No it is not snowing but the wind is howling around the house, the wind chill factor is making it feel around zero and I am only going outside when I have too. Sitting reading or crocheting or even mending which I hate is better than being outside. I wanted to do some gardening today but that will have to wait till the sun is out again. The weeds still grow regardless and I need to go on topping up the potplants but it is not worth risking a cold on a day like today. I get my second Covid shot next week do need to stay well till then.
Last week I had my friend Peter here and fortunately it was much milder so we did go on short trips around the coast, to beauty spots and picnic spots and even on a short ferry ride and it was a pleasant little holiday for both of us. I love showing visitors our beautiful Central Coast and although Peter was a local here he didn't live right where I do and had I think forgotten how beautiful it is even in winter. On my birthday we met up with friends of his for lunch and as Helen was my room mate for my first year of weekend lectures at Theological college we are always welcomed by her and her husband. As usual none of my family could be with me so it was good to be with friends.
Yesterday I had a reminder that it is good to be able to repay a kindness. One of the women who was always good to me when I looked after Ray was recently widowed herself. She wanted to donate some of his clothes to our charity shop at church so I met her there and afterwards we had coffee together while she talked of the difficulty she is facing as a new widow. She was looking for reassurance and I was able to give her that. Each person's experience is different but widow fog, unresolved grief and uncertainty about the future we all have in common.
One thing we can do with our experience as stroke survivors and caregivers is to help others. We comment on posts here and in our own real world whenever we come across someone with a problem we ourselves have overcome we are able to share how we were helped or helped ourselves to overcome it. We aren't experts but can draw on our own experiences. This journey we are on is shared unfortunately by many others. In dealing with Ray's strokes I had a lot of help, particularly from the people on this site and the people of the Stroke Recovery group we belonged to. Now I also have the experience of being a widow when Ray's journey ended and as the caregivers from that group are also widowed I can now help them.
Like ASHA I am able to use the experiences I have had to see life in a new light. When I was going through the process of being a caregiver I was too close to the problems often to see how they shaped my life but now looking back I can see that transition from selfishness to understanding. I am no great shakes as a counselor, though some people do look to me for that, but experience is sometimes a substitute for wisdom as long as I see my experience as an advantage. I love to get to know people and have a lot of people who I call friends be they close or far away. If you have known me for a long time then you are my friend. And I hope that is of benefit to you.
Winter is a period of introspection for me. My family are busy with their own affairs, the more active of my friends have taken off in their caravans for that trip north to warmer climes and there are short days and long nights to fill. So sorting photos brings back memories as does that little bit of drawer shuffling I call decluttering. Photos from the past are bitter sweet. Ray in his happy, healthy days, school photos of the kids growing up, family BBQs. I thought the kids and their families would always be close to us, but that is not the way life works now. Lots of my friends have children who live interstate or overseas, grandchildren they rarely see. We no longer live in villages and do not have that feeling of closeness we once associated with family. Which of course creates more problems as we age.
I can send you all good vibes, good wishes for your improving health and be here hoping good things happen to you. Thank you to all my friends on here, for your support, for your comments and encouragement. Where would we be without good friends? The winter winds might blow here but I know some of you way up in the northern hemisphere have high temperatures and are struggling to find coolness. The saying : " We are all in this together" seems to be bandied around a lot at the moment but I often feel we could become just in our own little boat lost on a big ocean except that we can always choose to travel together. As we do here.