A Ball of Sadness ……

…… is a post that I’ve been considering for almost 3 weeks now.
I have hesitated to write it because of the subject matter …… and the mixed feelings I have about it.

It started with a Saturday night dinner with my wonderful friend J and her family here in NY.  There were 10 of us and we had a great time.  The food was terrific (Indian … yum!) and the wine was delicious.  We had a great time                                                                                                            .

As we walked out of the restaurant, J noticed that its next door neighbor was a psychic.  He had a sign up to do readings for $10, I think.  His store was downstairs, below street level, but it was a nice looking store in a good neighborhood.  J decided to go down and talk to him.  Then she stayed for a “reading”.  Her brother in law then decided to go down and wait to have one done after she was finished.

I had never seen, or talked to, a psychic.  I’d never even been tempted to do so.  I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, where such a thing is preached against.  Even after Jim died, I never thought about talking to a psychic.  Now that I know a few hundred (at least) other widowed people, I have several friends who have done so.  All of them have reported positive outcomes.  But still …… I’ve never given it a lot of thought.

That night, after J was done, she came up the stairs and back to the sidewalk where the rest of us were waiting and said, “This guy is real.”  I said, “Really?” and she nodded.  She said that she really liked him.  And suddenly, I thought, “Why not?”  It was only about 10-15 minutes and I wanted to see what this was all about.  I was skeptical.  I was beyond skeptical.  Even as I sat down on the sofa across from him.  Maybe he knew that.  Maybe he didn’t.

He didn’t tell my fortune.  He didn’t tell me that he saw dead people.  He did nothing amazing. Except this:   As I sat down and made myself semi-comfortable on the sofa, he did the same.  Then he looked at me.  I looked at him, totally waiting for him to say something that I could laugh about later.  He paused for a moment …… and then he said, “I sense in you a ball of sadness.  It’s deep within you and you hide it from most people.  You smile and laugh on the outside, and most of the time you even feel the laughter, but it’s still there. You don’t let everyone see it.  Something happened …… I’d say it happened about 9 years ago.  It changed your life forever.  You’re moving forward with your life, but the ball of sadness is still within you.”

Jim died 9 years ago this December.  To say I was stunned is putting it mildly.  Though I never gave him any indication that he was right.  I just kept looking at him, waiting to see what else he would say.  I never nodded or said anything.  I just waited.  And listened.

He also said that I had experienced another hurt after that.  A friend, a good friend, had betrayed me and hurt me tremendously.  That hurt had done a lot of damage and many things changed after that.  He said that I didn’t let it stop me, or control me, but that I used it to move forward and to let go of the negative in my life. He was right.

He only spoke a few minutes more and then we were done and it was the next person’s turn.  I’m not sure I connected with the rest of what he said, but to be fair, I also wasn’t listening at 100% because I couldn’t believe how spot on he had been.

Again, he didn’t do anything spectacular.  There were no thumping tables.  No lights going off and on.  Jim didn’t  “come forward”.  Or speak through him.  Or whatever.

He just read me.  He saw me.  He saw into me.  He saw my ball of sadness.  The one I don’t talk about too much anymore, because honestly?  I don’t think anyone wants to hear about it all that much.  (Excluding other widowed people, of course.)

Yeah, I write about it sometimes, but I do that for the people who are on this path with me. So that they’ll know they aren’t alone.  So they’ll know that someone else gets it.  Even after almost 9 years.  As obscene as that number feels to me.

My take away?  I’m good.  My life is good.  I am blessed.  Beyond belief.  I have 7 wonderful children (don’t forget Son #4).  They’re adults but they’re still, and always will be, my children.  I have a beautiful, adorable, amazing gift of a grandson.  I live where I want to live and do what I want to do.  I’m blessed to be able to help people …… in all kinds of ways.

I can say, “God is good” …… and believe it.

But.    There is, and always will be, a ball of sadness within me.  I miss him.  Every. Single. Day.    Even when I’m not aware of it.  Even when I’m happy.  Even when I’m feeling blessed.

I miss him.  And there’s nothing I can do about it.  Nor would I want to.

I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know.  I was just surprised that a complete stranger could say it so well.

A Typical Week ……

…… in NY.
More or less.

Here is my last week …… in pictures.
Enjoy.

Last Sunday I met with a group of widowed peeps in Bryant Park.  Where it was beyond hot.  And humid.  So a couple of us enjoyed a pitcher of white wine sangria.  And it was as good as it looks.
After about an hour or so the heavens opened up and drenched us in rain, even as we sat under an umbrella.  That’s because the wind blew it in sideways.  It felt good.  Especially afterwards because the temperature had dropped more than 10 degrees.

 

Later that evening I went to see this show, and was pleasantly surprised.  Not by Sean Hayes’ performance … I knew that he’d be terrific, but the play itself was better than I expected (for the most part).  It was very touching in places.

 

On Tuesday we had the best day of weather …… and the last for a while.

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Wednesday night I had free passes to see a preview of this movie.  I’d never really heard about it before, but it was fun.
It a British-fun kind of way.

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Thursday morning I woke up to this at Columbus Circle (look closely).  The entire circle was blocked off by police.

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That’s because the night before some wacko threw what looked like a package that contained a bomb into a police car, which was occupied by a police officer at the time.  In Times Square.  He immediately drove the car away from the crowded area, in case it blew up.  He deserves a medal for that.

The package turned out to be a fake bomb.  While he drove away other police started chasing/looking for the guy and his car.  They ultimately found him sitting in it, in Columbus Circle.  And they spent the better part of the night/morning trying to talk him out of his car.  They finally got him, arrested him and then scanned his car for any weapons or incendiary devices.  I don’t think they found anything.

Here are Gracie’s before and after pictures taken before and after her grooming appointment.  She absolutely loves going there and playing with the other dogs.  She almost jumps out of my arms when we start walking down the stairs to enter the place.  I’ll have to take a video next time.

 

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you see this?

If you didn’t answer the  movie, “Airplane”, then I have to question why you’re reading my blog.  In case you still have no clue, they were singing, “Hari krishna, krishna krishna” with their tambourines.  I came across them on Friday as I was running errands.  It made my day.  :)

I also came upon these news trucks and police vehicles, still at Columbus Circle late Friday afternoon.  It must’ve been a slow news day since that whole event was over on Thursday morning before 10:00.  They were probably stopping and interviewing clueless tourists about their thoughts.

 

Friday evening I went with some friends from my building to go see this (it was bloody hot and humid):

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Here’s one of many, many videos that I took.  This was at the starting line.  The rest of them were taken up close, at the finish line.  I’m not going to post them because, unfortunately for me …… there are just some things that you can never un-see.  Ever.  Even if you wash your eyeballs.
You owe me a HUGE thank you.

 

After the race we went up to the rooftop bar on our building to try to drink away the trauma we’d just witnessed.
Let me say this about that, and then I’m done:  Some men should never, EVER run while wearing only briefs.
EVER.

We did get to see a beautiful sunset.  And there was an outdoor orchestra concert going on across the street at Lincoln Center.  The bottom picture is zoomed in.

 

This picture was taken last night, while Gracie was cuddled up against me and over my arm while I lay on the sofa.  She’s never far from my body.  Which is less than comfortable in the heat.  But what the heck.

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So there you go.  A week in NY.  And mostly …… crazily enough …… pretty typical.

Man, I love this city.

🙂

I Never Imagined Saying This, But ……

…… I’m going to miss being in Waco when I leave tomorrow.
Because, you know …… it’s Waco.

But now Waco contains this face, which is really, really difficult to leave:

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We had a great weekend.  Sons #1 and #2 came in town to visit and Little Man had a great time with his uncles.

 

And of course, we all had a great time with him.

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I’m heading back to NY tomorrow.                                                                                                           Back to humid heat.                                                                                                                                       But lower temps.                                                                                                                                             Whoop!

But, dang …… I’m gonna miss this face.

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I Am Issuing a Class Action ……

 

…… apology.

Sorry to any of you who thought you might be due some money.
No such luck.

But you do get an apology.
A profuse apology.

But only to those of you who’ve uttered the words, “But it’s a dry heat.”
Because if you’ve said that …… I’ve made fun of you.
Maybe not you directly, but in general to anyone who’s ever said that.
Thus the class action.

When I’ve heard those words my response has always been, “Oh, whatever! One hundred and ten degrees is one hundred and ten degrees, dry or humid!”

I humbly ask for your forgiveness.

In my defense, I will tell you that I have never, ever lived in a “dry” place …… until now.

I’m from Oregon. Left when I was a toddler so I don’t remember much. Moved back for a year when I was 8, but still don’t remember much. However …… it’s Oregon. So the word “dry” has no application.

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Not dry?”, you may ask? No. It’s not. Because it sits against the Arkansas River. Not as humid as some cities, to be sure, but not dry at all.

Then we moved to Chicago.
Another river.
Need I say more?

And then …… we moved to the mother load of humidity …… Houston, Texas.
Oh.
My.
Word.
You definitely don’t have to worry about dry skin, but you also can’t imagine the fires of hell being worse than August in Houston.

And then there’s New York.
City.
Manhattan, if you will.
An island.
Which means there’s water all around.
Water all around=HUMIDITY!!
It never feels as bad as Houston, but there’s still humidity in the summer.
Yuck.

But now …… now I have a home in Waco, Texas.
If you’d have asked me two years ago if I’d ever be living in Waco I would’ve told you that you were insane.
Because really?
Waco???!
But I have to tell you …… the high today was 99.
NINETY NINE!!! One degree short of 100!!
Yet I could’ve easily played two set of tennis this afternoon.
Because it’s a “dry heat”.

I’m here to tell all of you who live in the humid hells that a dry heat is the best heat in which to live.
Move, if you can.
Get the hell out of the humidity.
Run away.
Escape to the dryness.

You’ll thank me in the end.

When You’re Blessed ……

…… it’s difficult to tell others that you feel sad.
Or depressed.
Or unhappy.

But there you go.
It happens.
And probably not just to me.

I know that I am blessed.
In so many ways.

I had a great time with Daughter #2, Little Man, Daughter #3 and her hubby, AKA Son #4.
It was wonderful to have them here.
And all of the over 200 birthday wishes made me feel special.
Very special.

But the next morning D#3 and S#4 flew back to Texas (D#2 and Little Man flew back the day before).
And I felt incredibly sad.
And depressed.
Even though I know that I am blessed.

Being blessed doesn’t mean that you stop missing him.
Being blessed doesn’t mean that you stop missing your “before” life.
Being blessed doesn’t mean that you enjoy being alone …… all of the time.

It just means that you feel bad about admitting those things.

I Don’t Deserve ……

…… any of the kind, supportive words that I’ve been given. I’m sure my children would be the first to testify to this.

I didn’t do anything except finally admit publicly what I’ve known, but could not reveal, for several years.
My children have been much braver than I. I don’t think they worried for one second about what people would think about them being their true selves.
I’m sorry to admit that I did worry about that.

Again, I didn’t really care what people would think about my children … or me. I cared about the friendships that I knew would end once people voiced their thoughts to me.
I’m not sure that even makes sense.

My views, beliefs, and thoughts have changed a lot since Jim died. I’ve come to learn that things are not always black and white.
But many of the people I’ve loved and respected for years don’t see the varied hues.
I’m ok with that. I don’t think we all have to totally agree on everything. I can respect someone who thinks/believes differently than me.

What I can’t deal with is someone who would vocalize their judgement of my children to me. Especially for something they did not choose.

So I remained quiet. In order to keep friendships. In order to keep the peace.

So much for peace.

I am a Christ-follower.
I am a mother.
I am rarely, if ever, totally right.

But as a Christ-following mother …… I can tell you this …… who you love is NOT a choice. Not for most people anyway.
Not for my children.
Not for me.

As a Christ-following mother …… I can tell you that I know my child has always been gay. Just as I have always been heterosexual.

As a Christ-following mother …… I can tell you that I do NOT believe that my child is sinning by being gay …… by being what he/she was born to be.
What kind of god would label love a sin? A love you have no control over?

I know that many would disagree with me. I wonder how many of those people have children who are gay?

And …… as a Christ-follower …… I can tell you this: Christ was/is/always will be about love. Love.
Love is love is love is love.
Love.

I think that’s about all I have to say on this subject. Of course, I can always change my mind, but I don’t want to turn this blog into a religious/political forum on gay rights.

It’s just about my life.
My life without Jim.
My life in spite of being without Jim.

My children are a part of that life.
Which probably doesn’t thrill them at all.

Love is love is love is love is love.

Love is Love is Love is Love ……

I have been blown away….. by the support, encouragement, and love that I’ve received since my last post.

Really.  I haven’t been too sure as to how to respond, so I’ve waited.  But I don’t want to wait too long because I want you to know how much you’ve meant to me.

The depression thing …… well, that’s only a part of what’s been going on and it’s not something that I’m concerned about.  Trust me, if it were, I’d be back on the meds in a heart beat.  Because I have.  Several times.
This time it feels different.
I know that part of the reason I don’t want to be on them is because I never needed them before Jim died.
Damn it to hell.
His death changed so much of me.
Without my permission.
Without my knowledge.
But there you go.

I’ve been mostly on anti-depressants for 8 years.  Enough is enough.  Or so I hope.

My last post wasn’t so much about depression, as it was the trifecta that was occurring in my/our world.

First, I’ve been missing Jim.  I think that usually happens this time of year.  I just want to hear his voice.  I want to know that he’s here, that he sees us and that he cares.
And that he approves.  I guess that would be the biggest thing.
But, as the age old song goes, “You can’t always get what you want.”

And then that damn Orlando thing happened …… and I decided that I’d had enough.
I’m done with hiding my children from my “friends”.
I’m done with pretending that one’s just too busy to be dating and settling down.

You see, I grew up and have remained in a conservative Christian background.  I have loved the people I’ve worshipped with and yes, worked with. Immensely.

But I knew that if I were to even whisper that I thought one of my children were gay, relationships would change.  Some would even end.
And I wasn’t ready for that.

I loved certain people so much that I couldn’t tell them that I had a gay child/children because I didn’t want to hear the condemnation that I was sure would come spewing forth.  That would mean the end of a friendship.  And I wasn’t ready for that.

But then came Orlando.
And now I don’t give a damn what people think, or believe, or spew forth, about my children.

I, and I alone, along with Christ, know my children.  I know their hearts, and I know their souls.  I’ve watched them grow up from toddlers in the church to teens.  I’ve seen some of them leave the church because of the hypocrisy they encountered there.  Heck, I saw my own parents leave the church for the same reason.

Yes, I knew early on that one of our children was gay.  Or was most likely gay.
No, I never said a word to Jim.  I can’t know for sure what he would’ve said, but I believe that he would’ve had a more difficult time accepting it than I did.

I do believe he would’ve come around, though.  And I don’t believe for one moment that he would’ve dis-owned or kicked our child out of our home because of this.

I know that this will come as a shock to certain family members, as well as friends.  And for that, I’m sorry.
Again, I didn’t feel it was my story to tell.
I still don’t.

I think it’s obscene that we expect our gay children to “come out”, while our heterosexual children just grow up and marry.

So there you go.  I have two gay children.
Whom I love very much.
And whom I hope find love and happiness and family life, in the same way I hope that for their siblings.
I know that Christ loves all 6 of my children.
No if’s and’s or but’s.

I wish that Jim were here with me to have my back now.
But he’s not.
It’s just me.
And that’s ok.
Because it has to be.

To those of you who will no longer be in my life because of your beliefs, it was nice knowing you and I wish you the best.

To those of you who don’t give a rat’s ass about who my children love, thank you.
So very much.
Because I need you.

I love my children.
All 6 of them.
I’m proud of my children.
All 6 of them.
And nothing, no … nothing, can change that.
I may not always agree with their choices or decisions, but I will always love and accept them.
As would Jim.