Sunday, October 31, 2010

Just Eat the Kit Kat!

A low-key Halloween. Wanted to do more decorating and crafts but should be grateful that it was an improvement from last year, where I did nothing. At least there was a wee bit of evidence of the celebration around and all fall I have been doing a fair share of baking seasonal treats which was nil last year.

Most recent recipe - just take a small can of pumpkin puree and mix it with a box of Devil's Food or chocolate cake mix. Don't add anything else like eggs or oil. Batter will be stiff. Spoon into 12 greased muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes at 400. These come out very thick and moist. The taste of the pumpkin is not overpowering. Calories = 180 per muffin but I also added one cup of chocolate chips, which I add to pretty much everything I bake. I have seen this recipe on the internet and magazines, it is from the Hungry Girl cookbook. Didn't believe these would turn out but they were great and stayed moist for days!

The boys have told me I've baked enough pumpkin recipes for the season. Today, in honor of Halloween it is traditional to eat donuts, which used to be a mainstay at Halloween parties in the 1930s and 40s. So this morning we had chocolate and apple cider doughnut holes. I make a point of serving donuts on Halloween. The apple cider ones were especially tasty!

The day was sunny but brisk. Took my nature walk and could smell that pungent, spicy odor of burning leaves. Sprayed pumpkin body spray from Bath & Body Works for the full seasonal experience. Apparently they didn't sell this fragrance this year or the apple one they had a few years back so I'm glad I still have some left.

Last night my youngest slept over at a friend's but my oldest and I stayed up until 4:00 a.m. watching one of the "Chucky" doll horror movies - I'd never seen it but my sons both have. It was fun and out of the ordinary.

Part of my mind keeps dwelling on everything I didn't get done that I wanted to. But then I look at this entry and see that it wasn't so bad. The boys created decent costumes and went trick or treating and to parties with their friends. We had some treats. My oldest son's girlfriend is wearing the warm scarf I knit for her out tonight and it is warding off the chill. This is not the same Halloween we would have had living in our home or if my husband were still alive. But it was something. Low-key.

Tomorrow is a new day and a new month. I think I better start planning immediately for Christmas!

Final comment - Just eat the Kit Kat bar. All week I have seen, heard and read healthy substitutions to make for your favorite candy. It's Halloween that comes once a year. Enjoy and eat whatever your favorite is and don't give it another guilty thought!

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Widow's Work is Never Done

My oldest son had a band concert last night. He rushed home from football practice, I made sure his uniform was clean, complete and in good repair, prepared a light meal for him and arranged to get him back to school an hour before the concert started. I told him that I wanted to drive together to save gas. He felt sorry for me having to wait the hour before the concert but I told him I'd use the time to knit, which would be a treat for me.

Turns out though, that in the mad rush to get my son taken care of, I couldn't locate the skein of yarn needed for my project and left with a book and picture search magazine instead. I was disappointed. My life always feels this way. Rushing to and fro and just never quite getting it all together.

Once at the school, I spent some of the free time going to my son's locker to see the spirit posters that have been put up by the pep club during the football season. I walked around the hallways a bit and observed some of the photos they have up of my son - a band picture, one of him at a pep rally surrounded by cheerleaders and when he was the first junior last year in 10 years to be crowned Mr. "High School."

What 's funny is as soon as I entered the auditorium and sat down, my eyes immediately fell on two women in front of me happily knitting away. I also noticed that they were seated next to hubbies, so they probably had time to locate their knitting projects before rushing out the door to attend the concert! But yes, I felt a tinge of envy as I watched their needles clicking away and longed for my own needles in my hands!

I enjoyed the concert very much and wasn't as upset about attending alone as I usually am. This is my son's senior year and I'm trying to focus on that and supporting him as best and fully as I can. I was so proud of him up on stage, so handsome in his tux and as the section leader. Although it has been a trying challenge for me to keep living here, the benefits my son has received from football, band and even being crowned the king of the school last year have been worth it.

Tonight was the football team's first playoff game. It was supposed to only be in the 30s and I did not want to sit alone in the bleachers so I drove over to the parking lot early to snag a spot facing the field so I could watch the game from the car. It got cold by 4th quarter even in the car but was much better than being outside.

I solved the knitting situation too. For a few weeks now my son has been reminding me that his girlfriend asked me to make her a fall scarf. Last Christmas I made her a number of scarves, mittens and a ski band. I almost laughed at my son when he told me his girlfriend wanted a scarf for fall. Me knit her a scarf? When, with what free time? Tonight sitting in the car during the game I got through over half of one for her so fit in my knitting fix. But it is so nice I want one for me too - she specifically requested one with a slit so she can tuck the ends in around her neck. I'm going to sign off now so I can try and finish it for her so she can get it tomorrow.

The team won the game so they move on in the playoffs and there is a pancake breakfast at the school we need to attend tomorrow morning. A busy week. I need to remind myself that it is just me holding down the fort and getting these kids to these events, as well as attending them. I am herewith making a request right now (putting my order in early) for the Heaven that consists of living in a combined knitting and book store attached to a tea cafe, so I'll never be without a book or project and cup of tea when I reach the hereafter - to kind of make up for the disheveled life I currently lead here on earth!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Peeking Into Houses

When you live in the Chicago area you get used to unusual weather, so the hurricane type winds we have been having the past few days aren't that big a deal. Also, a few years back a tornado flew over my home and caused a great deal of yard damage, so again, this storm is nothing.

But last night, I had to drive to the other side of town to attend a parent meeting on financial aid for college and the wind was whipping and it was cold and very dark - the moon hadn't risen yet. It was a night to stay warmly tucked in at home eating grilled cheese sandwiches and soup with family.

As I drove across town, I am always struck by how pretty and quaint our community is. Block after block of nice homes with nice families living in them. This time of year I like peeking into the lit windows to observe the peaceful pictures of family life I sometimes get a glimpse of. I have done this since my husband died. It comforts me to view families that are "normal" in the sense that they are still whole with a mom, dad, kids and maybe grandparents in the home.

I know our family is still a family (we refer to ourselves as three peas in a pod) but it has always felt so incomplete since my husband left us. I liked the feel of us as a foursome, and it has never felt the same in terms of the solidarity, strength, security and comfort I used to derive from us all living and being together.

I dreaded going out last night. That familiar feeling of having to head up our family yet again on my lonesome and the thought of facing college costs scares the daylights out of me. In fact, I didn't even have the money for gas to make it across town and had to scramble as I so often do to find a source of "hidden" change somewhere. Guess where $4.00 popped up? I located my husband's old wallet! So I had enough gas money! I keep telling myself that I need to ask for more money - finding a twenty would have nice but all I prayed for was enough to get me to the meeting and back and that was what I received. I guess I don't ask for enough!

I tried to make the best of things by enjoying the Halloween lights and decorations that were up as I drove to the meeting, almost hitting a huge tree limb I didn't see in the middle of the road! And the meeting was informative. Turns out our living under severely reduced circumstances will garner my sons at least $18,000 yearly for college - and they will have to pay nothing if they go to a community college or commuter college like University of Illinois at Chicago. And the private schools who have been recruiting my son (one volleyball coach made the trip from Ohio a couple of weeks ago to personally talk with him) can provide other funding money besides. I've only been steering my son to the community college but it appears there are many other doors open to him.

Speaking of doors. I pass by those warm and inviting homes and always think to myself how many more of them there are than me. By that I mean, more intact families, families not facing life as my sons and I now know it. I do not consider this life normal at all, not by what most people define as a normal, safe, secure family life. I am a silent observer, driving through the dark quiet night in my loud, older model sedan reflecting back to the life that used to also be mine - driving ahead into a future unknown and at this point feeling less than secure and stable. But I'm still driving ahead. I guess that is what is most important. That I keep driving onward.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sending Love

Today is my husband's 61st birthday. He was 54 and I was 44 when he died. Now that I am 51, I realize how young he really was at his death leaving behind sons only ages 9 and 10. His son from his first marriage was a sophomore in college and age 20.

What is so strange about today is that all week I thought the 23rd (today) was our wedding anniversary and I was looking forward to reflecting on it and doing some reminiscing. But somehow with the busyness of life I goofed up my anniversary dates! We got married on the 20th, which was Wednesday and that day I was preoccupied with taking my oldest to the doctor (acne troubles). I never thought of our wedding the entire day!

It was only when I was taking my half-hour nature walk this afternoon that I realized it was actually my husband's birthday and not our wedding anniversary and that I had missed our anniversary big time! It would have been our 19th year of marriage on the 20th.

So during my walk I reflected on my husband. Monday, the 25th is the seventh year anniversary of his death.

My husband ended up dying at a crummy time as far as the calendar year goes. It would have been easier for me to have held anniversary celebrations if he had died in a humdrum month, March would be perfect when there is not much going on. But we've always been so busy this time of year what with Halloween and then the holidays come upon us in full force, with Thanksgiving just one month later and Christmas, two. So over the years, I've never really gone all out in observing these three days that follow one another so quickly in succession at the end of October.

The first few years after my husband's death, the boys played soccer, football and fall baseball. Along with school and homework, the fall days just were a big blur of me coping with car pooling on my own and muddling through my own feelings, as well as trying to keep it together as an only parent. I tried the first few years to make a nice dinner with dessert to honor my husband's birthday but they were madcap, rushed affairs and eventually my husband's birthday and his day of death were marked by a verbal mention. There were a few years when the days passed by without any acknowledgment and I was so busy caring for my parents that I wasn't even keeping track of what day was what.

My husband is buried out of state so there is no grave site for us to visit. There is a memorial tree planted in a park on the other side of town overlooking the baseball fields because my husband was such a baseball fan - he was recruited to the minor leagues but turned down the offer to start college and become a teacher - he wanted to have a greater impact influencing young people. Over the years my husband "saw" the boys play on those fields. I always believed his spirit is around us and not at the actual grave site.

I regret that my life unfolded in such a way that it has been difficult to honor my husband as I would have liked during this time of year. But right now my oldest is involved with football playoffs and as usual our life is pretty hectic and fast-paced. Maybe it is a blessing that my husband didn't die in March when we would have ample time to mope and be depressed with the grey clouds keeping us company. His dying this week is at such a time that we're so busy we're not overly sad or down by our loss. Which I should add is a part of us every day anyway. And by having all these anniversary dates occur within one week, I only have to deal with a hard time of year once and it is over!

Still, I am sad that our lives have been so madcap that there hasn't been ample opportunity for me to plan what I'd define as a more formal and solemn observation of my husband's life and death. Although thinking of my husband, who was grading papers up until he was in a coma, maybe what we've been doing is fine by him. He lived every day of his life with cancer as normally and fully as possible. And I guess looking down he can see that we have done the same.

"I love you Daddy. The boys love you Daddy. You were never fond that I called you Daddy but got used to it! We so miss you and you remain forever in our hearts. Today I feel your presence around us, although I know it is always there. I wish you could somehow send down a message about how you hated tattoos because both of the boys are getting ones as tributes to your life and their love for you. I can only hold off discouraging them until they are of age and have enough of their own money to afford them. I have persuaded them to get them anywhere but their arms/necks so they can be covered when they go in for future job interviews. But maybe you won't mind so much because tats are pretty common these days - many of their friends have them. Sometimes I'll think of a question I want to ask you that I never did when you were alive and I so much want to know the answer - I thought we had plenty of time together to get to all of that. But I am grateful for the time we did have. You taught me so much, maybe even more in death than life. I'll talk to you again soon, probably in the stands next week at a playoff football game. Til then, Happy Birthday."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Showdown in the Checkout Lane!

I think of myself as a kind person, or at least I try to be in my daily living. I let moms with little kids go ahead of me in the grocery line, along with older folks and people with fewer items. I let cars merge in tight traffic situations and move over lanes to let faster cars pass. I make an effort to be polite and acknowledge in words thanks and compliments.

Anyway, yesterday I ran into JoAnn Crafts and Fabrics to kill some time waiting for a WalMart prescription to be filled (talk about time delays). I needed a size G crochet hook and as much as I hate spending any money on anything extra right now had enough change in my purse to afford the $1.25 cost (of course, I got the cheapest one). Now on to the check out line which like WalMart is always so crowded - about 13 people waiting.

When I got to the cashier, a younger woman cut in front of me and I moved in and politely said it was my turn. The woman immediately told me to calm down which annoyed me because I was totally calm (I absolutely hate it when people tell you this and they are the ones with smoke coming out of their ears). She reluctantly let me go ahead of her but not without some heated words directed at me. It was not a pleasant experience.

As I reflected on this encounter I realized that I reason I had stuck up for my place in line was because I feel as though so much has already been taken from me - my husband, my home and so on. As silly and trivial as it seems, I didn't want to "loose" something yet again, even as small as my place in line.

But afterward, the more I thought about this the more I wished I'd just let it go. It was an ugly encounter and unnecessary. I felt bad about it even thought I wasn't to blame and it would have been far better to have just let it be as it was playing out. There is already so much strife and conflict in the world. I have the ability to take and tolerate it. I wish I had backed off and let this woman go ahead of me. There are situations worth fighting for and those worth passing by even when you're in the right. This wasn't worth it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Get a Life!

My younger son and I got into a little tiff when I picked him up from Friday's football game. I mentioned that I hadn't stayed for the whole game because it was so cold and not fun sitting alone in the bleachers, especially when it is cold. He launched into me that it is my fault I sit alone and I should be more social at the games and strike up conversations with the people around me. "Make some new friends, mom," he chastised me.

Well, you can't argue with a teenager. I felt disappointed because it was an emotional game night with it being Senior Night and my having to go out onto the field with my oldest as he was honored. And I know that my youngest is also more emotional about his Dad's death and may have been lashing out his own pain and frustration onto me.

But part of this widowhood gig is having to take the good and bad crap from the kids with no sounding board from another parent, or even adult. There is no one to pass off to - "Here husband, you take this one, I got the last snotty teenage mood."

It's no use trying to explain to my son or even other people in general that it is hard enough just for me to attend these school and athletic events on my own for years on end when I miss having my husband see his boys perform with such an ache in my heart it is almost indescribable. Not really conducive emotions in which to start chatting with your bleacher neighbors when you're fighting back tears and trying to keep a grip on your emotions so you can watch you sons play through your watery eyes.

Same thing with those other frequent phrases I often hear - "Get a life" or "Get a job." What do you say? It's not like someone can snap their fingers and just get a job like that. Unfortunately, we live in this world that expects instant results and isn't particularly patient. Well, from experience I know that turning one's life around takes some time. So I guess all one can say when confronted by a surly son or less than sympathetic party is to simply reply, "I'm trying" or "I'm doing the best that I can."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Apples Made into Apple Pie

I, of course asked my son about his buying dinner for the homeless guy. He didn't think it was that much of a big deal, which is why he didn't tell me about it.

Coming home from football practice, he noticed the 30ish looking man holding a sign asking to work for food. Since the man was near a McDonald's, my son thought about him as he passed by and turned around at the stoplight. Pulling up alongside the man, he offered to buy the man dinner. I figured my son went through the drive through window to get the guy something, but no, he wanted the man to eat what he wanted so they went in together and he had the man order for himself - Big Mac, fries and a shake.

Then my son sat down with the man for a while. He learned the man was from Minnesota and had lost his job about a year ago and then his home. He is traveling down to the south where he knows someone he can live with but ran out of money. So, he is currently living in his car while trying to work for gas/food. I asked my son if he knew where the man had worked but he hadn't inquired. I was also curious if he had found out how many people actually help this guy. My son replied that it is pretty hit or miss, not consistent assistance from the public.

Thinking about this incident made me feel high all weekend. My son just shrugs his shoulders and takes it for granted. "I had a few extra bucks on me," he explained. It is no big deal what he did for a man out on the street down on his luck. I worry about the fact that I only have a mere seven cents left in the checking account and payday is still two weeks away! I am scouring my belongings for something I can bring to the pawn shop (I still have some gold rings that have been "lost" in the move). I hope my son's act of kindness is returned back to us in the next couple of days. I try to keep in good spirits despite our own hardship. Perhaps instead of a sign offering to work for food, I can sell hand knitted pot holders on the street corner? They'll start referring me to the "Pot Holder Lady." I AM KIDDING - kind of...

My son took the values I have always believed in myself - helping those less fortunate - it is why I chose a career in social services. I wrote in my last post that it looks as though those values (apples) didn't fall far from the tree because he has internalized them. Those apples were baked into an apple pie, the aroma warming my heart all weekend long. I am counting on that pie to give me strength through the rest of the month. Would my son have done the same if my husband hadn't died, and we were still living in our home and not facing such financial hardship ourselves - my guess is probably. But this pie tastes all the more sweeter because my son's action came from a deeper and more profound place of understanding.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Falling Apples

Tonight was Senior Farewell Night at the football game. The parents line up with with their son and the names are announced over the stadium speaker. The principal shakes your hand and the moms get a flower with a ribbon in the school colors. Pictures are taken, etc. I've been dreading this event the past months but it went by in such a quick blur I survived it! I was given a really nice laminated large photo of my son in his football uniform.

It was cold and my son said he wouldn't be playing since they changed the lineup and in order to win this crucial game put in bigger guys in my son's place. So I didn't stay the whole game which we thankfully won! I went home for some dinner, a nice warm cup of black bean soup with some cheese and crackers.

I was spending some time on the computer since it can be hard to get online when the boys are home. For the heck of it I looked up a Facebook comment made on my son's page from a few days back. I had no idea this happened but he wrote that he had passed a homeless man holding a sign that said he would work for food. So my son stopped at a McDonald's and bought the man a dinner. The man cried when my son gave him the meal and shook his hand. My son said it made him feel better than he had in a long time. One of my son's teachers commented that he was proud of him. I was floored, especially since I had no idea this happened. And my sons and I are pretty tight/close in talking to one another. I am surprised he didn't say anything to me.

A couple days ago my youngest cashed his work paycheck and asked me to take him to the dollar store so he could buy a hat for winter that he had seen. He also needed deodorant and body wash that he bought himself. As we left the parking lot, I too noticed two homeless guys with signs. I only had a few dollars change on me but pulled around and went back to them. My youngest asked what I was doing. I told him that I don't have much to give but they looked like they needed help more than we did. So we stopped and I gave the guys a few dollars.

I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

My handsome son made me proud tonight because of his athletic leadership which was stressed as the boys were introduced. But I wish that announcer could have told everyone what he did a few days ago in buying a meal for a man in need of some food. Especially when we are struggling ourselves and my son surely would have enjoyed a fast food meal himself since we so rarely get them now.

For a few brief moments tonight I made a quick call to the heavens telling my husband I wished he was on the field beside me to share this moment. I hope he was also witness to the goodness in my son's soul as he pulled into that McDonald's.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Puzzle Pieces

The week before last served as a kind of catharsis for me. I knew there was stuff going on at the time, but now with a week between and a chance to look back, I can really see the significance.

The week started with that crazy toe injury suffered by my oldest, that required a 2:00 a.m. ER visit. That made me reflect on health and deal with the tiring "only parenting" issue. The importance of my own health which has been an issue of late is all tied up with that too.

After that incident, I went out later in the week to apply for four jobs in my field of social services within nursing home settings. This was a major accomplishment for me because I think I am still suffering from lowered self-esteem due to my divorce and loss of home. Anyway, despite not being able to find my good dress shoes, I put on my interviewing outfit (nice pants and classy jacket) and hit the pavement. And I dealt with the shoes I found hoping no one would really notice my feet. This all relates around work, employment, financial security and redefining my purpose in the world.

One of the days I was out on the job hunt, the HR office was closed for lunch and I hit a local yarn store near the area to kill an hour. This is a store I used to frequent on almost a weekly basis and I became quite friendly with the owner. But I haven't gone in for about a year due to the house sale, lack of funds, and so on. The owner implored me to stop by again soon for more chatting whether or not I want to purchase some yarn. So this event relates to the area of friendship and personal interests.

Now what gets interesting is that while I was in the shop, two nice middle-aged women came in and we all got to talking. Turns out, the women belong to a group of 20 who meet at a local knitting club the town over. They invited me to join them. I was reminded of my need to build up new friendships and what better way for me to do this while engaging in my number one hobby! The women had some commonalities with me - there are two widows in the group, although they are older. There are other women also in transition with kids finishing college - so maybe not a bad group to check out. They meet at a Panera type bakery place that I know well and love, with a fireplace and chocolate croissants.

Then, another interesting aspect to all of this. In talking with these two fellow knitters, one of them mentioned that she has gone back to school to take the year-long Library Assistant Program which is something I have considered doing and want to do myself. It seemed like a sign to hear about this and the woman would be a contact to have in the program if I decide to start with a class at the local junior college this winter. So I took this as a coincidence or sign or whatever you want to call it, reminding me to hold fast to my dreams about what I want to accomplish in the future and to work at a job because I enjoy it and it brings me contentment and satisfaction.

Well, the week ended with my trip to ALDI where I overheard a middle-aged guy talking into his cell with his other half about the grocery list. And he signed off with "I love you." I stood there in the aisle and thought to myself, I am 51 years young and I want to be able to say those words to a partner again. That is important to me. I'm not going to give up on that dream either. There needs to be romantic love in my life again.

So the whole week kind of morphed into all these individual puzzle pieces that when put together assemble what is most dear to me. Like a representation of my current life and what it needs to become - all that reinvention and transformation energy that needs to be undertaken for me to move on.

As I've mentioned before, a life change seems so insurmountable because there are so many components involved:

1. Continuing to parent as an only parent.
2. Being more conscious of the importance of good health for both the boys and I.
3. Developing a new network of friends.
4. Pursing my own interests and hobbies.
5. Getting and working at a decent job now.
6. Building up some financial security.
7. Increasing my self-esteem, self-worth.
8. Taking the steps to enter the Library Assisting Program so I can begin an enjoyable second career in the future.
9. Increasing the love in my life.
1o. Learning to live a full, content and happy life on my own even without a partner right now.

I know when I think of these puzzle pieces in my head they seem overwhelming to accomplish but when I set them down as I did above, they don't seem that unreachable. Just like a jigsaw puzzle. You do a few pieces at a time. Sometimes you get a lot filled in, sometimes you don't. But you keep working to complete the entire puzzle.

I think this is why I felt the resentment I did over the summer, as I interacted with all the married moms at the baseball games. Those moms don't have to reinvent their lives right now - find love again, restart careers, make new friends, parent on their lonesome, figure out how to get a new handle on their lives. This rebuilding of a life takes such a lot of energy and strength and work. I'd much rather not be doing any of this. I had a good life before. And now I'm left to put together a really hard 1,000 piece puzzle by myself when I'm tired and sad and lonely. The choice is throwing the box into the garbage or opening it and dumping out the pieces to start the puzzle. I'm going to open the box as much as I wish I didn't have to.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tired Zombie

Dear Cyber Friends -

I don't know what is wrong with me. I am just so tired. Not sure if it is the new medication adjusting itself to my body or if I am just really tired from all that has happened over the past years (or a combination of both). I am getting through the days doing what has to be done with making sure the boys are fed, have clean clothes, get to their various activities and so on but I am doing everything kind of like I'm on automatic pilot and without much emotion.

It is strange. I don't feel freaked out or like I'm going to explode but at the same time I don't feel much inspiration or happiness (for lack of a better word) either. I am just kind of blah, hum bug, even-keeled. Maybe that is where I should be right now, at least for the time being but I do miss really feeling more of my emotions. It is a little weird feeling so numb.

The best news is that the blood pressure medicine worked within just a week to get my blood pressure to a normal level. The doctor told me he felt the worry/anxiety I was experiencing was a definite factor in why my BP was so high. I am very grateful that it has gone down because being worried about that too just made my anxiety worse!

I continue to take a half hour or more nature walk and that has been a lifesaver to me. But most days I wake up with this low grade headache that doesn't seem to dissipate. I would like to go to bed for a week and just sleep for seven days straight!

There were some boxes that I couldn't fit into the storage shed and I had to bring them home to sort through and get rid of. Have been busy with that and making lots of Goodwill donations. But the house move still weighs heavy on my mind and heart. Moving from such a large home into a small place turned out to be a very challenging and unending task for me to handle and accomplish, as noted by the fact that I'm still at it a year later. Anyway, there is progress in that and progress in out looking for work in my field of social services. No bites yet but I'm at least casting out my line into the water which for me is a big step. I tend to bury my head in the sand because of my fear of failure and not making it.

I hope all of you are doing as well as can be expected in everyone's individual situations. At least the weather is lovely this time of year and there is joy in celebrating that. Happy fall to all.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Widow Network

It was a weird week - full of an assortment of ups and downs. Rather than relate them all at once, I'll just start with the one from the beginning of the week, Monday. We were just getting over all the hoopla of Homecoming week when my youngest woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me his brother's foot was bleeding profusely. And it was. Turns out his little toe had somehow been cut while he was asleep and wouldn't stop bleeding. By the time we got to the ER, a bath towel was entirely soaked through - the whole towel. I couldn't believe there was so much blood because there was also a pool of blood around the futon where he sleeps and bloody footprints throughout the floor.

The ER doctor advised, that foot, toe and finger injuries/cuts bleed a great deal. My reasoning for taking him to the hospital was because we had no idea how he had cut his toe and I was worried there may have been something still caught in his skin. Plus there was just so much blood. It was 2:00 in the morning (Tue.) and we were all pretty groggy and not thinking too clearly. But what do you do when your kid wakes up with a foot covered in blood that isn't stopping bleeding?

When we got home, after the bleeding stopped, the cut had been cleaned out and bandaged, I figured out what happened. I saw a slivered groove in the wood of the bookcase next to the futon that my son's foot must have rubbed against.

It was all just kind of a surreal and strange event. In the past years, with two boys playing sports, I've been to the ER more times than I want to recall. Monday night/Tuesday morning I was so drained and tired of it all - the constant having to cope with everything on my own, including mysterious medical emergencies. I need to be there propping up my sons when they need me, but no one is there for me when I'm falling down and needing some propping up myself. I have reached the absolute limit of this widowhood life. No one, should have to shoulder so much on their own for so long. No one!

I did a bit of investigation into whether the friend of my youngest son, whose mom is widowed might be interested in sharing a home in the future, but she responded that she prefers to live alone. My son said he suspects she might be bipolar and that it would not be a good fit for us but I threw caution to the wind and asked anyway, simply because I don't want this life on my own anymore. It at least starts the chain in motion and shows my intention to the Universe.

Even sharing a home with another widow would allow some division of labor, perhaps sharing meal preparation, etc. And it would be far less lonely. But anyway, that is a no go. It got me to thinking about the "olden days" of my youth when divorce was still new and taboo. I remember that when I was in high school (mid-1970s) that two couples in our subdivision got divorced. People were so shocked that they drove by the couples' houses trying to get a glimpse of the divorcees. What happened was that these two women pooled their resources and shared a home together - they had kids around the ages of my sibs and I. I wonder what happened to these women who really in their own way were leaders paving the way for women at that time.

Then I thought of the few other women who I knew from back then, two of whom got divorced, one whom was widowed. All three of these women got remarried immediately. It's funny, but my son's friend's mom has a boyfriend who has asked her repeatedly to marry him and she has refused wanting to remain living alone. And here I am, a woman who longs for remarriage and ends up still on the search for the right guy... Well, we certainly know life sure ain't fair!

I think in earlier times, even 35 years ago, that there were stronger networks in place for women, families were closer and all. I wish there were some kind of widow network in place right now, listing widows who are looking for roommates to share houses, etc. Those two newly divorced moms from 1977 were smart to join forces together. Sometimes it just isn't worth the fight to keep struggling on alone.