Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My haven...

I've talked about my woodworking being really good therapy for me, but I've also come to think of my garage as a haven.  When I walk out the front door and into the garage I don't think about the dust on my furniture, the floors that need to be cleaned, the laundry waiting to be folded and put away or the dirty dishes.  And, yesterday I was reminded that I haven't been thinking much about my bills either!  I came home to a notice that my water had been turned off!!

I was dumbfounded - sure that I'd paid that bill.  But, nope, I checked my on-line banking records and sure enough the last time I paid my water bill was in October.  Strangely enough, I received my most recent bill yesterday, too.  It did show that I had an outstanding balance.  But, between Oct 14th and yesterday I didn't receive a reminder - and the rep assured me that they always send out a reminder.  I suppose it got lost with the original bill.

Well, darn.  I haven't been late on a payment like that in a long, long time.  I guess I need to spend more time in the house - and I will, just as soon as the Doc's wall unit is done, and my Christmas gifts are finished.  It looks like I'll have to start the New Year off with a resolution to take care of the business of living before I can escape to my hideaway!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Death and Therapy...

f I had any doubt that my woodworking was good therapy, they've been dispelled.  I've spent the weekend working in the garage and I'm pretty sure that my mood is back to normal.

November was a tough month for this family.  My oldest daughter's husband lost two grandmothers.  These two women were wonderful, warm, and caring people.  They treated my daughter as if she was their granddaughter. And, they treated me like a daughter.   La Verne and Madeline will be missed!  

We also lost my husband's mother.  Don's mom was not the easiest woman to love.  I know that she loved her son and daughters, but for some reason she was seldom able to show them that she loved them.  And, she rarely said the words "I love you".  Her children loved her, but never understood why she wasn't like everyone else's mother!  Her difficulty in showing her feelings spilled over to her grandchildren.  She could sometimes share some loving feelings with the grandchildren who lived close to her, but my children rarely saw her and never heard much from her either.  I think I can count the number of birthday greeting cards she sent to all of my children on one hand (and I'd have a few fingers left over). 

Over the years I made every effort to keep in touch with Don's parents.  We made at least one trip north each year specifically to see them.  In 39 years of marriage his parents traveled only 3 times to visit us.  And, one of those trips we went there, picked his mom up and brought her to our home to spend the summer with us.  Even during that time she was critical of the kids rather than loving, found fault in the way our family functioned, and spent little time sharing time with us.

That said, I still feel her loss.  After Don's death I tried to contact her every week.  But, in the past 6 months it had become very difficult to try to carry on a conversation with her and my calls had dwindled.  In fact, after trying unsuccessfully to reach for for over 2 months, she actually called me (that's only happened twice in 39 years!).  During that call she was talkative and seemed happy.  She even told me she loved.  Lord, I should have known what was coming!  I talked with her on Thanksgiving day as she was waiting to be picked up to go to her daughter's for dinner.  Again, she seemed in good spirits and we had a brief, but good conversation.  I'm thankful for that because the day after Thanksgiving Jackie fell and broke her hip.  As it happened, I arrived in Medford that same morning for a brief visit with my logger daughter and her family.  Instead, I went directly to the hospital.

Mom was in pain and on medication for the pain.  She was pretty much out of it but occasionally was able to mumble something that we could understand.  She had surgery Saturday morning and did well considering her overall ill health.  However, she was having trouble breathing and she was transferred to ICU just until her breathing stabilized.  She was fairly lucid that Sunday and chatted briefly with her daughter, but Sunday evening she was failing.  Her daughters made the difficult decision to keep her comfortable but to let her go.  She died Monday morning about 7:30.

I am relieved that she is no longer in pain, that the loss of her son, which she felt so deeply, is behind her.  I will miss her, ornery person that she could be!

Her death opened up my own loss and I've felt melancholy and sad all week.  Emotions have been up and down.  I couldn't wait to get back to my own house, away from that death.  And when I did arrive home, what did I do??  I went out to the garage and continued working on my son's wall unit.  I cut, I drilled pocket holes, I glued, I painted.  These are big, heavy pieces and I shoved and pulled and strained all weekend long. I thought about Don, his Mom, and their lives.  I thought about how Jackie lost her son and in the losing of Don she almost lost her own life.  I thought about how I once asked God why he'd taken Don and left his mother!  I thought about all of it.  This is life, it isn't always easy, it often isn't fun, and sometimes it downright tragic.  But, it is what it is, and we either deal with it or we buckle under the weight of it.  I've chosen each day to deal with it.  And, I've found that it is so much easier to deal with when I'm in woodworker mode!  Thank God for wood and tools - I just might make it!