Categories
Life marriage

Don’t Wake Me: I’m Dreaming

It’s weird how a dream can have an effect on your whole day. I wake up and sometimes go back to sleep just to continue the dream, and somehow it happens. When I finally wake up for the day I can’t seem to shake the memory of what I dreamed, and often I don’t want to.

This morning I dreamed of Jimmy, my late husband, who I lost in January of 2021. I heard his voice, I saw his face, I touched his skin. It was so real. I wanted to stay in the dream. Then somehow it morphed, as dreams often do, into a trip with an older man who wanted more than a friendship with me. I turned him down quickly and he wanted nothing else to do with me. That’s another story, albeit not a real one. What remains in my mind, though, is seeing Jimmy again.

I suppose the dream came about because I have been really missing him lately. Maybe the brain conjures up an imaginary encounter to help the heart deal with its loss. I don’t know. I’m just grateful for those few minutes, and even though they weren’t real, I feel like I had a good night’s sleep and am closer to my husband. Maybe I’ll see him again tonight in my dreams.

How about you? Do you often wish you could stay in your dreams? Please share.

XOXO

One of my favorite pictures of him,
on his beloved bike.
Categories
Alzheimer's Life marriage Memoirs Parkinson's Disease

Today in (My) History

January 12 (the day I started this post) would have been my husband Jimmy’s and my 42nd wedding anniversary. We married in January of 1980, him fresh out of high school and me between college semesters. Our honeymoon consisted of a weekend trip to a town 40 miles away. We had to be at school and work that Monday, after all.

We married at my childhood church with about 50 guests in attendance. I bought my wedding dress and veil out of the Montgomery Ward catalog and didn’t have it altered. I didn’t even realize that might have been needed. My two sisters were my bridesmaids and they wore coordinating pink dresses. The groom and two groomsmen, his brothers-in-law, wore rented tuxes, that 70’s version with the ruffled shirt.

January 12, 1980

We didn’t even hire a photographer, and our cake came from the local grocery store. But by golly, we were married, and we made it last. Through thick and thin (both of us!), through poor and not-so-poor but definitely not rich, and through gain and loss (births of our children, deaths of his family members), we trudged on, committed to the vows we took in 1980. There were times when we didn’t like each other very much, when we wished we could walk away, when we wondered if this is all there is. Everyone does. But we were committed.

And what a surprise when the years passed so quickly and we found ourselves with no children at home and with grandchildren! What a blessing that we lived long enough and persevered long enough to enjoy grandchildren together!

Too soon though, Jimmy started showing symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. He was only in his mid-50’s. Both his mother and his older sister had passed away at age 59 from Alzheimer’s. We didn’t want to believe that it was happening to him as well. And with the Parkinson’s in the mix, his struggle seemed twice as difficult.

Picnicking on vacation in 2018

I lost him January 16, 2021 at age 59. I lost my best friend and lover, my supporter, my cheerleader, my confidante, my rock. I miss him. Happy anniversary, honey. Until we meet again.

XOXO

Categories
COVID 19 holidays home decor Life marriage Pets

Staying Calm in the Chaos

I am a bonafide nester. From childhood I have liked to have my things in proper order, in their proper places. I frequently went through the large box I kept on my side of the closet (I shared a room with two younger sisters) to reorganize and purge things I no longer wanted or needed. I kept my side of the room neat and organized, careful to own and curate the only space in the house I could call my own.

I carried that principle into adulthood. When I moved into my first apartment during college I was careful to stake out my personal space in the shared apartment, even down to a shelf in the refrigerator. I wanted my things in their place.

I was blessed to be married for 41 years to a man who didn’t mind me keeping things in their proper places. I didn’t mind him having his things in the house, but they were to be kept in the spaces I designated for them, and he did a really good job of complying with that. His work shed out back? A completely different story. It was his domain, and I didn’t give input on it. I rarely even went out there.

Those pieces of furniture are my bookcase desk and secretary. Toys and toy baskets surround them. How about that floor?
It’s vinyl plank.

I said all that to say this. My house is driving me crazy right now. I have been blessed by being able to have new flooring installed, but the process is testing my patience. Every piece of furniture, all my books, knick-knacks, and decor items have been shuffled all over the house. Closet floors have been cleared and the contents stacked in the middle of the rooms. It only took a few days to get the large areas done, but now I am waiting on the closets, bathrooms, laundry room, and trim work to be done.

Coco’s comfy chair sits in front of the wood stove hearth and the sofa is on the wrong wall. At least I can sit somewhere, though. Books are stacked all around the wood stove!

In the middle of the job my contractor contracted Covid. He’s been unable to work for two weeks. After one week of sleeping on the sofa I finally cleared off my bed and put sheets on it and can at least sleep in my bed now. The sofa and coffee table are in good places, and the TV has been reconnected. I can get to my clothes and my food and appliances. I moved my laptop and printer onto the dining room table, which is pushed up against the bar in the kitchen. I can still write and do eBay.

The view into the guest room where I’ve been sleeping for a couple of years now. Once the master bedroom is finished I’ll paint and buy a new bed and move back in!

So why am I complaining? I’m trying not to. I have waited years for new flooring and I am finally getting it. What has been completed is absolutely beautiful. Patience, I say to myself, patience. Anything worthwhile takes time. This is October, though, and I usually decorate the house for Halloween. I can’t do it right now, but I did add some things to the flower arrangement on my dining table to get into the spirit. And I decorated my porch like I always do.

My tiny dining room with the pantry door leaning against the wall and the table pushed against the bar, not to mention more toys
in various places. Those plates randomly placed on the wall in the back? That’s a whole other story. They belong to my collection of state souvenir plates which can’t seem to stay on the wall!

This too, shall pass. And I’ll take pictures of the results to show you. In the meantime, drink a pumpkin spice latte for me. I’m doing the Whole 30 program and haven’t had one yet.

Stella is cool with it as long as I am here with her. ❤
My flower arrangement turned memorial turned Halloween.
It’s the little things. . .

What throws you into a tizzy? Please share!

XOXO

Categories
Life marriage

How to Stay Married

It seems that people have asked me how I managed to stay married to the same person since we celebrated our 20th anniversary. That was 21 years ago. When I mentioned to my class of high school seniors that I had been married for over 30 years, one of them piped up: “To the same man?” Yep. It’s rare these days.

Sadly, my husband Jimmy passed away shortly after our 41st anniversary in January. How did we manage to stay together that long? Especially when Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases began to steal him away from me? I have some words of wisdom, I dare say. I think I’m qualified after staying married for 41 years. So here goes.

After you kiss and embrace at the wedding altar, keep embracing.

  1. Embrace commitment. Marriage isn’t all dress-up, cake, dancing, gifts,and honeymoon. After your one day in the spotlight life settles down with jobs, bills, laundry, and morning breath. And sometimes babies.

2. Embrace your differences. What you once thought was a cute quirk now annoys the heck out of you. Get over it. Do you really believe that nothing you do could possibly annoy your partner? Choose your battles. Does it make sense to argue over whether the toilet lid stays up or down? Does it really matter in the whole scheme of things? Imagine life without that person. Can’t you live with socks on the floor?

3. Embrace their family. When you get married, you marry the whole package: parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, children. They are now your family as well. You might as well accept it and stop complaining about having to visit them, buy them gifts, etc. They will be the ones who stand by you during hardship or tragedy, and believe me, there will be hardship or tragedy.

4. Embrace teamwork. It’s not all about you and it’s not all about your spouse. I once heard someone say that a marriage is 50-50, but it’s not. It should be 100-100 with each partner giving their all to the other. That isn’t a welcome thought in today’s what’s-in-it-for-me mentality, but I promise that if you give you will receive. I’m not advocating that you put up with abuse because that is a different matter entirely, but if you are willing to go above and beyond for your spouse, it is likely that they will do the same for you. Marriage is hard work and it takes both people to manage it.

5. Embrace not being happy all the time. Your goal shouldn’t be to find someone that will make you happy. This isn’t a Hallmark movie and marriage isn’t a fairy tale. Marriage is spending your life with someone else, and life isn’t a fairy tale or movie. Living involves ups and downs, heartache and disappointment, wins and losses. Being in a marriage means you have someone to share all of life’s hardships as well as the happiness. And happiness, by the way, is something that comes from within yourself, not from someone else.

6. Embrace challenges. There will be many. Jobs will be lost, cars will break down, appliances will shell out, friends and relatives will die. Kids will stretch your patience and finances to the limit. Plumbing will rupture, bank accounts will deplete, the house will need repairs. It’s life. It will happen. It happens to everyone. Look around you. People survive these challenges and you will, too. Not only that, but it is the trials of life that will strengthen your marriage. Stick it out during rough patches. As you get older you will reap the benefits.

7. Embrace being a couple. But find time to be apart sometimes. It is true that absence can make the heart grow fonder. My husband always encouraged me to spend time with my friends, to attend professional events, and to go camping. And I always encouraged him to go hunting, motorcycle riding, or to concerts with his friends. Small and occasional breaks from your spouse are good. They keep you interested and interesting and hopefully anxious to get back home and share your adventures with them.

8. Embrace growth. There is a line we often hear in movies or TV shows that is supposed to explain why a character wants to end a marriage: “we have grown apart.” What a load of baloney. Yes, people do grow, but people can also share their individual growth so they can grow as a couple. My husband was a warehouse worker when I graduated from college and became a teacher. Some might say that I “outgrew” him intellectually or socially. I never entertained that thought and our marriage grew stronger as we shared our lives and built our home and family together.

If you can adopt these principles or habits, or whatever you want to call them, you may find yourself celebrating a milestone anniversary someday. Isn’t facing a long life together better than facing a life alone? Embrace that thought!

XOXO