Words In Silence

One would think that now, after five years of widowhood, I would have                 adjusted. In a sense I have.

No longer do I burst into tears at a sunset, or gorgeous flowers, or
soft music. No longer do I cry into the night. Only certain chords
send me back to the constricted throat and heavy chest.

As long as I remain in the present, I survive. I have reached a state
of settled sadness. It has settled so far into me, that friends are often
surprised ( perhaps aghast) that those feelings are still there.

In talking about another death none of us wanted to see, one of my friends
raised her hand heavenward, and said “ I want to say, no! not that one! take
someone else!”. I went through that, and still the thoughts are there in the
cracks of my consciousness. Yet I know in another part of me, that God is
omniscient, which means He does not make mistakes, even though He weeps
with us at our loss.

I’ve talked with other widows ( those not in a state of resistance to their feelings),
and we all say the same thing, somewhere, perhaps hidden deeply, we still feel
the emptiness and always will. For me, the truth of this is more freeing than
denial that the feeling is there.

We still bear the unspoken words of aloneness, the staggering task of being
‘sole survivor’, the knowledge that the person we’ve needed most is no longer
here. Somehow we continue, either resolving situations alone or with professionals: The CPA, the attorney, the Financial Counselor, the car dealer,
the Bank, the Insurance agent.

Always there are words we stuff down, decide not to say, wait for the time
alone to rant and rave. Or we find each other and commensurate together,
pull ourselves out of the deep hole, and move ahead with the lives we live now.

These are the things I consider after 5 years alone.

“Snake Patrol”

Since childhood, I have had a morbid fear of snakes, or anything reptilian. So you can imagine my consternation when I was sittingin our ‘movie theater’ at the Vi, and the Security Guard walked in, apologized for being late, ” I’ve been  on ‘snake patrol’! she said.

Where? When? “Just outside on the walkway leading to my wing of the building, and on the walkway in the other direction as well.” How big? “Oh, just a garden snake” she said. Obviously she had no fear of this snake or any other.  I wonder what her morbid fears are. She proceeded to set up the movie system and we enjoyed a movie that displayed no snakes. A few days later, I had forgotten all about the episode, and was taking my cat out for a walk. Technically, I was walking and she was riding in her stroller. We had an uneventful walk and came back in the front door as the side doors were already locked. Then it struck me, what had I just done:  I’d  walked right out the same sidewalk that had been crawling with snakes a few evenings earlier! Oh well, I decided, I can’t hide insideon the off chance another snake will slither across the path.

Ironically, a few weeks earlier my niece and husband had been visiting ; I took them to a hiking area that should have been filled with wildflowers,but due to the unusual heat, the wild- flowers were pretty much gone. My niece and I were up ahead, enjoying the cool morning, looking at the now-golden hillsides. Suddenly her husband said, “ look what you gals just about walked over”, we turned around and several yards  behind him was the largest, blackest snake I had seen in many a day. We both did the hysterical girl thing, and,when we got through screaming, continued up the trail. But we made sure our male protector was ahead of us on the way back. He stopped at the area and paced it off. Yup, at least a 4 foot snake. In spite of the likelihood, I’m hoping this will be a ‘snake- less summer’ from now on. There’s only so much excitement of this variety I can handle. But I’m looking very carefully in front of me as I walk. Happy ‘snakeless’ summer!

A different Holy Week…with corrections About widowwalk Coping with life as a widow. A different Holy Week…with corrections Dear readers, It has been so long that I have posted I almost could not get into this site, and possibly my byline sidebar is lost, at any rate, yes I am still here! I had so many plans to be attentive to Lent: a daily booklet to read ( I did do that most days), some special services to attend, all the events at church. I was really looking forward to going into this time open and ready to hear God. Then I went to Hawaii for a week , came home prior to Palm Sunday and got a horrific cold…no Palm Sunday service for me, I was sick in bed, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, …surely I would be well enough to attend a Maunday Thursday service with my small group…nope! still coughing and sneezing…Friday, Saturday I made it through a small Bible Study I lead, and went to bed, but early Sunday morning I got up, went to the early service at church, and to a lovely brunch later, where I was actually able to taste the food! So what’s all this about? Humbling, I guess. Not my plans, I guess. The cold facts of exhaustion of the older body, I guess. How sometimes plans with the best of intentions just don’t work out and we have to endure the cocoon of comfort in bed and Vicks vapor-rub…does anyone remember that? It used to be the standard cold remedy…. How Easter comes, whether we are ready or not, and how sometimes we don’t feel very prepared. The disciples were not very ready for the first Easter either, they didn’t expect an empty tomb, a Risen Savior. Even though they had been told, they weren’t really listening with awareness. How vulnerable we all are, and how God loves us anyway. It seems that another reality has set in..I may be posting only every two or three months…just the reality of my life now. You might look for my photos on Facebook,or I do answer email. Yes, I’m still very much a widow, and there are moments I miss Roger as much as I did those first few months, so it’s nice to have a few compatriots who still read of the trials and tribulations of a widow, but I guess the time to meditate on this has become less and less. At least, right now. Belated Happy Easter! Rosalie Nelson Share this: Press ThisTwitterFacebookPrint • EDIT about me…. The calendar pages have turned and I’m now 76, and it’s now almost four years since my husband died after a bout with incurable cancer. I still struggle with being solo and while I’ve considered droppng this blog, I don’t feel compelled to do it. So I’m continuing the story about how my life is going—and it seems to continue down various paths. The title for my blog is a bit of a play on words…in the 19th Century, homes sometimes had a tower at the top called the ‘widow’s walk’, as in the photo above. [ For more information about this photo and others contact Kimmy at www.etsy.com/shopkimmyblanks.] The original idea was that wives of sea captains would go there to look out to sea and watch for ships that often never came home…but in a different sense this is about how I’m coping with the journey of widowhood. I haven’t written a post as often as I’d hoped, but I still would be happy to have you leave comments. You can also email me at Rnlsn6@aol.com RECENT POSTS January 2016..a blank page filled Pre-Christmas post A weekend in LA ( Los Angeles) the ‘Fitbit” and me…. Widow’s Learning Curve ARCHIVES January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 September 2015 July 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 June 2014 May 2014 March 2014 February 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 We cannot load blog data at this time. CREATE A FREE WEBSITE OR BLOG AT WORDPRESS.COM. THE COMET THEME. Customize Edit Skip to toolbar My Site Reader Stats widowwalkauthor widowwalkauthor · Sign Out PROFILE My Profile Account Settings Billing History Security Notifications SPECIAL Get Apps Next Steps Help Log Out

January 2016..a blank page filled

I started out the year with a lovely blank calendar page, but after an hour most of January was filled up.  This first week seems especially filled, but today I only have one “appointment”—of course I still need to stop for gas, buy cat food and litter, and get my study for tomorrow ready!!! And tomorrow I have an ‘early’ meeting for new leaders of what is called “Lifegroups” at our church.

Two days later, I’m fianlly getting back to this and will post it…time and the use of it seems to elude me.  There are so many things I no longer do I can’t quite determine why I don’t have more time.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I really am slower than I used to be, and simple can’t multitask much anymore.  About the only multi-task I do is read email while eating lunch–not a good habit!

I am trying to take each day as it comes and not become too concerned about what I did not do; one thing I did that was important, ( altho I didn’t know it) was to follow up on why I had not heard from some Australian friends.  Turns out, yes, they’d had some medical problems, plus the wife’s brother died in December, and their computer was down. I was glad I caought up with them on the phone and found out what was happening in their lives. Now my min d is nagging me about a couple other people I had not heard from, so it appears I may need to make some more inquiries. One never know why someone ‘drops off the radar’ but it seems a good idea to check it out at this season of life.

Aa very weary good night, and best wishes for the New Year, and in managing your calendar!





Pre-Christmas post

Doesn’t it just seem like when you  want to have Christmas fun, daily life gets in the way?  That’s the way it’s been for me—and so it was that when I received a note from the IRS that they were doing a mail audit on on 2013 taxes— I just wanted to climb back in bed and put the covers over my head.

However, instead I sent an email to my current CPA ( not the one familiar with 2013) and to a friend asking for help.  I discovered the CPA was on vacation and the friend could not help me do the photocophying of receipts until next week….well, I have a little time, but me being me, I wanted to get it done and off my plate. In the meantime I pulled our the box for 2013 and remembered that was the year I ‘donated’ my timeshare, something they may raise an eyebrow at, and donated all Roger’s uniforms to a Theater company, which for whatever reason my CPA just put under miscellaneous contributions!!!

And of course there are a few things they may question in my ‘medical expenses’ as well.  So it’s difficult not to obsess about what may go wrong, rather than lean on God’s everlasting arms.

All this to say, my Christmas cards may be late this year—most likely—and  even tho I send them out electronically, I have decided not to even open that ‘box’ in my computer until I get this job dealt with.

If I only go to two of the events I planned to enjoy rather than 6, that’s OK too.  The first one was Saturday night’s Lessons and Carols at Memorial Church, the second is a musical group on Thursday night which is way too expensive to miss.  Actually, the later in the month I send the receipts in, the less likely they are to get back to me til after Christmas….

I’m planning to breathe deepy of the evergreen wreath I put on my door, and let things happen as they will…Each of you who read this blog, try to do the same—can you smell the scent of Christmas?



A weekend in LA ( Los Angeles)

This past weekend I flew to LA for a poetry workshop in hopes of “jumpstarting” my poetry writing. As I arrived at the airport I was greeted with hot, muggy air and the sounds of cars, vans, shuttle buses, and every form of vehicle the likes of which I have never seen at SFO.I had only a small carry on wheeled piece of luggage and my handbag ( altho both were packed to the brim).

Luckily I soon found the Residence Inn shuttle which would take me to my overnight as it was already 9:30 pm and the workshop did not begin til the next day. I thought it was only two miles away, but it seemed longer as the driver wove thru traffic, talking about his two jobs ( both driving) and two kids who he adores. We did at last arrive at the Residence Inn, where I was getting a free night’s stay.

All went well, and the next morning I went back to the airport in the same van ( different driver) and caught the Super Shuttle to the location of the workshop. Traffic was much better on a Saturday morning,and there was only one other person in the van. Soon we were pulled up in front of a building in a residential area
but way too early. I had wisely noted a Starbuck Coffee a few blocks away, so walked back there, had a
container of energy juice, and read my email with their
free Wi-Fi.

I then retraced my steps and rang the bell of the poetry teacher, whom I had met some years ago. She can bounding down the stairs, slim as ever ( why do some people never gain weight?) and helped me with my carry
on bag. We chatted a bit til the other three students arrived ( for some reason this was a very small workshop, I’m probably lucky she had not cancelled it).

The other three participants were local, younger than me, and had worked with the teacher in the past. We all
read one prepared poem we had brought with us; I would say they are more experienced, or at least better poets than I, but so be it. We then did a few writing exercises, which hopefully I will return to in coming weeks. We broke for lunch ( the instructor had asked that we all bring something for a ‘potluck’ lunch, which had presented another dilemma for me, but I brought to small loaves of coffee bread, and some cheese, and it all worked. For the second day I would have to bring whatever looked like lunch from Starbucks, which is easier than it used to be. We spent a few more hours with poetry and tangent–conversations on various authors, and before I knew it, it was 4 pm,and very warm in the non-air conditioned 2nd floor.

I set off for my second night. I’d found a small B & B nearby and clarified with the owner that it was less than a half mile. Indeed it was a very short distance and easy to find. I was greeted by the portly lady who was apparently the owner, and led to the ‘small room’
where I was to stay. Perhaps they should have said ‘tiny’. There was a double bed which took up most of the room, it was two steps from the bed to the bathroom,(also small). There was no room for a chair, altho there was a large bureau on which sat a modern TV
set. They also had free WiFi. What else did I need?

The owners went out for the evening after giving me the keys to house and room, and after a short rest, I went in search of a dining spot. Amazingly I was not very hungry, so when I say a Japanese restaurant in a small strip mall decided that would do. I was in fact the only customer, altho several people came in for take-out. I finally chose some sushi with salmon covering it, and a bottle of water. When I saw the TV, I realized Stanford was playing that night, so decided to hurriedly eat my dinner and get back to watch the game.
Imagine my disappointment to learn it was not being shown in La until a re-run at 10:30 that night! (too late to stay up for that!) Recovering, I spent most of the evening on my computer and re-arranging my pick up for the next day as the instructor had said that as there were so few of us we would end at 3 instead of 4. I was able to arrange for Super Shuttle to pick me up at 3:15, and even emailed my airline pass to the instructor to print for me. (that was more brazen thanI usually am, but after all, I was feeling that the situation was casual enough I could chance it; she could only say no.)

The next morning I was served breakfast by a Spanish maid who didn’t speak much English, but did not see any other guests. She fried me an egg, with two pieces of toast. There was cut watermelon for fruit. Certainly not my most lavish B & B experience, but this was only for a place to stay the night. I stopped again at Starbucks and got some small rolled chicken items packaged in a box as my lunch contribution, and trekked back to the workshop for day 2.

We again read a poem,this time one we were working on, and had discussion.I will basically have to completely re-write mine, but I did get some good ideas. Then we did another exercise using a poetry form none of us had tried. We read what we had done, and commented, had some more discussion of poetry, authors, etc. and then had lunch. Today one person was missing so there were only three of us and the instructor. Our lunch discussion went a little long before we got back to work, but did one other exercise, which we shared with each other, then I hurried down the stairs to catch the Shuttle, which came within the 15 minute framework. I was back at the airport with time to spare, but still not very hungry, even after waiting any hour, just had a coke and a pastry. I was home before 10 pm.

It’s difficult to evaluate how much I got out of the workshop, one of those things that will take some time and effort to really make useful. I guess you could say I have some new perspective and tools. But it was an interesting weekend in LA.

the ‘Fitbit” and me….

I was not able to copy the cute logo that came with this, but now that I am walking around trying to walk at least three miles a day ( not yet anywhere near 10,000 steps) I get these little ‘encouragements’  or are they?
You’ve earned the Penguin March badge
With 70 lifetime miles, you just matched the distance of the March of the Penguins—the annual trip emperor penguins make to their breeding grounds. You’re doing swimmingly well!

So, I guess that’s progress— I now can walk like an Emperor penguin!

All this started when my sis-in-law Ann was visiting and I was exprssing doubts about next year’s trip to Germany and whether I could live up to the 3 miles a day requirement. She had just gotten a fitbit, so when she returned home, she sent me one too—and I have to admit it has made me walk a lot more around my neighborhood. ( but not during the hottest part of the day.)

However, I was quite discouraged to learn that standing still over 24 eggs to turn them  into deviled egg appetizers, did not do a thing for my steps that day; and I cannot use the fitbit in the pool, so all my exercise there doesn’t count either!

Also, it doesn’t help a ‘bit’ if I don’t put the thing on! ( as a matter of fact, I see I’m not wearing it right now, but I doubt that sitting at the typewriter moving my fingers across the keyboard counts—)

However, it is at least 30 steps from my bedroom to my desk in the den ( no way to add it in if I’m not wearing the device.  So some days when I have only .30miles left to hit my goal, I just assume it’s unrecorded steps…..but how will I get another reward that way?  Wonder what it will be?

I also have the option of walking the halls at night to add steps to my count, altho I have already run into several of our security guards who looked at me strangely as I was wearing my fluffy white robe….I do hope they don’t take this fitbit away from me when they move me to custodial care!

On the serious side, life has been filled with a lot of other distractions too, so perhaps I can write about some of them next time. Happy walking!





Widow’s Learning Curve

I wrote this originally for my poetry group as a narrative, prose poem, but they didn’t like the form, so I decided to send to to you, my ‘widow’ readers, having not written anything here in some time. [ one of the reasons-I”m now on Facebook].

Dinner last night with 3 other widows—–we all have learned somehow to manage the masses of paperwork that clutter out desks and our lives—We’ve learned to be assertive about getting the help we need. This year, I hired a new CPA, negotiated a new doctor, dealt with attorneys ( oh, yes, I have a new attorney too.). We’ve adjusted in various ways to not having a partner to go to dinner. We agreed the best solution is a pre-arranged dinner with threee others. We’ve learned when the question comes, ‘who is responsible for the major decisions in your life?” the answer is “I am” ( with the help of God!).
We’ve learned to rely on the people who are really your friends—those we can count on if we need someone to accompany us to the doctor–altho all but me have children and grandchildren, still for the most part we all navigate solo lives in the midst of a community of 500–we’ve learned some couples have pulled away while others have leaned in.
We’ve learned to get help from whatever source: friends, professionals, relatives.[ We pay more now for services that were accomplished by our husbands,] to share information and build each other up, knowing we are not alone, God Help us, we carry on. ( written 6/20/15)

I’m going thru some difficult relationship issues with this food committee I’ve gotten on, and I’m learning to push thru without a spouse to lean on, but it’s not easy, and one of the reasons it’s more difficult to keep up this blog.
I’m really looking forward to a 5 day visit from my sis-in-law, Ann early in August! Hope your summer is not as baking hot as it’s been in California. We are starting to gety sea breezes again, which is a big help.

Memorial Day weekend and before…

I’m embarrassed to see that I have not posted since the end of March! One of my goals for this weekend, and even though it’s now Tuesday I need to either post or stop the blog, so here goes:

I did go to Palm Springs alone in late March, and really enjoyed a week of total non-structure. In a seniors residence when they have activities, you do have to follow the calendar. I am happy to report we now have Zumba bad in the exercise program. I don’t know why, I just like it and I know it uses up the calories.

April seems to have whizzed past, perhaps because I took an online class in ESL ( teaching English Language to non- English speakers) because our church has developed an outreach to some of the Spanish speaking ( and other languages) in our neighborhood. At the same time we began classes, so I have been driving across the bay every Tuesday. During the summer, it’s still twilight when I return at about 8 pm. In winter, who knows? I seem to be living more one day at a time than planning too far in the future.

So, to re-cap Memorial day, we had a nice program here the Friday before, then I watched the PBS broadcast from the Capital mall on Sunday eve, weeping at the stories of courageous people who go on in spite of serious disabilities. For once I was not weeping for myself. Compared to what I saw and heard, I have nothing to complain about. Yesterday we had a brunch here at the Vi, and I took a brief walk afterward, later even cleaning some of my living room carpet. I had a marvelous experience this weekend when I looked out and saw a bright yellow bird with black markings on the top of one of the trees ( as I’m on the 4th floor I had a great view) I later decided it was a Black capped oriole, altho it seems to me it should be called black chinned…my cat and I have been watching for it to return, but so far, no.

I am gearing up for grad weekend in June—can hardly believe it is a year since my great-nephew arrived here
( really, 9 months) and he’s gotten his Masters in Environmental Science, accepted a job in Atlanta, and found an apartment.

It’s challenging even hearing about the activity level of folks in their 20’s!!! Right after his grad weekend I leave for southern Ca. for the Free Church National Conference.
Then it will be return, and passing the baton on the food committee to someone else!

While I was in Palm Springs I worked on some poems too,
but will save that for another time. This is really just a catch-up to let you know I’m still here.

The metaphor of the eaglets….

This is the time of year I check out the Decorah Eagles
webcam frequently—more than once a day! And this week,
Holy Week, or Passion Week, on the Christian calendar,
two tiny eaglets arrrived within 48 hours of each other.

They are so cute with their little black ‘masks’ and their ‘egg beaks’, as they bobble about, learning everything for
the first time. And the huge Eagle parents are so gentle with them, even though the eaglets could be squashed with one sharp claw.

This morning I thought of the metaphor they represent: how
God is so powerful He could squash us with one blow, yet He is gentle and loving as we bobble about, trying to learn, and sometimes, like the eaglets, toppling over. While we
can’t see our growth as easily as we will see that of the eaglets,it’s there as we learn from Him, accepting His loving care.

Walking thru passion week, we see the apparent loss of control as Jesus is hung on the cross, and then the miraculous Resurrection we will celebrate on Sunday.
We see the despair of the disciples turned to joy as they begin to understand God’s purpose.

Like the eaglets, may we grow and change, and finally, may
we fly!

Enjoy the miracle of Easter! ( and google “Decorah Eagles”
to see what I’m talking about.)