I’m Alive

It has taken some time and a lot of soul searching on my part.  At first, the guilt was strong — but has lessened with time.

imageI would have to say that it started when I decided to step outside of my comfort zone.  I had been “settling-in” to my new home on the mountain for a few months when I decided that it was time to share the fruits of my labor.  The patio that I had worked diligently on for months was now ready to be presented to the world — or at least a group of people who resided at least within a close proximity of mine.

I started with my immediate family and then branched out into long-time friends as well as people who had made an impact on my new life in some way.

It wasn’t the easiest thing I’d ever done, but turned out to be one of the best.  I found myself running in so many different directions that day.  I had never thrown a party by myself — and honestly wasn’t completely sure I wanted to still.

Once the guests had arrived and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, I was able to relax a bit and enjoy the day as well.  We gathered around the firepit even though it was really too warm to enjoy a fire — it was July.

If I had to put my finger on the calendar and point to a day when my life began imageagain, I would place it happily on that date.  I had invited a few people with whom I’d bonded just since Andy’s death.  I’m not sure what inspired them to reach out to me, or how I got up the courage to reach back.  I only know that I am glad that I did.

I found that life became easier when I had people in my life who could relate to some aspect of my <now> mixed up world.  From this, new and stronger friendships were formed.  While sitting on the patio that day, plans were made.  I can’t emphasize enough how big of an impact that day made on my life.

imageI’ve since discovered that apparently friendships can also be formed amidst a rant.  Several weeks after the party, a group of us decided to have a “girls weekend” just miles from my home.  We rented a cottage for the weekend, and while I had never done anything like this before, it too became a life altering event!  I’ll spare you the details.  Just know that I let off some steam at what hindsight tells me was misdirected.  But something great came out of it.  Let me just say that when someone has every right to “stomp you” but ends up making you laugh amidst it all, that person has to become your friend.  At that moment, we crossed the bridge from acquaintances and old classmates to best friends.

One week later, a suggested friend on Facebook would put yet another missing piece back into the puzzle I call “Life.”  With the reconnection of another member of the good ole class of ’83, another strong friendship was formed.  This friendship has proven to be something I value very much these days.  While I think it started out as an opportunity to redirect my life back to happier, youthful times, it has taken on a path all its own now.

It was also around this time that I decided to release myself emotionally from theimage vehicles we had bought together.  This wasn’t just an emotional decision, it was practical.  Why should I insure 2 vehicles, let alone keep putting gas in both.  I traded in his truck and my little “soccer mom” car and bought myself a 2-door jeep with 4 wheel drive.  On that day I changed my self image.  While I will always be a mom to my kids and a grandma to two very special little girls, I did something just for me.  I emerged into someone who could feel the wind racing through her hair and fully appreciate the view of the “big muddy” as she drove the beautiful scenic route that was now the daily path to her new home.  In addition, it gave me the confidence to live the part of the “mountain dweller” I had become.

In addition, I returned to the workforce.  It was strange how that happened too.  I wasn’t looking for a job.  Something just drew me in and I found myself talking imageto an employee in a little floating gift shop on the river.  I decided at that moment to apply for a job, though she didn’t seem to think they were actually hiring at the moment.  Just days later, I got a phone call asking me to come in for an interview.  I discovered that the employee I was speaking with had told the owner that she felt I would be an asset, and within days I was employed there.  It worked out well.  As the job was seasonal, it allowed me to eliminate the stress of having to climb down the mountain on those snowy winter days unless I just really wanted to get out.  With the winter as brutal as it’s been thus far, that was definitely a bonus.  As the 2014 season approaches, I don’t know what’s in store for me, but have learned to welcome whatever it offers.  I tend to “go with the flow” more now than ever before.

I’ve realized that now the face I see looking back at me in the mirror tends to be smiling instead of choking back tears.  I had to accept the fact that I could be happy.  I needed to be happy.  It was a tough decision, and even required a conscious decision on my part at one point.  I had to allow myself the opportunity to let the pain turn to joy.  I found that I could be happy again and it could actually be a tribute to Andy, not an insult to his memory as I had originally viewed it.

Those who knew Andy best would try to convince me that he would want me to a00366be happy.  It took a little time for me to see that, but it makes complete sense now.  He would have done anything in life to insure my happiness, and I guess on some level I always knew that.  Now that he’s become my guardian angel, I think he still does.

I wish I could say that the tears never flow and that my days and nights are filled with joy and laughter.  I actually have to say that the latter is definitely more prevalent these days.  And now when the tears do emerge, they are generally a result of a happy thought, not a pity party for one!  I have begun to realize one thing above anything else.  I feel things stronger and taste things better.  I now see that is a sign of one thing, and is a direct result of moving through the grieveing process.  I am alive!

imageAndy, at first it was hard to smile.  On some level, I always knew that you would want me to.  I just couldn’t… I wasn’t ready!  I’ve developed such strong friendships and know that I am never alone.  I had to make that conscious decision to look at what I have, not what I don’t.  What I have are special memories of a love that changed my life so many years ago.  I will cherish those memories forever as well as the ones I create now with those who have become and/or remained a special part of my world.  

I know that I could never begin to thank you for all you’ve done for me.  So  I have chosen to move through the pain and seek out the joy.  That seemed to be the best way I could pay tribute to the life you gave me.  

I love you Baby… forever and always.

Copyright (c) 2014 missylaneousthoughts.com, All Rights Reserved

Is It Any Wonder?

Family Photos 010For as long as I can remember, music has been in my blood! I was enrolled in musical kindergarten, where the teacher mistook a 4 year old child harmonizing to “Rock A Bye Baby” as being unable to carry a tune.  Little did she know, said child had spent every week sitting next to the bass in her mom’s quartet while they practiced at the kitchen table. That was the part I’d learned! That’s what I was gonna sing!

As a teenager, I recall spending Christmas Eve at any church but my own — performing solos for candlelight services by request. When I was in high school I auditioned for a part at the Muny Opera in St. Louis. I made it as far as callbacks, but never made the big time! I even got to sing along with The Oak Ridge Boys in the lobby of the Chase Park Plaza once.  That was cool!  I could go on for days listing performances and such, but that’s not really the point I’m getting at here.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that my voice has lost a little something over the years, and I blame only myself for that fact.  However, one of the things that my life over the past year and a half has taught me is that <music> is still a big part of my heart.  It is my consolation on a cold and lonely night, my muse when I am having trouble finding inspiration, and often my motivation to achieve the tasks of the day.  With that said, I am taking on new aspects. My musical talent always began and ended on a vocal level. It is now my intent to broaden my horizons and learn an instrument or two.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of becoming a concert pianist or anything of the sort.  I actually doubt that anyone else will ever even hear me play — this goal is for self-gratification only.  I just can’t help but feel that it’s time this old dog learns a new trick. As I made this observation, I had to take note and realize — I’m heading back once more down a path I willingly and even eagerly swayed from so many years ago when I met the man of my dreams.

I suppose this all ties once more into what I perceive about life in general.  I guess I should explain.  This has been an overall observation of my life’s path up to this point:

When I visualize my life now, I see a path in a forest — not overgrown, but not overly scan0001explored either. As I walk a little farther, I see that the path splits and I have to make a choice. There seems to be no question as to which fork in the road I need to travel; so I put one foot in front of the other — and my life path continues in a wonderfully comfortable and possibly even necessary way.  I spend many years walking that path — with that one special person by my side all along the way.  I have no doubt this is where I belong — and intend to keep traveling in this manner.  However, sometimes things happen and we have no way to control them.  Suddenly my path comes to an abrupt end.  My life partner is ripped away.  I wander aimlessly for a while, and then find myself back at that same fork. This time the original path is blocked by an obstacle far too big for me to overcome, so I choose the path less traveled.

While there is so much more of this new path to be traveled, I find myself reaching back for items I left behind at the moment when the original path was chosen. I also carry with me so many of the things I obtained along that original journey, and have discovered that my heart actually found a way to join the old and new — and appreciate them both more than ever.  I find satisfaction and even happiness in things I once took for granted.  The colors of the grass beneath my feet are so much more brilliant than ever before;  and the smell of the flowers I pick along the path are more aromatic now.  I realize this is acquired — something I developed during my journey down the original path chosen.  I find myself wanting to learn more about topics I originally just skimmed.  Merely scratching the surface is no longer an option.  I head back to my roots and try to find answers to “what if’s” and “how comes.”  Maybe it’s simply because I have never been able to find the answers to why my path had to take me back to the beginning like it did!  I realize those answers may never come to me.

With all of that said, I have to think, “Is it any wonder that I find more comfort in music now than ever?” It’s as if it takes me back and leads me forward at the same time.  While I never fully abandoned music when I chose that original path, it has definitely taken on a new and important dimension in my life.
Andys Final Profile PictureIn closing, I feel the need to add that, while I have no idea where this adventure will take me, such is life! Do we ever really know where our paths will lead us tomorrow? If my life has taught me anything, it is the answer to that question! I will speak for us all with a resounding “NO!” I learned the answer to that just moments after that middle of the night knock at my front door just 18 months ago. I have reestablished friendships and developed new ones that mean the world to me now.  Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for what I’ve found along this new path as well as what I carry with me in my heart from my former travels.  It just appears to me that through it all, music has been my one true constant!

2014 (c) Copyright, All Rights Reserved, Missylaneousthoughts.com

The Path Less Traveled

It’s remarkable how one day you wake up feeling like it’s just going to be a replay of yesterday, only to find nothing is further from the truth.

What causes a person’s view on life to change so drastically… so quickly?

Environment?  Maybe!  Realization?  Probably!  Perception?  Definitely!

I took a look at things standing before me and realized that, while it’s not a perfect world… it’s pretty good!  It took me a long time to see that, but am so glad I finally did.

I see life as pathways now!  I’ve found a way to go back to my original course and explore what life could have been had I taken that alternate route.  While I truly cherish the pathway I primarily chose, I am finding it enlightening to travel the other as well.  I now see that I am a very lucky woman for having been blessed with multiple opportunities to see what life hFamily Photos 010as to offer.  I even amaze myself at times… that I can see how a very small decision can impact major life developments.   Who knew life is what you make it after all?

I got a lot of encouragement during my initial journey to begin writing, but never understood why!  It took stripping my emotions down to the quick to realize that maybe it is a “calling” of sorts!  At one point, my writing was all I could seem to accept as comfort.  I had to realize my own happiness again before I could see things in a new light… one brighter than I’ve ever seen before.

I decided to start back at the beginning, and have been attending class at a local college.  I am currently enrolled in English 131… a prerequisite to the creative writing class I hope to take next year sometime.  The funny part is, I took this class once before as part of my required general studies three decades ago!  Life’s path took me out of the classroom and into reality… again, no regrets… just life!

I was relieved to find that, during my most recent essay, I was able to express thoughts besides those that seem to have been embossed on all of my previous writings.  I wrote of my childhood… leaving the pain behind for another day.

It feels good to sit and read my own words now without tissues in hand!  I never really imagined that I would ever see that day… and it concerned me!  I’ve recently discovered that there is much more below the surface, and feel that writing can be more than just therapy for me now.

Family Photos 397I am extremely thankful for everything that my original path offered me… and have absolutely no regrets.  But now I find myself looking to decades ago.  I bring parts of my former path with me, but also enjoy new: New friends… new opportunities… new perspectives!  Along the way, I’ve rediscovered my sense of humor!  I am once again enjoying life and realize too that I have to explore the path less traveled!

Copyright ©2013

A Year Of Remembering

I sit here at Starbucks on the one year anniversary of the worst day of my life!  So many thoughts plague my mind, but mysteriously enough, not much more than they have for the past 365 days!

This past week was the hardest… reliving memories of what may very well be Fremembered as the best week of my life.  We traveled, talked, danced and just spent time together.  I live with the understanding that he will be forever and always in my heart… trying to soothe the ache that his death left behind.

So many events have taken place in the past year… many self-inflicted, many not!  After analyzing mounds of emotion and turmoil, I made a step that, looking back, I see as even more necessary than maybe I did at the time.  I sold our home and moved into a small one bedroom apartment where all I had to do was to focus on me and our dogs… healing time much needed!  It was during those months that I discovered how much of the “country girl” in me still existed, though buried deep within the wife and mother I had been for now over half of my life.

An opportunity presented itself with what I feel could only have been possible with the help of a little divine intervention.  I made my offer and 25 days later I owned a imagehome in a place I now often refer to as “My Little Piece Of Heaven On Earth”.  I even built a patio in a “problem area” in the back yard mostly with my own two hands.  I’ve learned things about my potential, and have actually learned how to be proud of my own accomplishments along the way!  It actually amazes me that I even tried sometimes!

Not a day goes by where he isn’t in the forefront of my thoughts and dreams!  Every day I tell myself that this life is now mine and he would want me to move toward a <still un preferred> new life.

I feel him with me so often, and even hear his words frequently in my head.   Every day seems to be filled with new emotions… more emotions than I previously even knew existed!

All in all, I think he approves of the changes I’ve made.  I try very hard to make those decisions that work best for me.  Truth be told, I think I’ve become pretty selfish.  I make decisions (for the first time in my adult life) that have my (and my alone) interests at heart!  I actually think he would approve… “Sow those wild oats now Baby” are the words my heart says in that strong deep voice I only hear in my imagination now, but they feel so real!

I have worked hard to teach myself that, while motherhood never ends, my children are grown and I now have to think about my needs… and I do!

Two days ago I ripped off yet another bandaid.  I realized that it was not feesible for me to keep insuring and licensing 2 vehicles.  With that in mind, I traded in my 7 year old car and Andy’s 12 year old truck and bought myself a Jeep Wrangler (soft top) with 22 miles on the odometer!  That river road is gonna be a beautiful trip on a sunny day with the top off.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even take the doors off from time to time.  So there it is… a wild oat!

I realize that I have no clue what tomorrow holds, but then again, we never really know… no guarantees.  At least I find comfort in knowing that the memories will last forever, but do become less painful with time.  It has, in fact, been a year of remembering!

Andy, I see you in my dreams and feel you so strongly still in my heart.  OverAndys Final Profile Picture the past year I have experienced so many things that I never would have imagined; and while you have not been physically with me, I feel that you are often experiencing them right along with me.

Thank you so much for the years we had together.  I love you and miss you more than I can express… forever and always my love!



Copyright ©2013, Missylaneousthoughts.com, All Rights Reserved.

In My Dreams

a00366As that dreaded anniversary of the day he was taken from me approaches, I find myself reliving the days of a year ago as if I’ve hit the rewind button in my mind.
Each day I awake and begin to think about what WE did just one year ago… when there was still a “WE” spending time together.  Taking each moment for granted as if we had our whole lifetime again ahead of us! We couldn’t have been more wrong.  We merely had days!
It would have been just one year ago that I was stung by a wasp as I stepped out into the back yard to say “Good Morning” to him as he watered the apple trees he’d planted for me as a tribute to special days such as Mothers Day and my birthday over the past few years. Few of you know the story of how he tended to my wasp sting, but it’s a very sweet memory for me now!
However, this writing is not about the memories I hold so dear to my heart! No, it’s aboutimage something new that has become something even more special these days! I don’t really know how I feel about dream analysis or whether it’s a way for those who’ve passed on to communicate, or simply one’s mind releasing wishes and desires during our slumber.
For the sake of comfort and guidance at this point in my life, I choose to grasp at it as a way for him to be in my life! After only 2 memorable visits into my dreams over the past 11+ months, I have had dreams of his appearing for the past 2 nights. They are so strong and clear… leaving me feeling a little stronger, and loved still!
A lot has changed since he went away nearly a year ago, and yet so much stays the same! Grandma & Grandpa Myers & MomI have a whole new perspective on people like my grandma who became widowed in her forties… before I was even a thought in this world. By the time I met her, she was receiving “attention” from a man who became someone I came to know as “Grandpa” during my childhood. I remember thinking of her as such a strong woman… fighting and finally succumbing to the battle of cancer after dealing with the loss of yet another husband while in her 60s. While I know she was a very strong person, I am gonna bet that she had her moments of despair as well. I’ve learned over the past several months, while talking to people directly about her grieving process, that she did suffer as well… just not where I could see.
People have called me “strong”, “amazing”, even “inspirational.” I must admit, I still don’t see that part of me. I see the weepy eyed little girl who has suddenly had to learn imagehow to just put one foot in front of the other… and remember to breathe while doing so!

I work very hard at keeping busy most days now.  I have accomplished things I never imagined for myself; and fear that if people knew the true motivation behind it, they would see the weak little me!  I bought a house, designed and built a patio, and imageeven enrolled in college classes.  But truth be told, I am still that vulnerable little girl who was so proud to say “I Do” nearly a quarter of a century ago!

My heart completely broke into pieces as I climbed the stairs to speak with the police officers at my door that morning of August 8th, 2012. But the moments I spend with him during my nightly slumber go a long way toward soothing that everlasting ache that lingers inside me.
I find so much comfort in feeling him near me… loving me still, even if it is only “In My Dreams!”

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Just Breathe!

IMG_1587_1I finally conquered my procrastination on yet another of a series of otherwise mundane tasks.

Who knew that an  otherwise time consuming but relatively simple chore would land me once again wiping my eyes in public!  For those of you who don’t know me, just look for the woman who is trying to discreetly push away what seems to be a never ending barrage of tears.

As I backed my car out of the driveway (in the pouring rain no less), with the dogs in IMG_3388 revisedback, I knew that we all were going to be struggling during the hours that lie ahead.  Dottie had broken a tooth in a way that required surgery, and Maxwell just needed that annual trip to get his teeth cleaned and vaccinations given.

I, on the other hand, just had to deal with the stress of going to the DMV to switch title registrations on both vehicles out of Andy’s name and in to mine.  You might think that the long lines and unwelcoming tone generally received at this facility would have been the cause for my reluctancy.  Not the case!  It was that feeling of removing one more piece of evidence of him that kept me from getting this checked off my “to do list” sooner!

transfer from card 12-2007 008Nothing could prepare me for the emotionally weight bearing response I would feel when the state employee informed me that I would no longer be able to hold on to the personalized plate that he and I came up with when we put our heads together nearly 7 years before.  It contained a combination of letters from our first and last name(s) which we both shared followed by a very significant date… the year I became his wife!  As tears filled my eyes, I noticed that she then took pity on me and set out to find an acceptable solution.  With a few strokes of the pen and a little investigating, she found a way for me to keep my license plate number that had grown to mean so much to me over the years.  Bottom line, it was just one more thing I didn’t want to let go from my grasp!

Andy had bought that car for me on his birthday several years ago and it brings back so many memories of a time when life was good and love was abundant!  Now it’s the memories that remind me of the intensity of a love gone forever!

In just over a week, I will have to celebrate that one final “first” of the year… my birthday!  I wish I could say that I am not feeling anxiety about the day; but I am doing what I needRiley 4 months 003 to do to remove as much of that feeling as possible.  I plan to board a plane the day before, along with my youngest son, and fly down to visit my other son and his family for a few days.  It will also redirect some of the focus since the day after mine, we will celebrate a very special birthday… my oldest granddaughter will turn 5!

Riley and I started a tradition that goes back to the beginning of <her> time… a slumber party that would begin on my birthday and end on hers!  That is one tradition that I am so happy to still be recognizing!

Every “first” has been filled with stress and a hesitance to go through without the love of my life, but I know that I just have to remind myself to breathe and the rest will work itself out… somehow!  I even remember that first raindrop that fell (especially since we had been struggling with a very intense heat/drought issue up until the time of his death.)

Again, I just keep telling myself… “just breathe, Missy!”  Some days that is all I can promise… and sometimes I question even that.  But I do it anyway!

So, as I round the corner to the final stretch of the first lap in this race we call “grief”, I know that while it will ease with time, I can never expect it to be “easy” ever again!

But I’ll do what I have to do… keep on breathing!

imageAndy, I really question how I will make it to the next moment without you… and before I even realize it that moment is behind me.  That is how I get from point A to point B… dawn to dusk… in one piece (though that is somewhat questionable at times!)  I hope one day to awaken without that feeling that part of me is missing… incomplete!  Until then, I promise you one thing… I will just breathe!

I love you Baby… Forever and Always!

Copyright ©2013, Missylaneousthoughts.com, All Rights Reserved.

I’m Doing It Alone Again!

scan0001I open my eyes on this rainy Fathers Day only to fall upon a realization… I am once again a single parent.  While so many aspects of this lifestyle have drastically changed for me, one primary issue has stayed the same… I’m doing it alone!

So many differences, not necessarily all for the best, come together to make this completely new situation in which I reside!

My Kids Are Grown and in some respects that is a good thing, but not entirely.  I find myself spending far too much time alone and taking on major projects to keep my focus diverted from the real issues that plague my daily life now!  I see years of attending life Me and my grand-girlsevents for our children and grandchildren sitting beside an empty chair; and while I have already done that with our oldest son’s commissioning ceremony and college graduation weekend, I long for that strong hand that would squeeze mine with tremendous pride… that sense of “we did it… together” as we passed yet another milestone in the lives of our boys.  With one child still single and in college now, it is quite certain that I will once again feel the pain of that empty chair.  The pride I feel gets me through those moments, but not necessarily without tears in my eyes!

I’m 25 years older now and trying to build a life… one I really don’t feel belongs to me.  I find myself occasionally sitting/daydreaming!  Not about sitting on a beach with a imagebeverage in my hand while feeling a cool breeze rustling through my hair.  No!  My daydream is about punching the time clock, knowing that my family is waiting there with the everyday drama that a family deals with… “what’s for dinner”, “are my clothes clean”, “the dog ate my homework” (yes, that actually happened once at our house!)  My issues now include hearing news from/about our kids with no one to reply to the joy/pride in my voice as I say my feelings aloud… to the dogs.  They just don’t really seem to care that we had another grandchild, our baby declared his major, or that I finished that labor intensive project of building a patio… basically by myself!

The first time I traveled down this path, it involved changing all of the dirty diapers, the a005883a.m. feedings, and that constant battle with ear infections that sent <us> back to the doctor what seemed like every other week!  I went through this stage alone first and then with my soulmate by my side the second time around!  I must say that while both were very rewarding, the second time around was definitely easier.  Sometimes just that ear to listen after he returned home from a hard day’s work was enough to make the day to day burdens seem less difficult to bear!

It makes me feel as though my life has gone full circle!  I will live the remainder of my life in the same manner with which it began all those years ago!  But this time, I have great memories to carry with me and the feeling that I have been truly blessed… on  so many levels.  It seems now that I am doing it alone again!

Andys Final Profile PictureHappy Father’s Day Andy!  As that one year mark draws near, I realize that I have almost made it through that year of “firsts!”  One more HUGE one remains… my birthday!  While plans have now been made and it looks as if I will not be spending it alone, I still have serious reservations… because it is the first time in over half of my life that I will be spending the day without you by my side!  I am realistic enough to realize that “firsts” will not just miraculously end as August rolls around, but at least the holidays will be behind me… at least the first round!  I still miss you as much as the day you went away… maybe more!  But I know now that I will continue to breath… eat… sleep!  While I don’t do any of those things as well as I did when you were a part of my world, I do try!  I find myself telling you daily… sometimes hourly, that I love you!  At first, I wrestled with the tense with which I uttered those words.  But now I say it with certainty because I do still love you!!  Forever and Always Baby… Forever and Always!

Copyright ©2013, Missylaneousthoughts.com, All Rights Reserved.