All posts by Sally

One Year

It’s hard to fathom that Ted has been gone for a year already. I have one of my favorite pictures of him and I together in Yellowstone on the refrigerator and I still find myself saying “dammit Ted” to him in my head every time I open the door.

I’ve gotten into my own routine. I’m still dealing with bills, but they are fewer and fewer and if I read the terms correctly, per Colorado law, all bills must be submitted within a year of medical services rendered. So, barring slow mail, I should be at the tail end of those. I still have accounts I need transferred into my name and struggle to get the paperwork on a few, but that too is tapering off.

I’m still not working and honestly am busy with so many other things, I’m not sure if or when I will return. It is way easier to be open, curious, and observant of what life has in store for you when not working constantly, so if I can keep life rolling without work right now, I will.

I was speaking with a friend this week and when asked how I was feeling lately, the image of a freshwater spring popped into my mind and I was able to relay that I feel like muddied water that has been filtered naturally through the rocks, sand, and soil of the earth and that I was finally coming out cleaner.

I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but Ted’s death had indeed felt like a deluge that had pulled debris from all hillsides and tributaries feeding into my stream of life creating a murky flow of wreckage, rubble, and waste. It is compelling that nearly anything we can dream up in life can correlate to nature. And so it was that time, friends, family, books, poems, experiences and all of those hugs ended up being the natural filters that cleaned the sediment from my lifestream and let me flow more clearly once again.

It is now reached the point where I am remembering mostly only the happy times. The times he surprised me and did the unexpected, the parties, the skiing and camping, the tenderness and the laughs. Yes, there are still memories of him driving me mad, but those seem so trite at this point.

We had worked together for 18 years of our marriage and after that he was always home when I was home, so I had never considered that I would be a year without him, but here I am.

Dammit Ted, I still miss you every day.

I’ll close with yet another poem that I came across one day that relays my feelings oh so well.

Tis a Fearful Thing
by Yehuda HaLevi (1075 – 1141)

‘Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.
A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –
to be,
And oh, to lose.
A thing for fools, this,
And a holy thing,
a holy thing
to love.
For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.
To remember this brings painful joy.
‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.

Hug your loved ones and say nice things.

Love,

Sally

First day of Spring in the Winter of Grief

If I continue with the analogy that grief is a winter season, then I can tell you the exact day of my spring equinox.

Like any spring, there were warming days – Ted’s memorials, time spent with friends here and elsewhere, heartfelt conversations, and lots and lots of hugs, only to be followed by the hard frosts of lonely nights, seeing a couple engaged in an activity that had once been associated with my life with Ted, watching TV without my feet being rubbed, and the hollowness of losing that person who had stuck with you through thick and thin.

Grief is the cold wind that finds the cracks under the doors, the open flue of the chimney, and the uncaulked window and makes you clutch your arms around yourself to keep from shivering to death. It comes at you in so many ways that you cannot initially begin to know where the drafts are from or how to remediate the issues.

Slowly, you begin to notice the biggest issues – literally and figuratively – and begin to address the ones you can and get help with the ones you struggle with.

My spring equinox story goes like this: After a few months of traveling and memorials, I had an opportunity to spend a week in Yellowstone. It was with the friend who had originally taken Ted and me there on our first trip to the park four years ago and with whom we had returned with a larger camping assembly of framily (you know, the friends who are family) two years ago. I had known that Yellowstone was one of those special places where I would take and leave some of Ted’s ashes, I just wasn’t sure I was ready to head back up there when I was first invited.

Here’s the thing, my mind had been working hard to convince me how hard it would be to go up there and spend this time without Ted. It wasn’t until I realized one day that all of the arguments to not go, were in my head and when that generally happens, it is the opposite I need to do and follow the heart, who knew that nature is always a good place to heal. So, I told my friend I would go and started the planning of a week in Yellowstone with just her and I.

We were driving separately: 1. because I committed to attending a sweat at the Wind River Reservation that my cousin was setting up (just a few hours outside of the park and on the way home, so that fit right in and is another good story for another day). 2. because we both have a lot of stuff and for a week of camping, one should be comfortable. My tent use to sleep the entire family and the dog, but now it is my personal camping condo. I have my cot, a bedside table, a reclining camp chair that I can read in if I am up when the rest of the world is not, rugs where needed, and storage bins for necessary items. My car alone was plenty full with the EZ-up and tent and chairs on the roof and food and everything else inside. No way we could have fit both of us in one car.

Another sometimes necessity for any long road trip is a good book or two on audio. The drive to Yellowstone Canyon campground from my house is around 10 hours, so while I like a good amount of silence for the meditative state a good road trip will put you in, I also like a good book as well.

I put out the text to some of my audible pals asking for some recommendations. A catalog of choices was thrown my way ranging from hot steamy sexy erotic novels, to historical, to just fun reads. I rejected anything with romance – not wanting to be hit over the head with what I am now missing, and used my 5 credits to get a book or two from their list and a few that just sounded nice at the time.

My friend needed to take her pup up to her family who was spending the weekend at other friends hunting cabins and lodge in northern Colorado, so we left the night before and took one of the cabins there to facilitate the pup drop off and reduced the second-day drive by a few hours. It was a perfect transitionary space to go to between home and a week in Yellowstone and got me a few hours into the book I had settled upon for the drive up.

It was the book that when I was browsing through Audible’s selection, had sounded nice and sweet and something that wouldn’t stir at an already troubled psyche. It was a children’s classic that I had never read. It was “The Secret Garden”.

I’ve had many books be transformative for me as I really enjoy letting the words create this other world that we can sink into. I like to ponder the occasional turn of the phrase that strikes me and like a good jerky, has me pausing the play and chewing on it until I know I can digest it and move on. The Secret Garden drew me into the characters and ultimately reminded me of the magic we all have inside of ourselves. Listening to the book peeled back the layers of my grieving heart and somehow reminded me that I was still that same person that had gotten the crazy, fun, innovative, handsome Ted to love me and that my magic was indeed still there as well. There was a point in the story where the little boy feels so alive and thankful in life that they all begin singing the doxology. I was right there with them, all of a sudden knowing that life was still amazing and that while I had been feeling like Ted was the one stoking my internal fires all these years, I knew that the fires for all of us burn and the people in our lives can’t take any of the fire with them when they leave. I cried as I sang the doxology with them, but it wasn’t tears of pain, it was seeing those clouds part. I might have even had a fist pump or air high five with the universe for giving me this book and the time to experience it in the way that was needed.

It was also in these same moments that I felt Ted’s spirit go from being so very far away from me to resting deep inside of me. I realized in that moment that it had felt like a fight this entire time. The only times that we didn’t speak or that I had put up any energy to keep Ted away was if we fought and that extreme was not often. Suddenly, I recognized that all of this time, it felt like we had fought or something, and with an unexpected shift in my heart, we were once again together. It was a watershed if not tear shed moment of another kind to be sure.

So, that was my spring equinox.

Upon arriving in Yellowstone, it was raining but as soon as we checked in, the rain stopped and we were able to put up our tents, and the EZ-up over the picnic table, and get all organized just before the rain once again settled in. I recounted the transformation that I had experienced on the way up, we cried and laughed, did a shot, and knew that if Ted had any say, he had helped in giving us the rainless window in which to set up camp.

Throughout the week, we went on to recount many stories of Ted from previous years and both sent some of Ted over the upper falls as it was and is one of the special spots we shared in each trip there together. We each picked our own spots, silently said another goodbye, and sent a bit of Ted over the rushing power of the downward falls all the while also experiencing the lightness and positivity of the mist rising, kissing you with droplets that pull away that are hesitant to descend.

Little side story from just after sending Ted over the falls.

As it happened, we were completely alone with no other visitors at the upper falls when we had our personal ceremonies with Ted’s ashes. Just after we finished and I took the picture above, a few people showed up. One was a young man in full motorcycle gear with a helmet still on. He was taking some pictures when I told him to give me his phone and I will take one with him at the falls. He said that he did not like getting his picture taken, so “No, thank you”. I said that a wise woman once said to me: “go ahead and take the pictures now because you will never be as young as you are today”. He laughed as he took off his helmet and said that was funny because it was his birthday. He then relinquished the phone to me and I snapped a few photos. He went on to tell us he was hobbling because he had broken his leg and under all of his gear was a big leg brace. He recounted some of his journeys thus far starting from his home in California and said he just stopped in and wasn’t even spending the night. I opened my arms and announced that I was going to give him a hug for his birthday and that it was from his mom where ever she might be as I know she is thinking of him on his own version of a personal walkabout. He allowed the hug and returned it with good strength and warmth. I have to believe it was another synchronicity that will stay with both of us.

So, that was my marking of spring in my seasons of grief. My flipping of the switch. Yes, I still get sad, and yes, my mind can still talk me into feeling alone in a world where I know better, but those days don’t feel as hollow as they once did and I thank the Universe for putting a particular book and people and situations in front of me when I have needed them.

And Thank you all for helping get through this year as well.

Love,

Sally

Borrowing From a Great Poet

Today it is snowy and cold and as happenstance would have it (or google connecting the dots) one of Mary Oliver’s poems popped into my feed about the snow. As I read it, I was struck by how much it felt like a poem of grief if only a few lines were changed.

So, here is my edit.

The grief - like snow
began slowly.
a soft and easy sprinkling

of flakes, then clouds of flakes
in the baskets of the wind
and the branches
of the trees ---

oh, so individual and unique.
We walked
through the growing stillness,
as the flakes

prickled the path,
then covered it, 
then deepened
as in curds and drifts,

as the wind grew stronger,
shaping its work
less delicately,
taking greater steps,

over the hills 
and through the trees
until finally,
we were cold,

and far from home.
We turned
and followed our long shadows back
to the house,

stamped our feet,
went inside, and shut the door.
Through the window
we could see

how far away it was to the gates of 
April.
Let the fire now
put on its red hat
and sing to us.

NOVEMBER
BY Mary Oliver - slight changes by SJF

I will admit that in the winter of my grief I freely took to warmer climates of friends and family, often traveling like a snowbird to the refuges where my soul was out of the harsh climate that felt like the long winter that never ends.

I’d say my “April” came much later, but like spring, my heart did feel the warmth of a changing season. I’ll try to recount that particular transformative day in another post.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am grateful for all I have and continue to experience.

Love to all.

Sally

Not the Expected Phrase

Languages are a topic in our house these days. I am attempting to learn Spanish, so am often trying to converse with Devin in the limited Spanish that I have grasped thus far. Muy poco if I am honest.
Devin has also picked up a new Xbox playing companion from Germany, so he has been talking about their conversations as this other player has never taken English. I guess this young man (19 yrs old) has learned all of the English he is speaking with Devin either on social media, YouTube or from the actual playing of the games with American counterparts.
Devin claims this young German is neither difficult to understand nor does he miss much from what Devin converses about.
Last night, as they were discussing the learning of English though these discussions, Devin asked the young lad if there was anything he had learned from Devin in the short period that they have been playing. He relayed that there was one phrase that he picked up that he had not heard anywhere.
I’ll admit that my mind cringed at the thought of some of the language that has been shouted in the heat of some of the games and battles when I am not in the room. I was nearly ready to pen an apology letter to this lad’s mother, when Devin said that the phrase that the German fella hadn’t heard until Devin’s utterance was in calling someone (or maybe him, it wasn’t clarified) a “silly goose”. I busted out laughing as that phrase wouldn’t have crossed my mind as something learned between two cultures on Xbox in hundreds of guesses.

In other news, we lost the bees. Honey and bees were gone when I went out to check the hive recently. We will either get a new set of bees in the spring or may just let someone else use the protected hive space for them to try their hand at running a hive. One of Ted’s nurses is first on the list of someone who wants to have a hive and could use the space. We shall see what happens in the spring.

The universe always evens out, so with the loss of bees to care for, came a new dependent to care for.

Our neighbor who use to live next door, passed away this week and as I met with her daughter to help clear out her current space (she had asked in the will for me to handle her personal belongings), it was determined that no one had stepped forward to care for the only constant in her daily life these past 12 years or so – her cat. They had been feeding Birdie and visiting all they could since Barbara’s death, but poor Birdie was left alone in a small apartment with his human gone. They had put word out to as many people as possible, but still were not able to find someone to take him. It broke my heart to see him just sitting on her chair seemingly waiting for her return, so I said I would take him home until a home could be found.

Devin said he would let him stay in his room and after one night of having a purring snuggle buddy, it was relayed that we should just keep him and not try to get anyone else to take possession. I think the mutual comforting is healing for the both of them.

Thus far, Birdie has been a very chill and clean kitty that only brings more fond memories and stories of times when he was our neighbor and not our pet.

Well, that is the most recent updates.

Love, Sally




Memory Lane

Yesterday was a trip down memory lane for many reasons.

First of all, Devin’s surgery went well and we are now just onto managing a good recovery.

Heading into a surgical facility didn’t so much as trigger memories of taking Ted to the hospital, as it is set up as an outpatient surgery center and thus has a different feel to me. Preparing to go, did have me thinking of Ted’s nurses – that I still keep in touch with – and thoughts of who would be on the care giving side today that would touch our lives.

Once there, they took Devin back and prepped him for surgery and then came to get me. Poor Devin was so nervous now that he was in a gown, hair net on, and had spoken to the anesthesiologist, that he was prepared to back out, go home and live with the ankle in the current condition forever.

The anesthesiologist came back again to discuss another point and assured Devin that while he would still be breathing on his own, he would be to the point of not knowing he was even in the room or remember anything. I joked that if it were me, I would ask to be allowed to stay awake to see the surgery. Dr. House scoffed and said that people don’t want to see it in real life, let alone on themselves. I begged to differ and said that I had only been under a local and had surgery in this very place just a few years back and had a really nice visit in the surgery with the surgeon and staff. To my surprise, Devin’s nurse then stepped forward and said that it must have been with Dr Moore that I had my surgery as she is one of the best. I confirmed her suspicion and liked that she had guessed first try who my surgeon had been. She went on to say that we again lucked out with one of the best foot surgeons for this visit. She used Dr. House for her own Dr. as well. In fact, probably three different nurses commented on how lucky we were to have him as Devin’s doctor. This helped Devin overcome the jitters enough to have everyone sign off on the paperwork and wheel him into surgery.

Dr. House (yep it is his real name and he has a much better bedside manner than the TV DR House) met with me after the surgery, showed me the xrays taken after the correction was made with the plate and screws, and proclaimed that there wasn’t ligament damage and they were just able to properly put the bones and ankle placement back to where it needed to be.

A bit later, once they had gotten Devin awake once more – the recovery nurse said that he had a bit of a hard time waking up – I had flashbacks of when Devin was young and had a bunch of dental work done and they had similarly sedated him to do the work. He was nonsensical and goofy both then and now as he came out of the haze of sedation. He was being such a pistol, that the nurse at one point turned and jokingly asked just how many kids at home did I have to deal with as this one seemed to be a full time project just now. 🤣

The anesthesiologist came back and was relaying stories from putting Devin under and since Devin had been a jokester, to test if he was getting sedated, he asked him for a joke. Apparently, Devin was already under before he could answer, so the Dr. filled in with a joke of his own. The anesthesiologist admitted that he didn’t get the joke and as he told it to us, it also didn’t make much sense. He retold it as: There was a Reverend, a Priest and a Rabbit that entered the hospital and something about giving blood and the rabbit being type – O. He left and came back a few minutes later and said it was suppose to be: A priest, a minister, and a rabbit walk in to donate blood. The rabbit says, I think I might be a typo. Ba dumm dumm. (sounds like a joke my brother would have said to Devin on the many banters they have had)

Devin has zero recall of any of the recovery time in the facility. I don’t think it was until we were partially home that he started to retain any memories of our conversations. Several times, he asked how he got dressed and conversations that we had already had twice were brought up like they were new.

Once home, we ate, got him comfortable and seemed to be going all without a hitch until he called me in to show me that he was bleeding through all of his bandages and wrap. We elevated the foot a bit higher and I called the doctor’s after hours number and left a message. He called right back and said to add a bit more compression with another wrap and keep it high and bleeding should cease. We did and it did.

We will see how today goes. They say day two and three are the worst for pain and issues, so fingers crossed that we stay ahead of it.

Assume all is fine if you don’t hear from me. Or as Jimmy Buffet sang “If the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.”

Thanks for all of your good thoughts and prayers.

Love Sally





Off to Surgery

We had Devin’s follow up foot-ortho Dr appt on Monday and with new Xrays, they determined that his ankle had shifted and should have surgery.

To be fair, they did give Devin options: 1. It would heal in the current condition, but would be arthritic before long because of how it was situated. 2. he could wait until his work insurance kicks in (likely not until Jan due to some miscommunication on when he had to have signed up originally). This option would include allowing it to heal now and going in and re-breaking it later to correct everything. 3. Just go ahead and get the surgery now while everything was workable and didn’t require extra measures. My thoughts on the options were: 1. he’s too young to want to start dealing with joints that will always bother him. 2. being inactive for healing once is driving him nuts, he doesn’t want to go through it twice. 3. This will drain all of his savings and then some (I am sure he is groaning that he just got his car paid off and thought he had a decent slush fund), but he can recoup money and it is better to do it now.

Not wanting to be out of commission and go through this twice, he decided to just have it done now. The surgeon’s office was awesome enough to call around to the facilities they use and get the best facility rate that they could. This shopping saved thousands of dollars – so if you are ever in that position, make sure to ask that they shop around.

On the subject of discounts to be had that only need to be asked for: Last night, I went to the local pharmacy to pick up his ‘after surgery’ prescriptions and when I asked if we could have generic if available as this wasn’t going through insurance, she said that the scripts were already generic, but there were some discount programs out there and in two minutes, she re-bagged the drugs at a 75% discount over what they were going to originally be charged. – Don’t get me started on the basic overcharging of many drugs to begin with. I will leave that for another time and just be thankful for the help with this current situation.

So, payers said, food and liquid intake ceased at midnight last night, off we go to surgery today. It just so happens to be the same facility that I had my surgery a few years ago at. I hope he enjoys his day as much as I did. (and this is not sarcasm. I did have a really good and enjoyable day – its in the blog somewhere if you need to read it -search surgery)

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Sally

Happy Birthday Ted

Happy birthday Ted. I know it is a bit crazy that I want to celebrate your birthday this year when we seldom celebrated birthdays when you were alive.

Remember when we went to San Diego for your 40th birthday and I forgot the entire time we were there that we were to be celebrating it and you never once mentioned that I was oblivious? I like to blame that lapse on the fact that we had a toddler in tow that took up most of the focus of the weekend and that was my excuse.

I guess every special day is now heavy on my radar. Truth be told, even regular days can be big days to feel through without you in them.

I can’t even remember if we did anything on your birthday last year or if you went to Denny’s and got your free birthday meal. I never did get your infatuation with going to a Denny’s. I’d gladly take you this year if you were here.

So today, I’ll get you a filled donut and put a candle in it. Do you know that even after ten months of you being gone, that I still walk through the bakery department in every store looking for what sweets would make you happy that week? It is a habit I’ve yet to break and I still don’t realize I’m even doing it until it sinks in for the thousandth time that you are not home for me to take the donuts or other confections home to.

I don’t expect you to be at home anymore like I did for months and months. It finally sunk in that I don’t have to filter every decision through the lens of partnership and how it will affect you or our next dinner discussion. I will admit that the shift to knowing it is all just me and not “us” is a big one. It is both freeing and frightening at the same time. I mean, I still absolutely think what your opinion would be on my way of doing your standard duties in the house, gardens, and business, but I now feel like I just have to do it my way and you are backing me up in the unseen background.

Tonight I may sit at your beautiful bar and pour a finger or two of whiskey in one of your special glasses, hug your ashes and toast your birthday.

I miss you Ted. Happy Birthday.

Love, Sal

The phone calls you know are not good

Yesterday was to be my day of cutting wood and home made Indian cooking for Devin and I.

The chain saw is again having fits – as it did last year – in stopping after about a 30 second start. I fear the carburetor is again messed up inside as I have already changed out the hoses – no thanks to the YouTube dude who had me hooking them back up backwards and causing me to take it all apart twice. I’ll borrow the neighbors chain saw until I can get the carb cleaned out or replaced.

In lieu of cutting , Devin and I split a few logs that were already cut and seasoned and I located the pallet and backstop we use by the house for storing wood to burn – but take down each year for space to sit by the waterfall feature. Devin then said that he was going to go skateboard for a bit while I did my thing.

I got some of the plants together that will need to be brought in soon and then headed indoors. Most of my houseplants go outside for the summer and thus need to be brought in again in the fall.

I figured that Devin would be ready to eat when he finished skateboarding, so I decided to start the dough for the Naan I wanted to make.

I had the masala chicken already marinating in the fridge from prep the night before and had just finished up mixing the dough for some home made naan and was putting it in the oven to rise when the phone rang and it was Devin. (Trick I learned years ago: turn your oven on for two minutes and then turn it off. The temperature in the oven is now just about perfect for dough rising and is consistent in time to complete as well).

Devin said Hi and asked if I could come pick him up. I immediately knew that this was a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that he was calling and lucid. The bad news is that he would NEVER have me come get him if he could get home on his own. He relayed that he had hurt his ankle and yes it was bad enough that he could not drive.

I changed my clothes from the wood cutting dirty set I was currently wearing and into something clean. I was preparing that if it was as bad as I expected, then I wouldn’t have time to come home and change.

When I arrived at the parking lot for the skate park, Devin was in his car with his shoe and sock off and in obvious pain. He could move his toes and rotate his ankle a bit, but it was already swelling and had a bump on the side of his leg where there shouldn’t be one. We headed home to figure out how bad it really was and to make a plan on where to go.

It became evident very quickly over every bump in the road that sent Dev into a howl of pain that this was not a case of “ice and rest” today and go to work tomorrow, After a check of where to go for medical coverage that wouldn’t break the bank, we made an online appt and headed down the hill.

He joked that he hoped that they would give him a wheel chair when we got down to urgent care, and to his delight, they did. I was half expecting that he would have a secondary injury as he raced around the waiting room and practicing wheelies in the wheel chair as we waited.

Xrays showed that the outer bone of his ankle was fractured, but not broken. Think of it as a crack where both sides are still attached but there is no clean break instead of a complete break were it is definitely in two pieces. Still very painful and in need of 8 weeks of healing, but in no apparent need of surgery or rods or other supplementary healing devices besides a walking boot (currently on order since the Dr said it was much cheaper to order than to get from them).

We picked up crutches on the way home from some friends, then got back to the house as hungry as bears. I threw the chicken on the grill, started the curried veggies, the rice and got back to making the naan. I have to say, it was a meal worth waiting for. It made us both feel better after an unscripted afternoon.

Devin is expected to not put any weight on the foot for 7-10 days and then can wear the boot. Note sure if work will allow him to work in the boot or not just yet. He is in pain, but in good humor.

Today we watch football and stay out of trouble.

Love Sally

Down but Not Out

A big elk trudged on by just below the yard fence as I made my way onto the deck for my morning tea this morning. His antlers were broken on one side and his gait reflected that of a fighter who had lost the last round. He was alone since he had been fought and I paused and wondered if his spirit had also taken a beating in the apparent loss. My question was almost immediately answered as he began a long strong bugle – his call to the cows in the herd that he is strong and a good candidate for them to mate with. It is also the confident call that realizes the main bull of the herd could also come and challenge him once more if his harem starts to wander the challenger’s way.

I had to smile at his cavalier attitude and determination. It was a nice take away from a cool autumn feeling morning.

This is a picture of one of the bulls traipsing about the neighborhood recently. Could be him, could be one of five or so others that hang around the herd.

Just thought I’d share.

Sally

A Big Birthday

Thank you to everyone who sent out birthday wishes for me. I had a great day(s) and felt well loved.

As many of you know, my family doesn’t make a big deal out of birthdays. Growing up, we would get our favored dessert – elderberry pie for me – but that was mostly the extent of the celebration. Never wanting to be the center of attention (or scrutiny), it was fine in my book to not have a party.

Maybe because we never dwelled on birthdays, the number on each one never gave me any pause. I didn’t say crap when I turned thirty, and forty didn’t seem much different. Fifty came and went and I felt like I was at the perfect age to hang out with the older eighty-year-old friends and still my younger set in their twenties and thirties. The number of years since birth just seemed like the speed limit signs as you drove out of town. Like your age, the 20mph was in the school zone and flashing – a warning that the zone is temporary and extra caution against severe stupidity should be exercised. Then, you enter into the housing areas where the speed increases much like the decades – in ten mph increments.

So while those other “zero” birthdays that moved us in number from one decade to another, were never scrutinized, this 60 mph marker looked like a billboard as it approached. It could be: because my dear mother never even made it to that marker, or I’ve let myself go completely grey over the last several years and so the mirror no longer plays along with my inner view that I am still this much younger dark haired gal, or maybe because life throws curveballs and suddenly you are spending hours on the phone with social security office – something the older generation was supposed to be dealing with and not me, or it could be the reminder of this would be my first birthday without Ted in 35 years, but for whatever reason, this one loomed large for me.

It was fortunate then, that at the last moments, a distraction of a plan hatched for a quick trip to the east coast to see friends who actually have been with me through all of those previous decades and life changes. Buddy passes from her sister were provided and they have the condo on Topsail Island in NC, – so cost didn’t factor in. An added bonus was that we had several birthdays to celebrate as both husbands of my gal pals have birthdays just before mine (and they have a few years on me, so I still got to be the baby of the group – one wasn’t with us in person, but we kept him in spirit with us).

We took beach walks and jet skied the intercoastal waterway to check out other islands along the coast – sometimes at breakneck speeds faster than the age that was approaching as we raced to and fro. We ate some great fish and some really yummy oyster shooters on more than one occasion. We engaged in some people watching everywhere we went as it is a fun pastime in any locale. We laughed till our bellies hurt and made great memories of our current time together as we regaled those of the past as well.

It was a beautiful and fun diversion that made me feel like I was rolling back the years instead of adding onto them.

I guess we only had the camera’s out when we were in establishments. 🙂

Thanks for the memories.

Love Sally