Not signed in (Sign In)

Vanilla 1.1.2 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2017 edited
    I think numerous things go on together after the final hurt lands.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2017
    Today our home health aide stopped by. She and her family plan to move South, but before that, she'll be visiting her parents in Eastern Europe for a few months. So as soon as their house is sold, she'll be gone. I knew this was coming but now that their house is up for sale, I realize her departure is imminent. She took care of my husband for 6 years, twice a week for the first 3 years and once a week after he was admitted to LTC. They were the best of friends and she knew him better than anyone except me. This will be a big loss for me.

    Wolf, Did your neighbors come over for dinner? How did it go?
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2017
    My home care worker was polish. Those are the very people the Brits don't want. She was great. It's a bond that forms which must be strong after six years. I'm sorry there's another loss to endure. I know about that. My x-best friend decided almost a year ago he didn't want to talk to me anymore. I didn't do or say anything that warranted that; but, that doesn't matter. There's nothing like feeling empty already and watching even more people leave your life.

    Those guys haven't come over yet. Motorcycle man phoned me yesterday to say he hadn't forgotten and tried to sell me a used Vespa (again). They'll work something out soon enough but I'm not building on this becoming too much. I've got more contact with people around me and that's a healthy step in the right direction.

    The truth is that it's going to be a long slog and numerous hits to build up things that add up to a more rewarding outlook inside. I'm very appreciative that I can feel and see that the power of what I was feeling has substantially dissipated. What hasn't happened is what I knew wouldn't happen - I don't feel fulfilled or happy or relaxed or any other positive feeling just because the deeply negative feelings have become materially less.

    We talked about delayed reaction. I do think that applies to how positive things don't change how we feel right away. They seem to need various numbers of things to happen and most of those have incubation times.

    My reward for having less fog and dark in my outlook is that I can see both the tragic way in which she died and the endless stretch of empty before me far more clearly and far more poignantly than when I was more numb. Isn't that great??

    As an example of what I mean, I should have some feelings about breaking through the long barrier I had up in defense, and initiating contact for it's own sake. I can see that's progress and a good thing, but I have no feelings about that. I have no feelings about my air conditioner breaking either. The truth is I've done a couple more good things that were challenges and I got done. I would prefer to react but the thermometer doesn't budge.

    That's not great, but I've said all along I was pretty sure it was the negatives that were changing and that's not a positive - it's less negativity. Less dread, less gloom, less hurt, less depression, less anxiety, less fear - but not, more anything except that I'm more here more fully.

    I said that wasn't great, but it depends on what we see. I can see that even though my overall feelings seem somewhat worse than when I enjoyed good moments - the deeper truth is that it feels like I'm carrying the full weight of my real situation - and I can do that. I doubt there's much left to hit me worth talking about. I'm pretty sure that this the full tilt boogie of what my life is and feels like.

    It's empty. Duh! I'm just arriving. The sum total of my effort to build a new life is zero. I operate better inside my little shell but I haven't tried to build anything into it - which is why there isn't anything in it. I'm not gushing with hope. I don't believe in the Pollyanna effect any more than I believe in fatalism or demons.

    What I believe in is the human spirit and I mean specifically my human spirit. I believe that my own enthusiasm is the very last thing that will come back and that is going to take what it takes. In the meantime, I count the shots that have been fired and like a glinty eyed Clint Eastwood (without the looks), I admit I enjoy walking up to the trolls, and delivering the news "you're out of bullets" just before I absorb them.

    What I absorb is the pain and the hate and the resentment and the sorrow because we can't coexist forever and so I work at absorbing them and so they don't block wanting my life.

    There are going to be days I regret opening this door to my neighbours. It comes with the territory of re-entering life after deep hurt.

    It's all still an effort and I'm still suffering. I feel lonely and isolated and I can talk on the phone for hours or to my neighbour and I sit back in my life and the truth of how lonely and empty it is of real meaning comes right back. It does that because that is the truth of my life and because I'm still moving away from serious trauma. There are times now that I look up and it dawns on me how strange all this has been and still is. I don't miss the trauma though. Neither does my anxiety. And even without a destination yet, it's clear I'm generally going in the right direction. I'll find that cork tree one day and after that you will know where to find me.

    Hey Cassie, are you ok?
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2017
    Yes Wolf I am ok, thankyou.
    Vespas always conjure up wonderful pictures in my head, are you thinking of buying it?
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2017
    Vespas conjure up wonderful pictures in my head too provided I was living in Paris or Milan or even Zurich; but, over here in North America both serious public transportation and the accommodation of bicycles and scooters is non existent. The distances, the culture, and the infrastructure are all strictly for cars.

    One of my avenues is to apply for EU citizenship which I'm entitled to because I was born there, and then rent a flat somewhere. If nothing else pans out, I can guarantee that living my last years in any one of dozens of cities will keep me occupied and then, yes, I might buy a used Vespa to get around more.

    If nothing else, thoughts like that help keep me aware that all of my life bar none has been trundling down the tracks already largely set. School, marriage, jobs, and relationships have always dictated what happened while we had some freedom of choice largely on weekends and vacations.

    Don't get me wrong. It was great overall. But the only time I've ever had a wide open playing field is never. Well, it's wide open now and while most of what stops me is the legitimate time I need to recover from the serious things that happened, ultimately it will be my own limits of imagination and willingness that determine the limits of possible outcomes.

    It's all in my new book 'Shock Therapy And The Art of Being Less Boring To Yourself'.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2017 edited
    Wolf, I think most of us travel down tracks that have already been laid out. After this calamity hits us, those tracks - jobs, church, outside interests - continue to give us structure and routine and force us to be in regular contact with others. But some of us leave those familiar tracks at about the same time Alzheimer's sneaks into our lives. (I'm thinking of MaryinPA & Joan, who both moved, and of you, who retired.) But in such cases, the all-consuming Alzheimer's track takes over before we get a chance to establish ourselves on other new tracks. Maybe the only way for you to rejoin society is to find a new track, i.e., to adopt structural change of some kind. (In a way, that's what MaryinPA has done with her traveling.) I don't know what might be possible for you, maybe a part-time job as a business consultant or something like that. Although the 2 "animals" who live in your court sound like fun, I doubt they will provide much structure for your life. I also suspect that you would appreciate some intellectual companionship.

    [Am at the service dept. of the car dealership & car is ready - will come back to this later.] Well, in addition to fixing the recall item and changing the oil, the dealership diagnosed my car with what I understand to be a torn rotator cuff, which requires surgery to the tune of $600. I declined, since I want to get a second opinion from my husband's nephew-in-law, who owns an auto body shop.
    Update on 6/27: I told nephew-in-law about torn rotator cuff in car and he knew immediately what I was talking about.

    BTW, this weekend I balanced my checkbook (for the joint account I still have) and saw a $200 withdrawal that I didn't recognize. I looked up the image online and saw a withdrawal slip signed by someone with my husband's first and last name but a different middle name. My husband died on March 2; the withdrawal was made on June 14. Talked to the bank on Saturday and their approach was ho-hum so I talked to someone else there today and he was alarmed. They just froze the account and will open a new one in my name only in the morning.
    Update on 6/27. Bank traced the withdrawal to a branch in a town in adjacent state. They found an account-holder with the same name as my husband who lived in that town. Bank matched signature card for that account to the signature on the withdrawal slip for my account. So there was no fraud, just carelessness by the teller, who handwrote the account number on the withdrawal slip but failed to first obtain the customer's SS# and verify that it matched the # on that account.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2017
    Guess who's coming to dinner?

    After a couple of weeks where I didn't hear from my two neighbors, I thought maybe having dinner together was too dinosaur thinking for them. Last year I wouldn't have done this at all but if I had, I would have been doubting that maybe they didn't like me or maybe I stink or maybe nothing was ever going to just be normal again because I've spent enough time thinking all that wounded animal crap that I can't sense it anymore.

    Nope. They both phoned me today because they each thought they were talking for both of them that this Friday would be ideal. Motorcycle man talked me into making a ceasar salad and then talked me out of it insisting that he would bring his famous sauce and I would never eat anything else again. I barely talked him out of bringing his own sauce for my ribs. This is an x-motorcycle gang member who nurtures little wounded birds back to health and grates his own parmesan cheese for his salad ("the hard kind, you know, that you have to scrape off - not that plastic stuff").

    Bring your own beer, I told them both. My next door neighbour is having a BBQ tonight and is having motorcycle man over. He invited me but I had just finished my last day of heated up chinese food. I'd been realizing that it feels good to have opened up and reached out even if that didn't work out with these guys. I didn't feel all that stuff I've felt for so long about everything because those feelings were never about everything - but were something I brought to everything because they were inside me. The dread that dementia brings and keeps around for so long that when it leaves, it takes years to notice.

    I've learned something about myself I didn't know before. I don't want to be around people I knew before. Maybe that's because that makes me feel like I'm in the same place but without Dianne. Maybe that's because it bring memories. I don't believe either of those but it's something. These two phone calls today and being on for Friday makes it absolutely clear to me that I want my own life that is built by me and lived in by me for it's own sake. Whatever this time is going to be it's going to be new and now and made real by me being in it. I know that because I'm already doing it and it feels right and even full of promise. Invitations from my old world never feel free like the new things do.

    I'm the drunk who's been away a long time but somehow managed to dry out and after years of swollen and crippled fingers, I finally sat down and found I could still play and even make the notes dance. I didn't know this before but I can only ride the train to the end of it's tracks. All the survival and healing and recovering and wounded and mourning and sorry crap that has served me so well doesn't work anymore and I'm leaving it all on the train. From here, I walk into the undiscovered country part of what has always been accessible and never felt like it was and in truth never felt like it ever would be. But it is, and here I am.

    No bag. No baggage. No need to tell anyone anything. I'm satisfied with myself for my efforts. I never gave up for a single instant ever from the moment she died and I'm proud of that. I also know fortune always has it's ways and I'm grateful to be here. I don't take my fortune all on to myself. I feel good about my effort and my will but that's all. I have no idea what worked and what helped and what was a complete waste of time.

    I've already written that book here. If I collect up all the posts that talk to that journey, I can fill hundreds of pages. It's already there in the book of life which puts it into perfect chaos with the actual way it all happened.

    I'll leave this with a reference to my x-best friend who I'm still angry about, but where I know the truth is that for decades he has never been able to fully accept something 'bad' happened to him and has wrestled with himself ever since. He's a great person but he just can't take in the thing that is too much for him and so he can't mend together and become whole cloth again. And I know exactly why.

    He bends over to pick up the burden time and again but every single time, by the time he straightens back up again he hasn't picked up the truth of it; he's once again only picked up the part that something is hurting him because he can't bring himself to pick up the pain and it's cause and own it sincerely and genuinely. When the moment comes he protects himself from that pain and denies the hard task of genuinely learning to own it so that he could start learning how to live with it.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2017

    I'll tell you one of the things I've never heard anyone say. "I don't want to feel better". I've never heard anybody say that. Dianne is long gone. But this isn't about her and it's not her life. It's mine. What a story, what a planet, what an experience. I don't have the feelings yet to feel joy and I know that because I went back and reminded myself the times I felt that soul rocking feeling. But I feel positive and full of energy and even if I hit a brick wall now - I have this time where I know I walked through every which thing for years until I arrived at the end and have found it's a starting point for what's ahead and not an end point at all.

    I even know what's ahead. All the things I did and didn't do, which sound like action items but one thing I could do is relax more. Some of the discovering this undiscovered country is as simple as making myself sit back for a moment and look around and see that everything is the way it is and I'm ok in that. I know what that's worth too far more than I've ever understood.

    The insatiable rich person remains a beggar, the satiable beggar becomes a rich person.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2017
    I am raising my glass to you as I read. Cheers Wolf!!
    Just checking in although I do read the comments almost every day. I am trying to sort through three generations of sentimental stuff from two families. It is slow going. So many memories and people and I am the last person to remember them so some days I feel obligated to take a few moments to allow the memories and pour over the pictures. It's the way I am hard-wired. And, it is inefficient.

    In the nine months since DH died our family has had his death, a birth, a wedding, and now a major move and a couple of scary illnesses including a full blown peanut allergy in a 6 month old. There is a scale that measures life stresses and I'm rather sure that this all puts me in the red zone, but all of it put together is nothing like caring for an AD spouse.

    All said, though, downsizing is a good thing and I think it will be very liberating. It is all so bittersweet. I cannot imagine what it will be like to no longer live here or look out over the meadow at the deer and fox. I will have to walk the dogs on leashes; they are used to freely romping around on seven acres. I will have the idiosyncrasies of neighbors to learn. But most of all I will be leaving "our" house and home and I feel in some small part like I am abandoning our life. Well, I guess that is exactly what is happening. But what is the alternative? Living the life of a Miss Havisham? Because that is what AD did - it left me standing at the alter (of life).

    On a brighter note, there are charities out there (in my case, the Rescue Mission) who will take the household goods and turn them into money for their own good. I look at it this way: I have gotten the use and enjoyment of the things in the house so they fulfilled their purpose. Now it is time to let someone else make of them what they will. I don't want the tediousness of trying to sell everything singly or for the most money. It is the best way for me to let go.

    Let go. That said, there isn't an hour in any waking day that I don't think of my husband. It isn't all so traumatic now as it was when he was alive and suffering from AD. But, I am not the same person I was before. Not in a long shot. It really was a metamorphosis, although i have no idea from what to what.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2017
    Hello marche, I too often wonder "from what to what" we have become.
    Your life at the moment, sounds very difficult but after dementia it is possible to survive anything and you seem to be doing just that!
    The memories as you pack must be overwhelming but I hope that you will find some joy to cling to,amidst them all.
    All the best.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2017
    Marche, I think it's both understandable and cruel to characterize this as abandoning anything. It may be more that you're trying to do something that feels like it's what you need to do to 'move forward'. Nobody making changes like this would have preconceptions about what's ahead.

    Portray any character into any scenario that has our own experiences in it, and that character simply has to be trying to fight through that. It feels oppressive because it IS oppressive and there's no other way to portray these times we're actually facing. And what are you doing in this cruel and hard scene to act through? You're trying to face it and make forward decisions in that - even grasping how much of a metamorphosis this truly is. That's accurate.

    "What's my alternative? Living the life of a Miss Havisham?" - that's really funny and also really not funny just as Charles Dickens intended. For anyone only interested enough if someone explains it - Miss Havisham in Great Expectations was jilted at the altar and spent the rest of her life in her wedding dress. She was well off so that wasn't part of that scene. As I explained above about my friend though, she couldn't accept that this bad thing had happened to her and so chose instead to remain stuck.

    There were only ever two choices in life - evolve with it or remain in the past. It's bullcrap that our marriages or our children or our lives were ever the same from one year to the next. All those things steadily evolve throughout life where it is the human need for certainty and constancy that weaves the narrative that is our outlook of all these things.

    Marche, here's the truth that defines you right now. You faced and lived your life when things were normal. You faced and gave when life became truly cruel to you both and fought through for both of you. Now you are facing change into the unknown on your own.

    It's all very trying and sad but how could this time feel otherwise? The greatest thing you can do IMO is to develop your understanding that you really are going through one of the hardest things we face in life. Developing some sympathy and understanding for your own grieving, healing, step-by-step acceptance, and reconciliation wouldn't be selfish - it would the truth; not to mention useful.
    Cassie and Wolf, your words were a great encouragement to read today. We all want desperately to be understood especially when a life situation has left us bereft and isolated. Thank you.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2017
    marche*, The word "abandoned" bothered me, too. Although technically correct, it usually implies deserting, rejecting, casting aside, or turning your back on something. That's not what you are doing and it surely would not be the way you would describe it if your dear husband were alive and well and you were both going to move to a smaller place. Your home and property sound lovely (which must add to the pain of moving) but they were not your life together, they were just the setting, or stage, for your life.

    I really liked Wolf's point that our marriages or our lives together were never the same from one year to the next an that our viewing them like that is just a way of satisfying the human need to fit events into a coherent narrative. I'm going to that to remember that myself.
    I agree that "abandon" was not the best choice of words. I am not sure what would describe this scene, though. I realized the other day that I couldn't remember what my husband's voice sounded like. All that is left is a visceral feeling of it. I also realized that I think he has been mostly forgotten in the profession in which he gave some much of himself. Life goes on, and this is all understandable until and unless it involves your beloved. I strive to keep his memory alive and not abandon him. We fade away so quickly.

    The property was always a standoff with nature - I didn't insist on "manicured" landscape and instead made it so I only had to mow and not trim. And that was just around the house. The rest was left to nature with a rough cut of the meadow several times a year. The trees are my friends and I will miss them very much. Each tree seemed to have its own personality. A wild cherry tree grew in the landscape and a kindly arborist suggested leaving it. He said that although it is not the fruit bearing type it is a native species and volunteers always grow better than transplants. So too for the black walnut and the tulip tree. I had the ash trees treated for ash borer as if they were pets with heartworm. I was so happy when they recovered. There are resident skunk, raccoons, hawks, turkey vultures, sometimes wild turkeys, fox, deer and coyotes and I think I saw bobcat tracks once. The only critter I had trapped was a destructive ground hog. I have developed a deep respect for nature and balance by watching all of this happen outside my window for the last three decades. That I will sorely miss.

    While my husband was in ALF the house was my anchor in life - a familiar and loved place to retreat from the pain of the world. I readily admitted that I no longer needed the comfort or responsibility of the house and that is why I looked for and found another place to live.

    My mother was widowed at 67 - one year old than when it happened to me. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I am traveling very much the same road she did. It always helps to have a torch bearer lighting the way. Wolf's observation that marriages and lives together are never the same from one year to the next is a gem. That is knowledge that can only be learned first hand. I could never try to explain it, but having lived it, I get it.

    Thank you all for your support and kindness. Isn't virtual friendship an odd yet wonderful thing?
    If this isn't too nosy (and if it is, just don't answer)--marche, why are you selling your house and property? It sounds like you don't really want to.
    The house is too big for just one person. I want to move while I am still physically able to do it my way and in my own time. Delaying the move would only postpone the inevitable which could result in rash and unhappy decisions being made on my account. In short, I want less work and more control in my remaining life.
    Very wise, marche. It makes perfect sense.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2017
    Yes, marche, it's a very wise thing to do. But I understand your sorrow about leaving the land and the creatures who live on it with you. I remember how hard it was for my mother to sell their old farmhouse in the country because it was just too much to manage along with my father's Alzheimer's. And I know that someday I'll be unable to keep up this suburban lot, which is to me a magical space. I'm reminded of the last chapter of the book, "Cross Creek," in which the writer, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, talked about her place in the wilds of the Florida interior:

    "Who owns Cross Creek? The red-birds, I think, more than I, for they will have their nests even in the face of delinquent mortgages. And after I am dead, who am childless, the human ownership of grove and field and hammock is hypothetical. But a long line of red-birds and whippoorwills and blue-jays and ground doves will descend from the present owners of nests in the orange trees, and their claim will be less subject to dispute than that of any human heirs. Houses are individual and can be owned, like nests, and fought for. But what of the land? It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its seasonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time."
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2017
    That is so good, Myrtle. Thankyou.
    Wise words Marche, you have made me think about my own situation.
    Wolf, hope that you enjoyed Fridays' jollification.
    Myrtle, thank you for sharing that passage from Cross Creek. It is so apt, so beautiful, so true. I am going to put the book on my book list.

    Cassie, I laughed when I read the word "jollification" because it isn't used much in the USA - in fact, I had to look it up to be sure my suspicions of its definition were correct. What a superb word. I am going to try to use it five times in the next 48 hours. I love gifts like this!
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2017
    (I'm having fun putting this one up)

    There's a blue jay on the branch just outside my window. Just his head is visible above my 23" screen. He's looking around including long looks into here. He's sitting on the right branch. The window should be opening and peanuts should be flinging out. Why isn't this working??

    Two nights ago I finally finished the book I'd been savoring. I turned the light out at twenty to three with my head full of the scenes. I read the book in 1979, the year I bought it, and I read it again in the 1980's. It was both the book I had read and it wasn't. The differences were peeks into what changes 30 more years bring in how we see the very same thing.

    The jollification was excellent. We talked and told stories the entire time and ended up at the neighbour's sitting outside by the pond with the water rippling while his toy bulldog sat in my lap and I looked around where I've lived for ten years, seeing it for the first time.

    I had mentioned my air conditioner is on the fritz and they asked if I minded if they took a look. I thought no more of that until Saturday afternoon when I was watching the Tour De France and saw Tom (my neighbour) walking across my lawn with a compressor, a wad of line on his shoulder, carrying a power tool, and his yellow hose which was snaking across my lawn following him. Before I got up, Vic (motorcycle man) pulled up on the stone right outside my window on a red Vespa I've never seen before (he's legally blind), parked it, and followed Tom across the lawn to the other side of my house where the air conditioner is. So out I went.

    While they took the cover off and blew out the grills and replaced the insulation that had worn off, I suddenly said "My god, I'm outside." They both laughed. They didn't fix it and now suspect it's the drain plugged up by the furnace. It runs really quietly now though. I saw them on Sunday too for a while. In their world nothing's changed. One of the neighbours is getting involved more where he hadn't come out of his house almost ever. That's all it is for them. For me it's the point where I wanted to engage with people again - and that's life changing.

    I had a long talk with my sister yesterday. Her husband finished two weeks vacation and they didn't go anywhere special except to their trailer on Lake Erie a couple of times. We had talked about this being like a trial period where she could see what it was like and get some ideas. He's retiring soon and she's been extremely concerned about that (so is he my nephew said). She told me they talked a lot about the changes coming and that those two weeks showed them both that they could do this. She sounded much better about the whole thing and I believe she sees that they really can figure this out together. That's got to be life changing too, where I told her we were each entering a new world we knew nothing about and would be wise to see it that way rather than just bring the standard set of stuff.

    We must change to succeed. The first change is to change how we understand that. If we give no credence to the diagnosis of our current condition, we have no compass to steer by during the time where the strain still rules. If you think you have no clinical dibilitation you're almost certainly wrong. Working against feelings and struggling to get through moments and knowing life feels oppressive and not feeling like ourselves are all indicative of clinical dibilitation. There are many more like trust, the absence of balanced confidence, the extent of rawness to trigger events, and our unbalanced reactions when things go too wrong.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2017 edited
    Life is better when we have a working relationship with ourselves in our situation. If you're human it's almost certain that you don't. Aside from me, I don't know anyone who even thinks like this. Yet look around the room at the team that's going to be doing this however it works out, and ask yourself how much you work with this very same team. Nadda. You're too busy experiencing everything.

    Most people hate themselves (everyone denies), most people treat themselves badly (everyone denies), most people treat themselves different and usually worse than they treat anyone else and that is just a virtually universal fact.

    Many people believe that to even think of ourselves in our lives is wrong and selfish; but, it was given by God and is the action of our will, by which that same God will judge. By the definition of being judged we are meant to think of ourselves in our lives. Let the penny drop. You already have a relationship with yourself without reading this. What I'm telling you is, to take ownership of that and develop a relationship with what already exists, expands your experience in life.

    Humans are such liars they pretend they're just here and there is nothing on the radio or on TV, but that's willful. Scan the airwaves of the stuff going through your mind all the time every day of your life and (as long as you don't look directly at it), you might start to become aware that a parade of stuff is going through your mind constantly.

    The reason older people forget why they came into the room is because they became so engrossed in the narrative running through their mind in the meantime.

    Let me explain what all that is. It's a part of you you're not using because that would be selfish. What a fantastic planet this is among the trillions of trillions of planets there are so far.

    Wolf 1: "I'll show you! What a thing to say!"
    Wolf 2: "What are you doing?"
    Wolf 1: "I'm trying to show Rita she was wrong."
    Wolf 2: "Rita's dead. Stop that. Play soothing music."
    Wolf 1: "What is going to happen to me??"
    Wolf 2: "Nope. Try again.
    Wolf 1: "What are we going to do about the air conditioner?"
    Wolf 2: "There we go. Get it fixed one day."

    Take out the Wolf 2's and you have an example of windmill narrative, also known as the kinds of thoughts that run through everyone's head. Together, they're conversations I've actually had with myself. That's because I have a hippocampus who's job it is to worry. Life is a duality of body and soul together, and both are talking all the time.

    Think of thoughts as a motorcycle with a sidecar. Sometimes the soul is in the sidecar watching and sometimes the soul is on the motorcycle steering. Either way your brain is a chatterbox and a part of you joined at the hip. It's job is to protect you from overload. That's why it doesn't tell you everything else it's doing all the time with every single cell.

    Here's a game. You say random words to watch the thoughts that come from those words. I'll give you some. Read each word until you have 'seen' something about it and go on to the next word.

    Dog. Tiny dog. Huge dog. Friendly dog. Barking dog. Horse. Meadow. Cloud. Store. Mall. Shoes. Shoe. High heels. Eagle. Faucet. Faucet on. Babbling brook. Wide river. Pounding surf. Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra song. Dean Martin. Empire State Building.

    Do you know what's going on? You played, and like the loving friend your hippocampus is, it ran out and got the stuff you asked for. What the heck is it people think is going on?

    Play the game again. This time use just one 'word'. "I want to feel do I do that?" You have to watch for attempts at answers.

    Note to self:

    We've come a long way together. A lot has happened. I'd like to feel a little better and even happier than it do. How do I do that? What would I have to face or do? What specific things are there that might improve my life? I would have to open to some things and change some things and overcome some things, I guess. What are they? What do they look like? Where am I ready to take a step? How do I start a new thing? I'm just shopping here. Show me something and we'll talk.
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2017
    Excellent post, Wolf. You've given me much to think about. Thanks.
    Wolf, that last sentence makes it sound like a lot of work. Good thoughts, but you have to take it slow and easy.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2017
    Wolf, What nice guys! I'm glad it worked out well.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 20th 2017
    I've come to understand a few more things about this experience. You don't return to the natural self you remember because what you remember is the tempered and moderated self learned through years of close partnership.

    What I am now when I say I feel like myself is the parts I contributed to that partnership, which unfortunately were all the bad habits like clutter, letting dishes pile up, and cleaning mostly through necessity. The bits like sending christmas cards and staying in touch went out the window almost immediately for the very good reason that Dianne cared about that and made sure those things happened, while I was more like a chauffeur. It turns out you have to arrange those things before there's any chauffeuring involved.

    Another thing I've noticed is that my feelings really are a contrivance. Robotic definitions of appropriate reactions have replaced the fluid dance in the feelings I remember. I tell myself how things are and agree or not; I don't take cues from how I feel because that doesn't work and hasn't worked for a long time. I take the cues from my understanding of the analysis of the situation. Even that, being natural in reading the situation, is a work in progress.

    I could complain but I remember too well feeling so inundated and shell shocked that I was really mostly concentrating on hanging on, dozens of crises backed up in assimilating anything, and not having it cross my mind that I was or wasn't "being natural in reading the situation" or any other normal consideration.

    It's also not lost on me as I stare out into my so called life utterly without a whiff of enthusiasm, that I'm standing here with the full nine yards of stuff that happened and that it's bearable. Two years ago I couldn't even look at my future because it felt overwhelmingly horrible. I'm here though looking at it from horizon to horizon and while it's a real fixer upper, it doesn't feel that bad anymore so much as like a sentence to watch the shopping channel for the rest of my life.

    Another thing I've learned is not so great. The closer I get to a normal relativity, the more clearly I can see myself and my life. Elation at times that I was doing better has been replaced by the technicolor of how dismal things actually are at the moment.

    [They're not dismal people may protest but make a list of the things you love about your life now. Let me know if you need extra paper.]

    That things aren't actually bad anymore lasted a minute before I walked past that and saw that things aren't good either. My inventory of things I do which I would call normal involvement in life is pitiful. I understand that it couldn't be otherwise, but, that doesn't change the picture.

    I can visit and I do but I'm talking about things I own or am a full member of. It used to be easy - job, relationship, friends, family. This is an entirely different kettle of fish. It feels like an endless salad bar where there isn't a blessed thing on the menu I can remotely see myself wanting. It couldn't be more glaring that it's me - not the menu.

    This is a poorly written story of forever catching up although I doubt many people do these things in order the way I seem to be doing them. Brilliant plan I had. Feel better first so I can more viserally appreciate the abyss between me and a meaningful life. No wonder my feelings are still largely AWOL.

    I've done a number of good things lately and have had a number of breakthroughs. Instead of feeling any reaction to those, I feel like someone who breaks through the finish ribbon only to find that's also the start line of the next marathon I'm already in.

    I should be less expectant because I've had enough experience to know that cause and effect here are disjointed, interconnected, and time delayed. I've done some pretty good things so of course I feel worse. Or is it that I've come around to looking more authentically at the state my active life is in after ten years of neglect?

    Perhaps that will be revealed in the next episode of the shopping channel where I watched Joan Rivers turn into a ceramic statue of Zsa Zsa Gabor. "Am I smiling? I can't tell."

    btw - I can feel worse. It's feeling confident and feeling playful and feeling like some fun to mention some that are missing. Instead my mind points out when I should show appropriate feelings. "You should feel good about that" it says as though if I squeezed harder I could make that come out.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJul 20th 2017
    Wolf, I had an old curmudgeon of an Uncle who used to say,"never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you!"
    Stop worrying about everything, just feel what you feel at any moment, don't analyze it and see where that takes you.
    Take care Wolf and forgive me if I am being impertinent.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2017
    You're not being impertinent Cassie. Thanks for talking to me.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2017
    Wolf and cassie,
    Here's a poem that expresses what many of us pessimists and worriers feel:

    I to my perils
    Of cheat and charmer
    Came clad in armour
    By stars benign.
    Hope lies to mortals
    And most believe her,
    But man's deceiver
    Was never mine.

    The thoughts of others
    Were light and fleeting,
    Of lovers' meeting
    Or luck or fame.
    Mine were of trouble,
    And mine were steady;
    So I was ready
    When trouble came.

    A.E. Housman, From “A Shropshire Lad”
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2017
    Thanks, Myrtle I remember that and can relate to it!
    Really, I am such a hypocrite, giving (unasked for) advice to Wolf when I live in dread of so many things.
    I do think that it is a legacy of our time with our poor demented loved ones.
    They had so much fear, it was impossible not to absorb it.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2017
    Cassie, whatever fear you absorbed, you step up when it matters and you admit your own actions. I like you.

    I was going to point out how glad I am that I'm the only person who suffers and has bad times and fears and doubts on this thread.

    I was going to point out that even though that's a nice, tight poem, it's as deceitful as the day is long. It clings to the universal simplistic vision of either/or - IF we worry then we are never deceived by not worrying and IF we don't worry then we never do because life is light and fleeting. This is garbage because human beings' thoughts cross the full range all the time and the dancing fool will be worrying soon while the worrier won't, and so on around the room.

    I'm not remotely fooled by selectivity of disclosure or denial of state. I'm the only person I know here who doesn't just talk when it gets too much or pretend that only the good things are happening. I talk about the bad things with the same level of detail I talk about the good things and that is uncommon here.

    I have no issues about this. Input shared with like is healing I repeat beating the dead horse.

    The thing about dread is you have to seperate phobia from causal reaction from fear. Causal reaction is the very real cause and effect of absorbing some of the fear from the real things that actually happened. Phobia is deeper than fear and while for one it's cute little mice, for another like me it's heights and clautrophobia. I will never go in a small cave and I get some vertigo leaning on a railing at great height. That leaves fear in my list.

    Fear is almost always about something unknown. Fear can also be our mechanism like a bell on a cat reminding us the unknown something is unwanted. Just like my thoughts above, it keeps us away from the full range, as though it's assumed that learning from our fears and pains is bad while learning from our better moments is good.

    Pretending only the good has meaning while the bad must be endured is foolish. It's the right way to go when we're grieving and recovering but it manages; it doesn't solve. We're liars when we say that ALL of the aspects of this including the fears don't prey on our minds all in their turn and often in the windmills of our minds. Listen to that constant jumping narrative if you want to get involved with yourself. I wrote that post somewhere above.

    Humans learn best in adversity. Whether it's a test of how much pain you can endure and still concentrate of helping someone else, or how to find ways to change and adjust into the unwanted state. That's only half true. Humans learn best in the extremes at either end and can learn just as well feeling joy. Philanthropy is an example of that. To have so much you realize you want to give to others.


    "Show me something I fear." I said to my mind as I put on my batman costume (think Michael Keaton not Bruce West), "I'm going in." I thought of the guilt that lurks in the dark place and picked that target. I jumped right in and the guilty fear looked up startled. "Who are you?" it asked annoyed. "I'm batman!" I announced, and he turned and ran. I chased him through a doorway and through the apartment beyond. He ran out onto the balcony and jumped over disappearing below. I ran up and grabbed the railing....and froze with vertigo because I hate heights. Oh well. Sometimes the magic works. and sometimes it doesn't.
    Today would have been Ron's 87th birthday. No reason to think that he would not still be with me if AZ had not reared its ugly head. His father lived to 94 and his aunts until 96 and 97. His mother died young at 90. His siblings are still going at ages 85 and 89.

    Sunday will be the 3 year anniversary of his passing.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2017
    Mary, some days the desire to see (and hold) them again is just overwhelming.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2017
    Wolf, I can relate to the claustrophobia and vertigo! But you would think that one would negate the other??
    And strangely, despite my fears I am able to do anything that is necessary which I think is also a legacy from the caring days.
    Deceitful on the outside only, I think.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2017 edited
    Wolf, I don't think that just because something compares and contrasts two personality traits, it sets up a false dichotomy. Deceitful or not, the poem expresses exactly what I feel during my most serious moods. Unlike cassie, this characteristic is not simply a legacy of my time with my demented husband; rather, it is part of my core personality. I was born a worrier and I think it was encouraged by my upbringing and then by my living as a single person for so long. It is also an occupational hazard of the professional specialty I chose, which involves looking back at legal proceedings to identify what exactly went wrong and why. (To someone who uses that hammer all day for 30 years, everything starts to look like a nail.) In contrast, my husband was at his core upbeat, optimistic and always hopeful, and he allowed me to relax a little and encouraged the playful part of me. So when I lost him to dementia, I lost a perspective that I badly needed. I'm trying to hang onto that.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2017
    Myrtle, your point that contrast doesn't have to mean a false viewpoint is very valid. If I had known what this topic means to you, I would have made the point differently.

    cassie, I hadn't thought about that but claustrophobia and vertigo don't come up together I don't think. At any rate, I have both. I agree that there is a legacy from the caring days which is both a source of sorrow and a source of proven courage in the face of fear. That's not a badge or something; it's the evidence that we can go through a lot and keep coming and I think it's a good thing to take in when we're ready. Whatever moving into this life involves, it's bush league compared to what I've already done.

    Grieving, recovering, and healing enough to get our legs back under us is not bush league. It's universally recognized as one of the most profound experiences in life. I respected that as I could. That's not where I am. I'm much closer to the post I wrote months ago showing four or five examples how each year over the previous three years was an entirely different world for me. This year is also full of changes.

    I keep having to learn things and then unlearn them. When Dianne died I had to learn to attach to things I could hold on to when everything seemed to wash away. Then I had to learn to be detached from many things to learn how to cope in the chosen things. Then I had to push myself to deal with more things because the things needing doing were my job. Then I started feeling better and got full of myself. Then I started seeing myself and my life more clearly; that ended my celebration of normal moments period. Then I started actively doing more things and finding myself in a variety of new situations. Now I still have no idea where I am, but, I'm learning not to worry about it too much because I'm going to be somebody else next year anyway.

    Count your blessings or you could miss them - to butcher a phrase. I believe that's a valuable thing to do. I don't bounce of the walls and across the room any more from one horrible thought to the next where days would have felt like weeks if I'd been less stunned and noticed. Now I'm like someone moving back home and seeing how run down and neglected the place really is - so, of course, time is literally racing by now. Life has it's little jokes such as the one that bad times last longer and, if you're happy, time zips by.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2017
    Myrtle, you are wise to know yourself so well. I hope that the good memories of your husband will allow the lighter side of your personality to come to the fore again.
    I have both too, Wolf but you would think that if you bolted from a claustrophobic situation onto say, a balcony on the 4th floor, gasping for fresh air and open spaces, that you wouldn't feel vertiginous as you looked down but it has happened to me! That is what I meant by one negating the other but they don't!
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2017
    I went out with my neighbour two days ago and while we were enroute, motorcycle man called him on his cell. He needed a specific piece of electrical equipment and wondered if we could pick it up for him while we were out there.

    Motorcycle man is 47 yrs old and about two years ago became legally blind when his second retina detached. They cancelled his driver's license and more importantly his motorcycle license. He had no source of income although he had serious machinist skills without any formal diploma.

    So he built a couple of motorized bicycle inventions so he could get around where he couldn't afford to go everywhere by taxi, and he enrolled in the community college eight miles from here that offered the diploma he needed to be able to get a job as a machinist. He went all year to school including through the Canadian winter where we got a foot of snow a number of times, on that bike.

    He couldn't see the teacher, let alone the lessons and yet he stood near the top of his class. When he knew he was getting the diploma this spring, he began identifying the places that might hire him and drove there including walking around the back to get a sense of how the building was laid out. Then, one at a time, he walked into each one from the back door and talked to the machinists working there. When he found out enough he walked into the office part and introduced himself.

    He asked them questions about how they were doing what they were doing and showed that he knew a ton about machining. He didn't tell anyone about his legal blind status and no one caught on. When he came over for a long coffee a few weeks back he told me all this and we went through in detail how he was going to try to do this impossible thing that, frankly, had no hope of working.

    That day he told me he was going to a neighbouring town the next morning early where they had a machine shop we wanted to look at. The next morning it rained a lot and I was sure he wouldn't have gone, but he did. He knew so much that he was able to make constructive comments about alternative improvements about a lot of things in ways that showed them he really did know a lot, and he had a force of character and a style that just walking into the shop from the back didn't seem to matter. They were all private, and smallish companies where he knew he couldn't get around the policies of large companies.

    When my neighbour disconnected from his cellphone call and asked me if I minded us getting that done for him, I asked him how motorcycle man was doing in his job search. One of the hard things we had all talked about was - when do you tell them you're blind? After they make the offer but before he accepts was his plan.

    It turned out that he had three companies, who were interested from meeting him in his peculiar way, in talking after he got his diploma. It was his condition that he had to get that first, not theirs. He went to the one he wanted the most first, and when he told them he was legally blind and had vision equipment that he could bring which worked well in his machine shop at home, they were upset. But they talked through how all this would work and he had good answers - and so they hired him. This was a few days ago. The electric part he needed was to set up his vision equipment. He starts today and this was Saturday, and he wanted to go in on Sunday and set it all up and make sure it all worked so he could do his job this Monday morning right away.

    It feels as though I opened the door to new people just in time to live the story I needed to hear exactly when I was ready. I know his story has nothing to do with me, but it couldn't be more tailored if it tried as the living example in my life that I don't really know life - I was only sure I did.
    Today is the 3 year mark since Ron passed and I think I have come a long way. Not that I don't think about what might have been, especially on days that are anniversaries of something.
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2017 edited
    Wolf, this is a fine tribute. "The Globe & Mail" used to have a "Lives Well-Lived" feature, and this is as good as anything I've read.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2017
    I never gave toilets much of a thought. They're important to have and that was all I knew or cared about. I don't recall a single concern about them until I moved out here ten years ago. Somewhere it got harder to get Dianne to use it properly and one of the suggestions from the CCAC which runs home care around here, was that I replace it with a taller toilet where she wouldn't have to pass that inflection point where she needed to push herself up as much. She had already ripped one of the sink cupboard doors off pulling herself up (that half the door is still not repaired).

    I bought one and it worked for a while and then it didn't and then she went into the nursing home and all I had was that toilet. I liked it because I'm quite tall and it was more in proportion to me. Somewhere it began acting up. It would shut off and then somewhere I would walk into the bathroom and it was running. I tinkered with it but I don't fix things, I break them. Besides, I was having such a terrible life at the time, I had no cycles to focus on Toilets For Dummies.

    Finally early this year, I'd had enough of fiddling with it and took the tank top off, straddled the toilet and actually studied the water level mechanism. It had a small message "turn to adjust' on the black plastic I'd seen before but it also had a small arrow which I hadn't seen before and when I finally thought it through I figured out that the sound of the plastic I always thought I was straining in some way, was really the sound of it moving into different notches I hadn't really seen before either.

    "Set water level to here" was another message carved right into the ceramic tank and it wasn't. The water level was right up against the top lip of the overflow tube. I carefully turned that black plastic wheel about five notches and flushed. The toilet filled and then overflowed. I turned the plastic wheel ten notches the other way and flushed again and the water level came up short. So I moved it two notches the other way and it stopped just short of that line.

    I flushed a couple of times and the water came to exactly that spot, so I put the lid back on and thought 'happy days', and it worked for about three months. Then I came in one day and heard it running and had terribly dark thoughts. I opened it and couldn't see why this was happening. For a few weeks it worked and then it didn't and I thought I must just have a wonky toilet. But I'd figured it out once and so I went back and tried to look everything over with a finer tooth comb.

    I noticed a small red piece of plastic sitting in the bottom of the tank. The only red plastic was on the stopper mechanism and lifting that up until the water drained out, I saw that one of the ends that held the stopper in the proper place, had snapped off for some reason and that was causing the stopper to misalign slightly. I had a completely different kind of 'leak'.

    When the boys came for dinner, I mentioned it and the three of us where standing in the smallish bathroom talking about supergluing the plastic bit back on. Instead my neighbour said he would see if he could get a replacement part for my American Standard model. He called a couple of days later and said he thought he might have one that would fit. I told him I'd spotted a parts list on the underside of the toilet lid (who looks there?) and I read the part number to him which turned out to be the right one. He came over and we took off just the stopper part and put the new one on in about ten seconds and it's worked ever since. Until the next thing.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2017

    That's a lot about a toilet but that's also exactly the state of my life. Most everything I come at with my old attitudes, assumptions, expectations, and outlook doesn't work here. Everything I come at with new eyes and true involvement does work here. That was true with my sister, with my x-best friend, with my neighbours, cleaning my house, cooking for one, and my toilet.

    I'm sorry to report that's almost certainly true for me in building up a new life for myself. It turns out there's no sign marker or boundry and certainly no awards when you cross out of from and into to. It's easy to understand what I mean when we look at our own lives and find things that work in our lives now and then ask ourselves why they do. It's almost certainly something to do with you deciding it was necessary or wanted or authorized in some way and it's almost certainly there because you made one of those decisions inside.

    We're so strong that we can do that with things even during the worst times. Paying our bills and getting enough food inside us and giving affection and protection to our animals are examples of that, whatever storms or doldrums we may be feeling inside, we do get things done during them.

    I said earlier I don't want to go back to my old life. That's not as true as I say it is because the old places are still twinged and entangled with all kinds of memories and reactions to them. The real truth is I'm the most comfortable and natural with people I've known a long time. Just yesterday the string of emails ended deciding how the six of us were going to split paying for the one member of our basketball group that is getting married. Was it six 'couples' where two of us are widowed, or was it ten individuals where the couples would double up. My widow friend who is going to phone me on tuesday morning because that stopped being our anniversary three years ago, demanded that we pay as couples in honor of her husband and Dianne. It's exactly that kind of comfortable and unimportant back and forth long term friends bring ready made.

    I never wondered what it would be like now. It took twelve years and more to get to a place where I've stopped liked this and looked around. It's a depressing picture which is the only sane and realistic way to see it. The twelve years behind me are a nightmare and what is in front of me is unknown but different and now isn't great either. I'm grateful and fortunate to think like this but that doesn't turn the reality of it into a good thing. Starting over in the later years alone never makes the top thousand of things people want to do.

    I don't have the answers for good reasons one of which is that it's nonsensical to think in terms of having answers to what my life should be now because that's as idiotic a question as it is unanswerable. I wish I'd remembered that sooner because I've wasted a lot of time wondering how I would ever: 1) face this, 2) get here, and 3) come up with some kind of answer to what I want to be when I grow up that sticks to the wall.

    Those aren't the droids I'm looking for. Those are the remnants of old world thought where I was already booked heavily into a structured life and I was really looking for some things to do on the side.

    My target is so new it hasn't been designed yet. My target is to realize I'm already perfect in every way and all I really mean by 'looking for a life' is to be and feel like me. I'm journeyed out not because I'm tired but because there isn't a somewhere else I need to go to. I'm here already and I have all my baggage.

    The big winner in all this continues to my cat Tahia (tie-yah) who kept getting better and is still very happy, but is showing the signs of being 13 years old. "Don't you die on me!" I pleaded like a little girl a year ago because I couldn't stand losing her too then. But she hung in there until I'm able to go through that with her. I can do that now even though it's going to hurt. But not yet. There are some salad days ahead - make that fresh baked chicken days ahead.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2017

    In a lot of ways I used to, I don't think about Dianne that much anymore. She's valued and her memory is loved, but she's moving out of my lexicon in what feels like a natural way over time. I'll never forget her partly because I can still feel the sadness of it all, but mostly because she'll always be a part of me and a part of what I became after her. Besides, she still provides for us. I still get a portion of her pension and the government still tops up my pension with a small widower adjustment. The truth is she's earning more now than she did her entire first year working. Thanks a bunch kiddo.

    Where it goes from here I have no idea and I'm coming around to realizing I've never cared and that's why I don't care now. Worrying about bad things happening in the future is the same fantasy exactly as worrying that too many good things will happen. That's exactly the same fatansy except no one ever thinks of going there which is like a neon sign pointing out the polarity of the human mind. Humans don't worry. They worry about bad things only.

    I'm not happy and I don't feel much, but I can appreciate that I'm a fortunate man. I'll never get balled up in my own self needs because I analyze the stuffing out of everything and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I have no real idea what happened. I can weave different lines of stories about it but I simply don't know. What I do know is that this thread of meaning I've followed for two and a half years feels like past tense.

    Not a lot of artists are happy people. Now if I can just find some talents while I'm trying to find my feelings, I'll be all set. How long this can last or how long Tahia lasts or how long anything lasts has no meaning in real life. No one knows. That's the same as my toilet which is working now and that's what matters. On we go.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2017
    Thanks Wolf, stay strong.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 1st 2017
    Thanks cassie, all the best.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2017
    I blame myself.

    I should never have loved her that much just because she was nearly perfect for me. She provided everything I didn't have like calmness and the feminine side of things and the willingness to arrange our social life. I never had all those things before which is made starkly clear in how I don't have any of those things again.

    It continues to become clear that I have no less than three lives. The one with my parents, the one marrying Dianne just after high school, and the one which didn't start when she passed, but I haven't decided where to mark that. I'm not interested in the accepted labels of anything. My third life didn't start when she died. It started when I mostly let go of that and mostly came here into the real moment. The lions portion of the experience of that is in this year.

    I'm quite comfortable saying I've been four different people in each of the last four years. The poor schmuck that went through the entire continuum aside, there's nothing continuous about any of this except the fact of the timeline itself. That's like there being no stages in Alzheimer's where it's all a continuum, but if you compare any points in it to any others, there are stages. Same thing on the way out except you can't see the patient if they're invisible to you - which makes noticing how they're doing much harder.

    My job all along has been to learn to stop caring so much about Dianne and learn to start caring for those that survived. Which happens to be me; and that's a problem in the same way that clearing the hundred meter hurdles is when we've never been on a track before. The first thing is to buy a good pair of running shoes one supposes because, who knows? Surviving caregiving doesn't suddenly earn you a doctorate in psychology (unfortunately).

    The thing is it's either a goal to move forward which necessarily entails getting over this, or it isn't which means you're reading this as a counter view. That part was easy to conceptualize and articulate. Get me out of here! That's goal setting. It's highly likely that you're a mess when you enter here. Setting out the desire to get through the aftermath and find my way eventually to better places was a full ticket the first year and more in my case. No other goals or tasks wanted or needed thank you very much.

    I faced something today I've avoided for over a year. I passed a test finally that last year I couldn't face and still took everything I have to get it done today. It's not a huge, mysterious thing - it's just something I couldn't deal with. I'm also avoiding the broken air conditioner and I'm going to make it because it's been cooler and rainy all summer. It's too late now. Even a hot spell is going to be followed by cool nights. One day I will even buy a vacuum cleaner. The only one keeping score is me. I make up the rules too, which is fair because I'm the one who lives in them.

    Brave talk. Or it was last year. Not anymore. The truth is it was a privilege being married. For her, I mean. I doubt I will be writing or painting masterpieces any time soon, even though I now have the pain inside I hear helps with that. Instead I'm going to make them hobbies so I can do whatever I like. I doubt you have to do any of the fancy mumbo jumbo I made up to find your way. I think you just have to want it - and then go through the process of learning how which means you fall down a lot at first. Just like everything else in life, really.

    "I blame you that I'm not rich" I once told my dad. He laughed but that is a true fact. I've been misunderstood most of my life. Not around here. There's nobody here except us chickens. Right Darth? Which reminds me of that movie where the guy was talking about his great idea of doing something unbelievably stupid. His slightly smarter friend says, "No. No. Think with the big head." I was in stitches. Nothing like wisdom coming out in a B movie, like casting pearls to swine. "And what's wrong with that?" ask the swine.
    Right, I don't think you have to do any fancy mumbo-jumbo. As you said, you just have to want it and go through the process of learning how. One step at a time...just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You are doing fine Wolf, and the strong and nice person that you are is coming through the Internet loud and clear. Hang in there, kiddo.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2017
    Wolf, I have enjoyed meeting all four of you!
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2017
    Thanks guys. Today I made my first pot of chicken soup and it was fabulous.

    I ordered a whole chicken to be delivered from a local rotisserie after I phoned for my pizza and they're in Greece until September said the phone message. I have takeout about twice a month and it's usually pizza and chinese food. So there I was earlier today realizing I should clean the chicken left in the fridge so I could make sandwiches for dinner. I bought two fresh baked buns today and fresh lettuce and tomato. So I cleaned the chicken and put all the cold meat on a plate to put back in the fridge when I noticed I was the proud owner of a chicken carcass.

    So I went upstairs to look up chicken soup recipes and I phoned my friend who is an excellent cook and he gave me a few tips about not over salting or too much celery, or too much rice or noodles. I simmered the carcass in a pot of water for two hours and when I smelled it, I understood why some call it Jewish penicillin. After two hours I shifted that pot off the burner and brought out a bigger pot in which I cooked the mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery) until the onions were soft. Then I poured the chicken broth in through a strainer. I had to find that strainer because that's the first time in my life I needed one and I knew for sure we had one. Another 20 minutes and I added some tiny egg noodles and then a big handful of cut up chicken. Some salt and pepper, and I have to tell you that it was absolutely delicious. I'm still licking my lips from that lovely, chicken broth and I still have a massive bowl where for me a bowl of soup means a quart/litre of soup.

    The next time I'm going to put in more water and simmer more like three hours. My friend freezes his soups when he makes a large batch. I mean to make this again sometime and this time I want to freeze some. Chicken soup for the soul both in the adventure and in the eating.

    One day I will make bread. One day I might even feel happy or I would settle for relaxed contentment. In the meantime the apprenticeship without a teacher continues. Patience grasshopper I say to myself, grateful that I don't have to do any wax on, wax off ordeals because I don't have a teacher I have to listen to. I make everything up as I go along. That sets everything up the way I like it, unexplained and undefined, and not that easy to fail.