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practical matters



I think in 44 years of marriage and 13 years as a caregiver I lost who I was supposed to be. I am slowly rediscovering my likes and dislikes and without changing too much will slowly adapt my surroundings to reflect who I am today, still a mother, grandmother, friend and companion to some but no longer a daughter or a wife. It is hard to know what a 66 year old widow is supposed to do but for me that is simply get on with life and see what happens. Who I am is still involved in being a church worker and a member of many organizations. I still want to feel that the things I do are worthwhile. But I think there will be another element when I have matured a bit more into the next stage of my life, I want to feel that I am Sue who is okay on her own, strong enough to cope. I see it in other older widows and some day others will see it in me.

This week I went to do a hospital visit with our assistant minister, she is acting as locum while our rectory family are taking a break. The person we went to see had had a heart attack and was in Intensive Care so we needed a reason to be there. She introduced herself as the local minister for our area and me as her "pastoral care worker" and we were allowed to go in even though it was family only. It is a long time since I've been called a pastoral care worker as it was one of the things I gave up when Ray had the strokes so I know I can fit back into that role if I wish to. I might need to do some more training but I guess that would have to be factored in. It is another "love job" as a volunteer with no pay but if it is what I want to do that is not a consideration.

I want to find a new normal, a life that seems more mine and yes still think it needs to be productive too. I am gradually making changes and would like to include some fun events too. At the moment I am ready to try a few new things and if they are not for me I hope I can recognise that and move on. A quote from Jean Riva's blog on another site says: "You don't have to do it right the first time." so that give me permission to experiment a bit and find new areas of interest to be explored. I guess that fits in with rebuilding my life using a new pattern. I know I can't go back to who I used to be, my body will not push those bounderies any more but I still think happiness is possible in my more mature years.

I had a visit from Trevor and Alice yesterday. Trevor, Edie and family move at the end of next week and I am going to miss them so. Trevor was so good to me when I was looking after Ray and before that when I was looking after Dad and Mum. He could always get my Dad to have a shower on Saturdays. He called it "boys in the bathroom time". Just someone helping out by doing something like that helps a lot and I was glad to have a son who really cared about the practical care. A lot of people wished us well but did nothing practical to help us.

Just had a message on Facebook to say a friend died this morning, his wife was on here as Bazane...Barry had a long fight with cancer as well as stroke defects and Anne had been his caregiver for a long time. She is one of the few Aussies I stay in touch with that I met on this site. Now that part of their journey together is over and like me she has to go on alone. I am glad I have been able to keep in touch with a lot of people who were on here in the past and so keep up with what is happening in their lives now. Being on the other side of the world from my many American friends means distance keeps us apart but we can still cherish the friendships by other means of communications. You know I have so many of you in my thoughts and prayers.


I have just packed the Christmas tree and the decorations away for another year. I put the tree up and the family took that as a sign that I was okay now. I didn't disillusion them. To tell you the truth I didn't really want to celebrate Christmas at all, it just seemed like too much of an effort but it is a family bonding time and also as we all say, I did it for the sake of the grandkids. I hope by this time next year I have decided some positive steps to take to make life okay again.


This is my preaching day so two services down and another to do at six o'clock tonight. We are in what are called "low Sundays" the time of minimum congregation. That is okay, I don't want big crowds, just a handful of people to talk to is fine. It seems to have gone well today. I don't rival Billy Graham or whoever the top preacher is today, I guess my sermons are much like these blogs, full of common sense learned from the struggle that life has been . We all like to use our experiences to help others so I do that is a way too. It is good that we here are all overcomers.


I have learned so much from Ray's stroke experiences and my experiences as a caregiver and I am grateful for those life lessons and for all of you who have helped me on the journey..


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I can think of no one better in this world to be a pastoral care worker....... you are considerate, kind, empathetic, intelligent -- all of that is important in the role of a pasoral care worker ----- but i can tell you this - It is your life --EXPERIENCE-- that makes you the kind of person i want to see when i am ill or in a crisis..... life has to have handed you some hard knocks before you are of any use to a person who has been through a lot of "life" already... I want the older ( tongue in cheek) person with a story or history of their own. Not the fresh in life person.... both have advantages - don't get me wrong... but when the "chips are down" you need a person who has been there and done that.... and Sue you certainly have those qualifications.... I think you are already on the road that God had been guiding you towards... you are finding yourself. And we here ( on stroke net) and in your local area are benefiting all the time from your life as it continues to "evolve"..... nancyl

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Sue: I remember watching my Mom "evolve" after Dad's death and finally all the kids out on their own. She was the strongest woman I have ever met. You have her faith, fortitude and grace. One day at a time. Debbie

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Sue, i agree with Nancy, you make a wonderful pasoral care worker. I look forward to your blogs, they are so full of common sense. That is imporant, and with your life experiences. In England we say that you are a women full of class. keep on trucking Sue.



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Sue :


I love your blogs you write so beautifully. you got heart of gold & God is guiding you in right direction where you could be comfort to so many with your life experiences & empathy.




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Sue, it took me 4 tries at being married but I got 54 years in this year with this last one lasting the longest at 16 years and the happiest times I had! What ever time we got left she should be able to survive after me and I am a deceased survivor.


I will leave a house paid off, a car with 6 payments left until June and her two grown kids! The son is married and the daughter is living with us for ever probably and she has a nine year old daughter.

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