Thursday, August 31, 2017

Call Me Ishmael

My apologies for being away for so long!  Oh how I've missed you!
 My heart is full of love for the women who attend my retreats.  
We need each other's love and support.  
We need to create & craft, laugh and find joy and make friends.
Women need women.
Little did I know when I began hosting these retreats how much my life would change.  How did I know when I named this group "Reclaim Yourself Retreats" that I'd be at a point in my life where I'd need to pick myself up off of the floor and reclaim myself.

My life has always been full of ups and downs, most due to dumb choices I've made, but luckily, the last 18 years, although salty-sweet with the good and the bad that is parenting, have been marvelous.  I married a very sweet man.  He and I became best friends.  We parented, we loved and supported each other and we planned our life together.  We'd spend Saturday mornings talking about what we were gonna do when the kids were grown, where we would travel, what we would see, how we would finally fix up the house.  We looked forward to it, we'd never been a "couple" before because he married into an instant family.  You see, I had four children when we met and he took us all lock, stock and barrel into his heart and loved us all in a way that fixed our brokenness.

Fast forward to March, 2017.  My sweetheart wasn't feeling so good.  "Tummy trouble" he'd say but yet went to work every day.  He wasn't eating much because every time he ate, his belly would hurt.  He dealt with this the whole month of  March.   He was used to pain.  
He'd been born with Sickle Cell-Beta Thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder.  Pain was his middle name and he'd been fighting this since he was born.  He just thought that he was having a mini crisis which is what "sicklers" call the pain that comes when their red blood cells form a sickle shape, start breaking down prematurely and then get stuck in the blood vessels.  This, combined with the reduction or absence of mature red blood cells lead to pain.  Lots of pain.  Normally, bed rest, hydration and pain meds would get him through a crisis.  This time that wasn't happening.

Small miracles happened.  We know they were miracles now.  Gary's brother Gavin and his wife and children came to America for a visit.  For the two weeks they were here, Gary had no pain.  For the first time in his life, he took a full two weeks off to spend with his brother.  Gary and his brother are close and this time together was the best medicine.  We did many fun things while they were here and looking back, how grateful we all are that we did.  One week later, Gary would enter the hospital with Pancreatitis and not come out of the hospital for five weeks.  

He spent a week at home, surrounded by everyone he loved and died on June 9, 2017.
He was escorted home by a large, full moon.  That was his style.  He loved the moon.

Fast forward again to twelve weeks later and we are still here.  Still alive.  Still piecing our way through our sadness and grief but still able to find joy, to see light and to see good in this world.

I want to record this, to document it, to look back one day to make sure I'm progressing and moving forward.  Not forgetting him, no way.  I could never forget him but now I'm making a new life.  Making new plans, dreaming new dreams and reclaiming myself one day at a time while finding joy along the way.

I thought about creating a new blog but decided to add to the one I already have.  
The blog with the perfect name and a dictionary description that reads...


verb  re·claim \ri-ˈklām\

To get back something that was lost or taken away.

I hope you'll join me as I join the rank of bloggers again and write about so many things near and dear to my heart.  Life, grief, finding joy, family, single parenting, widowhood (I hate that word), home improvements, travel, weight loss surgery, crafting, creativity, gardening, chickens, retreat fun and so much more...