Monthly Archives: August 2014

Hitting the Labour Day Wall

I was a teacher from 1972 until 2008.  Every summer, I would relish my time with my family – selfishly – knowing that I had to work – for them  – for money – but also for me.  I liked the adrenaline that work gave me, the control over my days, my weeks, my years.  I liked the kids that I taught and I knew I was good at this thing called teaching.

But….

Every Labour Day Weekend, I would get panicky, thoughtful  once again, about joining that Monday to Friday rat race – getting back into the world – accepting the heavy yoke of being that all-knowing, all-doing, all-sacrificing working mom.

I would hang on to that last long weekend – yes, I would go in to school that last week, but I would always stay away on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  My family and I would hibernate together, at home one last series of days.  It would have taken a crowbar to wedge me away from my family on Labour Day Weekend.

I am now alone, a widow, here in the home built for our family, contemplating the fact that the journey back into that effervescent rhythm  of the working world would begin again for most of the province – but not for me.  I had wrapped my life around  the nucleus of my family and now I was the only one left here – lucky for the kids that they grew up and now have families of their own.  They are busy getting ready, as I had done, to enter back into the wonderful motion of the world at work. Lucky them – they all have so much to look forward to and hopefully, as many years as I have had, to enjoy it.

I realized today – on our deck- in the breezeless , perfect air, surrounded by the sound of the pond we built and the beautiful trees and grass we nurtured over the last twenty years – that my aloneness right now probably stems from that all-encompassing dedication to my family and my willingness to follow my husband into his wonderful adventures of piloting, motorcycling, and boating – things I cannot do on my own – things I will probably never do again -because he is no longer here.

Was I a fool to be swept away on the exciting projects provided so conveniently by my oh-so-skilled life mate?

Should I have developed more than a good work ethic and mother conscience?

Should I have tried to do more on the adventurous side of things?

Would any of this change how lonely I am right now?

I felt him with me today in a way that let me touch him, smell him and hear his laugh, his voice.  It has been a while since I have allowed myself to reach into that part of my heart, my brain – but I did.

I hate Labour Day.

Selling My Life?

Again, another question mark in my life after losing my  life partner.  Someone wants to buy my house – the homestead – the house that my late husband and I designed and built.  This is a real turning point and I have asked myself many questions as reality forces itself on me and my widowhood.  I did entertain the idea of selling – I just didn’t think it would really happen – especially this quickly.

I can make lists of pros and cons of selling or staying.  I can discuss it with my kids and my siblings.  I can think and think and think, but….

As I made my coffee this morning and looked out onto the Linden tree  that we planted twenty years ago – big, strong and beautiful – I came to the realization that I still expect him home and things had to be where he could find them – the utensils, the dishes and, yes, the house.  How could I move? He would not be able to find me!  Well, now isn’t that a quandary? Isn’t that absurd? Isn’t that crazy?

I have a good brain.  I have a decently strong body.  I have kids and grandkids who love me.  I have the money we saved to support me – but…

Maybe life would be less painful without the responsibility of running into “Jim memories” every hour.  I doubt I will ever see this little town again once I sell this house.  My life will be filled with my three kids and their kids who all still live in other cities.  Friends that I have here are all still with their partners and that is a tough spot to be in –as much as they try and as much as I also try to participate in “couples” things it only makes me feel Jim’s absence more.  Even girlfriend outings are difficult.  My girlfriends have husbands who do all those things still that Jim used to do. These women are not even aware how dependent they are on their husbands – they don’t get it and, now, bless them all,  they don’t get me.

I will give this a try, I think.  A pioneer in my own teeny, tiny way.   A new and challenging way of life.  I am a reluctant participant, I admit, but somehow there has to be more out there for me – something I can invest in – something I can really, honestly, sincerely enjoy as a person – not just as a mom or grandmom.

Being whole inside myself – that is what I need to think about right now.  Who am I ?  How do I impact the world around me? How do I even interact with the world around me?

The house is not my life – it is only a symbol of that life and now it is  a beautiful but empty vessel  without the people it was built to protect and serve.   So…

I am selling my HOUSE,

I am keeping my LIFE.

Relaxing

Yes, today I relaxed.  I actually stopped keeping myself busy and distracted.

For the last six months, I have been moving into the cottage – putting up mirrors and towel racks, buying ladders and things to hang them on, using my chainsaw to cut down trees in the woodlot making it a healthier place for the trees that are left.  I have been busier than I ever planned to be and busier than I ever wanted to be in my retirement and yet I am getting the feeling that it is this busyness that has kept me going.

Always the organizer, the problem solver, the nurturer – nose to the grindstone – yes that’s me and that particular part of me has been a great distraction.  Simply surviving here at the cottage has been a real challenge.  I have had three floods of various kinds, weeds beyond measure to diminish with new grass to grow,  furniture to build  (since few places deliver it and set it up!),  smart televisions to program and a deck to stain.

With the autumn now approaching, I am looking at planting some trees closer to the house, and helping my new gardens to take strong roots before the weather turns.  It would be nice if all of us could emerge next spring alive, healthy and ready to tackle the next project – an addition? another garden? a swimming pool?  What do I have to lose?!

But today, I took my puppy downtown and we went shopping – yes, in a tourist town, dogs are invited into shops too!  The pup was amazed, but a little spooked every time someone entered a shop – should she bark or not? We picked up our mail and sat by the water’s edge for a while.  It was quiet… just what we needed.

Now, that’s relaxing.

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