXACTLY where the fires were. The Kinkaide fire burned 2 miles from my home before it was put out.  Luckily I was gone. Here is what happened. 

On Thursday Oct 25th, the fire had been burning about 10 miles from me..we were planning for MONTHS to go to Lake Tahoe for an annual Halloween party..a 4 hour drive. As I watched the news, they reported it was 15% contained, and should be ok. I had made arrangements months ago to leave Rudy for the weekend at home, a neighbor would feed him, I would return Sunday Oct 27th. It was only 3 days..as I watched the news, I realized that even for that short duration, I would WORRY excessively and ruin any good time  I might have had..so I decide to NOT go with my daughter and her husband. REMEMBER, I DON,T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE A CAR!!! That was Thursday night..but it occurred to me, I could TAKE my beloved kitty..he had everything an animal ,had for travel..so Friday morning the 3 of us plus Rudy the kitty, headed for the mountains. The fire was still 15% contained and still 10 miles from my home. 

We were staying at a resort with individual cabins..very upscale..we got into, costume left Rudy in his covered play pen and went to the party. Two hour later, my daughter who lives 30 minutes from me,  gets a phone call from her neighbor...mandatory evacuation in the Redwood forest area. My area was ALSO evacuated. So we were unable to RETURN, and didn,t know if we would have homes to return to. We stayed at that resort untill Thursday morning..Halloween..when we finally were able to return. We had been there for 7 days..the resort people were wonderful,lowering their rates for us, but we had to move to 3 different cabins, hiding Rudy each time. We had to visit laundry mats, call our Drs for emergency refills for medication..but there was a good side, too. We found kindness, we were basically stranded in PARADISE on the shores of Lake Tahoe..and RUDY was the catalyst that kept us calm,focused and grounded...we didn,t fight or bicker even with all the stress.. we made it home Halloween at 10:am, as SIL Doug has to work that afternoon. They had no power, but the fires never came close to their home..Melinda and I went to my home..we had power, but no gas..as PG&E had turned it off so the homes didn,t blow up..because THE FIRE BURNED WITHIN 2 MILES FROM MY HOME, before they put it out. My home was FILLED with ashes, that came thru the vents, and was really COLD,so Melinda and I stayed 2 more nights at an Embassy Suit 30 minutes south of us.

THAT was a gift, as it was filled with evacuees, and FIREFIGHTERS, so we got a chance to thank the people who had come from all over the state to save our homes. 

Lastly..the Embassy Suits was a regular hotel, we loaded our luggage on the brass arched carts, added Rudy, in his carrier with flaps that hid him from sight, and walked right thru the lobby! He never made a sound! During this entire ordeal,he was AMAZING! Never meaowed, had the run of all the rooms we stayed in...slept on the beds, or in open drawers...he is an amazing kitty.

Comment by Marsha H on November 24, 2019 at 5:48am

What a great Halloween Story.  I would have given anything to have been there and  caught you bouncing around!  A possible touchdown!  LOL  My Halloween was mellow in comparison to yours.

Poor Steve!  So all I can say you mischievous imp is:  ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vudA72hibg

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on November 24, 2019 at 2:08am

Part 1
MY SCARY HALLOWEEN

When I met Larry in 1983 I was 29 years old. As we became acquainted and our friendship grew, we revealed aspects of our personalities always hoping that the other would be accepting, or at least tolerant, of our quirks and peculiar tastes and hobbies. One of mine was my absolute obsession with Halloween.
Larry did not share my passion for things that go bump in the night but viewed it as a harmless pastime with the explicit understanding that he did not enjoy people trying to scare him with tricks, pranks, or especially by jumping out and screaming “BOO!”. I explained that I didn’t celebrate that way, and was more inclined toward placing eerie, perhaps even unsettling decorations out in somewhat subtle fashion and watching movies about hauntings and ghosts.
Now, 37 years later, I live with my partner and soul mate Steve, who also does not share my Halloween obsessions, but like Larry is tolerant with a few restrictions. Where I agreed to respect Larry’s deathly fear of snakes and exclude them from my decorations, I now limit the use of spiders for Steve’s sake, always warning him in advance if one has been used anyplace. I no more want to literally frighten Steve than I did Larry – I prefer that my use of objects and their respective cast shadows create a certain spectral or otherworldly atmosphere around the house.
This year I started my holiday projects quite early. I was determined to finish those I had in progress in 2014 when Larry was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 cancer and everything went on hold for us, including Halloween. The idea of artfully positioning skulls and the like was repugnant to me, and it still takes on a different and infinitely more personal bearing for me now. I have scaled back greatly in the scope of my decorating, and mostly was focusing on several tableau arranged in my three-shelf display cabinet and, of all places, our fireplace and hearth. Steve actually helped with his talent for faux painting to restyle a Barbie doll house into a two-story haunted house. The hearth was to showcase dolls I had modified and customized into my own version of The Addams Family, and the bottom shelf of the cabinet was where I planned to host a Halloween party with dolls in costumes, decorations, and another backdrop designed by Steve. I have been working on these projects since late summer, but even with that early start I was behind – my obsession with accurate minute detailing found me revamping or changing course on so much that Oct. 30th I was conceding defeat and settling for having the party setting finished and some of the scary dolls in place, the rest to be completed as time permitted.

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on November 24, 2019 at 2:07am

Part 2

That night, after spending all day doing finishing touches on the costumes and dressing and styling the dolls, I sat down and was told by Steve to let the rest wait until Thursday, Halloween day. I agreed, but after dinner he dozed off and I lunged at the chance to get all the nine costumed dolls arranged in their poses for the great unveiling when he awoke. Dashing to the office room to grab some double-sided tape to secure the rug on the floor of the shelf, I turned too quickly, got dizzy, tripped, and went down like a sack of very stupid potatoes. True to my nature of not doing things half-heartedly, I made quite sure I banged and bounced off every available hard surface within reach, hitting them with as many body parts as possible. Two seconds later, awake but dazed and quite alarmed, I took inventory of the places I had struck in my graceful landing, for which I sadly did not even get a “10” from the watching judgmental dolls. Head – check. Both arms – double check. Right shoulder – a big nasty check there. But the winner folks was the landing gear – my left knee. Once I determined that I could stand, I made my way somehow to the living room and woke Steve as I sat down and attempted to explain what had happened. I think it took a minute to grasp that what I was describing was pretty serious, and as we inspected my injuries I felt angry at myself, embarrassed, and very very frightened that I may have done something serious. After brief resistance on my part, we headed to the emergency room where we saw in the midnight arrival of Halloween, spending 4 hours awaiting results from multiple XRAYS and a CAT scan of my head, which found no fractures but confirmed that it was basically empty and serving as a glorified hat rack – something Steve and I have known for awhile.
With nothing broken, I was discharged and have since seen my own physician who is referring for an MRI of my still-swollen knee to better assess the damage. Steve has been a patient, understanding care giver, and I have had plenty of time just keeping everything immobile and elevated, contemplating the irony of the absurd self-inflicted disaster. Happy Halloween indeed – that will again have to wait now until sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas when I can hopefully safely get around and bend my knee enough to kneel.
I realized a few days ago how terribly frightened Steve was about this whole event and have promised to stop saying “I’m sorry”, but still feel terribly foolish and reckless. Mostly, I have been thinking of how the scariest thing in life is when there is injury or illness that threatens to, and sadly sometimes succeeds, in separating us from those we love. We who have lost spouses know this too well, but abrupt reminders still shake us to our roots when the occur.
I will with luck and God’s grace have a complete recovery and will still love my favorite holiday – but I have been given notice that as we rush about not paying attention to safety and the things that are truly important, we run the risk of losing the very thing we are pursuing. I keep telling everyone that I have learned my lesson – I just hope this empty pumpkin I call my head allows me to remember it.

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on November 24, 2019 at 2:04am

Hi Virginia,

Yes it has been quiet here for some time, and like you and DJ  I too visit more than I actually post, usually a matter of available time or trying to decide how best to add and reply to everyone's comments. I am a terrible procrastinator, so conversations move on or become dated often before I write. Sorry to you all, because I am always touched and bolstered by all the events and milestones shared.

Sara, that picture of you and Ken is lovely!!! Deborah Peck, many congratulations at returning to work, and I sincerely hope it is all going well. Trina, a belated Happy Birthday, and boy don't I know how celebrations and holidays just don't seem to hold much interest or excitement since our losses. Steve and I were invited to attend a destination wedding in another state, involving a 3-day stay at their rented house with multiple activities and meals planned for all the guests. This would have been very near the dates of my Larry's birthday, and Steve's Mark's passing in 2014 - facts we shared with the friend and hoped we wouldn't be "wet blankets" if we weren't as festive as everyone else. As it turned out, we couldn't go anyway, which will be explained in my following post of a story I wrote - it will have to be posted in two installments for space, so I hope I get them in the right order!

Mary Jane, I've been so worried when the stories or wildfires in CA hit the news, and hope you weren't too much affected by the power shut-offs or evacuations! Marsha, I just always picture you keeping busy and trying to keep up with your family, volunteer work, and Bible study - I do hope you are well and feel my love over the vast miles!

Steve and I approach these coming Holidays planning to lay low, address some health issues including pending surgery for Steve, and generally focus on keeping each other's spirits and morale up - we've gotten pretty good at that if I say so myself, and nothing makes me more happy than when Steve says I make him laugh!

So everybody, whether you post or not you're still my family in my heart, and as DJ so perfectly said, this site is a lifeline for so many of us and I truly hope any new folks find the same comfort, compassion, and support that I have and continue to find to this day! Love to you all,

Chuck 

Comment by DJ on November 24, 2019 at 12:58am

Hey Virginia;  I visit here frequently, although I don't post very often. It seems lately the quiet spells happen more often and last longer. I lost my wife 2014Feb, and stumbled onto this site a few months later. It was/is a lifeline. Not as many new folks joining / staying; but the Angels are here!

Comment by Virginia on November 23, 2019 at 1:46pm

Hi and I have to say wow, why you might wonder but I can't believe how long it has been since there has been a post on here. I haven't been on in a long time but I do come on every now and then even though it is almost 11yrs. since I lost my husband..I am so grateful for the group that was here then, I don't think I would have made it without them. To see that it has been so long since anyone has posted on here makes me sad because I know from experience I needed this site everyday if not several times a day. I wish I could come on here more often but when I do it brings back so much pain and I can't let myself go back there but sometimes it still comes back. I hope this site will always be here so people know they are not the only ones going through this and feeling like your going crazy and you can talk about your feelings with others that are feeling the same. Happy Holidays and don't beat yourself up if you don't want to join in on them, god bless.

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