I’ve never been real comfortable with memories. Seems the good ones hurt just as much as the bad ones, maybe worse because those people, places, or experiences aren’t around anymore & I miss them. The bad ones were just lessons, & I’ve forgiven the people involved & been thankful to have survived the bad experiences. But the sadness from good memories lingers & stings.
But I realized the other day that not ALL of my memories cause sadness – & wondered why? Some memories, whether 40 years, 40 days, or 40 hours old, just seem like scenes from someone else’s life, not actually past chapters of my own life. Turns out only the memories that cause me sadness are the good one’s which have strong emotional feelings STILL attached. The others are just neutral, past events & people with no strong feelings one way or the other – just history. I can remember places I’ve lived, people I’ve known, & a plethora of experiences that don’t give an emotional jolt, even ex-husbands. And I seem to have many years of my life that have no memories at all. Maybe I slept thru those years. Many previous pets & missing relatives tho cast a very deep shadow over my heart. There are places I don’t like to return to or see because of bad memories tho – so I just try to stay away from those places. Unfortunately, Jeff & I saw SOOOO many awesome scenes in our four good years of traveling that even if I wanted to revisit a place, I doubt I can now without Jeff – at least not for awhile or possibly not alone. It would just be too sad to enjoy any fantastic scene. The odd thing (still) to me is how remembering places we visited that weren’t particularly pleasant or sight-seeing worthy can still make me sad to remember them. Hmmm, guess it’s just that Jeff & I shared the experience together – & I remember being with him in all those places, regardless of the location. So – I just won’t be there again without him, whether I enjoyed the location or not. However – going to Quartzsite AZ for my 4th winter was extremely comforting, but I did try to go to different places than where he & I had gone. When I went to familiar places, I hurried away as fast as possible before the sadness overtook me. I still remember (pleasantly) seeing Quartzsite again, snuggled into the valley below, after a long journey – my first by myself, as I topped the hill on I-10. What a rush!! Yeah, it felt like home.
Mother’s Day has come & gone, & I talked to my 90 year old mom. She’s doing amazingly well with her vascular dementia, but actually doesn’t DO much of anything anymore except sleep & eat. My 93 year old dad (nearly 73 years of marriage) however has learned to cook, clean, shop, & do laundry for the two of them, plus cope with the loss of his life-long companion when she has an episode when she doesn’t know who he is or even where she is. It breaks my heart that I can’t help or change anything, & I just sort of hold my breath until I hear she’s back to normal. The most I can do is provide some adult conversation to my dad & give him a safe way of venting his frustration & worry. Surprisingly, Mother’s Day was sadder than I expected when it occurred to me it could be the last year with my mom – or dad, or both. Plus Jeff always made a big deal out of wishing me a happy Mother’s Day even tho my only kids have four feet. I know he appreciated how his daughter & I got along, & she’s still my daughter. I like pets as kids tho because they never grow up or ever stop needing me. And they show me appreciation all the time for caring for & loving them. Between no kids & not liking to cook, I guess I’m just not very domesticated.
Between the memories & the holidays, I understand how the first year after a death is the hardest & sometimes (not as often tho) I feel like I’m just barely hanging on by my fingernails. I just wish I could find that damned switch to control my moods. Sometimes I feel like the cartoon character walking around with a little black cloud following me around. I’m just getting SO TIRED of this emotional roller coaster. I can go days & weeks even feeling happy, peaceful, & optimistic. Then – poof – it all goes away & the tears fall over nothing at all. Sometime, I’m so ready to let go of my memories, but other times, I don’t really WANT to let go. Maybe I just haven’t gotten to the stage yet when those memories make me smile. It’s happened a few times, but not often.
Well, anyway, the weather is still very changeable, sleeting one minute & bright sunshine the next; calm & comfortable then strong enough wind to blow your freckles off the next minute. At least I can sleep with the window open some nights & had to break out a pair of shorts several afternoons. I still spend a lot of time reading ebooks (murder mysteries so I can try to figure out whodunit before the end of the book). And I’ve been using my new skillet more, although one-pan meals are the most I want to make. Not much new at work but I’m getting more comfortable with the get up, get ready, & go to work routine. At least it gives me some kind of routine which I admit to missing when not working. My friend Aubrey looked at the brand new Rhinoflex sewer hose Jeff got last summer but never used that I couldn’t get to tighten on the sewer drain pipe. It was missing a gasket (ring) inside that made it attach tightly. Woo hoo. However, then I needed a different attachment at the other end so the macerator pump can attach. Once I finally figured out how the RhinoFlex system works (with a locking ring to change to various ends or even hook sections together), I now have the correct end to use the macerator pump again. The last dump without the macerator pump, I had to keep lifting the hose up above the blue boy in the back of the truck to empty it – about 20 times. And numerous lifts again to empty it into the porta potty. Thank heaven for ibuprofen!!!! I seem to have an invasion of tiny carpenter ants (cause they smell slightly citrusy when smashed). But I squirt them with vinegar/water & there’s no wood in the Casita. Can’t figure out how or why they’re getting in yet but I haven’t seen any more lately.
I made another trip to Walmart in Gallup (63 miles one way) &, instead of traveling in silence this time, decided to listen the music on the thumb drive Jeff & I enjoyed together. I’m picky about the music I listen to because songs elicit too many memories & can quickly shift my mood out of control. It’s been a way of desensitizing me over all the memories that music brings on. Either I really am getting better or the strategy is working cause it wasn’t as upsetting as previous trips. I prefer music without songs usually but Jeff & I loved listening to Andrea Bocelli (a blind, Italian tenor). It works for me cause most of the songs are in Italian that I can’t understand anyway so my emotions don’t go crazy. I decided it was time to make new memories tho & ordered a new CD by him. Unfortunately, I don’t like some of the songs on the CD, so I started listening to all the older songs we enjoyed. What a tailspin that created. So much for getter better. Even without friends around & a slow cell signal, sometimes I have to call one of my friends when I get really sad, but I hesitate to call then cause I know they feel helpless & causes them to worry more. Maybe the music on top of Memorial Day approaching is just another bump in this healing journey. We launched our full-timing adventure five years ago on Memorial Day Sunday. I was never that crazy about traveling for too long before Jeff came into my life. Couldn’t wait to get back home to my comfort & critters & routine. Well, traveling around pulling my house along with us drastically changed all that. And technology now lets us all stay connected without being near each other. My priority has been being in the weather & scenery that make me happy.
Geez, don’t I have a very exciting life anymore?? I’ve never been a patient person, but as I’ve aged & slowed down, I’ve actually gotten more patient. (One of only a few good things about getting older.) Plus I just don’t care as much about many things that used to stress me. And I’ve also noticed that I don’t vent (or cuss) as much as when Jeff was alive. I wonder if it’s cause when there’s no one around to help or consult, I just don’t waste the energy saying anything while I concentrate on fixing whatever is wrong. Weird, huh? Can’t believe I’ve been here nearly two months already – but I sure like it. This little remote community is really starting to feel like home, & I’m thinking I may have found my summer place for years to come. I’m also not spending much money (with Walmart & most restaurants over an hour away) although ordering things by mail has been a lot of fun. Wish more friends would come by to visit tho. I can only stand so much of my own company!