Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Life is fragile and we have so much for which to be grateful as I described my 9/11 Remembrance last year.   I pay tribute to those whose lives were taken from them as a consequence of the events on and associated with that fateful day -- to their families and friends who forever acutely feel their loss. 

(Writing this particular piece for publishing today is purely coincidental.  Clearly what matters is valuing every minute of every day which we may sometimes forget when caught up in our own angst.)

Awakening after seven or more hours of sleep one weekend day, I arose to satisfy nature’s urge, then went to the kitchen,  glanced out the window noticing the papers had been delivered, returned to bed and slept until noon.  I’ve come to enjoy those hours when once in a while I return to bed, since generally lovely dreams, that I even remember afterward, fill my mind.

When I awaken again, a button pressed allows the radio news, weather reports to bring me up to date on life outside my house.  All the usual, another sunny day, firefighters still battling the flames in the forests distanced enough to the north, that the smoke-filled air is well beyond my environs, much less visible.  Storm warnings up the coast in the earlier-this-year strawberry festival city of Oxnard with possible wind and hail expected later today. 

Wandering out to the kitchen again, I see the newspapers still lying on the drive in their rain and sprinkler water-protective  plastic wrappings when I again glance out the window.   I decide I’ll bring in the papers, so don a jacket over my pajama top, a half-way body covering, since the pajama bottoms seem somehow less of an affront should someone drive by who might see me while I was engaged in my newspaper retrieval task.  Rarely ever are any of the neighbors in surrounding homes visible, but even their eyes would likely not be shocked or offended should they catch a glimpse of my strange-looking somewhat meagerly clad form.

Returning to my front door, I notice the mail has been delivered already today, so remove our city newspaper, flyer ads, promotional letters with one addressed to my long deceased husband, plus only one business letter of any consequence.  I miss the days when there was almost always a personal hand or type written letter from some friend or family member.  Once inside, jacket removed, my newspapers extracted from their protective covering, I decide to just sit down in the living room with them.  

I don’t have to gaze around the room to know there are, as always, an overwhelming number of tasks which I need to undertake that have multiplied daily in number since my husband’s death over six years ago, yet I continue to leave them all mostly undone.  Matters haven’t been helped by the fact I’ve drug at lot of “stuff” into the living room, ostensibly to sort, that I never quite get completed.   Refocusing on today's activities, I do sort the reading portions of these daily  newspapers from the advertisements I discard unread, along with the sports pages after I glance at the headlines, and special car sales sections. 

Misc. news items, gardening tips, music, theatre and film festival reports give way to the regular physician’s medical column feature of the day, followed by my chuckling through the half-dozen or so cartoons I enjoy reading.   The living room radio has continued broadcasting since I transitioned to that unit much earlier after leaving my bedroom.  The print reading now complete,  I tip my head to rest against the recliner chair back.   I am unmotivated to begin any activity, think about simply returning to the bed’s comfort, though I’m not sleepy and don’t feel tired.   I could care less about booting up my computer, and reading emails, blogs or going to other Internet sites.  I consider linking to music, but am not really certain what I might want to hear. 

My thoughts wonderingly examine why I’m actually listless, though I don’t feel dark thoughts as might be associated with the blues, or depression.  I wonder why I don’t become interested or enthusiastic about organizing my home’s interior into one presentable to not only myself but others?   Why don’t I care enough to just do all I need to do here – simply to please myself – and never mind any body else?  What crosses my mind is, that it just doesn’t matter. 

There is no one locally, unlike most of my past years here, who is going to pleasantly surprise me with a phone call asking what I’m doing, and would I like to join them for a cup of coffee and just chat for a while.  I realize there is no one who might show up unexpectedly at my door.  I realize there is no one I want to phone to inquire if they would like to get together for a  bit, just to discuss life, general nonsense, or intimate thoughts, concerns and questions.

When I consider taking off in the car, I realize the better part of wisdom for me is that maybe I shouldn’t be making long distance auto driving trips alone, even once I have my car completely checked over to make sure it would be safe for such trips.   I realize, as I’ve been aware for some time, that even making such a trip would likely not be as enjoyable as I might anticipate, because there would be no one of like mind with whom to share the experience. 

Additionally, I realize that my efforts at involving myself in activities interesting to me have resulted in my meeting few people here with whom I might establish close intimate relationships.  Good trusting friends take time to establish and as we age time gets much shorter, but the time required to develop those relationships often does not.  I did meet one such person (though we had know each other casually for over 30 years,) but inconsiderately life unexpectedly presented them with only a few short months existence after sudden onset of life-terminating health problems last year. 

Yes, others I’ve met, we share similar interests, but they already have such companionship with their spouses, so I urge them to treasure their time together.  Others, in some instances, already have their own longtime circle of friends who are all fortunately still living.  Yes, the spouse, local friends as I once had enjoyed – just as they sought out and enjoyed me – are long gone from this immediate area – and  many elsewhere, expired.   I’m glad I’m alive and would not want to be otherwise, but these years are not as I had expected them to be.   Selfishly, I fully anticipated many of those friends would share these years with me, especially the younger ones.  I suppose the situation doesn't alter as we get older in this living lottery

I think I may know why I’m motivated primarily only to go to work.  In addition to enjoying my work, the people I meet, and with whom I interact – that work impetus may only be partly because I made the commitment, so I have a professional obligation to honor it as long as I choose to keep working.   Other than that, my bottom line is that I don’t care – nothing else seems to matter that much.   

Still --- yes, I care about my children and their children, but they are far removed geographically, so they aren’t going to stop by.   They can’t pop in given the miles that separate us, as I know they would otherwise.  But then, if they did live by, they would have their own responsibilities.  That would be okay,  I want them to have a life of their own and I know how busy their lives can be – so many demands.  I, too, lived that life once, as I think about the contact I had across the miles with my mother.   I don’t want to move to either of my children’s parts of the country –  they’re even widely separated geographically from each other, too.

Sometimes I’m envious of those who have family living close around, then I hear of the conflicts and challenges that sometimes pose for all and think my situation doesn’t have those issues.   Still I’m tempted to wonder if I’m out-of-sight, out-of-mind, but I refuse to badger, complain and aggressively demand attention which would only seed undeserved guilt, possibly resentment and maybe even anger.

If the geographic distance wasn’t so great, I would undertake periodic driving trips to spend short visiting times – so much better for all of us than descending on them for long periods of time when I fly in.   Also, flying comfort is so unpleasant now, plus once I’m there I have no transportation to go out and about, it's inconvenient to borrow theirs – not worth renting a car -- not really areas to walk to nearby.  They don’t subscribe to newspapers, so I don’t  familiarize myself with what of interest is going on in their area.    

Guess I’ll boot up the computer and check my personal email.  How exciting!  My DIL has emailed me several photos from her smart phone.  My handsome (Grandma bragging rights invoked here) red-headed grandson is visiting the petting zoo, quite intrigued with all the animals and their noises, especially the piggies.  Also, he’s at the top of the slide, informing his mother he’s quite capable of sliding down on his own without her assistance, thank you.   Oh my!  He’s growing so fast – walking and running all over since he was nine months or so. 

Lost in thought, my phone rings – I’m surprised -- the call is from my daughter.  I know she is incredibly pre-occupied with all that’s going on in her home, none the least of which is studying for her classes, aiding my granddaughter as she begins her senior high school year and so much more for both of them.  My daughter is so tired and sleepy as I hear the periodic yawns in her voice.  We have a loving mother-daughter conversation that I eventually end, tucking her in with a hug and kiss across these miles for a much-needed good night’s sleep.  Her morning will come much too soon.   I remember those years only too well.

Where did the day go?  Evening arrives and I decide to cater to my whim for part of my weekly fish allotment.  Furthermore, I’m not going to cook – though I have some frozen salmon filets which are probably more healthy for me than what I have in mind.  Why not just go to that fast food place and get a fish sandwich?  That’s what I’ll do, but I’ll dress from the top up, still leave on those pajama bottoms – no one will know the difference – sure hope I don’t have an auto accident.  Mom always said it was important to have clean underwear on when I left home.  Oh well, off I go.

Soon I’m home again.  I feel just a little bit wicked having gone off dressed as I was, or undressed, depending on your perspective, but at least I’m not one of those people I’ve read about occasionally who are discovered stark naked in the car.  That’ll never be me, rest assured dear reader! 

Aren’t I lucky!  I do have good close friends, including one I’ve known all my life with whom I have frequent contact.  It’s just that none of them live here in my city any more.  And I have such a loving caring family, however few there are of us, regardless of the miles that separate us, who certainly don’t neglect me.   I suppose all of us have times when we may feel a bit alone in the world, but we really aren’t if we think about it.  Besides, I also have all my Blogger Buddies, too!


  1. Your life could be mine if and when my husband dies. I have often wondered if I would rent out one of my bedrooms to someone should that happen. Both extra money and companionship would be welcome, I think. Enjoy the day. It's special. Maybe you could invite a few neighbors to dinner?

    1. Interesting, Gigi, I had a local university student come to my door not long after my husband died, inquiring as to whether I might have a room to rent. I declined at the time, but have long considered that an option since I have extra bedrooms here. I could rent to a student, or other, plus have a room for live-in assistance in the future, should I have the need. At the time I wanted our home to be pretty much as they remembered it when my adult children would come to visit, which they were able to do more frequently then. Had I had financial need then, I wouldn't have hesitated to consider room rental. Students could be fun, but also might present more challenges than I might want. Even a contemporary would have to be very carefully considered in terms of each person's expectations. We would each need to establish solitude and privacy guidelines 'cause I would prefer independent living, not doing everything together.

      Some years ago, a younger neighbor and good friend (later moved east,unexpectedly deceased now) who taught at the colleges and was working on her doctorate, did rent a room when family circumstances required she needed more income. She had a great personality, students loved her, had a couple young daughters. Later, she told me that she had not enjoyed the experience of having students in the home, though I don't think any of them were particularly problematic. Sometimes we do what we have to do, and I'm sure there are situations where such an arrangement works well.

      I do recall some of the different personalities I encountered trying to provide live-in assist for my mother years ago. My mother's mind was fine and most people found her pleasant and cooperative, but I would have wished for a wider selection of individuals from which to choose to live with her. Fortunately, I lived close enough I could help as needed and Mom made every effort to make it work despite the difficulties. So, I know going in some of the challenges, and would have to reconcile myself to being willing to deal with them -- I'm not yet. ;-)

      Your dinner suggestion is interesting, but I'm spoiled with not cooking much for years now. My friends and I usually shared a similar preference for eating out rather than cooking, even though it often might be an inexpensive spot. Getting together was seldom ever about the food, otherwise I would be grossly overweight. I do know enough about my current neighbors that their lives, work -- often not home -- wouldn't really be amenable to neighborly gatherings of any kind. We have significant age differences now, too, though they've kindly said if I needed anything to let them know. This neighborhood has changed lots in the past twenty years from when several neighbors became close lifelong friends even after they left here.

  2. Dear Joared, your posting so reflected what my life seems to be right now. Three years ago I moved from my home of thirty-six years in Stillwater, Minnesota, to here in Missouri. I moved here because my brother and his extended family were here and I'd grown up here. But so much has changed and their lives are so busy and have not included me on a regular basis all these years. In fact, I've been gone from the area, except for an occasional vacation here--for fifty-five years. Finding friends is difficult and for myself I've discovered that the area is very conservative in every way and I am a die-hard liberal and so I'm like a round peg trying to fit into a square. But slowly I find the way to contentment in my writing and my blogging friends and by keeping in touch with friends of many years up in Minnesota. I'm making a life here, but yes, like you, I am sometimes lonely. I hope this gets better for both of us. Peace.

    1. Dee, I can understand why the move you made would be appealing. I'm sure it must be disappointing that the experience hasn't been as you might have wished. I know what you mean about the round peg and square holes. Numerous casual friends here I'd known many years, that I had thought might become closer friends, I discovered had some deep-seated values they had never before revealed until around the previous elections. I've had friends elsewhere say they disappointingly found that to be unexpectedly true of some individuals with whom they had once thought they had shared values. That can result in friendship depth limitations which it has for me.

      Other old friends who would like to get together, that I would enjoy since my time is freer, are now having to be even more involved than I once was, carrying for a spouse -- or have serious problems of their own -- and just have no free time for themselves.

      I know there are many suggestions for anyone interested in meeting new people, but I'm hesitant to suggest what others can do relative to volunteer opportunities, for example, 'cause what the person's life has been preceding these elder years may have great bearing on whether or not such involvement is really best for them.

      I don't really think of what I was experiencing as feeling lonely, but maybe it's just a matter of semantics. I don't know if it was melancholy, contemplation, reflection or all of that. I do know I've experienced such moods throughout my life, when I was young, single; while I was married, and since. Meanwhile, I keep meeting new people occasionally and hope you do the same. I always find getting to know someone interesting, even if neither of us moves the relationship beyond a fairly superficial or casual level.

      I'm always reminded of what an old friend (now deceased) once wrote me, "There are no friends like old friends." We were both quite younger at the time, but the word "old" takes on new meaning now, doesn't it!

    2. Dear Joared, lonely may be the wrong word. I think I long for people to whom I do not have to explain myself and my "old" friends were just that. As to volunteering, I know I could do that and I probably ultimately will, but I volunteered for forty years up in Minnesota and elsewhere, and right now I find myself wanting simply to write and to use my time for that. Thank you for your thoughtful response. Peace.

    3. Your previous volunteering experience is exactly what I had in mind when I was thinking about that not being the answer for many elders -- who've already had much of a life time providing caregiving and/or volunteering-type activities and need or want to engage themselves otherwise -- sometimes for their own health's sake.

      Yes, friends to whom we do not have to explain ourselves are special. Another thought comes to mind that a true friend is someone who knows when you've made a fool of yourself that you haven't done a permanent job of it.

  3. testing for LC who can't comment here. trying to help her

    1. Sandra, glad you're helping and hope LC able to make a comment. Send me an email: Joaredalongtheway@gmail.com and maybe I can add it to the comment section that way.