Too much stuff

We have too much stuff! Traveling just 15 minutes on the highway recently I saw 7 large places for people to store their excess “stuff.” One of them has spaces that people can buy. They actually will own a storage space. We have so much we have no where to put it.

I have never used a storage space and managed to cram all my excess into the attic or closets. I seldom climbed into the attic to check on what was there. The majority of things up there were things I didn’t need but was just reluctant to get rid of. I wonder how often people who have things in a storage facility visit the place. I am sure that there are people who no longer have any idea of what it squirreled away.

There are times when such a space is needed but I bet those are in the minority. I wonder why we find it so hard to divest ourselves of excess. I know that I tend to think that I just might need “it” in the future. If that was really the case it would be ok but usually I never needed “it” again.

Now I have downsized from my longtime home to a small apartment. In order to keep things neat there has to be a place for everything. Keeping things in place means there can be no excess. I don’t intend to have any extra storage space so I had to get rid of anything not really important to me. I many ways it was freeing. There are things that I miss but not so much that I would change anything.

Life can be challanging

Life is truly challenging. One day everything is fine and the next…who knows? My daughter has ILC breast cancer. This type of breast cancer only shows up in 10% of people and doesn’t usually show up on a mammogram. It is frequently found by feeling a lump. It can also be difficult to treat.

ILC or Lobular breast cancer was only defined as a different cancer in 2012 and now research is being done on how it can best be treated. It has some things in common with lung cancer and a study is being done in Britain using the newest lung cancer med as a treatment.

Enough said about the disease itself. For me the hard part is watching my child go through all of this. Like most people I want to die before my children. I know this is not always possible but I don’t want to watch their pain. I think most parents feel this way.

During my time working as a nurse in pediatrics I saw parents struggling with the pain of having a seriously sick child. Losing a child has to be excruciating.

My daughter has a good prognosis but the journey changes your life forever, No more going blithely through each day. Even after treatment has had good results there is only remission…not cure. Learning to live with this reality is hard. I would take it from her if I could.

She is a positive person and is adjusting to this new world but I am having difficulty. I am a mother and want only the best for my children. Life is not perfect and we all have to live with that reality. Sometimes it is just not easy.

Surviving holidays

It is so easy to get sad thinking about the coming holidays. Christmas was always so special to my husband. He absolutely loved it. At the moment I don’t even have any decorations that are suitable for where I am now. Since I don’t go out much I guess I will have to search Amazon for some things that will work. This is a small apartment and I don’t really need much or have any place for it.

We always had the biggest tree that would fit where we were living. It actually took up more space than I would like but nothing else would do. One year he was so irritated with the tree having so many old ornaments that didn’t look good that he went to the local shop and bought everything off of the display.

He really didn’t care about getting things for himself but was always concerned that we did all the things for others we could afford. There were years when we had guests at our dinner table who had no one to be with. We used to joke that we took in strays. It was our joy to do so.

Things are completely different now and I know it will take so thought on my part to make the changes I need to. I am blessed to have family to be with and new friends to share with. My life has been rich and will continue to be.

We are communal

I have always considered myself to be an extreme extravert but as I grow older I can see that I am becoming more middle of the road. As an only child I always had time to myself but sought the company of others. Now I like both. I do have time to spend thinking, creating, learning but need people at some point during the day

I am sure that the pandemic has made it emotionally difficult for everyone. We are not meant to spend all of our time alone. We are communal people. I have felt so sad for those who have had to stay by themselves for such a long time. I am sure the rate of those experiencing depression and anxiety has skyrocketed. I hope they have been able to find help and hope for the future.

Sad Bassets

The weather has changed at last and the air is cool and crisp. The dogs and I both love to walk when it is like this. We took the longer walk. Old bassets don’t do long or fast walks but today they were up for more exercise.

Dealing with the dogs has been a challenge in the last week. Crash (male) had diarrhea and Tillie (female) a bladder infection. This is the first time since we have had them that either of them has had any real problems but as we get older things happen. They have both been to the vet and both are better.

Basset mom is better too now that they have more or less recovered.

Grief is linked to joy

It is difficult to explain what I am experiencing so that it makes sense. My thoughts have been going in many directions lately. I have revisited so many scenes from my past. A video has been running in my head most of the time. Visiting the past is becoming a big part of my grief process. The moments when life was so wonderful pop up and bring me both joy and pain. It reminds me of the idea that when dying we see our life pass before us.

When I lost my husband my focus was on losing his present person. Missing him day to day was front and center. Things to do took precedence and I would wake each day with the nagging feeling that there was something I was forgetting to do. Just the normal routine of living had disappeared.

Now that I am mostly settled in my apartment and have a new daily routine I guess it frees my mind up to explore the things that made our years together so amazing. Now I can bear to immerse myself in the times that bring my grief to the surface. I am more able to endure the pain so that I can also feel the love and joy.

Abuse is always wrong

Lakota Woman

I recently read a book called “Lakota Woman” by Mary Crow Dog. This was an eye opener. Canada showed up in the news this year for abuses done to native children in their past. They have even instituted a new day of remembrance called National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day is to honor and mourn those affected by the treatment of indigenous peoples.

In the US there has never been any major acknowledgement of the many atrocities visited on our own native population. I was unaware of many of the things done and the book made me angry that we have never done anything to set this right.

We were invaders in their territory and greedily grabbed their land and moved them onto reservations that are barely able to support life. We took their children and subjected them to the same kind of abuses that showed up recently in Canada.

We have spent years recognizing the wrongs done to those who were brought here in slavery but have done nothing about our “First Nations” population. We need to learn and hear more of the abuses focused on these people. We need to address the wrongs that have resulted in them being considered “lesser” citizens and change our image of their culture and history.

The stories of these abuses need to be bannered in our news service, taught in schools and our past evils brought to light. There are holidays for others in this country. We need to do the same for “First Nations.”

life lessons

This morning I was thinking about what a difference there is when you lose a spouse. I can only see it from my own perspective but having been married for so long it has made me feel lost. For the first time in my life I feel completely alone.

This does not mean that I am alone. My family is wonderful and I have friends from my longtime home and caring friends and neighbors here. However, there is the sensation that I am totally alone for the first time in my life.

I have lost people in my life: parents, relatives, friends. I miss them and feel the lost connection but I never felt lost myself. With this loss there comes the severing of years of closeness. There is now no one who knows me as well as my husband. The years of memories have lost the person who held them too. No one else can relive those with me. Just the ability to say “remember when” and be understood is gone.

My grandmother, at one hundred, said there was no one who she could talk to about her past and share those memories. Now I understand.

We do grow with each experience in life. Some of the most painful produce the most change and the most empathy. Life is always teaching us. We just have to use that wisdom to reach out to others.

Helping bassets to adjust

Dogs calm for now

This is the first time I have written in a long time. I don’t know why. I just couldn’t think. I guess that all that has happened in the last year has caught up with me. I am in a strange place. Life, after all, is a strange space. Sometimes we just need to back up and take a breath.

The two basset hounds have not adjusted at all and it makes me feel so sad to leave them even for a little while. I am working with my vet to find a solution for this but just beginning. She has suggested training and I realize that part of what is being done is to get them to trust me. I know they do on some level but real training has never been done with them and they need to see me as someone who can assure them that is is fine for them to be left in the apartment.

This type of training will be long term and I don’t expect a result over night but I am hopeful. Crash is fairly amenable but Tillie is another matter since she failed training once before but I will hope.

I just want to make their lives bearable.

Connections matter

I posted this on my other site but realized that I wanted to share it here also.

I have long been a believer in the “butterfly effect.” The idea that somehow we are all connected. I see this in so many ways. There is a wonderful children’s book called “The Invisible String” that tells us that love is one of the ways we are connected and it is the “invisible string” that never goes away even with death.

Sometimes we have a strong feeling of connection to someone we have never physically met. I feel that way about some people I connect with on this blog. I hear their voice through their words. I have a sense of who they are and feel connected. Because I don’t know them otherwise I could be wrong but there is still something there. Kindness and compassion are clearly felt.

We are connected to the people we see in our everyday lives. It could be seeing the same grocery clerk every week or someone we meet for lunch. People touch us in our work. Obviously some of these links can be good or bad but there is still a connection. Each of us has an impact on those around us.

We are connected to those who have gone before us. We may not know about them or we may have heard stories about their lives. They are present in our DNA. We often find that there are personality traits that have been passed on. People say that I look like my great grandmother. Pictures do show a strong connection.

In the church where I worked for years there is a sense in the building of the lives that have gone before. It is something I feel when I sit in silence in the sanctuary. It is as if the “communion of saints” is physically present.

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Don’t doubt that we are all connected. The things that I do each day affects others. Science tells us that nothing is lost…just changed. What I do matters. What you do matters.