Friday, September 27, 2013

Widow's Voice: There's No Place Like Home ......

This really says what I have wanted to say for a long time. It's exactly what I have been thinking and feeling for years, and the reason I decided to leave Cape Cod, in the end.

Widow's Voice: There's No Place Like Home ......: ...... even if it's a brand new home. And sometimes ...... especially if it's a brand new home. (Not new as in newly built, bu...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another new beginning

Here I go again. Moving. I hate moving, and swore for years that I would never do it again, but here I am moving for the third time in the space of one year. Maine has been good, if not exactly what I expected, and now it's time to move on.

I started thinking about moving closer to my mother back in May, when she came home after rehab from her fall, and it was my turn to go back and forth to help her out. My older sister spent over 2 months going back and forth from her home in NJ to MA to help my mom out. Come May, I had things to take care of on the Cape, so I ended up going back and forth every few days between May and June. It was a long, difficult trip, and I started thinking about if this happened again. I realized that I really wanted to be closer to Cape Cod, so if I did need to travel to help my mother out again, I could be there more quickly, and the trip wouldn't be as hard on me. I started to look at jobs in MA, and quickly realized that rents there are terribly high, so I went over the border to New Hampshire, and decided on Concord.

I have found a job within TD Bank in NH, which I start in 2 weeks (YIKES!), and I have found an apartment complex I like, and expect to move November 1. Eep! It's coming up fast! Now starts the whole packing process AGAIN. The best part is that I am clearing out more stuff - believe it or not, I still have more stuff to get rid of! I have cleared out so much, I didn't think there was anything left! There is a lot left to give away, though, and I have roughly 2 weeks to do it. It will get done, but it's going to be more stress, on top of the stress of changing jobs. It is exciting, though! Another new beginning!

I'm excited to be back in a city again. I'll be moving to a quiet part of Concord, so I won't have city sounds, but I will have city conveniences. I have missed Starbucks and multi-cultural food. Things I don't have here in Mid-Coast Maine. I'm excited to move to an apartment with a laundry in the building, and with updated appliances. And a bathtub. My apartment here is very cute, but I have missed those conveniences. I'm excited for my new job. It's a few steps forward within the company, and it gives me much more chance to advance further. When I pass the bar exam (someday...), I'll be in a better position to move up into the legal department within the bank.

So, some good and some stress, as always. Coffee will be an essential part of my diet in the coming weeks. I have done it before, though, and I'll do it successfully this time, too. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Death is safe

The title is a quote from my aunt, who is recovering from surgery for an aggressive, cancerous brain tumor. She has been told she has about a year to live. Damn cancer strikes again.

My cousin, her daughter, posted this sentiment on a blog her family is writing to keep our large and widespread family up to date on my aunt's progress. (I have 20 first cousins, and we're all pretty close) My cousin was, understandably, reluctant to share the idea, but I think I know what my aunt means. Death is a logical end for all of us. My Daddy used to say "ain't none of us getting out of this alive!" Every human being knows this at some level, but most of us never think about it. We can't. We would become obsessed with the idea that death could be around any corner, at any time. However, my aunt lost her husband - ironically to an aggressive brain tumor - when she was 44. He was in his late 50s, I think. I'm sorry to say I don't remember my uncle's exact age when he died. I was 18 and as self-absorbed as most 18-year-olds tend to be. I do know he died shortly after Christmas, 1980, and that the whole immediate family was there with him. In the same way that I was with my husband when he died. My aunt and I share that bond. We were both in our 40s when we lost our husbands, we had been married less than 20 years at the time, and both our husbands died of cancer.

Watching a loved one die, helping them through their last days, helping them prepare for death, preparing for their death, changes how a person looks at life. Not only while the loved one is still with us, but forever after. I take life less for granted now. I put up with less garbage. I am more aware of love. I am less impatient - most of the time. Except, perhaps, when I'm driving in Boston, but that's another realm of existence, really. I treasure connections more. I always valued my family, and I feel that even more strongly now. I make time to have conversations without hurrying through them. I simply try to experience life more deeply, because I feel strongly how fragile it can be.

I think that's what my aunt means. Death comes after life. It's safe, because it's expected, eventually. None of us want to dwell on that thought - it would be unhealthy to dwell on it too much, I think. We can, however, be aware of our eventual end, and treasure what we have now, knowing it may be gone, sometimes sooner than we think it will be. So, death is safe. Life is precious. Value both as part of the process, and go hug someone. Preferably someone you know. If it's a stranger, you'll have a whole new set of problems. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas P.S.

I almost forgot some of the sweetest moments of my Christmas week!

First, my daughter-in-law and I had a wonderful week exploring her area. I haven't had the time on my visits before now, and it was a real treat to see southern NJ through the eyes of someone who truly loves the area. We also stopped at a yarn store at one point, and my DIL spotted a skein of yarn that she fell in love with. She asked if I could make her a hat out of it, and of course, I said yes. I can't refuse family when they ask me to make them something. I know they appreciate my knitting, and know they will appreciate it, so I just can't resist. The hat is almost half done now...

The other sweet moment was with my nephew, at breakfast, the morning after the long drive. My other sister, his aunt, had taught him to crochet while she was there, and he took right to it. He's very talented - his stitches were nice and even, not too tight, and the double crochet looked good with the yarn he used. A future crafter in the making! We snagged another one! The sweetest part was seeing how proud he was of his work, and how he couldn't wait to show me, a fellow crafter, what he had done. He's caught the bug for sure!

Warm memories on a cold day. Nothing like them.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Winter days are here

Winter is really, really here. The temperature has been in the teens during the day, and single digits at night. It's been so cold that the weather folks are telling us to cover all exposed skin if we're going to be out more than a minute. That means bundling up to my teeth just to walk the dog. Thank heavens I have the dog to get me out, or I'd never leave the house! She loves the snow, so I spend about 15 minutes outside every 2 hours or so. No strictly utility walks for her - she wants to dive in and get her nose into every drift! It's doubly good because all that diving through snow drifts wears her out, so she comes in and crashes hard for the next hour or so. That tells me the exercise is doing her good!

Christmas was wonderful after all. I drove to NJ to spend a week with my son and daughter-in-law, and stopped at my mom's and older sister's houses on the way. I was so happy to see them. It really helped me get in the Christmas mood after all. I ate way too much, stayed up way too late, and generally had a wonderful time. On the way home, I stopped at my mom's again, and got to see my other sister and her two kids, so that was a really happy bonus. The only downer was getting caught in a snowstorm on my way through Connecticut, so my 6-hour drive to my mom's turned into 12 hours. Owie. Thank God I was safe, though, and thank Daddy for getting me out of a couple of sticky situations. I kept hearing his voice in my head telling me to "throw it in 1st gear and don't stamp on any pedals!" It worked! I guess the 5 years he lived in Minnesota before he and my mom married came in handy, huh?

So now I have a new year of knitting projects to look forward to, along with a part-time bank teller job to get me through the next few months, until I take the bar exam. Things seem to work out for the best, somehow. The part-time job even gets me health insurance, which was a real concern for me. I think I'm more excited about the insurance than about the paycheck! Well, not really, but it's a close second.

Happy New Year everyone. Make it a good one.