July 13, 2019 Sunday, Home from Vacation to Florida
What do I love about my life today? That God just keeps giving us second chances on top of second chances.
I have wanted to start a blog for a long time but I wasn’t sure what to write about. My passions are grief, traumatized kids and writing. Who would want to keep reading about those happy subjects? Yet, the desire to blog has been uncontrollable and therefore I will begin.
For those of you who don’t know me, let me tell you a tad about me. I’m
a Navy brat who was born in West Virginia then lived in Morocco, Africa, when Daddy was transferred there and my younger sister was born there. My older brother and sister are deceased. After graduating from high school in Punta Gorda, Florida, I first attended Junior College then Univ. of South Florida majoring in theatre. Taking my aunt and uncle up on their open invitation to the family, I went to live in Iran for six months during my USF days and almost married an Armenian. I’ve been divorced once, 1984, and windowed once, 2017, both of which were not fun to travel through. Moving to the Rio Grande Valley in 2001 with my newly ordained pastor husband who had decided at 65 to attend seminary at TCU, go FROGS!, I settled into what felt like the hottest place on earth, at least for a menopausal woman.
Finding work as a writer for a local paper, The Valley Town Crier, and mentored by my great boss, Brad Nibert, I spent 10 years honing my craft before leaving the paper to write books. Rocksann Finds God was my first and Everelle’s Quest, an Isle of Foote novel, the second. I currently write for the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and other sundry magazines and companies.
Becoming a widow on October 5, 2017 at 4:44 p.m., my new co-partner, Grief, took me down and up rocky, jutting paths, underground into deep, lightless, cheerless caverns and, thank God!, back out again, around dangerous curves and out onto smooth, slippery surfaces, all the while knowing God was by my side. Grief sucks. Best way to describe it.
However, I do think Vanessa Redgrave and daughter, Joely Richardson’s, explanation of grief in the January 28, 2019, issue of People, page 51, is right on.
“Time does not heal; that would seem to me to say that suddenly it’s okay, and it’s not,” says Redgrave. “It never becomes okay.”
“You are different. You aren’t stronger or weaker,” Richardson says. “Just different-changed.”
I am a changed person-from the life I lived with Max but more than that-from that time of his transition to his bliss. I am not stronger nor have I become weaker. I’ve learned to live with Grief, who has settled down after all this time but still pops up at the most unexpected times, bringing on the usual yet still unforeseen waterfalls.
But, now, onto how I decided to follow this dream of writing a blog that I’ve had for years.
I went to visit family in Florida and to attend my niece’s wedding in Atlanta for two weeks. My sister did her best to talk me into moving back to Florida where I spent most of my childhood after Daddy retired from the Navy. She also decided to help me with my wardrobe which is seriously behind times and we hit every thrift store we could find. We stayed in an Airstream, you know, the big silver RV, in the backyard in one of the most posh areas of Atlanta for my niece’s wedding.
It was two weeks full of adventures-one of my top favorite words-emotions running the full gambit-fear, joy, terror, excitement, wondering, anticipation, and days upon days of pondering. Should I or shouldn’t I?
I’m 69 and healthy. Now is the time to do it right? I’m of sane mind and able to make the decisions necessary for a move like that. I would be closer to family, always a good thing.
Then the Valley side of me kicks in. I’ve been here 17 years and have all manner of connections, terrific friends, acquaintances, fabulous mechanics who pinch hit as taste testers whenever I conjure up something new in the kitchen, a hairdresser who knows how to do a razor cut, and a sense of familiarity and home with the Valley that is hard to explain. Most of all I have a 10-year old grandchild who is a very part of who I am and I love so deeply and dearly. Do I really want to leave this?
I know this will take years to determine and I have so much to do to even begin to think of making a change in my life. I’ve decided to take you on this trek with me, this pondering time. I need to first know if I can take care of this house on my own. You will see how Grief has
Rose Garden-they all died after Max did
The berm. Can’t even find the roundness.
Was a veggie garden at one time.
taken its toll on my yard. There’s a sense of “Who Cares?” with Grief and thus my yard, especially the back yard is horribly, horribly, oh, ok, HORRIBLY overgrown. Can I really do the work necessary to keep it up? I am on a tighter budget and need to know I can count on me to do the work. Of course, should any of you wish to join in the redesigning of a back yard, please feel free to speak up. I love to mow but this is so much more than that plus there is a seriously intense invasion of leaf cutter ants back there. I have asked them to leave but don’t know if they are listening.
I came back from Florida with a sense of renewal, a sense of my buried determination that Grief had forced so deep down into my soul, I didn’t think it would ever come back. A sense of doubt, fear, and uncertainly continues to plague me which I attribute to Grief, whether rightfully or not.
The tremendous sense of adventure, family, and questioning where my future shall take me has refreshed my perseverance and willingness to go for It, whatever “It” might be.
For example, in Decatur, GA, a suburbian area outside Atlanta proper, is the most wondrous place-Dekalb International Farmer’s Market. A magical place with every fruit and veggie you can imagine, cheeses, desserts, meats I’ve never heard of, all fresh, a whole huge section of fresh baked breaks, rolls, bagels. Let your imagination go wild for fresh foods and this gigantic building is the answer.
Well, they had GREEN coffee beans. Bazinga!! The lightbulb went off and I knew I had found my blog. Just like going on Everelle’s Quest throughout the new world she was led too, I shall take you on my adventure. It won’t always be fun. I’m not trying to be something I’m not. It will be different.
A gentleman at the market told me we could roast coffee at home. Oh, really? So, I bought some and we’ll learn how to roast coffee. I have a grinder too. Why not try something new?
I have been so afraid of promoting Everelle’s Quest because I guess Fear of Failure haunts me. Well, I have turned around and faced that fear and I am moving toward the light. Would I really have come up with over 250,000 words for nothing? Would the magical Bubbleflies have been written about for nothing? Would the main characters search so diligently for their gifts and talents simply because it was fun to see the black and white words unfold on 20 pound paper? I think not.
With this new sense of “Why Not?” I now move forward. I dug out my years old bread maker to make a bread I wouldn’t be afraid of eating and my test loaf was delicious. I used organic flours, organic coconut sugar as the riser for the yeast, organic dried milk, Himalayan Rock salt and reverse osmosis water.
For lunch I had a simple salad with favorites-organic Romaine, carrot, celery, pickle cucumbers-nice and crunchy-cherry tomatoes with a peach, yes, peach, and crispy onions. For my protein, I had a piece of fresh bread with an HEB, Texas grocer, almond butter with probiotics and flax seed. Am I getting a little disgustingly healthy? I feel like I’m on my true path but I haven’t a clue where it’s going.
Trust me, a healthier diet is needed after eating everything and anything I’ve wanted to since Max flew away. I know now I need to take care of me for I have others I need to take care of. If I don’t, who will? I feel Max is here and even guiding me . . . maybe. Hmmm. That would be interesting.
I do know God is my co-pilot. I am going to take this leap with words into my unknown, fearful as it may be. As we take this journey together, I pray all this fear I have felt since my beloved knew it was time to go home is left behind, that fear will turn around and run from me as I chase it down. After all, what do I have to fear? God is there.
Max was never a quitter. I can do no more to honor him than to follow in his footsteps. I will never give up! I am more than a survivor! I am one stubborn, opinionated, determined, Never Say Die, woman who never wants to die asking the question . . . What if????
Roda Writer, Reporter, Storyteller, Author, Grandma, Sister, Aunt, Friend, Encourager