Feeling upbeat

The first week of school is almost over. N really likes his teacher, but I have got to come up with a way to avoid the homework wars. It's already started, and all he has this week is spelling. Aarrrghh.

S is having a rough adjustment; he loves school, but he's regressed a bit socially... hitting and pushing his classmates. I worry that the teachers will immediately have him pegged as a "bad kid," and treat him accordingly.

We've been riding our bikes to school together, which I love. Of course, when it's really raining or it's below freezing, I'll drive them, but for now it's awesome. The big thing for me is not having kids around for a few hours every day. Monday, I had the "girls" over for coffee. Tuesday, I dashed out for a root canal -- ugghh. Wednesday, I dashed out for a massage -- mmmmm. Today, I dashed home to sit with my coffee and comics -- ahhhh. Then I spent an hour cleaning up messes.

My plan is to spend one solid hour of my alone time on housework. Then I won't feel either lazy or oppressed. If I do more, great; if that's all I do, I've accomplished something. Next week, I'll pick one day a week to go bowling and try to ellipticise on two of the other four days. It feels good to be finding a rhythm again. We'll see how it goes.

Ron is still in serious pain, and he still doesn't know what's going on. This has been such a hard time for us both, but one good thing has come of it: Clarity on my part that I want this man in my life. While his pain has kept him from moving out here as soon as we had hoped, "slowing us down" a bit, it has also made me realize just how much I love him, and how terrible losing him would be. Please keep him in your prayers, for a clear diagnosis and treatment plan; his pain is pretty relentless and excruciating -- it has GOT to end... SOON.
Today a root canal. Tomorrow a massage.

Keep Ron in your healing prayers...

And we're off!

Yup! We rode our bikes to school, all three of us. HardPlace went on ahead, of course -- couldn't possibly be seen with his little brother (on training wheels!), let alone his mom. Rock was so excited, he could hardly stand it. And I was excited, too --- I came home and had 5 other neighborhood moms over for coffee and cinnamon rolls. It was great to have uninterrupted adult conversation.

Now ... I have laundry to fold. TTYL.

45 hours

from now the boys will be in school. Not that I'm counting or anything.

Five things worth mentioning

... but not worth talking about.
  1. Today was S's last day at the daycare at Nick's office; saying goodbye was harder for me than for him.
  2. N has a male teacher for 3rd grade; I'm glad he'll have an adult male in his life on a regular basis.
  3. This is the perfect time to plant my fall lettuce/spinach crop; but the distributors have already taken all the seeds out of the stores.
  4. I fixed my toilet today, replacing all the stuff inside the tank.
  5. I have a HUGE mountain of clothing waiting to be folded.
And one thing worth talking about: Ron has an appointment with the neurosurgeon tomorrow to find out if he's a candidate for back surgery. Hold him in your prayers, because if the surgeon says no, then how is Ron supposed to deal with the constant excruciating pain? And if the surgeon says yes, then... well, Ron will be having major surgery.

What are your five things and one thing?

Is it Monday yet?

I am desperate for school to start. Desperate. Desperate. Desperate.

I love toy trains

Enough said!

Eleven days and counting

School starts on Monday, August 28. Hooray!

For the first time ever, both boys will be in school every day (N from 9 to 3, S from 9 to 1). For the first time in 8 years, I will have some time to myself 5 days a week.

Both boys will be in the same location (I've been driving S to preschool 15 minutes away, 3 days a week.) We will all be riding our bicycles to school; I'll ride back midday to bring S home, then N will ride home by himself.)

I'm planning on ME time. I'm going for a spa day sometime that first week. Then, I think I want to go bowling once a week. I've been to a few birthday parties with the boys lately, and there is something eminently satisfying about hurling a heavy object and knocking things down. Each bowl can be targeted at something my MIL has done, or at some frustration that's nagging me.

Of course, I'll also volunteer in the boys' classrooms and get some housecleaning done. But even those things will bring satisfaction and rejuvenation.

Eleven more days...

I give up

- No more lists until school starts again. My days are not my own.
- No more struggling to put something on the blog just because a certain someone gets grumpy when I don't. I don't always have something interesting to say.
- No more sighing in despair at my messes. Deal with it.

Never no more.


I updated it. Are you happy now?

Yes, friends, Ron was giving me grief about it.

For Ali

Ali, my dear, why am I not surprised? Not at all surprised!

Image 1. A treasured artifact, and a pale replacement copy.

Image 2. A much-loved page; illustrations colored by Yours Truly.

Image 3. From the new volume: The poem I memorized to win the heart of my 7th-grade English teacher

Click on the photos to zoom in and appreciate them even more.

Day 731

The support of my virtual friends means all the more to me since you are the only ones who acknowledged what yesterday was.

Nobody in my family called.
Nobody in Nick's family called.
Nobody from church called.
None of Nick's other friends called.
None of my other friends called -- fortunately, IB wound up being an unexpected house guest Monday night, so she was here yesterday morning. (Don't worry, BK, you get credit for posting here; and you, too, PMAS, since you sent me an email over the weekend. I'm not totally irrational!)

The only phone calls I received yesterday were from my two closest widow friends. The only emails I received yesterday (other than spam, of course) were from widow friends and blogging buddies.

I guess since I was "over it" at the 1-year mark, I must have "forgotten it" by 2 years. Right? Isn't that in the Widows Handbook?

Yesterday was "fine" -- you know, the "not really terrible" kind of fine. I was going to take the boys to the cemetery, but they weren't interested, so I didn't. (I'd gone by myself on Sunday, which I had really needed to do.) Day 730 felt pretty much like Day 729, and so far Day 731 hasn't been much different from Day 730.

I was weepy last night, when the boys were in bed and the house was finally quiet. I sat here sobbing and listening to the music of our wedding cantata. Maybe one day that sense of loss and sadness won't be quite so overwhelming.

Meanwhile, to quote my dear friend Bilbo Baggins,
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

One Day More

VALJEAN: One day more!
Another day, another destiny.
This never-ending road to Calvary

EPONINE: One more day all on my own.

MARIUS & COSETTE: Will we ever meet again?
I was born to be with you.

EPONINE: What a life I might have known.

MARIUS & COSETTE: And I swear I will be true!

VALJEAN: One day more!

EPONINE: One more day all on my own!

MARIUS & COSETTE: How can I live when we are parted?

VALJEAN: One day more!

MARIUS & COSETTE: Tomorrow you'll be worlds away

EPONINE: What a life I might have known!

MARIUS & COSETTE: And yet with you my world has started
VALJEAN: Tomorrow we'll be far away,
Tomorrow is the judgement day

ALL: Tomorrow we'll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!
From Les Miserables
I started this post last night, thinking to myself with sadness, "One day more and it will be two years since Nick died... I've made it through one more day without him... I'm one more day closer to being with him." I never got around to exploring the rest of my thoughts.

Today, I'll light a candle for my beloved. I'll take the boys to the cemetery.

I will remember the past.
I will wonder about the future.
But most of all, I will honor Nick by living in the present.

The Feast of the Holy Transfiguration

You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God,
And you showed your disciples
as much of your glory as they could hold.

Let your light shine also upon us sinners.
Through the prayers of the Mother of God,
O Giver of Light, glory to you.

... more later

Egads! The pressure! People want more!

I'm afraid my day didn't allow me to come back to this post.

But if it HAD allowed me to, I would have said something like this:

People often misquote a particular passage in the New Testament as saying that God doesn't give us any more than we can handle. The true Scripture quote is that we will not be tempted any more than we can handle. But that misquote is irrelevant to me right now. I really REALLY like

And you showed your disciples as much of your glory as they could hold.

In Eastern Catholic thinking, God created us for love and glory, not for suffering and death. Of COURSE God wouldn't give us more suffering than we could handle, because God does not give us suffering. Instead, God shows us love and glory, and true love and glory are pretty overwhelming, so God doesn't give us more than we can hold. HOLD, not handle. God seeks to fill us with love and glory.

How cool is that?

It's now 1 a.m. If I'd been able to come back to this earlier, I would have written somthing a little more substantive. I know this is incoherent -- but I couldn't disappoint my Faithful Four or Sporadic Seven ... and especially not my Loyal Lurkers!

Love you all madly!

evolution -- n.

A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.... a process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage); "the evolution of his ideas took many years"; "the evolution of Greek civilization"; "the slow evolution of her skill as a writer"

Widoweds often struggle with the idea of "moving on," "moving forward," "letting go." We hear that is what we need to be doing so often that we actually start to believe it.

I have come to embrace the idea of evolving, rather than moving on. "Moving on" and "letting go" seem to emphasize leaving our spouses and our former lives behind; evolution, however, speaks to integrating the best part of our love and life with our spouses with the changes taking place in our deepest selves.

I am not the woman I was on July 31, 2004, the day before Nick's tumor was diagnosed. She's within me, but she is not all of me.
I am not the woman I was on August 4, 2004, the day of Nick's surgery, from which he never woke. She's within me, but she is not all of me.
I am not the woman I was on August 8, 2004, the day I kissed Nick goodbye and told him I loved him too much to let him suffer. She's within me, but she is not all of me.
I am not the woman I was on August 12, 2004, the day I buried my face in his before they closed the casket, telling him to save me a seat at the banquet table. She's within me, but she is not all of me.
I am not the woman I was on any of the subsequent days of weeping, wailing, grieving, praying, struggling, crawling, begging, gasping, drowning, clawing, crashing, screaming, grasping, kneeling, keening, rising, standing, stumbling, falling, climbing, moving, living, aching, trying, healing, knowing, dying, helping, forgiving, growing, forgetting, loving, giving, resting, breathing ...

She's within me, but she is not all of me.

I am evolving into a new person, still recognizable as "Pentha," but oh so very different -- and for the most part I am a better person. My life is evolving in directions unforeseen 2 years ago -- and for the most part, I like what I see. Yes, the loss is still terrible -- all those terrible things are still terrible. But the passage of time allows me to see them as part of the CREATION of me, not the destruction of ALL of me.

Two years. I don't have any words to add to what other widoweds before me have written about the passage of time, except this: I am forever changed, but not forever broken.

I am so glad to be home

... and that is all I have to say.