Celebrating the first holidays without the man of the house has been difficult. I will acknowledge that I am extremely LUCKY. I know I have “friends in high places” that “help” me with my life. I also know that my husband has joined the team. He “helped” me with my Christmas shopping. The present I found for my son was right on target. My son was VERY HAPPY when he saw the charger that works not only with electronic equipment, it also starts a car.
Before Christmas I traveled to our daughter’s house in Central Illinois. I took Robin with me. She cried when we stopped at the first rest stop. It was finally open after being closed for over a year for remodeling. I don’t know if she was tired of riding in the car, really had to go or hoping we would find “her man.” I stopped in to use the facilities and talked to the woman in charge. She had a major problem and I didn’t know how to help her. Her sister had lived with her for many years and recently passed. She had a blood clot in her lungs and was on a high rate of oxygen. She died without a will, insurance or having added her sister to her bank account. Her sister was responsible for paying the bills without the resources to do so. I suggested she try to get help from the minister at her church or the elected officials in her town. I was EXTREMELY glad that I wasn’t in her shoes.
As is my practice I stopped at Wal-Mart . While I was waiting in line to pay for my purchases, a veteran wearing a Desert Storm hat got behind me. As is also my practice — I started talking to him — I thanked him for his service and must have mentioned that my husband had recently passed over. He shared that he lost his wife eight years ago. “You know she is with you”, I replied. “Yes”, he replied. “She turns off the television regularly on me”. I really hoped “my team” hadn’t overheard that. When we returned home, I was watching the public station in Indiana. John Legend was soon talking on the program (??) Without my help the television changed to a regular channel, a program awarding individuals for their world wide service. I told the story to a friend of mine and she replied “You know who was ALWAYS changing the channels for you.” And she was right. My husband often watched more than one program at a time. “Thanks, honey.”
Loss is a hard feeling to deal with. Especially when the person who has crossed over is very close to your heart. I am EXTREMEMLY LUCKY. When my father passed over more than twenty years ago, he sent me a message that he remembered me. I was alert enough at that time to recognize it. And that has made all the difference. Now I’ll admit that my mother has probably been active in my life for many years. But she was skilled in her activities. My father is skilled too, BUT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO HIM THAT HE LET ME KNOW HE WAS FINE.
I wrote once that I’ve crossed a bridge. Over the years I have received many lessons from my “spirit team.” I have detailed many of those experiences in my book JOURNEY WITH ME. In fact I was reminded of the book recently when I sent an e-mail to my family, giving them homework — to read a chapter a day or a week –to remind them how spirit interacts with our lives. Their grief was very visible.
Thankfully my husband also sent me a message after he passed. Thankfully he is often with me at home and when I am out and about. I recently crossed paths with a gentleman who is 102. He was shopping at the store, not using a cane or a motorized cart. He wants to live to be 105. That same day I met a woman who is taking care of her handicapped husband. They watched a movie together and he laughed. He thanked her. He was glad that he could still laugh. We talked for a short while. During the conversation she told me she saw her deceased father sitting in the back of a car. I saw the spirit of a dog who had recently passed run through our house but I don’t normally see things. I don’t “see” things when I meditate either. My daughter confirmed that I’m not visual.
I like to have presents under the tree for my family for Christmas. They don’t need to be large or expensive, just a little surprise. I wanted a present for our son. Nothing called his name when I was looking for a gift. He had already announced that neither of us needed anything. And he is right! That doesn’t solve my problem! Until my husband went shopping with me and I found the perfect present. It would have been perfect for my husband if he was still alive. Hopefully it will be perfect for my son.
When my husband was alive, shopping was NOT his favorite activity. Especially when I wanted to visit many stores. I don’t know if his feeling for shopping has changed but I love RECOGNIZING HIS HELP.
QUEST FOOTNOTE: I took a photo of the NEW, GREEN MOTORCYCLE ornament I bought for my husband. I tried to share the find with my family. I sent the photo in TWO messages. Neither of the photos were received. I took a photo of the motor cycle hanging under an angel with a trumpet announcing his ride. That photo was received.
In a recent trip to Costco I discovered The New Frontier cookbook by Ree Drummond. It is my practice to open a new cookbook at random and see if the recipe fits into my style of cooking. To be honest, I have no idea what recipe I opened to. I put the book back down because it didn’t have nutritional information. Before I left the store, the book was not only back in my hand, but in my cart leaving the store. I had noticed that she had MANY photos showing the steps.
Did I NEED to see the steps in making the recipes? I didn’t think so but I was intrigued. And I am so glad that I did. Two of her daughters are no longer at the evening meal each night. Her household has shifted to mostly male, growing teenage boys. My household has also changed. For many years I cooked the meals that my husband liked — meat and potatoes, no salad and very few vegetables. Now the world is my oyster.
Since my husbands passing, I have made three oriental recipes. More are on the pipeline but the traditional menu for Thanksgiving put a hold on my experimenting. Thankfully my son is more willing to try new foods. He even suggested that I didn’t need to peel the potatoes when frying them. I’ve discovered that red potatoes work better than rustics. Onions don’t need to be diced as small. I can even add peppers.
Have I mentioned that I like to read cookbooks. This one fits right in. Ree introduces each recipe with a short thought ramble. It has already reminded me of many cooking adventures in my life.
I decided that I would only read two recipes a morning in the new book. It was a good choice. I have started my day with laughter many times. I’m almost finished with breakfast. I have to admit that many of the recipes will be a challenge. They are designed for from 6 to 8 servings. I’ll either have to cut the ingredients or freeze the leftovers.
I love Christmas. I love decorating the house — over the years we have had garlands hanging from many places. Our tree has so many ornaments it is hard to see the branches. Garlands with lights wind their way up our stairs. I added garlands to our front porch., wreaths to both our front and back porches. I added ornaments to the back yard.
Christmas for me is more than presents. We have always had limited funds so my purchasing reflects that. I have made many presents over the years. Since I like to bake, cookies have also become gifts.
Since my husbands passing, I’m not sure how much I’ll be doing this year. We have a Thanksgiving Memorial tree up. Our granddaughter and our Great did most of the decorating. Many angels are on our tree. After my father passed, I had a dream in which I was a pilot for the Blue Angels. I DID NOT SHARE MY DREAM. That year, for Christmas I received THREE SETS OF ANGELS from our children. The next year, there was a skirmish between my newest angels and the set of 6 small angels I bought when I was in high school. I gave my granddaughter the story of Wings to read in my book Journey With Me before asking her to place the small angels at the top of the trip. She wanted to know if I was setting her up, they had already hung some angels on the tree. I told her she was safe — I HADN’T PUT ANY ANGELS UP.
Since that day, I have added many of our angels to the tree. I remember not only friends but many of our cats and dogs. I have many ornaments from the travels with my husband. I already had an ornament celebrating his fishing. I NEEDED AN ANGEL — for him.
Therefore the QUEST. I DID NOT access the internet. In fact, although I mentioned my quest to my children, I didn’t ask them to find something for me. I attended the German Market downtown but no ornament called his name. A few years ago he had purchased a lovely red bird for me. I already had an owl.
A few years ago he renewed his love of ham radio, that was an option. Another option was an old car. He had a 1964 Lincoln Capri that was being restored. We already had an ornament celebrating a motor home that we lost in the tornado. Then I remembered the motorcycles. I went to Las Vegas for work and bought a Harley Davis miniature for him. Advancing age had convinced him to sell his bike but an a good day he still wanted to ride. Our son said his Dad was out riding a bike in heaven. And I found a green Hog for him. Is it a Harley? Does it matter?
I don’t know how much decorating I will do this year. I think I have decided to put the lights on the porch and possibly up the stairs in the house. I’ve decided that I will make a few of our favorite cookies. I haven’t put all the ornaments on the tree. Nor have I bought Christmas cards.
Since I rediscovered my thought ramble Learning The Ropes, I have changed the name of my “friends in high places” to my spirit team. I have NO IDEA who is helping me at any given moment. And I WELCOME THE HELP!