On the Darkside of 2015

So I was up very early this morning before the sun peaked over the hills. Now, pink and peach mixed with dark blue sits on the horizon. This year 2015 is on its last breaths. It is too obvious to say that the new year starts tomorrow.

2015 was the year that I learned to live with a dog and without a husband, may he rest in peace. At the end of 2014, I still waited each evening after 5 p.m. to hear his footsteps. He would unlock the front door of our apartment and then I would hug and hold him. We did this little ritual for twenty-two years. Now I don’t look for him at five. My new ritual is I put food in the dog’s bowl.

I don’t listen for footsteps anymore. If I do hear them, it is usually coming from upstairs or next door.

2015 was the year that I learned that because I have lived through a decade of illness, doesn’t make the doctors impressed with my abilities to survive. In fact there seems to be an attitude in some of the hospitals that I should have died by now. I blame it on the callousness of ACA. I see a difference between what the doctors used to do and what they are allowed to do. I wonder sometimes if this will affect how people with chronic illness are treated in the future. How many people will live or die because it wasn’t in the allowed treatment plan.

2015 was the year that I learned that I could write again. I still struggle with putting my butt in my chair and writing… just writing. Now I know that I do have something interesting to say.

2015 was the year that I went to a therapist. When a non-judgmental person showed interest in my life and views, I was able to heal. I was not thriving before that — I was just waiting for my life to finish so that I could be with my late-husband.

This person validated my life. I could look back and see that my foundation is sound. I could look forward and realize that I still had things to do in my life.

Even though I have a chronic illness, even though I have reached my fifties, I still have a lot that I am supposed to do. I still have a lot to write.

So 2014 was an impossible year. 2015 was the year I began to dig from the depths of grief to some balance.

I will grieve for the end of my days. My late-husband taught me about companionship, family, and humor. Still 2016 looks brighter from the darkside of 2015. It looks much much brighter.

Yule tide in Southern Nevada

CCO Public Doman from Pixabay

CCO Public Doman from Pixabay

This time last year, I was grieving for the loss of my late-hubby. As a unit, we didn’t celebrate the season. It had a lot to do with only the two of us in the house and how hard it is to keep secrets from each other. I remember buying a blue Norwegian sweater in Germany. When the late-hubby asked where I got it, I told him “Thank you for the Christmas present, honey.”

He found that funny. When he wanted something, usually tool or Amateur radio related, he would tell me that it was a great Christmas present. So our little joke was preserved.

This year without him and over a year away from losing him, I had the urge to decorate. Since I am short on cash and long on wants, I ended up getting a small tinsel tree and some lights at Wal-Mart. When I need some thinking time, I sit on my chair with my little dog on my lap, listen to the crackling of my Yule log DVD, and look at the lights. Even if our Christmas tradition was to avoid the holiday shoppers, I have found a new tradition of lights.

Listening to the crackle, feeling the warmth of the dog on my lap, and feeling the yarn and needles in my hands– for a moment I am at peace.

It has taken me months to realize what my late-hubby meant when his last words were “I want you to be happy.” He said this to his daughters and to me. It was the most important thing for him. I am of Norwegian Viking blood so I come naturally to the somberness of that breed of people who conquered the Northern wastes. I was even born south of the Arctic Circle.

I do love the sun, but I have that fair skin that burns easily. So my best seasons are spring and fall. Summer is the time I get to look out the window and lust after the sunseekers.

So happiness is something I have to work to gain. I meditate. I walk the dog. I am mindful of what I eat. I am learning –painfully sometimes– that joy is fleeting, but happiness and peace comes from balance.

Thank you for the success with Hilda’s Inn for Retired Mercenaries. When I saw the numbers rise and stay high, I felt joy.

May your holiday season bring you peace and happiness… and joy.

Past, Present, Future

We are jogging into the last few days before Christmas. I look outside my current bedroom window, and see my neighbor’s Christmas light. Across the street my other neighbor has blinking stars in the upstairs windows.

I enjoy the Christmas lights. I do notice that the neighbors turn off the lights after about an hour– I guess that means that the economy is still not as good as we hear on the news. I get sticker shock every time I pay my bills too.

A little secret – I don’t really celebrate Christmas. I don’t give presents or cards. I do listen to a little Christmas music and I will go to a Christmas Eve dinner, but by and large I haven’t celebrated Christmas since Panama.

My parents used to celebrate. They would have a tree cut on Thanksgiving. Then they would get it decorated in the next two or three days. The gifts would be piled up on the tree. My mother would sing Christmas carols for a business in town. On Christmas Eve we would gather around the baby grand piano and sing all the Christmas songs we could remember. There were a lot.

But, Christmas in my parents’ house always had a little drama. Either the house wasn’t clean enough or the dinner didn’t taste good enough. My mother would spend hours in her bedroom sulking. When it was time to perform, she was there in her Christmas best.

Writing Perchance to Dream todaySo for me I like having a quiet Christmas. My late-hubby and I would cook a ham and take a walk outside. We would look at our landlady’s decorations. She always had a cup of cider or chocolate for us.

He would joke about being the anti-Claus, who lived in the South pole and ate reindeer.

This is my first Christmas without him.