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coming home alone



I've just been down to my daughter's for a few days. Being away from home helps me put my life into perspective, sharing someone else's life for a few days also shows me what an effort everyone has to put into life to just stay stable. I know my daughter works really hard in her ministry, in her home and in her community. I know fitting me and her widowed mother-in-law into that picture is not easy, but she does it with much love. I know what it is like fitting visitors into a busy week from the time when Ray and I both worked and had family commitments.


What I do when I am there is inconsequential, we usually have a lunch out somewhere on the Saturday and go to church meetings most of Sunday, I join in with whatever they want me to and sit and read or knit when they are busy. There is always another scarf or rug I can work on. And there are the two grandchildren to entertain me. It is good to visit as often as I can without being a burden to them, that way I can keep current with the family news.


As usual I found it hard to come back to the empty house. It is hard to sit down to a solitary meal. It is hard to turn the lights out with no one to say goodnight to, or "see you in the morning". It is harder still to have no-one to share the journey with. The journey home on the train was slow as there was torrential rain and gale force winds on Monday so on Tuesday morning the trains went very slow as the tracks had not yet been inspected. I saw trucks delivering piles of heavy gravel and rocks in places alongside the tracks so I guess in some places there were small washaways.


i guess a lot of people must think that as a widow I am "lucky", now able to do my own thing etc. But I am lonely and often wonder what my purpose in life is right now. Maybe there isn't a describable purpose and like when I was a caregiver the best thing to do is just get on with the tasks I can see need doing. I have been offered some more volunteer work but as yet I am reluctant to make too many changes, life still seems a bit unsettled so I want to feel stable ground before I step out of my comfort zone.


I thought about the clean-up I still have to do here. I will take it more slowly now. It has surprised me how emotional it has been to clean out Ray's tools. As a carpenter tools were a part of Ray, they were extensions of his personality. If you have seen a carpenter at work with an old fashioned plane or wood-working tools you will know what I mean, that look of concentration is very close to love. He'd get such satisfaction out of making a few pieces of wood and some ply into a set of drawers or a bookcase. He made them to give away or pass on to someone who had nothing. A cousin of his with seven kids to feed was often the recipient, all her boys had bookcases made by "Uncle Ray".


Now there is just me I need to live a simpler life. I need to be able to leave the house when I want to to look after the needs of the older ladies I seem to be gathering. I need to be busy, and yet I also need quiet time to balance that out. I've always loved to be on my own, reading, making something, just ruminating sometimes, with a cup of tea on my verandah. Where I once could only spend ten minutes there I now spend an hour. I used to think I was wasting time, now I think of it as a kind of meditation on life. Only the good Lord knows the purpose of my life now, I don't need to worry about it. It just goes on from day to day.


I know some people don't see a purpose in prayer but I do, always have. For me prayer settles the argument of what to give, how to help. I can do physical tasks locally but when the need is far away the answer seems to be that I give my prayers as a sign of loving concern for another. It doesn't have to be someone important or even someone I know. I trained my kids to pray for ambulance drivers and the people the ambulances contained as we lived near a bridge where we were often woken up by ambulances screaming past. The kids knew that someone was hurt, suffering, in pain inside and that meant they needed our prayers. And on nights when the winds blew and visibility on our part of the river was poor those drivers needed our prayers too.


We have some new changes coming at church and I am taking over the Mutual Care role. Those little old ladies I care about I will now care for. It is an extension of what I have always done on an informal basis, but as usual there are reams of paperwork to do too. So many criminal checks, working with children checks, working wit the elderly checks etc. Makes me wonder if people are put off helping because it all has to be so formalized. Never mind, as usual it is what it is..


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I think you are doing it the wise way. Giving yourself enough time to ponder and learn how you want to spend your time before committing it way too much. I know what you mean though, I often think what will be left for me if Bob goes, will I even survive it. My only hope that I will is seeing all the other widows who have, and thinking maybe there would come a day, when just enjoying your own day, would return and be a wonderful new way of life. I think you are doing it just right :)

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Sue: I do so believe in prayer. Gets me through most days. Guidance hopefully but mainly a sense of peace and working through things.


I am so glad you enjoyed your time with Shirley and family. The Grandkids need to know Grandma is OK and Shirley needs to know you are working through things the best you can.

Her Mom is a strong woman, she will get through this. That I know.


I was back on board with the clean out. April is tough month for us in that Bruce has all his follow ups and if the weather would just cooperate for a few days. Some new items were added - LOL. But we will get through this.


Know I am thinking and praying for you. Just continue on with what is comfortable and take down time when you need to. Debbie

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I guess I am not the only one affected by the "coming home alone". I went to a daytime Lions meeting today with one of our single Lions, a woman 10 years younger than me. She said she hates it when she has a really good night out and comes home with no-one to tell about it. She does have a sister living in Western Australia ( three hours behind us in time) and does ring her occasionally as she is still up.


What is normal in anyone's life? We are all so different.

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Sue, another excellent blog. Time is the healer, and of course prayer works, this I know. We are different, but we all want life to be fulling. Before my stroke, my life was going to meetings, and help building houses, and feeding the homeless. I was always going places Out with my girlfiends, busy busy. Now my normal is waiting for the bus to take me to the center, where I play bingo and do keep fit. Watch movies with my husband, and enjoy my own company and please that i am alive thank you God.



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