Saturday, July 24, 2021

Coping Mechanisms

Jesus Christ Welcome Home Hug

Tomorrow, Sunday July 25, will mark 8 months since Beloved left the bonds of earth for that heavenly realm. In all truth, I wish I could have gone with him that day, but don't worry, I'm not making any plans for my demise. 

They tell us in my grief group that anything we do to express our grief is okay with the one notable exception of suicide

As awful as grief is, I do not want to step outside of God's will for my  life. His will is the safest place for me to be. As long as I have a pulse, I have a purpose, and He is the air I breathe.

Since writing my last post, I haven't taken a lot of pictures. After making the decision to not continue with the building of the new house, I have been at peace about that. But then I can't help but wonder, what is next? What are my goals? What am I aiming for?

(smile) My biggest goal is to just stay out of trouble!! 

Don't go on any spending sprees. 

Don't go places by myself after dark.

Refuse friend requests from unknown men on Face Book. (yeah, that comes with revealing widowhood on FB -- beware)

Remind myself I'm a single gal now so be wary of masculine attention (not psychotic, just wise). I've got a reputation to keep in tact.

Wear my wedding rings to discourage unwelcome attention.

You get the picture. It's unsettling to be single again after 50+ years, especially since I married young. In conversation with Surfer Girl about my decision to not build the house, I shared I was embarrassed that I had pursued the project as long as I did. 

Surfer Girl stated that I had not run away to Italy, did not buy a villa sight unseen, nor married a guy I'd known for only 3 days. 

Conclusion: don't be so hard on myself. 

So what am I doing? I read a lot, have my fav TV shows on TBN (I do watch local television news just long enough to be aware of any tropical storms brewing during this hurricane season). I clean house, do periodic maintenance with appliances, pull weeds, have tended my potted flowers on the back paver patio and had a neighbor inspect a bush that I thought was dead.

quoting from The Princess Bride, 
"mostly dead"?

Turns out it's NOT dead and advice was given, which I am following. 

Bakers Rack on back porch

I bought a bent-up Bakers Rack at a reduced price from Hobby Lobby. It adds welcome color to the screened-in back porch with both real and artificial plants. 

This latest addition helps me to enjoy sitting out there with my coffee. For a long time I couldn't do that because Beloved and I spent afternoons together over mugs of java, watching the Cypress branches move with the wind, the butterflies flitting about, and the occasional bright red Cardinal rest on the metal bench. I said to Beloved many times, "I just love doing this with you." Well, I can do it now although it's not the same, of course.

I'm cooking more now, which pleases those who chide me for my 20-pound weight loss. Pulling out the scales several times a week, I'm keeping track. The loss appears to have stopped and now I'm maintaining the lowest weight consistently. I'm used to how I look now but people consider me to be "tiny." They mean well but I could do without the comments.

But back to the cooking: I need to be eating up things that have been in the freezer since before Beloved and I got COVID late last October. 
Chicken Nuggets, Lemon Couscous, 
green salad

Note: I did not have couscous on hand until recently. Beloved did not like it. This is one of those edibles I'm providing for myself now that Beloved's not here.

Tilapia, Brussel Sprouts, and cheesy grits

T2 and I continue to visit via FaceTime about 5 times a week. We always talk about what we plan to have for supper. In addition to being "my personal shrink," he is also pretty much my accountability partner on meals. That's not a bad thing at all.

Carnita inspired by T2

I get good menu ideas from this son of mine. He's the primary cook in his marriage and comes up with some pretty creative cuisine. This last picture was inspired by him and is the pork I made for a taco-type entree. I divided the leftover meat for my freezer.

Sad as it is, I am finding that friendships with other recent widows helps me (and them). It is nearly uncanny how we share the same thoughts, experiences, and even conclusions. It's like they've read my mind: the impressions, fears, doubts are the same in many cases. As they share their story, tears dribble down my cheeks unashamedly. It helps to have people cry with us, even new friends. 

If Beloved were to visit me now, he might do a little double-take due to my weight loss and new hairstyle. Unfortunately I got a horrible haircut (extremely short!) while he was in the hospital and as a result I resolved I'm done with that style FOREVER. But the day came when I needed to get my longer locks tamed into some definition. I did that yesterday.

me

This was my 3rd attempt at a selfie with the camera on my laptop. It's not perfect. My style looks lopsided and too tall -- it's better in person, you need to understand. But hey -- I'm wearing jewelry again, can put on some lipstick now that my mask is tucked away into a purse pocket, and can even manage a smile most days. The photo isn't doing my eyebrows any favors, either. Again, they look better in person.

Last February or so I may have mentioned the weighted blanket I sleep with. A friend who has counseled PTSD patients suggested it. It is a Godsend, no exaggeration here. Somebody asked me if it's hot because of the weight. Yes, it is.  I sleep with my feet exposed and the ceiling fan on it's lowest speed. That works for me. 😆

my Bible study desk

Something else that gives me great comfort is Bible study and Christian study books. A couple of weeks ago I rearranged furniture in my bedroom so this corner can be devoted to my current studies. It's like a private retreat -- which sounds strange when I live in this house all by myself. Anyway, it's adorned with my current favorite books, study aids, and reminder notes (pinned to some of the quilts made during that season of my life) -- I spend hours in that chair. Yes, I go through a fair amount of tissues, but also come away with godly inspiration that gets me through my days. 

purple pencil notes

During the earliest days of my grief, insanity was kept at bay with the help of a coloring book from Sue that featured the Psalms. Since then I have migrated with my colored pencils to marking with purple every word/phrase that describes God, His character, His actions. 

Now when I am at a low ebb, I can turn to one of these pages and be reminded of how God relates to me, how much He loves me, how He wants me to continue in relationship with Him. I don't have to search hard -- just let my eyes fall on the purple highlighting. 

Well, it's time for me to bring this post on my coping mechanisms  to a close. A friend and her husband have invited me to a potluck/game night at their church this evening. I want to make a peach cobbler for that. This way I can enjoy the recipe without having to feast on it for the next two weeks here at home. 

I am looking forward to the social interaction with other Christian adults. 

I close with the "pocket verse" from yesterday that continues to bless me today: ("pocket verse" is the Bible verse I scribble onto a scrap of paper and carry with me all day for encouragement. I pull it out throughout the day, a habit helping me more than words can describe.)

You [God] will show me the path of life: 

in Your Presence is fullness of joy;

at Thy right hand there are pleasures forever more.

Psalm 16:11

Grace and peace to you.


18 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post, full of grace and peace and a place of being more at ease with your life situation. I love the selfie of you, although I must admit if I didn't know it was you, I would probably have to ask...I love the new hairstyle. I guess I am more used to seeing you with an open smile, and this is the more pensive, thoughtful you. Very beautiful either way. I love that you have this little retreat in your bedroom where you can do your Bible study...and the pocket verse idea is wonderful. Also I love the purple pencil highlighting God verses...I am happy you are going out tonight with Christian friends and you get to eat your own peach cobbler! LOL. I am looking forward to seeing you and Terri so much next weekend, so I can finally give you both the hugs I've been wanting to give you both for so long. I pray it will be a day of sunshine and laughter and yet some beautiful moments of just being at peace with one another. I'm so happy God brought us together in this place! Virtual (((hugs))) for now.

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  2. Thank you for baring your soul here, Barb. I see myself in so many things you mention here. We do find ways to cope and I don't know how anyone gets through loss like ours without faith. I count my blessings every day, many times during the day! Looking forward to spending time with you this coming weekend! Thank you for having me!! xo

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  3. What a beautiful post and it makes me so happy that you are "finding your way" slowly but surely. I had no idea you had decided not to build the house, guess I'd better go and read some of your older posts as I have been remiss in reading blogs lately. I love your hair, really cute!

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  4. This really is a beautiful post, Barbara. While your pain is still evident, your faith holds steady. That is evident in what you write. You are a beautiful lady. I love your hair style, and you have a lovely face. Hugs to you.

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  5. Dear Barb, my name is Gabi and I live in Germany. I am a reader of your blog and I follow since months. I can really tell that we have something in common. I also lost my husband by a sudden death after an accident 6 years ago. I thought the world goes down. We were married for 45 years. And it took a long time till I could laugh and smile again. Your story reminded me this time. A nice person told me at this time, you feel better after a year, you need a whole year to do things alone. Christmas, Easter, birthday etc. This person was right. I don't write more here but I could not find a personal addy.
    I wish you all the best and you are on the best way.
    Warm greetings

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  6. Thank you for your willingness to share your walk of faith. Psalm 16:11 is such a comforting scripture. Reminds us that we are not alone in this life journey. He is holding our hand and showing the way. God's blessings.

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  7. I think that photo of you is lovely, Barbara! It's good to hear how you are progressing, and that the Lord is holding you in His arms as you continue to heal. I do like the idea of carrying around a Bible verse to pull out and read throughout the day. I think I'm going to try that.
    Hang in there, and God bless!

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  8. Thank you Barbara for keeping it real...and p.s. I think you look great...and I truly mean it. smiles

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  9. Good morning, Barb! Your post on coping was beautiful, filled with grace. But thank you for the chuckle over Surfer Girl's comment. Many of your pocket verses I have added to my Bible verse journal. Love your new do. Hope you enjoyed the potluck and game night with your friends. Care to share your lemon couscous recipe? Thinking of you!

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  10. Your new hair do looks really nice. I'm glad to see that you are doing so well. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

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  11. It's always good to hear from you via posts. Love the selfie and your new do! Very nice. Sticking a verse in your pocket really makes pockets worthwhile. I can understand how good it is to be with other widows and the support you can give each other. Both our sons are good cooks and it's fun to be fed by them once in a while. Happy Lord's day to you.

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  12. Here's a quote I copied a while back from Horatius Bonar, 1861.
    ...O love of God, our shield and stay through all the perils of our way! Eternal love, in thee we rest forever safe, forever blest.

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  13. Love your new do!! And I agree with your daughter. we are all allowed to change our minds. If you were not comfortable with going ahead on the building, then you did the right thing in stopping. I guess when all decisions are up to you, it is hard not to second guess. Blessings to you today Barb.

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  14. Oh dear lady, I think of you so very often. And more recently since we have several in our community loose their spouse to Covid. So many others we are praying for. Your post was so real and I appreciate your honestly about things going on. Your selfie is a great picture girl. You are beautiful. Your Hair looks great! Speaking of hair, I need a haircut! Seems you stay pretty busy. Well, one thing is for sure, Our Lord will lead and guide you on future endeavors so matter what they may be. Love you lady. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  15. Thank you for sharing your journey. I am sure it is bringing comfort to many who may be traveling the same path. Your haircut is beautiful.

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  16. Sorry, I am late to the post.
    You look beautiful!
    I often said that "old sayings" had some depth to them because they worn born out of experience from someone who walked a road to come up with that saying to pass down. We have many in our family, but time is a healer is one. NONE of them sound very good at the beginning but having them in our family conversations brings them to mind when we are ready for them. He has you and you have much to give and share going forward. Heaven is just a little sweeter thought now. I love your pocket verses. You know you could write a book about that and make money BUT for me they are an inspirational idea.

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  17. Your journey has had so many twists and turns over the past year, Barbara, but you continue to trust and have faith that all will be well and that is so admirable. I'm sorry the house building did not pan out, but you seem content in your current neighborhood with some good friends and family nearby.

    I LOVE your new haircut--makes me want to rush out to the hairdresser with a photo of you :) Unfortunately, with my stick straight hair--I don't think this would work for me. Continue to make and eat those tasty looking meals--I'm sure it's hard to cook for one (for me, it's hard to cook for two as I don't enjoy cooking, only baking!). Do take care now--sending a hug ♥

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