Gratitude Sunday: Grief’s Summer Project 2.0

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.” Confucius

Sunday Haiku
Overcast morn brings
afternoon’s humidity,
evening’s soggy heat.

Sunday Musings
As hard as I try not to dwell, summers are hard for me. I’m still working on shutting that brain off. Temporarily, at least.

For most people summers are about sunshine, graduations, weddings, picnics, vacations, home remodels, swimming pools, summer camps, and beaches. For me, summers are about sorrow. Other times of the year are sorrowful as well; I wear my grief like a pelt of thick, matted fur. Sorrow is harder to bear in the summer because you are supposed to be celebrating summer and sun and fun.

Sometimes I feel like a victim to my own memories. I know it’s not good to constantly re-live and re-play them in my mind. As time passes between the sorrowful events and now, I am distracted by the elements of living a daily life. Then suddenly when I least expect it I am awash in grief again, a mess of hot tears, heartsick memories, and sorrow.

I used to be able to talk these feelings through with my mom. I was lucky to have a mom who would listen and even in her judgments of me she supported my feelings. She didn’t always approve and she wasn’t always careful about showing her disapproval. That part was what it was; still she listened and mostly honored my opinions, offering both solicited and unsolicited advice.

Now, she is part of my sorrow having been gone these last six years. A summer death. Another to add to the long list of sorrowful summer deaths.

I have invested in professional counseling as I have no other safe place to talk about sorrow. Neither the hubster nor the son understand; they are uncomfortable listening; perhaps they are too close. Sister does as well as she can dealing with me and with our shared history. My brothers could not care less, or if they do they hide within their maleness and don’t say. My newly found bio-in-laws have known me barely a year because of the hubster’s adoption at three days old, so are still strangers even though I’ve been with their brother for 43 years. I don’t want to dump all this on friends or family, I’m far too intense for them as it is.

For the last three years in semi-retirement, I approach summers tentatively. The summer of 2016, when I lost my long-term, 20-year-career-goaled, take-me-into-retirement job, I was still in denial. At the age of 62, I thought I could still work and be back to work in a flash. I had skills, experience, abilities, despite the body failing. It took me more than nine months of job hunting and professional advice to realize it was unlikely I’d ever return to a full time job and a regular paycheck, or perhaps to any earned income despite my years of self-employment experience previous to becoming accustomed to a paycheck. In this employment climate competing against twenty-somethings who are more physically qualified, without Spanish as a second language, employers didn’t want to pay me the value of my experience, preferring to train up a newbie at a lesser salary and fewer benefits. Which says ugly things about both ends of the employment process.

Summer of 2017 I took the cure after becoming more ill while job hunting. I medicated for all three summer months to clear my body of the hepatitis virus that had plagued me for more than 40 years of my adult life. I gave up looking for work recognizing the toll the stress was taking on me. It was just as well because I slept so much that summer, the cure being as hard as the disease. Then I learned the application was too little, too late: though the virus is now undetectable, the liver damage remains and will not improve. Fatigue and pain will be my forever companions.

For good little ants, summer is the time for changes, for cleaning, for getting ready for the winter, as winter is always coming. I am, however, the best grasshopper. I can fritter away time and not even know what I’ve done with it. Good thing grasshoppers can work on emulating ant-like behavior.

I began, in the summer of 2018, to make some changes to my home, my belongings, and all my abundant stuff. I wanted a little more space in my living area to have a guest or two if I wanted (people rarely visit me, but change is the only constant so who knows about the future). I wanted easier access to my cooking tools. I slowly weeded a few items out, and moved a few other items around. The simple change of putting mixing bowls I use constantly on a lower shelf instead of climbing onto the step stool every time I needed them resulted in more easily preparing healthful fresh foods. Logic can be a good thing.

At Christmas sister said she wanted to give me one of her beds. I wanted to clean first, and then I became overwhelmed with what to put where. To resolve that issue, my sister and her hubby delivered the new-to-me, barely used bed this week. It is a queen size bed, and I’m pretty excited because I am a queen sized woman. If it’s in my way it rather forces the issue of moving it to where it will live. Since the new bed is bigger having it in place will make it easier to figure out where the other stuff in the room can go.

If you are a regular reader, you know for me this once again begins the Game of Fourteen in which at least fourteen things will have to be moved to get the old bed out and the new bed in. This is a major project for me so the game could grow exponentially. My sister and her hubby are 100 percent tidier than I am, and they admitted they were going home to their own Game of Fourteen. The difference is they have a plan and a whole lot more room to effect their projects. Plus they are able to work together, though that perception could be in my mind. If the hubster and I tackle a project together it usually ends up about a quarter done before we are spitting fire at each other which leads to many unfinished projects. Love doesn’t always mean agreeing with each other.

For now the bed is propped against walls in the hall and living room. In a day or two we will all be so disgusted at tripping over it we will find a way to get the project finished. It’s blocking my TV so I might have to suffer being outside my comfort zone for a day or so. The biggest challenge I see is vacuuming the space while the bed is out of the way as it’s not been vacuumed for oh, probably fifteen years because it’s an adjustable bed and all the mechanics are too low to vacuum under. I’m not allowed to use the vacuum as every time I do the thing misbehaves and stops working, and par for Murphy’s Law it happens to be disassembled at the moment.

I am limited by my five and ten minute work windows. As hard as I try I cannot deal with pain any longer than that. Persistence and patience is the key; five minutes here, five minutes there, and so what if I’m putting sheets on at 2:00 in the morning. The rest of the day – the laundry, the cooking, the dishes, and this sassy post which doesn’t write itself – doesn’t magically go away when you have a special project. One still needs to eat and take care of oneself. Of course, today was the day my tiniest pets chose to stage another outbreak, meaning taking the time put out anti-ant treatments. Maybe as John Lennon says in Strawberry Fields nothing is real and nothing to get hung about. It gets done when it gets done.

Having a project I cannot do alone is challenging. I have neither the tools nor the skills. Even with the three of us we might require the assistance of a stronger person to move the mechanical part of my old bed; it is one heavy expletive. I am forced to be interdependent, another spear through the myth of self-sufficiency.

I find myself wondering what’s going to happen this summer, who will I lose, what will I lose. I turn to summer projects as a valid and productive way to keep my mind from dwelling on my losses, on the grief of previous summers, while preparing for winter, it’s always going to be winter. They are good projects for aging as well as we naturally down-size, preparing for the latest chapter in this crazy novel life. The benefits outweigh the costs.

The Game of Fourteen is afoot. So far trying to get the old bed out, I’ve died a couple times, rested, recovered, and repeated. I’m hoping to report by this time next week that the queen sassy is well ensconced in her new bed.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Caught some dark blue and bright pink sky this week just over my roof line. Found this patch of wild white summer daisies alongside the road a couple weeks back when doing Quilt Hunt 3 with sis. One of my favorite quilt blocks on this year’s tour was the Sunflower Block. The farm’s owners were so gracious, letting us tromp through their well-kept event site to get pictures. This one shows part of the prolific farm; the cast iron rail is guarding a swimming pool. Here’s a closer view of the block with artichoke blooms below. The Sunflower farm had beautiful pink and blue multi-colored hydrangeas. The front porch of this large Victorian style farmhouse was even more romantic and welcoming with these pale pink hydrangeas around the entry.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} The Rider (2018, rated R), about a rodeo cowboy who is kicked after being bucked off by a bronc and suffers a head injury resulting in seizures, and how he fights the consensus that he should stop rodeo-ing. * Boundaries (2018, rated R) with Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer. A free spirited elderly man gets kicked out of his senior living apartment for misbehavior, leaving his daughter and grandson to pick up the pieces. Many comic scenes as the old man coerces the grandson to engage in his antics.

Currently ReadingThe Last Time I Lied (2019, mystery fiction) by Riley Sager (American author). Holy Summer Reading, Batman! A mystery about a summer camp! Sager is a psuedonym for the Batman who writes other mysteries. * Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower (2017, African-American feminism) by Brittney Cooper (American author, associate professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University). Cooper’s work helps me understand how little I know about cultural differences. I understand some of the horror of what people of color are subjected to. It’s good to know more about the why and the how.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • My sister and her hubby who did the work of bringing my bed to me and then thanked me as it gave them room to get on with their own summer project.
  • The proper sized bedding accompanying the bed.
  • Gifts and gratitude.
  • Help from the hubster and the son with a project that only benefits me.
  • The guys allowing me to clean a part of the vacuum cleaner they don’t like cleaning.
  • My it-happens-when-it happens attitude.
  • Fans and natural air conditioning.
  • Wind chimes hung indoors when the summer fans are on.
  • Saline solution for dusty nasal passages.
  • Soap and hot water.
  • Five minute work windows.
  • Ibuprofen.
  • A box of sugar snap peas, likely the last of the season.
  • Fried zucchini.
  • Oregon strawberries.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Careers, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Grief’s Summer Project 2.0

  1. piratesorka says:

    I don’t think I know this Game of Fourteen but it intrigues me. I can easily get rid of 50 things. Did I mention lately how much I miss you? I do. Betterenjoy your Oregon Strawberries while you can. I have been feasting too much on cherries still and now the raspberries are calling my name

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tee says:

    I can relate to the rumination. I’ve had a lot of trauma in my life. One never realizes how deeply the tentacles of trauma are grown in and throughout one’s body, mind and life like a mold’s roots in old bread until you get to a level of healing where you can see where the mold’s roots end. I stopped ruminating probably 6 or 7 years ago and it was freeing to let that go. But healing happens in it’s own time and you’re not ready for it until the moment you are. 55 years old and I’m still healing, to this day. I’ve had some wonderful deep healing in the last year. I truly hope you find the healing you need, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Gratitude Sunday: The Queen’s New Bed: Part Deux | Sassy Kas

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