Thursday, January 12, 2012

20 Seconds of Insane Courage

I went to a movie last week with my friend Betsy. I was still on the mend, but getting out and going to a movie sounded nice. She had already been to most of the movies I had hoped to see but the movie "We Bought a Zoo" was one she had not yet seen, so we went. There was a quote in the movie that struck me and I find I am carrying it with me even today. I have a feeling this one is going to stick and I like the idea of it.

"You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, great things will come of it".

I went to my daughter's house Sunday night as they were throwing a simple birthday party for Seth who was turning one. Big birthday. I knew my ex and his mother would be there so I went with a slight bit of trepidation. I had not spoken much with her since our split nearly 6 years ago. She had let me know way back then how she felt about me and it was not good. From time to time I have seen her showers, birthdays, etc, but mostly just a "hello" and usually what followed in my head was..."did she say 'hi' back"? These times are never comfortable as I like to be in good graces with everyone. So I went to the party and the first people I saw when I walked through the door were my ex and his mother sitting in the reading room off to the side. I said hello to both of them, purposefully mentioning their names, and continued on into the kitchen where the girls seemed to be hanging out. Safe. Soon after, we were scooping up bowls of soup accompanied with salad and crusty bread and I saw my ex carefully help his 85 year old mother sit back into her chair with her plate and bowl. The girls all seemed to congregate into the dining room and the boys headed back into the living room where a ballgame was on. And then there was Ann....sitting in the reading room alone. And here it was that the quote from the movie came back to me..."20 seconds". So, I gathered a little courage (20 seconds worth!) and sat on the floor next to her chair. "How are you Ann....." and so began a long lengthy conversation. A conversation that said "let bygones be bygones" even though no such words were spoken. It was like old times and I found myself so very thankful for the conversation and the sense that she and I were now "ok". As she was buttoning up her coat to leave I told her that I made her fabulous apple cake recipe for Christmas dinner. Family standing close by who ate the Christmas cake chimed in on how good it was and I could see her beaming. I was glad for the 20 seconds of courage....something very good did come of it.

And then last night, I met up with the same friend I had gone to the movie with at the Rio Grill for a bite. The Rio is a friendly place where you will always see someone you know and I personally feel very comfortable there because at one time it was my workplace. I arrived first, sat at the bar since that was the only available seating, ordered a glass of wine and chatted a bit with someone I knew until Betsy arrived. We had a fun, lively conversation and I told her how that quote from the movie has stayed with me. And now, looking at the year ahead I want to put that one into practice more. At one point Betsy mentioned that the man on the other side of me who I could not see because I was facing her, was quite cute. I turned and eventually brought him into our conversation. He was a visitor from Canada, staying in Carmel and asking of places to see and what to do. When he and Betsy got on a subject that brought the two together, I saw it as my out and said I needed to get going. I got my coat, gave Betsy a hug and whispered in her ear....."20 seconds". She later texted me saying she took the leap and gave him her number. Whether anything comes of it, it doesn't matter....what matters is the leap, the courage, the risk.

I don't know what 2012 has in store for me but standing at the beginning of it I will say that I am feeling brave. I feel like I have crawled out of a dark hole to a beautiful new world and I am feeling whole and alive again. I might not always feel so brave, but I think that a lot of "20 seconds of insane courage" might just be the way to go ..... and who knows? Great things really might just come of it. Yes, I believe it will be so.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I have been sick for six full days now. I finally got myself on a powerful antibiotic so I am hopeful I will be feeling better very soon. I rarely get sick and it has been years since I have felt this bad.

I can't help but feel the emptiness that comes with being alone in a time where you don't really want to be alone. I fill my days up with friends and family, riding my horse, running around, lunches here, happy hour there, and then when I have been out there and done that, home and being alone sounds nice. Or at least nice enough. But now, I am not out and about. I am home, on the couch, watching way too much TV. I rattle around from room to room, a hanky here, a cup of tea there. There is no one here to keep me company. The days are long and I try and stay up late enough so that I am not waking up at 2 a.m. I am bored, and I am never bored. And I am lonely too.

I can't help but think back to Kenny, and how he felt when his body was giving out. Was he bored, and could I have done more? His days must have been long too, and I know he watched TV much more than he ever normally would. I remember setting him up, so that he could watch TV while I slipped out to run to the store, the bank, or wherever. I had my escape. I could get out, shake up my day a little. I wish I could go back and redo some things. But I can't. And I wonder if he got lonely too.

Kenny knew how to stay busy though. He was not afraid of the bus that would take him to town and from there he would wheel himself to the Pacheco Club where he would have lunch with the boys. Sometimes, while he was in town, he would go get his haircut, or better yet, have his feet massaged. Or he would leave our house in his wheelchair and tootle on over to Bernardus, a lovely resort about a half mile from our house and have lunch with friends every Friday. Yes...just thinking about it, I think Kenny was not bored. Not much anyway. He was always ready to do something and his condition did not hinder. The night before he died we went to a party and he ate lasagna and drank a margarita. He was a trooper....and no, I really don't think he was bored. Or lonely. I think he was truly what he always said he was.....happy. And that makes me happy too.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I remember last year at this time. Everyone was belting out "Happy New Year" greetings, whether in cards, or in the stores, or friends and acquaintances. There was no getting away from it. But I knew, every time I heard it, that this was not going to be a happy new year. I knew that the year 2011 would most likely be the worst year of my life. And it was.

I knew my wonderful husband was going to pass away, and I knew, standing at the beginning of 2011 that his health was going to deteriorate to the point of....well....I didn't know. I didn't know if I would be able to take care of him until the end and that frightened me. But I knew things were going to get bad, very bad. And then.....when that "bad" was over, when his deteriorating health was no longer the issue, another "bad" would take it's place. He would be gone, and I would have to grope through a darkness I had never been in before and desperately didn't want.

Standing at that first day of 2011 was not a happy day for me. I tried not to let the overwhelming dread come over me, but I think it did. This was going to be a hard year, and yes it proved to be so. Kenny died five months into the year and I was able to care for him to the end. Thank God. There are always bright spots in our darkest times and for me there were many of them. And then, once he was gone, I began, or rather continued, on that road of grieving over a loved one that has gone on without you. A walk no one wants to be on.

So, 2011 was a hard year on so many levels. I am glad it is behind me, yet it will most likely be a year that stays forever embedding in my mind. Like so many other years that meld into one another, this one will stand out as clearly different. I will never forget it, and I really don't want to.

And now I am at 2012 and when I hear the words "Happy New Year", I think "yes!"....this is going to be a good year. I really believe that. I believe there are some wonderful days ahead and I look forward to each one. 2011 taught me, changed me, and hopefully made me better. I didn't look forward to it and I dreaded the day it came, but I will be forever grateful for the journey and the lessons it brought.