Friday, January 2, 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day One of the New Year

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Name Is Carol And I Am A 62 Year Old Widow, Grandma, Mother, Sister, Daughter and Friend

My birthday was yesterday.  I turned 62 which at this point in my life doesn't seem that old.

I wondered what might be the benefits of actually turning 62, so I turned to my handy dandy computer for some enlightenment.  This is what one article said and I will add my own comments...

There is a large group, roughly 15 million Americans, turning age 62 every year. A major benchmark in one's life and a time to see what is important and to enjoy yourself. There are actually several advantages to reaching that age and everyone needs to see if they are taking stock of the pros of being in your early sixties.

Number one advantage in the United States is the option of early retirement and receiving Social Security benefits. Approximately 72% of those receiving Social Security benefits did start at age 62 or just over that age, rather than waiting for the later retirement age of 65 or 66 and beyond. Well, I won't be retiring for awhile.  Hopefully, it will be when I can take advantage of all my full retirement benefits, as well as my portion of the Les' pension that was left in the divorce agreement.  Fortunately, at this time, I owe no one any money (first time in my life and it feels so good), but I have no idea what the future holds as far as unexpected expenses.  I sometimes feel as though I pull the old Scarlett O'Hara quote, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow." 

For men and women, you can be more flirtatious without be too aggressive when you are 62. Each can enjoy the others' company, shared interests and experiences. Giving compliments to each other is most acceptable. Try it. Well this isn't happening!  I'm not flirting with anyone, anywhere, anytime.  No men in my future!

You still like to dress nicely, but no longer worry that you are wearing the latest fashion trend. Running out to purchase the new shoe style is not necessary. Now wearing comfortable shoes -- that's important.  Hmm, mixed opinion on this.  About the only time that I have to "dress nicely" is at church.  The rest of my life seems to revolve around jeans and some casual blouse, but I do dress up for work in nice slacks and blouse just for a change.  I also find that I don't really even have to shave my legs anymore.  My dresses are longer and I've got no one to impress.Shoes are not a big deal anymore - I'm out for function and something I won't fall down in and break a leg.  And, I have ugly toenails and no longer wear sandals - I do miss that.

You needn't concern yourself about any extra gray hairs or facial wrinkles. Having them now shows you have the life experiences that all the younger generations are desperate to acquire.  Really???  I haven't reached the point that I'm ready to go gray yet I don't care how many life experiences I have experienced.  The wrinkles don't much bother me since I can't do much about that.  I notice that my skin sags (the neck is probably the most visible to others), there is not the elasticity there once was, but I do feel I don't have the facial wrinkles that some of my peers show.  It is what it is.

If your vision is not as sharp as it once was, no problem. So you don't see every little speck of lint in your house. You're not concerned over it anymore.  Yep, the lasik eye surgery is wearing off.  Heck, it's about time.  I no longer can read the small print on anything without the use of my $1 Dollar Tree lowest numbered reading glasses.  I dare say that before this year is over, I will have to be resorting to "real" glasses full time (or contacts if I can get away with them).

It is now time that everyone else younger remembers you at holidays, anniversaries and birthdays. You were the one who was always on top of sending out greeting cards, that chore now gets handed to the next generation. I still try to make a conscious effort to send out cards, deliver birthday balloons, acknowledge people for accomplishments, etc.  If I don't, they might not be recognized and I might be the only bright spot in their day.  I am so grateful for the people who surround me, who continue to include me and love and support me.  I received over 100 Facebook acknowledgements about my birthday, received phone calls, texts, gifts, etc.  I feel loved and valued.


Over the years, you have endured and overcome many disappointments and rejoiced at the happiest moments. A major advantage at being 62 is that you are at peace with yourself. You know who you are, what makes you strong and what makes you happy. You are a survivor!  I have to agree with this.  I feel as though I have experienced and overcome many life-altering disappointments and I do not take for granted the happy moments.  There was a quote I have hanging next to my desk which reads, "You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it."  I'm beginning to believe it.  I've lived through a divorce after 23 years of marriage from a man who I dearly loved and he betrayed me in so many ways.  But, without my experiences with him, other great things might not have occurred for me.  And, just when I found true love and happiness with Joe my world was definitely rocked in ways I never thought I could or would imagine.  I did find out that I was and am a survivor.  I think I am getting better and stronger every day.

A hundred years ago, age 62 was considered 'antique' especially when most people didn't live into their 70s. However, you live in the 21st century, where 62 is the new 42.  I don't feel 62 - do I feel 42?  Not when my knees hurt and I have to take a couple of arthritis strength Tylenol in addition to my doctor prescribed medication. 

All the children, even the grown adults ones, should be out of the house by now. You are free to move about and do what you want in your own home.  Yep.

It is fantastic at age 62 for someone to say; "You look wonderful for your age." See, all those years at the gym and eating right have paid off.  People do tell me frequently, with sometimes suspicious voices, that there is no way I am 62.  That's nice and I do realize that if I did spend time or at the gym or did any real form of exercise and ate right, I'd really feel much, much better and convinced that I looked wonderful.  That being said, I don't feel like I look wonderful most of the time.  I have very bad body image and rarely have pictures taken of me that I can love or even tolerate.  But, I do have all my own teeth and they are pretty white.

I took this "selfie" today to commemorate my 62nd birthday and felt that it wasn't such a bad picture.  (That's why I posted it). 

There all types of discounts for those age 62 and over at theaters, amusement and theme parks, zoos, garden exhibits, campgrounds, transportation, etc. Now this is not such bad benefit.

Your maturity is demonstrated in your ability to learn a new skill or hobby. You're interested and willing to take the time to learn ... it can be fun and challenging. Be that artist or musician you always wanted to be.  I haven't gotten caught up into this yet.  In fact, I many times wonder what happened to all the creativity that I used to have.

People will occasionally say; "Act your age." However, at age 62, you do want to have fun and some excitement. If you think you can do it ... then at least try it.  I do, but find that I limit myself on doing so many things in the last few months simply because it's difficult for me to stand or walk long distances because of the arthritis in my knee.  So I find that I don't attend events that I would normally have enjoyed in the past.

With early retirement or even just working part-time, you now have those extra hours to do the hobbies and activities you have been putting off for years. You also can give back to your community with volunteering at the hospital, church, library, child care center, museum, or wherever your heart desires.  I am basically working 3/4 time at work and thoroughly enjoy it.  My hours allow me to stay up late at night which mixes well with my "night owl" style of life.  I do participate in many service oriented activities as my leisure, whether church or community related.  I am now trying to motivate myself to do things I've put off for years i.e., family history research, picture books, compiling old letters, completing blogs, etc.

Over the years many great sayings have evolved which can provide you with the right outlook at turning 62 one being "Being 62 is comfortable."  I have found my perspective in life has totally evolved in the last months.  I have basically no needs or wants of things I "just have to have."  As long as I can, I want to take care of myself and not be a burden on anyone.  My most important outlook for life is that I want to be able to enjoy the love and companionship of my family and my friends.  I want to bring joy to others and live with a happy attitude.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Scab

Remember when you were little and you were running around maybe being chased by a friend, laughing your head off and then you stumbled over something and you fell down? Or maybe you were riding your bike and you fell off? As you picked yourself up, you realized that maybe your knee or your elbow was bleeding and then the bloody scrape began to throb with pain? I think everyone must have experienced something like that at least once in their life.

Your scrape may have been uncomfortable, but it usually began to heal within a few days. A scab eventually began to form. The depth, size, and location of the scrape dictated how long it would take for your injury to heal. Eventually, a scab began to form. New skin began to form on the edges of the wound and the wound healed from the edges in to the middle. You found that your skin may have turned pink and was still sensitive to touch, but eventually the scab decreased in size and eventually fell off (if you didn't pick it off first). If you're lucky, there was hardly any evidence that there was ever some type of skin trauma and life went on as if the fall or the stumble ever happened.

We do need to remember though, that sometimes during the healing process, when the scab had formed, the scab or a portion of it, may have been accidentally rubbed or knocked off. This might have caused the wound to start bleeding again, some new pain may have been felt and the healing process might have had to begin all over again.

You may be wondering what this has to do with anything. Why would I be writing about scabs?! While standing in the shower recently, I realized that in many ways my life in the last couple of years can be likened to a scab. Let's think about it. I was living life basically on a "one day at a time" basis, but one day I got knocked down by life in a very BIG and unexpected way. It was hard - extremely hard to pick myself up. I really didn't want to get up. It was so much easier just to lie there wanting to be left alone bruised and bloody. Thankfully, I had Corey and Nikki and my family and friends who rallied around me who literally and figuratively picked me up and started to clean my wounds. I developed a scab - a really big one. While thinking about all this, I came to realize that I believe that my scab is slowly falling away piece by little piece. Don't get me wrong - I still feel pain from that wound. I find that I may not cry and grieve in the same way that I did initially, but there is still hurt. There is still pain and I don't know when this wound will heal - when the scab will disappear. I know others who have experienced their own similar "scrapes" for a much, much longer time than I who tell me that they still have not gotten over the hurt; their pain. They still have scabs.

Rose Kennedy said in a quote that I read the other day, "It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessons. But it is never gone." She seems to know what it is like to have a scab.

Yes, I still have a scab. I still feel wounded. I still cry on occasions; not as often as I used to and they are generally more than naught happy tears. Happy tears? Yes, those are the ones when remembering how Joe would kiss the back of my hand; remembering his stupid jokes; recalling how he loved his huckleberry ice cream - those kind of things. Those are the happy tears. The really sad tears are less frequent. My wound is still deep. I still experience a loss of companionship and pain of missed opportunities to be together. I find that the loss and the crying can come from the stored memories I have when remembering Joe. These are wonderful memories as I find that the passage of time, the healing of the scab if you will, tends to make the bad memories of sickness and trauma become less and less remembered. The good memories can come from a song, a smell, a sound, but still provide some sorrow that Joe is not here to share them with. Those are supposed to be OUR memories. WE made those memories together. WE made those memories so that one day when WE could no longer make new ones, we'd always have those to fall back on. And now, I've been left with this tremendous amount and array of memories that really don't matter to anyone. That's where and when the sadness creeps in. That's one of the reasons why the scab still remains. The scab may not be as big as it was two years ago and my scrape may no longer be bleeding, but I've still got the scab.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Last Minute Prayer

Today was like any typical Saturday workday when I am alone at the office until about 1:39 this afternoon.  And then, that's when everything changed.

My job requires me to supervise parents on evenings and weekends who no longer have custody of their children for one reason or another.  Maybe it's their drug usage, child neglect, sexual abuse, whatever because the list can go on and on and it's a long list.  These parents come to my work place so they can visit their children in a "homelike" environment, but with these visits being recorded digitally and by my listening and taking notes.

I had a new client coming in today.  It was a dad who'd not seen his children in eight weeks.  This case was very complicated and had come directly through the court system and not the State.  I had met this dad a week ago and we'd gone over all his paperwork with all the rules and regulations of visitations.  He seemed like a nice guy considering all the baggage he was carrying.  I went ahead and set up his first visitation for today.

Dad was supposed to show up at 1:20 p.m.  This would allow him to arrive early enough for me to collect his payment for the visitation and put him in a room before his children arrived.  1:28 p.m. his children arrived with their grandmother, but Dad had not.  At 1:39 p.m., I called Dad's cell phone and got his voicemail.  I left him a message asking if he was coming for his visit and that according to our rules and regulations, the visit would be cancelled if he was not here by 1:45 p.m.  All clients are given 15 minutes to arrive before cancellation takes place.  And, he was already technically late as he had not arrived at 1:20 p.m.  1:43 a.m. the phone rings.  Dad is calling to say he just received a call from this number.  I let him know it was me and what my message had said that he did not listen to.  He had three minutes to arrive before cancellation.  Dad was in a panic saying that he would be right there.  I told him he three minutes and said I'd see him shortly. 

When I hung up from him, I called our program director to get her advice about whether to cut him some slack or not if he arrived late.  I got no answer and decided to make the decision myself and the answer was "no".  "No" because he'd been told twice in one week about the time he needed to arrive.  "No" because he hadn't bothered to call me and say he was going to be late.  "No" because this was his first visit and I didn't want to set a precedent that being late was acceptable.

Finally at 1:50 p.m., I escorted Grandmother and children upstairs and out the door.  I had not realized that as we were all riding the elevator to the first floor, Dad had come in and was running downstairs and then returned just as the children were being placed in the car.  Dad became very agitated and furious when I would not call the children back and allow him to have his visit.  I tried to explain/reason with him why that was not going to happen today, but he had his scheduled visit for tomorrow.  He began to rant about his ex-wife trying to take his car, that I had no idea of the problems he'd had this morning and went on and on as he walked outside the door and around the parking lot.  I said I was sorry, but the visit was off.  He finally got in his car and I watched him leave.  Then my entire body began to shake as those I was freezing to death. 

I went back downstairs to our offices and was suddenly struck with an urgent thought in my head that I needed to hurry back upstairs and lock the doors immediately.  I picked up the gadget that you insert in the door bars and rode back on the elevator.  When I got to the door and was locking them, much to my shock I saw Dad's car parked next to my car and he wasn't in it.  In a split second, I then heard his footsteps coming up the stairs to where I was standing.  My heart froze!  I was terrified that he had returned and for what reason?  I felt sure that he was for nothing good.  I was in total fear and felt almost immediately that he was there to harm me.  I took the device used to lock the doors and slid it into by blouse sleeve.  My thought was that it could be used as a weapon - one which could be used on me if taken from my hand. 

I don't actually know why he came back other than to continue to rant and yell at me.  All I know is that I felt very unsafe and alone and vulnerable.  I just knew I needed to get him outside the doors since I had locked them and he would not be able to open them again.  And, I did manage to talk him out the doors and I watched him leave a second time.

I immediately went back downstairs and called my boss who came to the office. She called Dad telling him how he could not treat her employees like this, he was in the wrong with his actions, etc. He apologized saying how bad his morning had been, etc., etc., etc.   There will be resolution to all this and soon, I'm sure, but that's not the purpose of writing all this.  All this was not written to sound as though it's the plot for some low-rated B horror movie or to be melodramatic or that I'm trying to make something of a nothing.  This purpose is this...

I realized once again how much my Heavenly Father loves me and I am thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost.  My Heavenly Father knew I needed help and He was there looking after me.  I have never in my life felt so scared as I was today.  I was in fear of my life!  I felt my life could end at any moment.  No good should/would come from his return to the office.

This morning with the hustle of getting to the office early, I neglected my morning prayer.  However, when I was sitting in my car ready to pull away from the curb, I stopped long enough to tell my Heavenly Father I was sorry for my prayer neglect, but would He please bless and protect me this day from any harm or danger.  I truly felt His presence today.  I know that He heard my prayer and that He did protect me from harm.  I heard the whisperings of the Holy Ghost to go lock the doors.  Yes, I may not have gotten to the doors before Dad came in, but at least I had not been confronted in the downstairs offices alone.  At least upstairs there was the possibility that I might have been able to get help.  I am overwhelmed and filled with gratitude for the love my Heavenly Father has for me! 

I went to a baptism of a friend tonight and arrived several minutes before it began.  My bishop and home teacher were there and I asked for a blessing.  I needed one as I had cried almost non-stop when I recalled the fear and the dread I had experienced.  I got my blessing and am beginning to feel a sense of peace.  During the baptism one of the talks was about the Holy Ghost and its purpose.  How grateful I am to have been reminded that one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost is to protect us from physical danger.

I am truly filled with gratitude for the love of my Heavenly Father.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Grief Showers

It's been 21 months since Joe died.  Life has gone on.  In fact, life has been pretty darn good.  I still miss Joe.  I miss his company.  I miss his wit.  I miss his love.  I miss many things that I no longer have since he died.  But, life is good and I feel that all in all I've adjusted pretty well.

Last week was a rough week.  I've been doing some major organizing in my house in the last few weeks.  There have been occasions when I've opened up drawers or have looked on shelves and found things that used to belong to Joe.  Most times I've just shut the drawer or walked away from the shelf.  Not time yet to take some of those memory trips.  However, I did find a large, unopened bottle of expensive medication that Joe used in conjunction with his dialysis treatments.  It had not expired and I did not want to throw away medication that might be able to be used by someone else.  So, I decided to give it away to a lady who I knew could use it.

I drove into the parking lot and started getting a really strange feeling.  After I parked, I had to talk myself into going into the building.  After all, I had not been there since the week before Joe died.  I did go inside and  walked into the waiting room and up to the reception desk.  Then the social worker saw me and came walking out.  I started crying as a tidal wave of emotions hit me.  I explained to Marilyn why I was there in between the crying.  She told me what I was experiencing was a "grief shower".  I feel I handle my emotions pretty well these days, but it's those little unexpected things that jump out unexpectedly that knock me for a loop.

Two days later, our entire office at work went through CPR and first aid re-certification.  All went well until we got to the last portion which involved the training on an automated external defibrillator (AED).  This is a portable electronic device that is used to try and start the heart once it's stopped.  When it gets turned on, it makes a certain distinct sound and when it happened at the office, the most awful feelings came rushing back.  I remembered seeing the AED used on Joe to start his heart, how his entire body flopped uncontrollably and I had to leave the room. 

My immediate coping mechanism for both of these instances...emotional eating when I got home. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

It's Already February

January where did you go!  How is it possible that one month of this new year has come and gone?  That being said, it's time to take stock of what I wrote last month as goals for me to accomplish and work on this year.  Has anything changed?  Have I started making any progress?  I did start keeping a weekly sheet on which I write things that need to be done that week and it seems to help me keep on task and helps me to see what's left to accomplish for the week.

Relationship - Progress here... (1) I wanted to commit to being more in touch on a more regular basis with some of my family members and friends.  I have made a concerted effort to contact, by telephone, certain people on at least a weekly basis.

(2)  I wanted to cultivate more relationships with my ward family. Definitely started on this.  I attended a recent nighttime Relief Society meeting which was a "meet and greet."  I feel it was an inspired meeting because we've got so many new people in our ward. and I was able to attend for the first time in forever.  I did meet women on a personal basis, got to know names, met someone who'd not been to church in six years, etc.  And, I've started having "movie nights" at my home and sharing some more time with some fantastic women.

(3)  I haven't started reading to families yet, but I am reading to my two little boys I care for Monday-Wednesday mornings.  I love it!  They love it!

(4)  I LOVE that Derek is getting old enough to have real conversations with me.  I thoroughly enjoy phone conversations with me when he is so thrilled about something I may have sent to him or something he's made.  Or, like today when I told me he was making something special for me and he's so excited.  I LOVE that when I talk to Jake, he smiles; that he recognizes me even though he doesn't see me often.

Professional - No change on this yet.

Spiritual - Some definite progress here!   (1) Right after I'd written that I wanted to begin and complete the necessary family history for Joe's mom and dad and Les' mom and dad, things started happening.  Within a matter of days, I found out that our ward was starting a Family History class.  Yes, I'm in it and trying to figure out how to get things moving. 

I had to first find out the name of both of Joe's parents.  I knew his mother was named Pauline and that's all I knew.  Last night before going to bed, I remembered that I'd taken pictures of Joe's mom and dads grave when we were in Indiana for our honeymoon.  So, I started looking for the pictures on a disk.  I found it and found the picture of the grave, as well as other Weaver graves.  I don't know who these people are, but at least I've got something to start with.  And, I had been searching for the Preston work that I'd done and had not been able to find my notebook with all that info.  I did find it in the barn silo in Georgia when I was there in October.  I didn't have room to bring it back with me and it got mailed to me last month.  Now I've got some info to start on Corey's grandparents.

I continue to try and be of service. I have taken opportunities to do deliver birthday balloons and/or small gifts to my ward sisters and send birthday cards.  But, I also have been rewarded by gifts of love from others with their random acts of kindness. I was recently the recipient of a special plate with homemade brownies delivered to me.  It came with a card that read "Sister Weaver, Thank you for being a true example of our Young Women Value - Virtue.  We love you" and it was signed by the young women.  My "Happy Jar" continues to have slips added.

Mental - No movement yet.
Physical -  I have started changes on this.  The day after I wrote about wanting to start going to bed earlier and getting up earlier, I got a phone call from a young mother in the ward.  She was going to start nursing school and needed someone to look after her 4 year old and 6 year old by helping them to get ready for school and taking them to school.  She said she didn't know what my work schedule was, didn't know if I'd be interested and I would be paid $10 a day for doing it, but my name kept popping into her mind.  It just so happened that she needed my help on the days I was off work and no reason I couldn't help.  So, I'm earlier to bed and earlier to rise.
I am losing weight - 11 lbs. so far.  Not much, but I am making progress.
So, time to see what I can get done in February because there is still LOTS to accomplish.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Blanket of Positivity

What a fantastic day I had yesterday!  I cannot believe the amount of energy, goodwill, excitement and just positive feelings I felt.  I don't recall the last time I felt this fantastic.  I don't know the reason or the cause, I wish I did, but I loved being alive and felt so alive.

I think that part of the reason may have been because I've slowly been getting things organized in my home and in my life, I've rationally assessed things I'd like to accomplish this year, I'm content in my job, I've got great friend support and most importantly, I have an ever evolving incredible relationship with my kids and wee ones. 

Life is good.  Life is very good.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Goals

You know that when you put "pen to paper" you are committed to things, right?  That being said, I've done some thinking and here's some of what I want to accomplish this year.

Relationship - Not looking for a man, so let's get that out of the way.  I do want to commit to being more in touch on a more regular basis with some of my family members and friends.  There are some of my friendships that I would like to cultivate.  I would like to make sure that I call people at least on a monthly basis and keep those friendships intact. 

I also like to cultivate more relationships with my ward family.  I am planning on doing regular book readings to those families who would love to have me come into their home, or they come to mine, and let me read to their children. 

I want to spend more time with my grandchildren and my kids.  I receive so much pleasure during those times I am able to physically interact with Derek and Jake as they are growning so fast.  It also brings me a great deal of pleasure to see my son in his capacity as a dad and husband and watching Nikki as she loves and cares for her family.

Professional - I love and enjoy my job and am not looking to move on anywhere else.  Here's hoping things remain as they are in this category for the remainder of this year. 

I'd like to follow through and begin my opportunities to speak on behalf of Donor Alliance here in Wyoming and Colorado on organ, tissue and skin donations.  I received a letter back in September of last year that said in part...

"Please know that through you and your husband's incredible act of compassion and generosity, lives' of those in need have been greatly changed for the better.  The following is information regarding the donation of your husband's tissues.

Joseph has given the gift of skin tissue, more specifically sixteen grafts for transplantation.  Skin grafts are considered a life saving procedure for those who have suffered from breast cancer and need assistance with post-mastectomy reconstruction.  Following a surgery, skin grafts can aid in preventing infection, reducing recovery time and ultimately promoting healing of the surgery site.  Eleven individuals at this time have received your husband's fits for post-mastectomy reconstructions.  The five other grafts your husband has given have yet to be transplanted at this time."  I think it's important that people understand that no matter your age or your medical condition, you can be a donor.  If Joe could do it, then anyone can.

Spiritual - I would like to attend the temple at least two times this year. 

I would like to attend a "Time Out For Women".  It's been almost two years since I've been to one and I think they are an essential need for me.  It's like a spiritual detoxification for my soul.

I would like to read my Ensign from cover to cover each month before the next one arrives.  (This may be the closest I come at this time to committing to read my scriptures daily). 

I would like to commit to reading and studying my Sunday School and Relief Society lessons each week. 

I would like to begin and complete the necessary family history for Joe's mom and dad and Les' mom and dad so that my kids can be their proxies at the temple. 

And, of course, I'd like to have quality morning and evening talks with my Heavenly Father each and every day.

I also want to be of more service.  I want to take and make opportunities to do unexpected things for people.  I want to surprise people with random acts of kindness.  I want more opportunities to add to my "Happy Jar".

Mental - I'd love to read at least six (6) books for pure pleasure.  I used to love to read and haven't for years. 

I'd like to take a class at the college - something stimulating. 

I'd love to complete a writing project about Vietnam letters I started a few years ago and have it done before Christmas as gifts for my siblings. 

I'd like to finish a blog I was writing about Joe and the documentation I was doing about his care giving.  I have doubts that this may be completed this year as there are some things about his illness and death which are still very tender.  If not this year, another year as I feel it is important to complete.

I'd like to continue writing in my own blog as it gives me an outlet to document my life - whether it appeals to anyone else or not matters not.  I want to record my thoughts, my experiences in hopes that my grandchildren will know who I am one of these days. 

Physical - I'd love to change the way I eat and how I eat.  This is difficult as my work hours are strange and I return home after 7:00 p.m. many nights AND my work has me sitting 95% of the time.  But, I'm hoping that by changing some things I want to lose at least one (1) lb. per week. 

I hope eventually I can start adding some walking and some exercise in my routine.  My left knee is presently inhibited that at this time, but hopefully that will change in the coming months.

I want to change my sleep habits.  I LOVE staying up late and am able to due to my job.  However, I feel as though I'm wasting valuable time, so I'm going to try to start keeping an earlier bedtime and getting up earlier. 

Fun and Frivolity/Bucket List - I still want to do "daycations" as there is still lots to explore.  I want to participate in a real cow branding.  I want to witness the annual roundup of 1400 buffalo in South Dakota in September.  That was something Joe and I really wanted to experience together.  And I'd love to attend the 2014 Professional Bullriders Rodeo in Las Vegas in October.  How cool would that be?!

Looks like it's going to be a busy year.

Seven Days Late

It's seven days into this new year and I'm not wanting to make resolutions for this year, but rather goals - Things I'd like to accomplish before this year is over.  So, I've been doing lots of thinking and pondering and mulling over what I hope will be realistic goals.  Maybe when this year ends I'll be able to wipe a few things off my "I did it" list?

Before I could even get to this point to begin listing these goals, I had to do some major straightening up so that I could even see my desk.  (And, the bishop was coming over to hook up my router and he needed some work room).

During the course of the cleaning, I discovered a little notebook I had started with Joe back in 2010.  It was where we sat and discussed things we'd like to do for that year - places we'd like to visit, etc.

Some of the things we listed for that year included:
  • Visit Stan Clark in Rexburg, Idaho;
  • Visit Joe's niece, Sherri Ayers in Indiana;
  • Go to Lusk and Chadron:
  • Visit North Dakota:
  • Revisit Mesa Verde;
  • Float down the Wind River Canyon;
  • Take the scenic train ride in Durgango, Colorado through the mountains and walk across a suspension bridge in the area;
  • Go see Mt. Rushmore;
  • Explore the Big Horn/Red Gulch Scenic Backway again;
  • Visit Glacier National Forest;
  • Attend the temple at least twice during the year;
  • Have a missionary reunion in Utah;
  • Attend a cow-branding; and
  • Watch the buffalo roundup in Custer State Park.
When Joe and I revisited this list at the beginning of 2011, we discovered that we'd only accomplished one thing - floating down the river for our anniversary.  Two days later, he had his first heart attack and that changed a great deal of our plans for the rest of 2010.  Some things have since been accomplished in later years.

This is a new year with new goals to be acknowledged and hopefully many of them accomplished.  It's kinda nice to have a clean slate and a new year.  There is a quote I found several months ago that I think goes well with all this which is...

"There are moments which mark your life.  Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts, before this and after this."  I'm in the "after this" part of my life.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My husband...

One of the first things I realized this morning when I woke up is that a common phrase in my life for the past year and a half has been changed.  It's a silly realization, but it does go to show that life does move forward.

The latter part of 2012, I could say in conversation..."my husband just recently died" or "my husband just died _____ months ago."  Then during 2013, I could say "my husband passed away last year."

I became aware of how life does and moves forward.  Now there is no simple or standard marking of time regarding Joe's death like there previously was.  Now it'll just be "my husband passed away".  In a few months it will be two years since his death.  Two years!  Where has the time gone?  No longer will my life be defined by something stating that his death is new and raw.  I have passed through this last year of the last of the "firsts".  I lived through the last of the first New Year's without Joe; the first Valentine's Day and most profoundly, the anniversary of the first year of his death.  There are no more calendar "firsts".

I have now made several trips to Utah by myself.  There have been those occasions when I have stretched my arm over to the passenger seat and placed my hand where his leg would have been.  I have felt on those rare moments, his presence with me and it has brought comfort and tears to me.

I started going on "daycations" again with dear friends who shared those experiences with me.  It was difficult in the beginning visiting places that we had once visited and having that rush of memories flood my mind.  Thank goodness I was blessed with understanding friends who respected those moments though they could not fully understand them.

I am getting out a little more.  I still find it difficult to attend "couple"-related get together at church.  I went to one and felt like a caged rabbit ready to bolt at a moments notice.  Though a sweet friend came to my rescue and assured me I would survive, I've not been able to bring myself to go to another one.  Maybe that will change this year - maybe it won't.

No matter what though, this is my year.  This is my year to start feeling comfortable in my skin and my life.  Though life is still scary, I know that I can survive whatever because I've already been through the worse. 

It's A New Year And I'm Moving On?

Today began another new year.  This is the time when people usually take stock of their lives and see how badly they screwed up last year or remember some of the highlights of the previous twelve months of their lives.  It's also a time for many to sit down and decide or at least make an attempt to note, either mentally or recorded on paper or whatever that they are going to do something different;  they will make notes about how they want to improve their present lives; how they are going to make some type of change.

2014 came in this morning with a snowstorm.  I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. watching a series of shows that had been on my television DVR since September - four months ago!  I decided it was time to get them off one way or another so I settled down for the long haul to watch 14 recording episodes of one show.  I made it for eight of them before turning into bed.  What a waste of time, right?!  That's one of the things I'd like to change in this new year - feeling like I really am accomplishing things.

For the past several years, I've selected a word of the year.  At the beginning of the new year, I've gone back to reflect on how that word affected the next twelve months.  I noticed I didn't pick a word last year.  In fact, I only did eight posts during the entire year.  I probably only came up with titles for a few of those and never even wrote anything - it was a difficult year to adjust to my year of living alone.  The first time I'd lived alone by myself since 1977.  That's 36 years of having someone to have conversation with in my home every day and then it stops.  There were days when I didn't see a human being outside my home or even have a conversation with a living soul.  Don't get me wrong;  that's not bad sometimes.

Anyway, I digress from this new year...I'm not going to make resolutions.  I do want to sit down and come up with some workable goals to achieve.  This year will be different than previous ones.  I know because I will make it different.  I want to make a difference in my life and in the life of others.  I've been contemplating my 2014 word of the year and I believe it will be...


I want to finish or make headway on past projects that I started and haven't completed.  I want some previously used creativity to return.  I want to feel as though I have purpose in my life.  I want to make a difference to myself and to others. 

Last year was not a bad year.  It was a good year filled with many, many blessings.  But, there was a lack of fulfillment in my life - a wondering of why and what I am to do.  I need to find purpose this year and I've got 364 days until I report again.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Little Bottle of Eye Drops

It's been almost 10 months since Joe passed away and so many things have happened, yet at the same time it seems as though life has sometimes felt as though I'm on automatic co-pilot.

I've had some definite changes occurring in my life this month and I will talk about them at some time in a future blog.  It's been a long time since I've made an entry, but felt that it was necessary to write a little something today while it's on my mind and the feelings are so visible.

Grief is a strange thing.  It has so many facets.  For as many people as there are, there are most likely the same variations of how those people deal with it.  I am moving forward, but every once in a while something happens that makes you stop.  It's like the wind is kicked out of you.  It's like you've run into a brick wall at 100 mph.   That has happened several times and I've not recorded it though I've wanted to because I felt as though it would help me and maybe help someone else one day when they go through the same experience.  I had that little bump in the road experience happen this morning.

I cannot tell you how many times I've opened one of the cabinet doors in the kitchen and taken out a measuring cup.  It's been multiple times since last May.  I've been vaguely aware of a small item sitting quietly on the right hand side.  I've never picked it up.  I've never moved it.  I've never done anything with it until today.  It's a small bottle of dry eye solution eye drops.  Joe had to use this many times because his eyes did not produce enough tears at times.

I picked up that small bottle, looked at it and started to cry.  Then I threw it away.  That simple act may not seem like a big deal to anyone, but it was and is to me.  It's one of those small and seemingly insignificant acts of moving on.  It's tossing something else away that belonged to Joe, that was used by Joe and no longer has a reason for being in our home.  Maybe self-consciously I've kept it around so that I could keep a small piece of Joe.  Why it was thrown away today?  I don't have a good answer other than that maybe today it was meant to happen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"This is the face...

So I'm sitting watching the series finale of one of my favorite shows tonight.  It's the same show that gave me those bits of wisdom on my recent post entitled "Still Unfinished".    Near the conclusion of the episode one of the characters says something that reminds me of one of those moments I remember with Joe and now I'm here crying.  I hurried to come write about it because I'm afraid that one of these days I might not be able to recall it and that would be so sad.  It's one of those things that would most likely be so very trivial to someone else reading it, but that doesn't matter.  It's my memory and it would be Joe's too. 

I remember the first time that I woke up in bed next to Joe.  I remember looking at his sweet face and placing my hands on his cheeks and saying to him, "This is the face that I could wake up to and see every morning".  And it was.  I loved looking into his beautiful blue eyes and touching his soft skin and kissing his sweet lips.  What pure joy it was when we didn't have to hop right out of bed and we could turn facing each other and spend time just looking into each other's face.  What pure magic that was for me.

Oh, if I could only have that again.  I miss Joe.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Still Unfinished

One thing I'm learning about grief and healing is that I certainly do not understand it.  Just when you think you have a handle on it, it comes up out of nowhere to slap you upside your head. 

For the past few days, I've had a sense of overwhelming concern and unease.  I'd lie in bed and wonder what is the purpose for my life; what is the reason that I'm still around; what am I supposed to do for the rest of my life?  Forget that...what am I supposed to for the next month; the next year?  I get up in the morning, go to work and then come home and start the whole process over and over every day.  Weekends are different now since Joe's not with me.  There's no conversation taking place while I watch tv, no spontaneous trips or outings with him.  Other people are going on with their normal, everyday lives and mine seems to be sputtering at times and I'm going around and around in circles.  Don't get me wrong.  There are those times it is nice to come home and not have to have conversation or interaction without anyone other than the dog.  What is my purpose for the rest of my life?  I'm trying to fill some of my time with volunteer work and my church callings.  I'm looking for other things to give purpose and meaning to my life outside of work.

I was watching television tonight and one segment of the show revolved around a woman who had lost her husband through a heart attack just like Joe.  She, too, was questioning her life just like me.  Her friend on the show gave her a thought that I took great strength from.  This is what he said to her and I present it as though he said it to me...

"You are not done.  You are unfinished.  You, Carol, are a work in progress.  If someone had told you almost nine years ago that you would meet the true love of your live after coming out of a 23 year marriage, you'd have laughed in that person's face.  If someone had told you five years ago that you'd be living in Wyoming, you'd have told them there was no way you were moving from Georgia.  If someone had told you less than a year ago that you'd be a widow, you'd never have believed them.

I don't know what tomorrow brings for you.  It could be nothing.  It could be absolutely anything.  It could be good or it could be bad.  It could be just you and the dog spending time together day in and day out.  I just don't know because you're not done.  You won't know the point of the book until it's written...the book that is your life.  Your life is a work in progress.  So, you Carol Weaver are unfinished".


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Third Day

Everyone starts out the year with New Year's resolutions.  I'm not listing anything I'm specifically trying to do myself.  Others will just have to see if they notice anything better or improved about me by the end of the year.  If they do, they I guess I was a success.  If not, then I don't have to feel like I was a failure.

One thing I'm trying to do is get more organized - more structured - more on a routine.  That applies to getting up the same time in the morning and going to bed at the same time.  I love staying up late at night, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to work when I have to get up to go to work the next morning.

My Christmas decorations are still up, my blog isn't updated - my intentions are running behind.  Hopefully, all will become much more settled by the end of this coming weekend.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Just Say No To New Year's Resolutions

Found this article and thought it was quite good...

It takes twenty-one days to form a new habit and your mind is a powerful tool in helping you form and keep those habits. In fact, our mind is so powerful that, if we don’t stay focused, it will “help” us break our New Year Resolutions within the first week of setting them.

The top New Year's Resolutions, according to, last year were:
  • Eat Healthy Food
  • Get a Better Education
  • Get a Better Job
  • Get Fit
  • Lose Weight
  • Manage Debt
  • Manage Stress
  • Quit Smoking
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
  • Save Money
  • Take a Trip
  • Volunteer to Help Others
  • Drink Less Alcohol
Surprising? Not really.

How many times have you set a goal on New Year's Day of what you wanted to accomplish for the year? Probably all of us. How long did it take before you gave up that goal?

The word resolution means “a firm decision to do or not to do something;” however, I suspect that the word actually has the opposite affect on most people. By the end of January, people have typically given up those resolutions and gone back to the status quo, never having actually accomplished what it was that they were really striving for: A Life Change.

Changing the way you see your resolution — not as a goal but as a life style change — will help immensely in your ability to achieve what it is you want to accomplish.

We are going to walk you through some simple things you can do that will help you finally achieve that life style change you have been craving.

  1. Positive Thoughts: It’s true what your Grandma told you– “If you think you can, You Can. If you think you can’t, you won’t.” You become what you think and if your thoughts are focused — for the first week of your new goals — on positive and inspiring ones your chances of achieving your goals increase by 50%. Put post-it notes up all over the house saying “I’m powerful and I WILL achieve my goals.”
  2. Live in Reality: Don’t put the cart before the horse. In other words: If your end goal is to “be in shape” don’t try to run a marathon before you can walk a mile. Once you have your end goal in mind, you need to set smaller goals that you can accomplish one month at a time. If your end goal is to “be in shape” but your couch has a permanent imprint of your rear, set the goal this month to walk every day for 15 minutes. Once you have accomplished that you can move on to the next level of accomplishing your final goal of “being in shape.” You may need to refine that goal, ultimately, and be more specific in what it is that you want to accomplish. But, “being in shape” is a good beginning.
  3. Envision the End Result: It sounds hokey, I know. But it works. Whatever that end goal is that you have — envision yourself accomplishing it. How does it feel? Memorize those feelings. Set a specific date that you want to have your goal accomplished by and write it down. Hang this goal with the specific end date in a prominent place that you will see on a daily basis. This will help keep your goal in the forefront of your mind, making it easier to accomplish. Lets say you want to be able to run a 5k without dying. You need to first find one, that is far enough in the future that you can train for it, and then register for it. You now have something concrete that will help push forward, keep you motivated as well helping you be accountable.
  4. Be Like Nike and Just Do It: If you can keep yourself focused for twenty-one days then you will have the beginnings of a new habit– a new lifestyle. Don’t get frustrated or discouraged. Thoughts are the key to your accomplishing your goals– so keep your thoughts upbeat and positive. Negative thoughts are not allowed this year!

Remember: Accomplishing your goals is just like eating an elephant. You CAN accomplish that life style change you are craving one bite at a time.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I Became A CASA Volunteer

After taking over 30 hours of training I was sworn in as one of the newest Court Appointed Special Advocates. This means I will be doing volunteer work with children who have been removed from their home because of neglect and/or abuse. I figured this would give me something to do with my time and hopefully I will be able to make a difference in the life or lives of children.

September Utah Visit

I made another trip to Utah in September to visit with the kids and attend the wedding reception of Alisa Lyman who was one of my missionary children in Casper.  Derek and I went to her "wedding party" together that night in Highland while Corey and Nikki took off for a night away at some resort in the mountains.

Those visits get harder and harder to make it seems.  It's a long trip by myself.  B. J. The Dog doesn't talk much.  The trip is worth it though when I finally make it and see the kids - especially get to spend some time with Derek.

And then I let Derek have the camera...

Pretty good, huh?

Last Menus

I tried to be organized every week.  Sunday was my day to have everything planned for the week's upcoming meals.  I had to do that because of all the doctor appointments and work or else I would have felt so stressed to try and plan dinner each and every night.

This is my last listing of those planned dinners:

Susan Came For A Visit

Susan came for a visit the first week in August.  She was on the way home after a visit to Washington State to see her first little grandchild - Hudson.

She flew into Casper and I picked her up.  The next day was spent doing some countryside sightseeing. 

We had to head to Denver the next day because she was flying out to Georgia the following day.  So we headed south by way of Nebraska, back into Wyoming and then Colorado.

Susan met a biker on his way home from his yearly Sturgis visit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Random Thoughts

- I was driving to work yesterday when I heard the sound of an ambulance siren.  I had to pull over to the side of the street to let it pass.  As it did, a wave of sadness swept over me and I began to cry.  How many times had one made a visit to my home?  And then I remembered following an ambulance that last final time.  It's these little moments of reality that knock me back a step or two.

- Sleep has once again taken a new turn.  I find myself staying up until unbelievable hours of the morning.  And, when I finally do force myself into bed, my mind won't shut off and I realize I'm thinking about the oddest things - things I haven't thought about for years or just playing things over and over in my mind.  It was on one of these nights that I realized that my relationship with Joe was exactly eight years from the time we met until the time of his death.

- I have come to realize how insensitive people can be sometimes when it comes to death - more exactly the insensitivity of what people have said to me.  And the most hurtful things have more than often come from some family members. 

- I don't share my feelings with others like I used to.  I am trying to move on inwardly when I feel my loss and sorrow. I've done so much reading about grief since Joe's passing.  I've done lots of praying.  I've been trying to understand how I should be healing and reacting and as far as I can tell, I'm normal?

- One thing that I don't find myself worrying about is paying my bills.  Oh, I admit that in the beginning it was an almost paralyzing thought that I'd lost one of my monthly incomes.  However, I've come to gain a BIG testimony of paying my tithing.  Somehow everything always seems to work out.  My landlord was temporarily reducing my rent for three months and he's decided to leave the reduction in place.  Will it be forever?  I don't know, but I'm not going to worry about it.  He knows my situation and wants to keep me as a renter.  And, Joe's family has been very generous and gracious in sending me some extra monies to help.  I've been quite fortunate that even with the visitors from out of state and the extra trips and expenses to Utah and Colorado, I have managed to still pay my bills.  In fact, my bills for the upcoming month have been paid usually by the end of the current month.  I also secured a ticket to fly to Georgia for a week using my frequent flyer miles.  And, I still had a few (very few) miles leftover and I'm flying in and out of Casper so no trip to Denver for me this time.   I don't hardly grocery shop anymore as I have so much here or people still tend to feed me either in their home or at a restaurant.  And, by the beginning of next year, I should be totally debt free and only have my monthly living expenses.   Yes, I do have a testimony of tithing.

- I'm never afraid of being by myself - even at night.  I've never been given a cause to be scared.  I go to bed each night with a knowledge that my Heavenly Father is watching over me.  At least when I finally make it to my bed.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Weekend

It's Friday night.  I walked into the house tonight and it's almost like I'm standing at one end of a very long, dimly lit hall.  The weekend looms like something to be dreaded, yet wanted at the same time.  I could most likely call someone and suggest going out to dinner or a movie or have someone come over, but then I've been nice and cheery to people all day, all week.  I'm emotionally spent,  It's hard during the work week because though my heart still can still break and ache at the most inopportune times, I have to keep my emotions in check...I'm a professional, I'm paid to do a job and honestly the job is what has kept my functioning as a "normal" person.

During the week, I think of all the things I'd like to get down over the weekend.  I have my list of things to accomplish, but it can be left on the counter and nothing get checked off.  I have things I want to do...apparently later than sooner.  I have a burning desire to puts thoughts to paper since my head seems on the verge of over-flowing with things I need, that I want to express.  But, I don't get it done. If I do start writing something, I generally become overcome with grief that all I can do is sit and sob.

I want, I need to get on with living a "normal" life.  I want, I need to start reading books again.  I want, I need to find something to help fill my time, something to make me feel fulfilled.  I want, I need something to bring some creativity, some joy back into my life so that it all becomes as natural as breathing.

It's the quietness of the house that gets to me sometimes.  The quietness is both a curse and a blessing.  There is such a loneliness without Joe.  There is the loss of knowing I don't hear his voice and see him.  There is the loss of planned daycations, of shared experiences and memories. 

When I make it through Friday night and all day Saturday, then Sunday becomes so very difficult.  I used to look forward to going to church with Joe.  He always looked so good, smelled so wonderful and I loved being able to sit together and hold hands.  Now it's sometimes a very painful experience because of those memories. 

I know that in time things will become easier.  I know that my Heavenly Father does not want me to continue to cry and hurt.  Unfortunately, that time has not yet arrived.

It Rained

It rained last night.  It was one of those evenings where the first twinges of fall seemed to be creeping in after a very long hot summer.  It started raining sometime before going to bed.  I never heard it at all until shortly before I went to crawl into bed.  I love nights like that...Nights when it's cool, when the window is open and one side of the curtain is pushed aside to catch the breeze.  Then I could really hear the gentle sound of the rain coming down.  It's a rare thing when that happens here in Wyoming.  I rarely have the chance to see it rain at all - there's so little of it.  So, when nights like last night come along, I try to enjoy it as long as possible.

After saying my nightly prayer, I slipped into bed and laid there listening to the steady drip, drip, drip of the rain falling off the side of the house until I finally slipped off into a wonderful night of undisturbed sleep.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Three Months

Pretty much just like One Month and Two Months.


I feel as though I'm floundering.  Sometimes when I try to move forward it seems as though I get pushed back.  I sometimes feel like a little dingy in the middle of the ocean and I'm just being tossed to and fro with no sense of direction.


Nesting after the death of my loved one vaguely reminds me of when I was preparing for the birth of Corey.

I realized after Joe's death that I couldn't be like some people I'd heard about who left everything exactly the same.  This is now my home and so I had to make some changes.

I may have mentioned it somewhere before, but it was a real blessing that Corey went through the majority of Joe's items shortly after the funeral.  Items, primarily medically related, were given away to individuals or organizations that could benefit from things he used.  This included medicines, adult diapers, bed liners, etc.  Corey took clothing that he knew he would like and use and the rest was donated to various charities.

There are subtle items left out to remind me of Joe.  His cowboy hat still hangs on the coat rack, his favorite BYU baseball cap has found a home on the antique hall tree, his picture stands on the shelf in front of his box of ashes and then there is the top shelf of the closet where his clothes used to hang.  I see his favorite pair of tennis shoes, his box of arrowheads and other unknown things that Corey packed away and placed there. 

I've hung new curtains in the living room, added new cushions, moved furniture around, hung new things on the wall and made this house my home.  The bedroom has also been changed to reflect a sense of clean and crisp - like a hotel room.  It's my oassis at the end of the day.

I've not changed the message on the answer machine.  It still says that you've reached the home of Joe and Carol Weaver.  I just wish it had Joe's voice instead of mine.  I miss hearing his voice.  I can hear it in my head when I stop and think about it, but I miss the way he spoke.

Part of the nesting process was taking my car and having it cleaned inside and outside.  I just felt it was a necessary step for me to move forward.

I still run across things of Joe's when looking for something in drawers or in closets.  It causes me to stop - sometimes right in my tracks.  That's when I decide it's time to do something else.  Still too many memories that bring me to tears.