Letter to How Am I Doing

Written November 6th, 2010

Dear Bob,

This week it will be 10 months since you went to heaven and I have done things in these last 10 months that I never dreamed I would have to do or that I could do.  I’ve packed up 2 homes, listed them both, and sold them.  How strange it felt to do all of that for the very first time in my life and to do it alone.

I looked for a place of my own in town, found it, presented an offer, signed a contract, and then signed closing papers – all on my own.  I never even had a clue how all that process worked except for what I had seen on the TV show Property Virgins.

I’ve worked with our personal financial advisor and you know how very much I don’t like anything that has to do with numbers.  He knew that and took the time to teach me something about how it all works.  I tried my best in this fog that I am in to listen and to learn something and with God’s help, I did.

Your truck had to be sold because I can’t drive 2 vehicles and did not need to be paying double insurance.  I think that was the hardest thing for me to part with because it was something that you worked so hard to get in perfect running order and was what you drove all of the time.

Our car was the next to go.  It had over 286,000 miles on it and you weren’t going to be here to continue to repair it when something else went wrong.  The transmission had gone out during your last stay in the hospital and it was my responsibility to get that fixed.  I was so thankful that I already knew exactly what mechanic to take it to when that happened because you had used him twice before.

For the first time in my life, it was me doing the research on what kind of vehicle to buy to replace our old one.  I got so very frustrated at times doing that.  I didn’t want to waste money on buying something that didn’t get good gas mileage or didn’t have good ratings or good reviews.  And, I didn’t want to spend too much money either.  I needed something that was a much newer model, but not brand new because you had told me how much a car depreciates as soon as it is driven off the lot.   When I finally settled in my mind just what to buy and how much to spend, it took over 8 weeks for my dealer to locate it.  I was so blessed to have a good, honest dealer helping me with all of this process and we were finally successful.

I did the best I could to keep Mama and Daddy happy those few months before they joined you.  Back and forth I went to the nursing home every day taking them whatever they asked for and you know how demanding Daddy was.  It was so frustrating at times and I was so very, very tired and full of grief, but I’d set that aside the best that I could to keep him content.  But after Mama died and left him behind, he could not be comforted.

Living alone has been so hard, Bob.  The quietness is overwhelming at times.  I have more time to think now – too much time to think.  I cope with it the best that I can by reading.  I couldn’t read for several months after you died, but I am able to now.  I also listen to books on CD when I go to bed at night and it is somehow comforting to hear someone reading to me.  It usually lulls me to sleep for a few hours.  Then I’ll wake up and turn the CD on again so that I can hopefully get back to sleep.  Sometimes this action is repeated several times a night, but at least I am able to do something to keep my mind from going over and over and over all those terrible memories of our last months together.  It seems that the bad memories very much outweigh all the good ones and there are so many more good memories than bad.

I’ve had to swallow my pride and ask for help.  I wanted our son-in-law to teach me how to change the oil in the Murano, but he absolutely refuses to do that.  I KNOW I could do it because after all, I watched you change oil in our vehicles for over 36 years.  But, he won’t teach me.  So, I am resigned to asking him to do it because I don’t trust anyone else in those oil changing places.  I know how very careful you were about those kinds of things.

You would have scolded me if you had seen me in the store when I bought an ottoman.  It was in this big box and there was no one around to help me get it up to the counter.  So, I somehow got it down off the bottom shelf (it was so bulky and heavy) and set it up in front of my shopping cart.  I got about halfway to the front pushing it with my cart before a worker saw me and took over and even brought it out to the car for me and loaded it up in the back.  When I got home, I devised a way to get it into the house.  It was much easier to deal with once I cut the box away from it while it was still sitting in the back of the car.  I didn’t want to wait until someone could help me.  Sometimes those kinds of jobs sit around for days before someone has the time to stop by and give me a hand and that is so frustrating to me.

I’ve made several trips out of state since you’ve been gone.  I hoped that a change of scenery would help get my mind somewhat off all the grief, but it went with me.  So many times I would have to excuse myself quickly and head for the bedroom or the bathroom or the car to burst into tears.  Anything and everything seemingly triggers this deep pain I carry around in my heart.

Everyone is going on with their lives and everyone is so very busy.  I feel like a grain of sand on a beach – unnoticed.  Life seems to be passing me by and very few seem to even care or want to share in my grief.

I know they probably don’t want to really hear how I am feeling whenever they do ask how I am doing.  “How are you?” is such a formality much of the time.  No one really wants to know.

Two days ago I put together a wooden shoe bench to place in the front door entryway so that our grandkids will have a place to put their shoes when they come inside.  I was quoting Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” the whole time I was trying to get those long screws screwed in.  I ended up having to put a thick sock on my hand and then another thick sock over the allen wrench because it hurt my hands to try to get those screws into place and tightened properly.

Life without you is so different and so very, very hard, Bob.  There are just some things that God made men to do.  I don’t want to do those things, but now I must and am determined that I WILL do them.  I will do everything that I can do by myself.  Do I sound like a 2 year old child or what?  I do and there are times when I feel like throwing a tantrum just like a 2 year old, too.  But, I don’t.  I just sit quietly and cry asking God all of those “why” questions knowing that no answer He would give me would be good enough when all I want is you back whole and well to take care of me.

I look around me and it seems that everything is done in couples and I’m not a couple anymore.  I feel as bereft as a sailboat cut loose at the moorings or a ship lost at sea.  I know if you were here you could tell me not to give up and to keep on putting one foot in front of the other.  I’m doing that and I’ll keep doing that.  Walking alone through life is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, Bob, and if it weren’t for having God in my life, I don’t know how I would do it.

I’m able to read some in my Bible now.  You know that I couldn’t even do that for a time.  There are still so many questions about things when I read and my faith is so shaken because my heart is so broken that God did not answer our prayers to heal you here on earth.  I refuse to give up on God now because He’s all that I have to get me through this life.  I can’t feel Him most of the time, but I see evidence that He’s here with me for how else would I have been able to do all of these things?  How else would I have made it through these last 10 months without you?

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