“What do YOU want?” is the question that the hospice nurse asked. Dave called him “Bob the Pill Guy.” A few days after Dave had died and I was talking to Bob the Pill Guy on the phone, he asked the question “What do YOU want?” Repeated it two or three times. Because I didn’t have an answer, I just kept saying “I don’t know.”
First, there was the fog of grief. Going through the motions. Then it was evident to my family that I had to DO something. They convinced me to buy a house of my own. So I did. A fixer-upper. I needed something to do and that fixer-upper was months and months worth of doing. You will see for yourself when I get pictures up in later posts. Once I was moved into the house, I was doing things I had done before like quilting and going to auctions. You’ll see that stuff later too.
Still not feeling excited about being alive. By now it is Spring and I am working in the yard which hadn’t had any attention for years. I happened to see on Pinterest some DIY concrete garden stones. Of course, I pinned it to my Pinterest board. Very soon I was mixing concrete, sweating and lifting and I loved it!
One Friday morning, as I was driving through town, I noticed that the Farmer’s Market had opened for the season. That was the moment I started feel excited about being alive. A moment of inspiration. Clarity! I was going to start selling my garden stones at the Farmer’s Market! I thought I might make a little money, but something more important hit me. I would be out in the public, meeting people, talking to people, sharing my beautiful garden stones. That made me feel good about myself, good about being part of the community, and good about being alive! It was summer and I wasn’t teaching at the community college. I had plenty of time to make more and more stones, load them up in the trunk of my car, throw a couple card tables in the back seat and there I was … selling garden stones at the Farmer’s Market!
Much has happened in the last couple years. Now, it is time to start writing again. Before, all I could write about was my sorrow, the loss of my darling Dave. Finally, though I haven’t forgotten all that I’ve endured, I can think about all that I have done and learned to do, all the projects that made my house a home and the fun I have had doing them. I have Oreo, the black lab that showed up at our door on the Thanksgiving before Dave died. I have stories to tell. I have a community, a huge global community. I found “sisters and brothers” on Facebook that I have never met. They carried me around the clock through eight months of Dave’s illness and still have my back today.
Dave was smart about getting information. Not like tech-smart, not at all, in fact. But he knew how to draw information out of people before they realized what he was after. Early in our relationship, before we were lovers, we were riding our bicycles around the lake. We did that at least once a day during this flirtatious but guarded period. I don’t remember exactly what we had been talking about, but Dave then said, “Maybe we should pray about it.” My response was “You go right ahead and do that if it will make you feel better, but I won’t.” And Dave started laughing. He was fishing, testing our compatibility in the spiritual realm. Apparently, I passed. l didn’t live in the spiritual realm, at least not in an organized religion kind of way and neither did he. We had no reason to talk about it any further until during his illness. He said he didn’t want to hear that people were praying for him. I think he did like knowing that they were thinking about him or, at least, that was how I felt about it. For me, it was just as I had first told him, if it makes a person feel better to pray, then pray your heart out. I didn’t mind hearing that people were praying for both of us. In fact, I like that we were in their thoughts, that they cared. Still, the reality was that Dave was going to die of complications from Stage 4 glioblastoma, in other words brain cancer. I would have to figure out how I was going to go on without him.
My world is expanding. That is what happens when you choose love over hate, Otherwise, bitterness pulls the walls in closer and the world folds in on top of you. My world is larger and now it includes you. I am grateful. I am excited about being alive! Thank you for joining the storytelling, for being a part of the conversation. Please leave your comments below. I want to know what you want to do. I hope you will come back and we will visit again…