Monday, June 18, 2012

"Old-Fashioned" or Just Old?

Blogger has decided to change the way we get into the new posts, and I have a considerable amount of difficulty remembering from one time to the next how to start a new post without the 'old' interface. Eventually I will either have to learn or have to change where I blog. But I am probably the only 'old fart' to have this difficulty. It seems that every person I see of any age is running around with an i-phone or some new technological wonder in his or her hands. My new phone does have a camera, and I can manage to send pictures to the children's phones. That is at least an improvement. The phone has a slide out keyboard, so I can also text. Glory be!

It is almost--almost nearly, that is, funny that the 6 and 8-year-old grands know more about technology than their grandmother. I sent a picture of our parents to my brother the other day where he lives in Arkansas. His older neighbor gets a big kick out of the little gizmos and phones, so he showed Sterling how to get the pictures that I sent. Sterling is a bright guy who is very versatile in just about every area of life, but computers are just not his cup of ---well, not instant coffee, for sure! His grandchildren would be happy to show him how to use his phone--if he could stand having them 'teach' him about the features.

If one of our grandparents or great-grands were to suddenly come to life in this world, not only would the area we live in appear totally different, but the technology would be just as strange as the landscape. Over 50 years ago, this area had some rivers and trees and a few main roads. Now we have roads, fly-over bridges, expressways, and frontage roads that would boggle the mind of our older generation. And then there are the 'planted' trees and shrubs in all the medians. Flowers were a nice touch in some of the yards of the wealthier folks along Silk Stocking Row, but not in the middle of FOUR lanes of traffic! Roads like Southwest Parkway with three separate lanes going each way would be just about scary for the older generation. Of course, when I drive in the DFW area, it scares me today and I am accustomed to the traffic and new roads. So maybe it isn't just the roads that are scary. The speeds alone would make a normal person a bit nervous, but on the highway where folks run 80 and 85, it truly is frightening!

Once upon a time we thought the local K-Mart was a BIG store. Now we have a super Walmart with everything from bird seed to oil changes. One of our grands made the comment that a person could buy anything at Walmart except a real live chicken or a bathtub. Give them time....They already sell live fish. But truly things are changing as quickly as our needs have changed. However, I wonder if we really 'need' all of these things sometimes. Our daughter walked down a sale aisle with me one day and there were some little plastic handled sponges on a rack. We both looked at them and then laughed. The purpose of the little sponge was to remove the lint from the dryer vent screen. How do WE do it? We lick a finger and run it over the lint and ball it up before tossing it. The little plastic sponge was priced at 50 cents. Jenn giggled and said she now knew she was using a 50 cent finger swipe each time she removed lint from the dryer screen. Some technology is just not worth the trouble it would take to use it. And a person does not have to be old to understand that concept.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


A friend of mine who has been through some grief and mourning in her life told me that I was on a journey to find my "new normal" right now. But she did not tell me that the pain would stop any time soon or that I would stop bursting out in wild weeping at the drop of a hairbrush. The grief counseling classes I have attended so far have reassured me that I am not totally crazy, but I am still shaking with some kind of fear that I will make the wrong decisions--and I never seem to be sure that I am even making decisions until I have already done something. Now, that may not seem very clear, but let me present an example.

Monday I took our Dickerson grandson to Bowie, TX to meet his mother so that he could begin his music lessons the next morning. Then I returned to Henrietta and visited my parents for about 30 minutes at the nursing home. That was not too difficult. Then I headed on over to our doctor's office to ask him to help me with the muscle spasms and pain that just about makes me miserable right now. Even though I am not sure it is a pulled muscle that seems to be causing the pain from my head down to my hips and slightly below, something has to give! This kind of pain won't quit until it is either deadened with pills or until something makes me go to sleep. So, now I am dependent on something to kill the pain. Is that a decision? Even though I have seen the chiropractor and she told me that my muscles are tied in knots, I somehow feel as if it is my fault--that I am to blame for the pain! Go figure.

And then there is the king-sized problem of buying a new mattress, box spring, and frame. It will be expensive. Even though I have the money, it was never our habit to just go buy something without a thorough consideration and lots of shopping around. So, tomorrow before the youngest son gets here on Saturday, I will do the 'shopping around' part so that will already be done. I can compare prices and find out which stores will deliver and carry off the old mattress--for free or otherwise. When Fang and I bought the one we have now, it was on sale and not very expensive. We should have known better when the delivery guys told us to turn the mattress regularly or it would develop 'valleys' in it. Oh well. Live and learn.

But the question remains in the back of my mind that it might not really be necessary to change out the mattress just because my back is killing me. What if it is "just" stress? A new mattress might help, I suppose, but should I do that just because I am currently hurting so badly? See, decisions--even when prompted by well-meaning children--are not easily made at this point.

If a woman who has been through this process of grief and mourning finds herself crying again after four or five years, how can I expect to go shopping without crying about things after less than a month after Fang's death? So far I have managed to go to Walmart without crying the last few times, but the first time I went alone...well, it is a good thing no one I knew saw me and stopped to chat. I probably would have blubbered all over the person.

Next Thursday would have been our 44th wedding anniversary. I guess the new mattress will just have to be our anniversary gift to me. Now if I can just sleep on it without crying through the mattress protector....

Saturday, June 9, 2012


On the 18th of May (2012) I became a widow to go along with the other titles I have had over this lifetime. This was definitely not one I sought or especially appreciate, but it is so true that it is better to have loved and lost someone as kind as Lewis was, than to never to have known true love. While I attend grief counseling classes and try to spend as much time as possible thinking about positive things and staying busy with the kids or grands, each day brings reminders that he simply is not here in quite the same way. I hear him in my head telling me 'That's the way to do it' or something of that nature. I make my decisions based on how we lived together for all these years. After nearly 44 years, my mind is part and parcel with the way he thought and did things. I don't regret that in the least.

In 2010 I wrote a book called Destinations and had it published at, and now it is an e-book on Amazon available as a Kindle book:  I know Fang would have wondered why I waited this long, but I had to re-read and edit it before I was satisfied. Also, my brother finally was here and read the manuscript and thought it was as good as any he had read. SO, I finally sent it in. One of these days soon I will see about getting it published in print. I personally prefer a printed book, but I am learning to enjoy the Kindle our daughter and her family gave me for either Mother's Day or my birthday. That entire month is a bit of a blur. We have several May birthdays. Jennifer had her birthday on the 17th of May and her daddy managed to wait until 12:30 to actually die on that night so it was May 18. He probably planned it that way, knowing him. He had us give ourselves a birthday party while he was still able to watch us and celebrate with us. Then, after Jennifer had gone home and was still feeling terribly weepy after his death, he came to her bedside in a dream and talked to her. She knew after that 'dream' that everything was going to be ok.

I suspect that my next book may be about grief--not mine, necessarily, but the mechanism and how grief and mourning are so very different. I had never in my entire life realized how totally draining grief could be--even before someone actually dies. When my brother and I had to put our parents in a care facility (read nursing home), we both were grieving the loss of our parents as we had known them. It has been nearly two years now, and we still MISS our parents even though they are still alive and in the same place as they were when we left them there. Parts of our life are just supposed to always be there for us--whether or not the people in it live in memory or in fact. Some of us who are older look back--not with longing for those days when we were young enough to jump fences, but for the attitudes that allowed us to easily love the times and the people we knew then. Oh, it would be wonderful if I still had the toned muscles and the bravado to take a horse over a fence, but now I would just love to have the courage to be able to face each day that comes my way without feeling as if I am all alone. Oh, others are here and around. But the love of my life no longer tells me how much I mean to him each morning and every night. Maybe in another four weeks, or four months, or four years...No, I will always miss him. Time is not going to change that. And maybe that is a good thing. Imagine how much God must love us to allow us to learn how to enjoy life with another person so closely that the person's absence makes life feel incomplete! After all, we are incomplete without God's love!