Monday, December 5, 2016

The First Snow

Dear Joe, 
Remember your answer in one of our talks when I was asking you what type of tires I should get when the snows come?  You said "none! You need to just stay home"  ( He knew my driving skills much better than I did)

Well the first snow is here. It's beautiful. But I am true to my word and the car is staying put in the driveway. Yes, the tears are here again. Another first with out you.  You hated being cold, and even though you are not there but are where it is nice and beautiful with Jesus, it saddens me to think you are buried in that cold, snowy cemetery.
That's why we liked being in the desert in October right? Totally avoided the snow. 

 Its so peaceful to just stand at the kitchen sink looking out the window at the beautiful, peaceful, clean, white snow. 
I'll love you for ever and always
Your Betty Girl



Sunday, December 4, 2016

I'm All Moved In






Dear Joe,
In the time we had together before you died we talked a lot about how life would be without you. You kept reassuring me I would be ok. We talked about me selling the house. So a couple of weeks after you were gone Tim introduced me to a realtor friend he knew and she came to the house and wrote up a contract. Before she could finish it a lady she had been showing other houses to stopped by and took a look and  offered a cash amount, I counter offered and she accepted. It closed on the 23rd of November and she took possession December 1st. It didn't leave me a whole lot of time to pack up. Jan came down and helped me for a few days and Kelly and Rob and families came Thanksgiving and we sorted and sorted and threw away and gave away...... I have to tell you honey, if there was ever a trophy for one who could put so much stuff in a shed and workshop and have it look as organized as yours was, you would have won that trophy hands down without a doubt.

Moving from a two bedroom two bath double wide mobile home into a studio apartment has it's challenges but I'm getting it done.
Joe and Karin, our friends of more than 40 years, were at the house at 8:15 AM  and he took me to U Haul to pick up the truck. Not only did he help load and unload but he drove the truck.

My new church family from Happy Valley Evangelical Church answered the call to help me move. They arrived at the house in a procession. Donuts and coffee were the first order of the day. In all there were 13 men and three women. The house was emptied in about an hour and a half. I don't know what I would have done without David. He has helped me keep it together when I I wanted to just give up. Reminding me with his quiet, gentle voice that it will be ok, letting me cry and giving me hugs. Mike, Kelly, Rob and Sheila check on me. You would be proud of all of them. Mike is my builder and fixer. Kelly is my listener, and Rob and Sheila check on me often. Good adult kids we have. 



Some of the folks helped on the Milwaukie end to load and others arrived at my new home in Damascus to help unload. 

This sign greeted me when I opened the door to my new home. Thank you Kim W. It doesn't take much to bring the tears out. Seeing this sign the tears were there along with smiles.

After a few days of unpacking and sorting, the kitchen is done.
My fireplace has a little heater in it. So I stay nice and warm. (It is suppose to be in the 30's here this week so we'll see) 

Remember my sweet little abode is a studio apartment. Thus you see the couch and the bed. It works for me. I also have a huge walk in closet behind the wall by the bed. 

I still have boxes to unpack but I am slowly making progress.

~~~~~~~~~~~
So my love, here I am. I'm not alone, but I'm lonely. I miss you more than all those words you said I had can tell you. I cry a lot. My heart aches because it's broken. I wonder sometimes if it will ever heal. I'm doing my best to be brave. Church is hard, especially taking communion without you by my side. Today though, I stayed until after the benediction instead of leaving while the last song was being sung to avoid visiting with the people.  I actually stayed a few extra minutes visiting with a new friend.
This past Thursday Ruthie and I went to the Victorian Country Christmas at the fairgrounds in Puyallup.Billy and the Hillbillys performed there again this  year.  It was as good or better than the times you and I went in the past. The living nativity was the best ever. We stayed overnight at Jan's and came back home Friday Morning.

Tonight David, Jennifer and the little boys picked me and Ruthie up and we went to Portland's Christmas Celebration at Portland Christian Center on Dosh Rd. Both these Christmas Celebrations were beautiful but bitter sweet because you weren't there to enjoy them with me.  You loved the music especially the trombones.

I guess there has to be a first before there can be a 2nd. So I got my train ticket yesterday to go be with Jan for Christmas. Christmas without you will never be the same again. But the memories I will have about Christmas with you, especially in the desert will always be in my heart.


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



Friday, November 18, 2016

Perfect Timing


Today was probably the hardest day I've had since Joe died. I'm not going to go in to details but my platter is so full. My grandson and son came to the house this afternoon and took care of some pressing issues that required immediate attention. I'll be so glad when the house closes and I'm all moved in. Anyway, the reason for today's blog is to tell another story of God's perfect timing. I was overwhelmed just standing in the living room by myself crying,wishing for the moment, Joe was here and none of this was happening, when the doorbell rang. I opened the door an there stood a FedEx man with a large, long flower box from Amazon. I asked him who it was from and he told me he didn't know but maybe there would be a card inside and he left. I closed the door, took the box in the kitchen, tears blinding my eyes, and once the box was open there was a beautiful boquet of flowers. The above picture is of the flowers. white roses, Lilys and stock with red berries. I searched the box looking for a card so I could thank the giver. But no card. I called my son still crying, telling him about the flowers with no card. He told me "Mom, sometimes the giver of a gift does it not wanting to be thanked." So I will accept that answer but I hope and pray one day that giver will know their timing of sending tbose beautiful flowers was perfect.  Tonight I'm resting in my glider chair processing the events of today. Trying to learn to set aside the things I can't control..remembering how many times I've been reminded God's got it and HE'S in control.  Will I ever learn?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A new Great Grandbaby

Meet my great grandchild #9 Miss Memphis Reign Hall
She was born Nov. 7th,  she weighed 7lbs 15oz, and  21inches long. 

Daddy Jesse and Mommy Alyssa

My sister came to help me pack in preparation for my move.. if it doesn't fit, stomp on it right?  It was good to have her here. She understood my tears but she also made me laugh. 

Life is just full of changes right now.  The person that was going to buy the motor home backed out so I'm desperately trying to sell it again.  We have it listed on Craig's list. PM me if you are interested.

I found this cute personal waffle maker AND this pancake/waffle mix at Fred Meyer's (Kroeger's) recently. Just perfect for me for breakfast.

The other day as I was making one of my many trips to Goodwill, as I got out of the car, hundreds and hundreds of noisy geese were flying over head.  I debated about even getting out of the car but not even one "bombed" my car.

A few Christmas's ago, Joe gave me this beautiful diamond necklace and today I added this silver pendant. It is Joe's fingerprint.

And on the back is inscribed our wedding date and his date of death.  It is a sweet, warm feeling to have his fingerprint near my heart. Some have asked where I got it. The answer is I ordered it from the funeral home that handled Joe's services.

Since I wrote last I had a minor surgery on my foot. I had to have the toenail on my great toe removed. Another first in the fact that Joe wasn't there to help me make the decision to get it done and comfort me through the painful days of recovery. It's much better now.  Church was a little easier this week too. I had to go in Joe's workshop a couple times and that was sad.  His shop is as organized as everything else he laid his hands on. I'm going through so many other changes I decided to change my hair too and got a perm this past week. A lot is going to happen these next couple of weeks. I'll finish sorting and packing and I'm moving on the 28th. I'll come back on the 29th and clean cupboards and mop floors and on Wednesday the 30th The carpet will be professionally cleaned and I will close the door to the house I moved into when I married Joe, and continue my journey we talked about before he died. It makes me cry just thinking about it because he won't be there with me. I miss him so much. But time is my friend and the Lord is my strength. It will get easier. I think one of the hardest things for me right now is to not "help" God in things that need to get done, but "Let God Be God". He can do a much better job than I can.  He has just the right person out there to buy the motor home, He has always been there for me. My life verse, Jeremiah 29:11 says " For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The First of Many Firsts

Please excuse the variety of Font sizes. Blogger has a mind of its own and its messing with my fonts at the moment.

For now, my blogs won't have many pictures. But it is important to me to put my thoughts and feelings into words and in doing this, maybe there is someone out there in blog land who is dealing with the loss of a loved one, and just maybe they might find something in these words that will help them.

Today was a first of many firsts. Going to church by myself. Church was something that Joe and I did together. Even when we were on the road on Sundays,we would take time for singing and listening to God's Word via blue tooth as we traveled down the highway.

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  This has been my life verse for many years, and not once has He failed me Including today.  As I walked through the doors in the downstairs of the church it smelled like breakfast....because that's what was going on. A church breakfast before Sunday School started.  Everyone was friendly and invited me to eat with them, but number one I had breakfast and number two, if I would have said anymore than "no thank you" my eyes would have started leaking.  I walked up the stairs to the sanctuary and it was empty except for the worship team, pastor and his wife.  The team had finished their practice time and left just Pastor, his wife and me. Perfect. Because they really knew me. Pastor had visited Joe in the hospital and at home many times. He also played the piano at Joe's Celebration of Life. We talked about how hard it was for me to come by myself this morning but it was a "first that needed to be"  Next Sunday and the Sunday after that will become easier as time goes on. The next "first" was taking Communion without Joe. Now that was a tough one. It was something we always did together. So tough, the quiet tears would not stop. For those of you who don't know all about me, tears usually means a bloody nose.  Don't know why but it happens more times than I can count. So all I could do was pray Lord don't let my nose bleed today. He answered my prayers and the next time I take communion it will be easier. Just got to get past those firsts.
I was cold the other night and put on one of Joe's favorite pile lined flannel shirts. I noticed it didn't have his "smell"  I had washed it and the "smell" was gone.  All his after shave and cologne was gone. Yesterday, while doing my walking in Fred Meyers store I spotted his favorite...."Stetson" I opened a bottle and put a dab on my sweater. Awh......it smelled like my Joe.  After continuing my walk I went back and bought the bottle (yes, the one I opened ;). When I got home I put a few drops on my pillow. It doesn't take away the pain of missing him but it helps.

Now for some news.  I have a new address. 
Betty Graffis
P.O. Box 564
Boring, Oregon 97009

For those of you who have concerns that I am having major changes too soon, under normal circumstances those would be valid concerns. Joe and I had a year to process the fact that there would need to be changes when he was gone. We talked about my selling the house and moving to a place where I would feel safe. I believe that the Lord's timing is perfect. In this case very perfect.   The house sold before the realtor put it on the market for a cash price that was very acceptable to me.  And I have a sweet little apartment that makes me feel very safe, and close to family and friends. The motor home sold also for a very acceptable price to me before we could even get it on Craig's list. I am now debt free and can live comfortably on my Social Security income. God is so Good and Faithful. My kids have been so helpful. Two of them have had to travel back and forth from Washington State. Not an easy task when they both have families and jobs there.  It's so nice when you have former bus drivers, organizers and prayer warriors in the family. All play an important part in helping mom get through the grief and getting her moved. 

The last thing I want to mention is I had no idea how much paper work that needs attention after your loved one dies.  The only way I could get through it was one line at a time.  Fortunately I had a great funeral director that knew pretty much how many death certificates I need. He knew who needed just copies and who would need originals. He also taught me about a "short copy" I would need when I sold the house.  We have known each other for 27 years and being able to "just be me" around him  helps immensely. Thank you Rob.  

I'm so thankful for friends. Friends who open their home to me when I have a melt down, friends who listen and let me cry, friends who understand when I am having a "don't touch me" moment.....

Tomorrow is a new day. I try not to think too far ahead. I try to remember to drink enough liquids to keep myself hydrated and eat a small amount every few hours to keep the sugar numbers where they belong.  I start my day talking with Lord and end it the same way, with a lot of talking to him in between, thanking Him for his faithfulness to me and His watch care over me.  This transition period has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I would have thought working in the medical field most of my adult life, and being a funeral director and GriefShare Facilitator for years, I could do this with "no problem"  Boy was I wrong!!! The pain is indescribable, I've been blind sighted, The feeling like I have been kicked in the chest and stomach by a horse, Nothing prepares you for the loss of the love of your life. I asked a counselor friend of mine one time years ago, "When will it ever quit hurting"?  His answer.... Talk, Time and Tears.  So you my blogger friends are who I talk to, Time will be my friend, but I know it will take a long time. and Tears.....again, those of you who know me best know that tears come easy especially when I don't want them to. I didn't get rid of any of Joe's hankies and he had a lot of them........
Thanks for listening. I'll be back.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

I would like to say thanks

I'm sad tonight but for a totally different reason. When I picked up all my beautiful cards to look at them, a large Bill (money) was laying in the bottom of the basket the cards were in. I have no way to thank the person (s)  who put it in their card. If it is you, one if my blogger friends will you please email or text me so I can thank you

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Closing Another Chapter

Another tearful day as I emptied the motorhome. I checked the mileage as I put it up for sale. 60,000 miles of memories that I will cherish for ever. My Joe's happy place was behind the wheel. I've seen purple mountain majesties, I've been from sea to shining sea, enjoyed the California and Arizona deserts and all of Cochise county in Arizona, covered many back roads of Washington state and my beloved Oregon. .