a hard week coming up
Sunday is 1st September, it is Father's Day here in Australia, the first since Ray died. The following Sunday 8th September would have been his 71st birthday, this makes for a hard week for us as a family and one that will surely stir up emotions. I don't plan to do anything on Sunday 1st but Trev and Edie are taking me for a picnic on Sunday 8th. This is their way of making sure I am not alone. I am often alone. Sometimes it feels as if there isn't a place for me in other people's lives. The long period of me devoting my time to Ray because of his invalidity took a lot of our friends away and now me being a widow seems to have taken more.
I definitely need new hobbies, something with people involvement as I really think I need to step outside my present circle and make some friends my own age. As we went through Ray's journey with stroke we lost the friends who were our own age as they were still working. Now of course they are travelling overseas or going round Australia in their campervans and caravans. I can't do much about the travelling in a campervan, I know some people do travel as a single but very few women my age would feel it was safe.
Now even the friends I made on the stroke journey are fading. Hard to think that what we had in common, what bound us together, is now gone and somehow I need to acknowledge that and be able to pick myself up and carry on alone. When spring and summer are here I will have to find some outdoor activities to participate in. I need to prove I can go for a walk by myself, go to the beach by myself, no good sitting here waiting until someone invites me to go, is there? The safer places are probably ocean pools where I can stay if there are families close by and public walking tracks like the one I used to take Ray to beside the Lake.
One thing I have done lately which would amuse my friends if I told them is go to youtube and sing some karaoke. John Denver tunes last night as someone on my Facebook page had a link to John Denver. I used to sing, used to dance, used to be the ringleader in a lot of fun stuff. But I am talking before Ray's strokes started which let's face it is 22 years ago and I was in my early 40's. I am not that same gal now and need to find things to do that are age appropriate.
I guess what I am talking about is how to bring that joy of living back into my life, the kind of thing that makes your heart sing. Yes, I love being with my grandchildren and enjoying family time wth my adult children but a lot of that is out of my control, I have to wait to be invited rather than be able to just impose myself upon them. I'd love to be able to do it on impulse but the way things are at present that is not a possibility. It sometimes feels as if there isn't a place for me in other people's lives. The long period of me devoting my time to Ray caused a change in relationships both in our family and beyond into the wider community.
My grandchildren only knew Ray as an invalid. He had the first stroke in 1990 and went back to work for 8 1/2 years. Then in 1999 he had two more in rapid succession and they retired us both, me to look after him. It was while he was in Bendigo Hospital that our daughter told him she was pregnant with our first grandchild when she visited him there. I think her son Christopher and our oldest grandddaughter Tori are the only ones of the grandchildren who remember Ray upright and walking with a stick unaided. When they were little and I minded them one day a week he could still throw a ball, was still able to read to them, still able to laugh and joke and tickle them, still able to have long conversations.
As you know he had six more strokes 1999 - 2011, each left him with more deficits, physical and mental, and eventually dementia as well so the little ones remember that "Pa Ray" as old before his time, an old man in a wheelchair or hospital bed, which is very sad.
For me, it is only in the last few weeks that some happier memories of our time together are finally emerging. I do sometimes remember a joke we laughed at or an experience we enjoyed together. With the one year anniversary of his death only three weeks away I am glad this is finally happening.