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Re-visiting old pain



One of the church ladies has just gone into the same nursing facility as Ray was in.  I knew I had to visit her but thought it would be okay as it is now so long since Ray died there.  I went into the facility this morning but she had gone out on a little bus trip (she is at hostel level so able to walk etc) so I missed out on seeing her this visit.  The secretary said she would leave a note to say I visited.  I found it more difficult than I thought as while I was walking through the facility with another staff member all the staff looked at me hesitatingly and one or two asked if they knew me.  Of course this meant telling them that my husband Ray had been there in 2011 and 2012 until he died.  I didn't think about that aspect of the visiting and so it came as a shock to me.  I went outside as soon as I could feeling so deeply sad again. It will get easier the more I visit, I know that from visiting people in the facility where Mum was, but it was like revisiting an old and painful episode in my life today.


I went to my daughter's last weekend and had some time with her as we went to an ordination at Newcastle Cathedral where a friend of mine was being ordained a deacon.  Shirley didn't go in uniform but I did introduce her as a Captain in the Salvation Army to those who I mixed with in the 90s. It is amazing seeing people 20 years on, I guess they saw me as I saw them, 20 years older but still recognizable as the friends they had been back then.  Some of them I see on Facebook so not all were unfamiliar. In a way it was like a school reunion.  Unfortunately as it was at night, and a very cold night at that, we didn't linger. I would have liked to have spent time with some of the people I was close to and do the "what have you been doing since..." that you have an opportunity to do at school reunions. The college I attended to do my Diploma in Theology is now close so no reunions are possible there now.


Staying with my daughter is good as I catch up with the doings of her two children.  It is winter school holidays and really a time to relax and catch up on sleep for my grandson and to catch up with old and previously loved TV programs for my grand daughter.  They always hire a "Granma" movie, thought I am not sure "Monster-in'law" would have been my choice.  I have an idea my son in law just liked the title! We had a couple of lunches out and on Saturday a walk around that part of Newcastle that was affected by the earthquake many years ago. It was a reminder to me that it is possible to have something like an earthquake happen and then rebuild even if the rebuilding is a slow and painful process.  I guess that is one of the things I am learning through widowhood.


Just lately I have been doing a lot of listening to people, in the church and in other organisations I belong to.  I think people are always waiting for someone to make the right responses so they can tell their story.  In this age when families are so widely spread and the family unit of grandparents, uncles , aunts, cousins and siblings all living close by is over it is harder for people to find someone to listen to their life story. I have the time and the training so it is not a problem for me as long as I don't take their pain on board, as I sometime find myself doing. Sometimes the stories of loss and loneliness, frustration and confusion are too similar to what I have experienced in my own life and I need to back gently away from them.  I have the skills to do this but do not always catch myself in time and so I come away with some of their sadness. It was easier when I was a telephone counselor as then I could simply finish the call, hang up and make myself a cup of tea before the next sad call came in.  


My younger son is having some problems so I talk to him fairly frequently again.  It is nothing major, his employer, the owner of the cleaning company he works for, looks like handing over the business to her son and he is not the manager she is.  Life is precarious in a small city that has lost it's industry and now the many unemployed are competing for a smaller and smaller pool of jobs.  He is afraid that if he loses the work he has things will get really tough for him. I understand that fear as it happened to Ray a couple of times in our younger days. Thank goodness my mother had taught me to budget well and somehow we always got through the hard times. On my next visit I will see if he needs anything I can help with.  Like me he often has no-one to discuss things with now and that leaves him worrying more than he needs to. He knows he can also call on his sister for advice which is good. She does budgeting as part of her welfare work.


Apart from that my life simply goes on as usual. I have got over the "is this all there is to life?" feeling and now know that what I have is enough. I was talking to a person at the nursing home who was visiting his far-too-young wife who is almost in a catatonic state now and he said:  "I have all these dreams of what I will do after all of this is over."  I wanted to tell him that I was like that too and none of my life had worked out the way I envisioned it but I didn't.  I guess we all need to find our future path in our own way and in our own time.


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visions of life... what are those ?? What is a vision? Depends on each of our thoughts. to some it is realism, to others a wish... its harder when it is a wish... we all had them ( a wish or dream) sadly thats all they are, a wish....... I am sure visit to the home was hard, and the explanation.... Sad if we are asked - sad if we are not. ---- Family watching the babes struggle, i wish some part of life could be fun.... hugs,..... Nancy

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Sue bless your kindness willingness to help carry another cross. The best we can do is be there and comfort and share some of your life hold hands hold hearts. You are brave to not turn away.

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