Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Get Away

Joe,today is five months that you have been gone. I still miss you more than all my words can tell you but I am beginning to adjust to the single life again. I do pretty good during the day but the nights are still tough and coming home to an empty house after I've been gone for a week isn't easy either. There are still lots of tears, but at least I'm not "bleeding" all over everyone now with those tears. It's more like a pressure cooker. The tears come, and when they quit I wipe my eyes, blow my nose and get on with living. I'm laughing and smiling more too. I'm still trying to figure out where I fit in, what I want to do with my life now. A couple of weeks ago I helped out in the nursery at church during a memorial service. I felt useful again. 

Please click on pictures to enlarge
Last Monday, I took the train to Tacoma 

Where I met up with my sister  and sister in law and we headed for Ocean Shores for a few days. 

We were greeted by deer in the parking lot.

They are definitely not shy. This one would have come in if I opened the door. 

Shopping for groceries .....well it looks more like snacks, because except for breakfast we ate out. 

The deer "own" Ocean Shores.... they are not in a hurry. You wait for them.

Regular as clock work they arrive in the morning for handouts and then again about 4 in the evening. We didn't feed them, but they sure knew who did. Sometimes they stood there looking up at the balcony waiting for the guests to appear on the deck with snacks for them.

It rained most of the time we were there but we were cozy and warm inside. The girls were able to walk on the beach a couple of times.

Yeah, I claim these goofy ladies, in fact I love them a lot. They are pulling down the Murphy bed, Bless their hearts.  They are both widows. My sisters husband died 18 years ago and my brother, my sis in laws husband, died in 2004 three months before I married Joe. They are full of compassion and understanding and are doing a great job of helping me become a widow with grace too. 

Unfortunately, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning I had severe IBS symptoms which sort of put a blanket on my having too much fun. But with all the windows it was beautiful to just sit and watch. I didn't know the Ocean had so many colors. From blue, to sea foam green, to blue/black when it was stormy. . By Thursday Morning I was feel much better but still weak in the knees. 

And this was the view out the window the morning we left.  Beautiful. It rained hard through Hoquiam and Aberdeen. When we got on I-5 traffic, according to the news, all lanes, were backed up twelve miles!!! Jan felt we needed to get off the freeway and get gas. Trying to get back on was a nightmare but eventually we made it home. Our sister in law though, was a different story. We put took her to the train station thinking she would only have an hour wait...WRONG.... The bus she had to take to Seattle was stuck in the traffic. When she finally boarded the bus, the driver took the wrong exit and  that delayed them even longer. She finally got to the train in Seattle and home a little after MIDNIGHT!!! 

A trip to my sisters isn't complete with out a visit to The Cannery and the Old Cannery Fudge Shop. This old couple "talks" when you walk by them and they are dressed for every occasion

Sister was enjoying the beautiful quilt there.

And as we do when I'm there, she took me for a nice ride again. Check out this tree trunk.

After Church Sunday, my nephew  and his family invited us to go to Sammamish, Wash. with them to watch their daughter play soccer. The game ended in a tie. Oh, did you figure out from the picture that it was REALLY cold? A nice day, but brrrrrr.

On the way to the train station Monday, we stopped at the store and bought some daffodils and then went to the Sumner Cemetery to place the flowers on our mom and brother's graves and on my son's grave. The above statue marks the place of Baby land. My son died 10 days before his first birthday 53 years ago. 

My mom is buried right across the driveway from my son. I know, the flowers look sparse, but there is actually nine daffodils in each vase. Six of them haven't opened yet. We planned it that way.

And our brother is buried in a different section but in the same cemetery. We both have numerous extended family members and friends  buried in this cemetery.

My train ride home was uneventful. Nice sunny day until about half way home when it started raining. Still the countryside was beautiful. Lots of standing water, you could see where the slides were that  stopped train travel for a few days, and beautiful green, green fields. I was so tired when I got home. I didn't unpack until this morning. I had a day of errands to run so stopped for lunch at Shari's in Milwaukie. The ducks and geese think they own the property. They are messy but fun to watch.

They park it too... where ever they want.

I walked by this one and he turned his head around, looked at me, and tucked his head right back in his wing.

If you don't already know, this Honda is MY car. I do have a back up camera but they didn't even move when I started the car.   No Fear...

Bye For Now
I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Four Months

Hi Honey. Today it's been four months since you died. Life without you is still hard. It's like I hit a brick wall. When you were here we were doing something every day. The wheels were always turning either on the motor home or the car.You were happy behind the wheel. Life is different now. I go to the store, the post office, I try to see the kids every couple of weeks or so and I'm getting ready to take my 2nd train trip to Jan's in a couple of weeks. Our sister in law Blanche is going to meet us when I get to Tacoma and we are heading to Ocean Shores for a few days.  
So today I was going to either get a glazed donut, or little dish of Baskin and Robbins Baseball Nut ice cream...both of your favorites. But when I left the Dermatology clinic I didn't feel much like having either. Yeah, I had a Mohs  procedure to remove another basal cell carcinoma. On a scale of 1-10 Dr. said it was a 2. But where it was located at the base of my nose, when the numbness wore off it hurts much more than the first one did.  A big ouch!!. Stitches come out next Wednesday.

I'm trying to eat healthier now. I have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen doing one of the things I enjoy. Cooking. I recently bought fresh vegetables. I snapped these beans

and prepared them to be steamed. I have a new steamer/rice cooker. After 12 years my old one was on it's last leg. I really like this one. I put the rice in the bottom, and can steam the veggies in the top at the same time.  I also bought some red,yellow and orange peppers and I steam them. sometimes I chop them up real small and add them to my scrambled eggs in the mornings.  I have a small chuck roast thawing and I'll make your favorite tomorrow..... pot roast. with red and gold potatoes, carrots and onion and my seasonings. That will make me about three meals. One will be supper and the other two will go in the freezer for a meal when I don't want to cook.

I borrowed this from the Internet. It fits where I'm at right now.I'm not stuck but the journey is slow. While the Dr. was removing the bad cells today, the tears started flowing. He asked if he was hurting me and I told him no. He knows about loosing you and he understands the tears. His assistant handed me some Kleenex. I guess it was just that it was one more hard thing I'm doing without you here to comfort me. The tears don't stay, they just come and go at the most inopportune time sometimes. I guess the above saying is true.... we loved each other so much and now all I have is the memories of that wonderful, beautiful love. The ice and snow are mostly gone now. The rain continues with patches of blue skies and sun now and then. The trees are pushing, and the bulbs are pushing their heads up from the ground. Spring will be here soon. I have a yellow primrose and yellow daffodils in my kitchen window, gifts from friends who love me.When I look at them I smile because I know that you loved yellow. Then I smile because as much as I miss you I'm relieved you are no longer suffering. You are in a new happy place. I can only imagine.........

Bye for now

Thursday, February 16, 2017

It Was A Very Good Day

Earlier this week I posted the following on Facebook:
I'm watching "Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown" and it makes me smile and laugh. Jesus Loves me, My Family Loves Me, My friends Love me, .........and I love me. Yes, I Love Valentines Day...Joe knew I loved Pearls, but I always told him no I didn't need them... Well guess what I'm getting me from Him for Valentines Day.... I'm going to Crown Jewelers tomorrow and picking up my new (small) pearl earrings . Thank you honey.
So my dear Joe, I kept that appointment at Crown Jewelers. These are the pearl earrings I chose. It truly was a week of love and I felt very loved. The morning of Valentines Day I was up early to return an item at Fred Meyers. While there I stopped at  the Starbucks in the store and bought a small latte. The young Barista  asked me if I was having a nice Valentines day. I said I was. I told her it was my first Valentine Day with out the love of my life but I knew I was loved by a lot of family and friends. She finished my drink and instead of putting it on the counter, she came around handed it to me with a HUGE "grandma hug" and gave me a card for a free drink of any size and a bag with two cake pops in it. Believe it or not I was speechless. After a nice thank you, I took just a few steps from there and saw a lady frantically laying things from her purse on an empty table....I thought to myself "now that looks like something I would do if I had "lost" my keys"  Just as I stepped along side her to ask if there was anything I could do to help, she got a huge smile on her face as she held up her car keys. We had a fun conversation about how I got the name "Lucy"  from you......and had a few more laughs we said goodbye. I noticed she hadn't put her debit/credit card back in her wallet. So I shared another "Lucy" story with her telling her how I promised you I wouldn't leave the counter in the future until it was back in my wallet and back in my purse. Before she took another step she put her card where it belonged.  My heart was happy. I received Valentine cards from friends and a beautiful long stemmed red rose with a note attached from dear friends reminding me how much I was loved.  It truly was a day of love for me.  
P.S. The card we give each other every year.... is in its proper place where I can see it everyday and everyday I feel your love.

In closing, my blogger friends, I wanted to share this. I love music and I love children. Put those together with one of my favorite songs ..... WOW!!

Bye for now
I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl

Friday, February 10, 2017

I Didn't Realize A Little Pack Of Toothpicks Could Hurt So Bad.

My Joe, just when I think I'm doing better ...... I was cleaning out the pockets in the drivers side of car door  and look what I found hidden under a little plastic container of band aids. Yes, an unopened pack of your much loved, favorite toothpicks. Apparently you took one of the packs out of the larger packs to keep in the car. I don't know how something so small could "knock the wind" out of me. Stopped me in my tracks. I locked up the car, went in the house and cried til there were no more tears, crawled into bed ( it was only 7 P:M) and didn't get up til morning. In thinking about it the next morning, why did that hurt so bad?  Maybe because they were such a part of you. No, I didn't throw them away, just put them in a little place were I have other special things of yours I'm not ready to let go of yet but out of sight for now.  I also placed your sunglasses and case that were in another compartment I hadn't seen before with them. 

Another first, another hurt. I filed our income taxes for this year. I asked Jean why she had to put deceased on the form and her answer was because I filed joint this year and she had to. Then at the bottom I had to sign my name as "surviving spouse"  Add another description to who I am now.  Widow, surviving spouse...... But I will also be Betty Graffis, the name you gave me twelve and a half years ago that I will cherish for ever. 
O.K So I told you I would share a life lesson to help lessen the pain of missing you so much...Valentines Day, Another first without you.  Remember telling you about the lady I met recently who remembered you from  your days of transporting residents from place to place?  Well, she lost the love of her life just a few weeks ago. I don't know her pain, but I sure know mine. So I went shopping the other day and put together a little Valentine's Day Bag for her. Not a lot, just something to let her know that somebody cares about her. I did that for  three others that for what ever reason, I knew were hurting.That day for me was a really good day. I was thinking of others and not about me. This isn't a new lesson for me. Many years ago I walked through another dark valley and it was then I learned reaching out to others, helping others was really helping me. So I thought, well, let's try that again. Totally different situation but it works. So to my blogger friends that might be hurting, try it sometime. If you are feeling down, feeling blue, find someone else that might need cheering up. It doesn't have to be a gift, maybe a little note to them, or a smile and a hello as you pass them in the grocery isle......

On the way home from visiting my son the other day, I followed my GPS instead of going the way I usually go. To my great delight and surprise, I had to drive across this delightful covered bridge.  Cedar Crossing Covered Bridge

Another day while visiting my daughter I took some pictures on the way to where she lives.  Beautiful trees with lots of moss and  rushing creeks swollen from all the rain we've had.

It's been a good week with a few "bumps" Sixteen months ago Joe, when you were first diagnosed with cancer, we prayed and asked the Lord for Strength, Courage, Comfort and Peace. The Lord has been faithful. There are days when I want to question why, but He knows all the answers that I will know one day. Until then, He gives me strength and courage when I need it, I cry, then I blow my nose and wipe my eyes and thank the Lord for the comfort and peace He gives me when I'm done crying. I'm smiling more and even laughing out loud. Tomorrow I'm going to get the car washed. I know, not your way of doing things but at least it will look nice on the outside and then I'll go to the store and I will smile and say hello to whom ever I pass by.

Bye For Now
I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Life Continues on...... One Day At A Time

Before I start my blog this evening, for those of you who are from the Pacific Northwest or have had any dealings with  Camping World in Troutdale, Oregon, this was our headlines on the news tonight.  

These past couple of weeks it's been one day at a time. Nights being the most difficult. I saw this recently on Facebook and it pretty much says it all. My sister and I had a good talk on the phone the other night and bottom line from her own experiences, she has taken the tough times and turned them into "what lesson can I learn from this".

So I've been working on life lessons in the pain of missing you Joe...And I'll be sharing some of them from time to time. I met a sweet, elderly lady today who remembers you from your days of transporting residents from place to place. She couldn't say enough about how wonderful her and her husband thought you were. She used words like kind, gentle, helpful  to name a few. In a couple of weeks I will use her in one of my life lessons I will share.

Today was the monthly Senior Luncheon at church. Susan is such a great cook and her husband Ray is right there to help. I'm getting to know the group and making more new friends.  The tables were decorated with Valentine Candy, and cute little Valentine figurines. It is the most romantic month of the year right????  February was the month Joe gave me my engagement ring. Instead of giving it to me after we had it sized, he made arrangements with my Pastor at the time in Estacada to give it to me during our Church Valentine's Banquet. He said he wanted the whole world to know how much he loved me but knowing he couldn't do that, giving it to me in front of my church family would work too. That really was a surprise and so special because Joe was normally not one that would do anything in front of a room full of people especially people that he didn't really know that well. Pastor Jim's devotional after lunch was about love too.  God's love for us.  I couldn't focus to well on everything he said because I was concentrating on trying to keep my eyes from "leaking" It was useless so I quit trying, got out my hanky and just wiped them away and kept smiling.....

This is a view of part of my walk each day. I try to do it three times a day. I started Physical Therapy last week for Gait issues. It seems I'm not as stable on my feet as I use to be and the exercises I'm doing will help that if I'm faithful in doing them. I haven't fallen yet and I don't plan on that ever happening.

This is the view on the way back. If you enlarge the picture by clicking on it you can see beautiful Mt. Hood in the distance and our Class C Motor home patiently waiting for just the right buyer. 

This is just a weed as far as I know but it was frozen. I took this during our last freezing rain/snow storm. Even weeds can be beautiful at times. We are in the middle of yet another freezing rain/snow storm passing through tonight. This one though won't last as long. The forecast is for it to be done by Saturday which is a good thing. I will be working on my tax preparation this weekend and by Sunday hopefully it will just be rain and I can go to church......and then watch the Super Bowl. :)
Bye for now
I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl

Sunday, January 22, 2017

After Two Long Weeks

I sit here tonight my Joe, working on my blog and thinking about the last three months since you went to live in your new heavenly home. I can't even imagine what it must be like, how beautiful it must be. But I CAN tell you there is no words to describe the pain and loneliness of you not being here with me. I try to keep busy during the day and that helps. The nights are the worst. People say, and I've said it too "that time heals".... but it seems like that "time" will never get here.  I know I can't get around it. I have to walk through it. Now that the snow is gone I can get out of the house. This was a week full of joyful news regarding some of our grand kiddos....adults now.

Meet Jess Schwartz. She is our newest grand daughter to be. Yes, Brandon is engaged.He waited for a long time for the Lord to give him the perfect wife for him.  I won't be going back to Colorado for the wedding.... you know how much I love to fly (NOT) but they are having a wedding reception in Oregon City in May and I will be there for that. Jan is coming down and we will go together. I am so looking forward to meeting her.

Then there is your Heather. It's not enough that she already plays the keyboard, guitar and ukulele. Now she is playing the violin.... all self taught via You Tube and her sharp ear  (of course that comes from her grandma right :) She played the theme from Pirates Of The Caribbean for me.
Then our sweet little  great grand daughter Araina turned one last week.
Last week David, Jennifer and the boys came to visit and brought me some groceries and a special movie I really wanted..... can you believe it.

 They gave me
"Finding Dory"  Then they stayed and we all watched it together.  Now I have both Finding Nemo AND Dory. I'm not much of a cartoon person but I loved these. The colors are so beautiful too.
After being housebound for two weeks from the snow and ice, I was able to get out of the house for a visit with son Mike. My intentions were to pick up the barometer I accidentally broke and he fixed it. As soon as I took it off the wall by one of the "handles" and it broke when I was moving, I remembered you telling me only to handle it by the center. Thank you Mike for your beautiful work.
 I was also blessed to be able to have a short, quick visit with  daughter Sheila. Bless her heart. Wednesday she had all her teeth pulled and dentures put in place. She was asleep, but Thursday through today have been so painful for her. So yesterday I took her flowers, and a goody bag with things that she will need for wearing dentures now, plus some yogurt. She doesn't feel like eating anything else yet.  

 Sheila lives in the country and the scenery on the way there is so beautiful. Especially on this day my friend and I went to visit her. On the way home, she spotted some moss that she could use in re potting a fern she had just purchased...

Well my love it was a long two weeks, but I made it. In trying to comfort me before you died, you would say "it will be OK"  It doesn't always feel OK but you are right. I WILL  be OK.
Bye for now.

I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl

Meet Lamby. In between snow storms, I was able to get to the Post Office.There was so much mail in my little box. Among the mail was a familiar yellow slip indicating there was a package... or more mail they couldn't get in my box. So I went to the window and it was a box. I brought every thing home and laid it on the counter, the package still unopened. There was more errands to run. It had been a tough day. Somehow, my house key fell off my key ring. GONE. If that wasn't enough when I got the mail there was a huge package  from medical records. Dates I needed for tax purposes but a huge painful reminder all the tests, surgeries, medicines....didn't work. He died.  Tears and rain doesn't make for safe driving but I couldn't stop them. I was back in the house by 5 and I opened my package. I didn't know who it was from. All it said was Amazon. But the person reading this  blog does. I've all ready communicated with that person. I thanked them for their sensitivity to the nudging of the Holy Spirit in giving me that sweet little lamb. Again God's timing is perfect. When you hold it's little paws. It recites the whole 23rd Psalm.
"Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
."....for 75 years I've always thought that was for the person dying. Holding and listening to my precious little lamb, I realized I walked through the valley of the shadow of death watching my Joe die little by little over the year. But the Lord was with me every step of the way. I encourage any of you who are going through your own difficult valley, take that chapter and personalize it. Where ever there is a personal pronoun put your name...Joe's right. I am going to be O.K. It's just a long journey but I'll get there and so will you.

PS. Guess what? After replacing the lost key and having a couple spares cut and put in a safe place.... I lifted a bag I keep in the back of my car and there was the lone, lost key. Apparently it had pulled off the key holder and stuck to the bottom of the bag and when I lifted the bag it fell on to the seat.