Monday, November 30, 2009


A very short note. Travis and I left St. Paul at 6:30 this morning and arrived in Devils Lake ND by 12:30. I have already seen several people Gail and I were friends with when we lived here. Many memories, many thoughts, many of many things!! Emotion is close to the surface but has not been too bad yet!!
They are saying maybe snow tomorrow, wow. We will spend most of the day tomorrow looking at the lake which is perhaps 100 times bigger than when we lived here. It is fun being with Travis but of course I miss Gail and the memories are almost overwhelming. A place that one lived for the first 9 years of married life for sure holds much. We will see how tomorrow goes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another day in the world of "I"

I am not sure if I posted this picture before. This was taken in Wisconsin in 1983 in June but as you can see it was a bit cold.
For those who read this I will not be blogging until Wednesday night.
I got my steps into day again. I am finding that walking like that gives me time alone and I can think. Now I must cut down on my eating so I lose some weight. It is funny as I grew up in the country and I love the quiet of the country but for some reason when I walk I like to walk where there are people and things happening. It seems that I can tune the noise out but there is comfort in that. It seems strange but it is true.
Again I went to 7:00 AM church. I do not like to go to church alone but 7:00 AM is the best time. It is just very difficult to be alone during that time. As I walked into church I was behind a couple who were holding hands. For a moment I was jealous but then I was able to thank God that they could do that. The tears came often during church but I guess that is OK.
I finished printing out the letter I will give to neighbors for my open house December 11. I will also invite a few others as well. I do hope at least some people come in Gail's honor and also to celebrate the season.
I have decided to put Gail's and my picture on my Christmas letter. I think it will be OK to do that this year. If that is not the right thing to do I expect the Lord or friends to let me know. I have not written the letter yet but it will be short.
I drove to Richfield to get some candles for my Advent log. I took a birch log and drilled holes in it for the 4 candles. I actually think it looks quit nice. I will pray for many things but for sure I will pray for God's grace during these days ahead. I sent a note to the kids today. I mentioned that we need to take a family picture at Christmas. As much as I would like not to do that I think we should.
Once again I have several things to put out for the recycle person. That probably will continue for some time.
I continue to have difficulty sleeping. I am not sure why but last night I woke up about 5 times.
I was surprised this afternoon as I opened the blog and saw that there was a comment on it. My heart just was so excited. I did not realize that a comment would make me so happy.
I do need to do several things before tomorrow so best be going. I will blog next on Wednesday evening.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another of many firsts in the world of "I"

This picture was taken in Cottage Grove in the summer of 1981. Travis had just won the most skilled player in his age group in the tournament. It looks like that summer the bowl hair cuts were in!!! We still have that soccer ball.
I planned on a "first" today and carried through with it. Mother and I started walking last October. We would often walk with Wallace to John/Marys or to Cynthia/Mikes. When it got too icy or cold outside we purchased a membership in the St. Paul Recreation Center Program which cost a grand total of $25 for a year. With that a person could walk on the track or use the exercise room. Our daily schedule was to walk for an hour around the track which would put us at 3 miles. Then we would use the exercise room for a short time and then use the library for about 30 minutes. It was the first time in our whole married life that we had done something for our health like that and we did it all of October, November, December and into January. It was then that we discovered the lump on Gail's sternum that turned out to be cancer. I did the recreation center thing for the first time today. As I walked around there were many memories and thoughts. I got through it with not too many tears and next time it will be easier I think!!
I purchased some Christmas decorations for the outside of the house today and also finished ALL my Christmas shopping, which was not much so DONE. Last year at this time Gail was sewing PJ's for the grandsons with her new sewing machine and saying how wonderful the sewing machine was and she did not deserve it and I should not have purchased it for her. Well now Gail is in heaven, the machine is sold and the PJ's may be too small for the boys!! Time Marches on and life changes with each day. I have started to have the TV on Christmas music now that Thanksgiving is behind us. For the first time today I thought about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without Gail---I guess I am not ready to think much about it. I had thought about the holidays in general but not really about the day.
Well as I prepare to do some work tonight I will think about the world of "I" and how the world of "we" is no more. Lord you know better than anyone what will happen in the days, weeks, months and years ahead, please grant me grace, patience and wisdom as life continues to change.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It sure is quiet

Pictured on the left is the icon Mike (Cynthia's husband) gave to Gail some time ago. Gail really loved it and for the last many months it has been on the wall above the fireplace. On the right is an icon that Cynthia painted when she and Mike went to a class in Denver. Gail also really liked that and it too has sat on our fireplace mantel for many months. I find that in looking at them I find much peace and it does help me deal with Gail's death.

Tonight is one of those nights that I have had a few of in the last almost 11 weeks. Aaron/Amy left today about 4, John and Mary are out of town for a couple of days, I talked to Cynthia but have not seen her and Mike today and I have not heard from Travis today. I tried to watch college football but no interest, tried to watch the high school prep bowl but no interest so I turned on the music on TV and am at the computer. I will not complain but at the moment my heart aches for Gail. I think I am doing fine but at times, like now, I just say to myself why am I alone? I had blood tests last Wed and the results were great but I had nobody to share that with. In the first week of my 10,000 steps program for health I have done so well but again nobody to share it with, I need to talk to Gail about our Christmas letter and the list goes on and I just sniffle and wipe the wetness from my cheeks and try to go on.
I was so excited about my blood tests. Most things they tested were the best they have been since 2004. In the last 11 months I have lowered my cholesterol 57 points.
I have decided to have a open house in honor of Gail for Niles Ave neighbors. We had talked about doing that but never got it done. I will do it December 11. We know many of the people but some we did not know at all but it will be a chance to meet new people if they come!!
Travis and I have decided to get out of town Monday-Wednesday of next week. We will spend some time in Devils Lake where Travis was born and lived for the first 6 years of his life. It should be an interesting time.
It is kind of crazy. I have always been the one in the family who comes up with ideas about presents etc. but now that I am alone I am at a loss for Christmas. I do not feel like making anything and I just can not come up with a good idea for the grand kids. I really felt badly yesterday. Henry wanted an ice cream cone in the afternoon but I had no cones. Grandma always had cones on hand. I found that I just did not have the touch for guests this Thanksgiving. I did not have towels out for Aaron/Amy and I know that I did not serve the people very well. I tried my best and I think I put my best foot forward but my heart just did not cooperate very well and I felt badly about that.
I am going to see if I can get interested in football. Maybe I will fall asleep in front of the TV and the night will go fast!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 2009

It was a day to be remembered. Rolls and coffee at Travis' at 8:15, a visit to Mother's grave at 9:15, the turkey went in at 10:00, plates were put out for 19 people at 1:30 and we wrapped things up by 9:00 PM. The food was good, the people were great and I was lonely much of the day. I just could not help it. I would think this is the first Thanksgiving in 44 years that I have not been with Gail. The kids were great, the grandchildren were super and everyone did so well but my stomach had that hallow feeling most of the day and those darn emotions were near the surface much of the time. Finally at about 4:00 I needed some space and peace so went for a walk by myself for about 40 minutes. Did it help? I think it did.
It was a good day but I am exhausted and I am happy it is over. I think the emotional energy used was much more than the physical energy but there was much work to do too. Of course I am new to this hosting alone but with so much help it was successful.
Tomorrow will bring new challenges I am sure and it is now a journey to Christmas, to Gail's birthday December 30 and then on into 2010. At this very moment it seems like a journey that I would like to hurry along but we know that we can't alter time so I will try to embrace the moment at any given time.
It is fun to have A/A/L here but they will move to Amy's parents tomorrow. That Leo could easily steal anyone's heart!
I will try to get to bed early tonight. When I say that I usually am not successful but being the eternal optimist I will try again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We'll miss our #1 cook

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I THINK all is ready. If we have forgotten something so be it. I decided to forgo lefse this holiday but I want to do it for Christmas and in the future. I passed a small test today!! I met our insurance agent in the bakery and he was sitting with some friends. We had this nice casual conversation, I was able to mention Gail and the mood was light. Now the truth is when I got to my car and started to drive away my eyes were very wet but in the bakery things were fine. I know that tears are not bad but it is nice when I can relate in a social situation without them.
Our schedule for tomorrow is coffee and rolls at Travis' at 8:00 and then we all will drive to Gail's grave site for a short time. We just have to include Gail in on the holiday. After that it will be goodies at 11:30 and turkey at my place at 1:00. We will have a good time and during the many times we remember Gail it will be with gratitude and love. I do know that we will miss her so so so much but I also know that God has given us so much to be thankful for and we will try to focus on those things. I will keep tissue handy and hope that I do not need them too often.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A new focus

Yesterday was a tiring day. I met with Bob B for 7:30 breakfast in Burnsville. I had not had a time with Bob for many years. Of course our talk at some point turned to Gail. I find that I must use much emotional energy as when ever I come away from those times I just feel like I am totally spent. Those times are good and necessary but exhausting.
Then in the afternoon I worked in the yard most of the time and actually did not come in until it was very dark. I remembered that if Gail would have been working with me I would have needed to drag her in from that kind of activity. I did get most of the back yard a bit clean. It looks like we may not have much more time to work outside.
I continue to have some difficultly sleeping. I tossed and turned last night. I was very awake at 1:30 and finally got up at 5. I can and I have taken something like Advil PM but I really do not like to rely on that for sleep. Last night Gail and another girl from HS were in my dream, go figure that. I think I may be a bit uptight for Thanksgiving. I say I am not but.......maybe. I need to go get the farm fresh turkey this afternoon.
One of my new focus area is my mind! I know that it really really helps me if I tell myself often that I am OK. I find myself feeling like things I read. If I read that grief makes one tired, I feel tired. If I read that grief makes a person very sad, I feel sad. I do not want to push myself beyond what I should be doing but I know that I need to repeat to myself many times a day that I am OK, I am OK, it helps me a lot.
I find that I am not adjusting very well to doing little in terms of action things. I am used to planning, to doing, to going, to making things happen and to sit back and think and reflect and just SLOW down for a period of time is very difficult. When I think of what I have done these last 9 weeks it is not much which is OK and good for me at this time but oh my it often makes me uneasy and restless to say the least.
I found a cross that I had made and given to Gail March of 1998. It is simple, it is not a crucifix, and it is made of curly maple. It had been on the wall for a long time and then I made something else and it came down. I put it up again about 3 weeks ago. It is on a wall that I can easily see when I sit and read scripture and pray. I have found that it has taken on much meaning for me. As I look at it I think about the suffering Jesus endured for us because he loved us so much. I think about all the suffering Gail endured because she loved me and us. The cross has become a symbol of love for me and it encourages me to love more and love better and love more often and do it with a happy heart at all times.
I have also begin to realize how special Gail's last months were. How much God gave family and friends through her being at home, her clear mind, her bright eyes and her infectious personality to the very day she died. I will never forget the tiny smile I got out of her as I held her in my arms the day before she died. It is very difficult for me to see that through the tears at times but I am beginning to appreciate it and be thankful for it more and more each day.
I went uptown this morning to order some rolls for Thursday morning. As I walked into the bakery I met met a friend and also my insurance person. He lost his wife to breast cancer about 3 years ago. Their story is very much like Gail's and mine. After his wife Judy died he went through very serious health problems related to her death. Two years after Judy died he met someone, remarried and now his life appears to be righted again. When I met him today he was in a hurry and our quick exchange was hi, how are you and good bye. The encounter again reminded me that God wants us to live life to the very end. We may lose friends, family, spouse or any other kind of tragedy in our life but in the end God's love prevails. I saw that today, I know that, I agree with that but for sure the pain here and now is much!
I do not know how much I will blog over the next few days. Aaron/Amy and Leo will be coming tomorrow and staying until Friday afternoon. The house will be full, busy and I am sure there will be a full range of emotions. Lord come with your love, with your grace with your protection and make this Thanksgiving full of family and fun as we know that Gail will enjoy her most amazing Thanksgiving ever.

Monday, November 23, 2009

4 years of Sargent Central

As you look at these pictures of Gail you are looking at her yearbook pictures 9,10,11 and 12 grade. You can see why I was in awe of her and with Gail the inner self was even more beautiful than the exterior!!
I am getting in the Thanksgiving mode. I need to get some clean finished today, Tu and Wed. The more I think about doing the turkey the more I am not 100% sure of myself but we will give it our best shot and what happens will happen. Thursday should be fun. We will have 6 grandchildren here, 4 who are walking and perhaps the house may seem small but it will be fun. I know that all of us will miss Gail, mother and grandmother so MUCH but we will do our best to enjoy and have a good time. I know Gail will have her best Thanksgiving ever so I will do my best to hold up my end here on earth.
I just finished a deer burger for lunch. Gail used to make us small portions of deer tenderloin for a snack in the morning during November as there were only so many packages of that. As I was sitting praying this morning I glanced at the wall and there was a picture that Mary Cassatt painted. We purchased it when our family went to Chicago to view her art work. Then on the other wall was the clock that needs fixing and Gail kept asking me to do that, then behind me was the picture we purchase in Mitchell SD on a vacation and the list could go on and on. She is here in so many ways.
I best be getting to work. The more I think the less work I get done and the more those emotions well up inside me and seem to spill all over in the same way as the water was rushing over the Ford Dam this morning on my walk.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A weekend without Gail

I am not sure what year this picture was taken. I looks like Gail and John are about the same height which means it was about 1982 or so.
It was a busy weekend. It started out with the breakfast meeting here. I worked in the yard all afternoon until dark, went to Jerry Wind's for a bite to eat and a movie, had most of the kids over this morning for left over egg dishes, spent some time watching the Viking game with Travis, Lizzia and Betina and then went to a meeting this afternoon. Also got in my 10,000 daily steps both days. Our health insurance requires a person to engage in some kind of exercise program each year in order to keep those co-pays down to $20. Gail and I had done the counting steps program the last 2 years so I decided to do the same for 2010. I will try to be serious and lose some weight as I count my steps each day. I made a point to go on walks Saturday and Sunday to get the 10,000 steps in. My goal is to lose 30 pounds by April 1.
During our afternoon meeting today part of it was a time for people to give thanks for things over this last year. I wanted to say that I am thankful for 41 years with Gail but the tears came too soon and too much for me to say anything. I felt like a fool but I had to leave the meeting for a time to compose myself. I know that tears are fine and normal but it is no fun.
The weekend was bitter sweet. The activities were OK and went well but it kind of showed me that I am not a we but an I and life does and will go on. I now will go places without Gail, I work without Gail, and "WE" has turned into an "I" God has shown in his wisdom that life will be OK. I know that maybe I will say a thousand times and more how lonesome I am and how much I miss Gail but each day will include baby steps towards a new life, a new individualism and perhaps new dreams at some time.
I cleared off the tramp so that Henry and Liam would jump on it today. While we were playing on it I remembered how Gail had tried jumping on it in mid summer as she had read that cancer could not live in oxygen and we know that she did anything and all things she could to defeat the ugly C. In the end we know she won while losing her life. The idea behind cleaning the tramp was I must put some guidelines on the cartoons on TV. I think I will have to get the timer that Gail used so much and when the cartoons come on the timer starts for 30 minutes or so. John and Mary may have some ideas on that.
I have not taken the time to read the Sunday paper yet so will do that now. I do have a 7:30 breakfast tomorrow so better try to get some sleep.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A bonus day

This picture was taken in 1983 in Myrtle Beach on the east coast. We went on a 5 week camping trip with Grandma and Grandpa Saunders. It was a grand time.
I got a bonus today. I had put the tiller away for the winter but John called and asked if I thought we could start it as he wanted to do their garden. We got it up and running so when he brought it back I tilled up some of the lawn on the east side of the driveway. I had wanted to do that and landscape it as in the spring we get a lake for a while before the frost goes out of the ground and I would like the water to drain towards the street. I had given up on the idea of getting anything done but as the day went on I actually got about 15 wheelbarrows of dirt out. Now I will have an easier job when spring comes. I know I still have some dirt to take out but of course now not as much. Working outside was OK but then when it got dark and I went into the empty house it was not so good. No dinner waiting, no urging Gail to quit work (on a day like today she would work until you could see nothing outside) and no discussion on what we should do with the rest of the evening.
I think my breakfast for the meeting this morning went well. I know it was not as good as Gail would have made it but everyone ate and said it was good!! It was so difficult to do that. I enjoyed it but again and again and again I will probably say that without Gail it just is so hollow and joyless at this time.
I am reassessing my idea that I need to be around people. I think that I still am not the greatest people person but most of my life right now is just Gailless and that is what is hard. I go through the motions of doing things and there even can be some laughs but I want and need Gail and that for sure is that human selfishness coming through. I am beginning to believe that the loneliness is not a lack of people, it is totally a lack of Gail. There must be millions of people in the world who live alone and enjoy it so certainly I can do that too. We were counting on at least 20 more years together, I think we got thrown a curve ball that we struck out on.

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's not the same of course

I just sat down after spending about 2+ hours in the kitchen. I do have 2 egg dishes in the fridge and the muffins are in a zip lock bag. I had some tears while I did that. I wish I could be more happy about doing those things but the truth is I just miss Gail so much. I am at a point now that not too often do I break up in a crowd. It does happen but not so much as it did the first 1 1/2 months. BUT it is so hard to do some of the things that I did in the past when Gail was here. I caught myself saying that I needed to ask Gail how to do something tonight. I do believe that my heart will mostly heal and my spirit will come back most of the way but for now it just is so lonely. I dare not go to thoughts of some of the dreams we had. If life is much about dreams then we had a full full life but for now I dare not go there for a while. I think that stupid social security "death benefit" thing just threw me for a loop. How dare they call it a death benefit as there is no benefit in a loved one dying. I wish I had not applied for the stupid $255 thing but I did and it will come and I suppose this time will pass.
Well I need to put one of those dishes in the oven at 6 AM so I should get to bed. Perhaps this whole darn night is just partly tired. I did not sleep well last night and then I actually over slept for meeting John for breakfast.
Tonight I just am not happy and sometimes when that happens I just think it may feel good to delete the blog and forget about writing. At times when I read it back to myself I just say that it is so silly and stupid that it is senseless. I know that there are a few people who read it but times like this who cares, no I better quit. Sometimes sleep really helps so I will try that.

So ALL Gail

Tonight I need to put together 2 egg dishes and make some muffins for our 7:30 breakfast meeting at my house in the morning but I just had to put this picture out.
It is ALL Gail. As I was going through some things in the garage yesterday I came across this on a shelf. That is how Gail packed our window scrapper and little dust pan for our 7 week camping trip in the fall of 07. All neat in a zip lock bag and I know she kept it in the bag for when we would use it again. I promised myself I would keep it like that and I will use it again.
Liam had lunch with me today. His menu was pepperoni pizza with milk. He suggested I make the pizza but I told him I did not have time. After that it was cartoons and a movie. Mary, Audrey and Henry then came over for about 2 hours. Liam asked if he would be coming again as he did not have grandpa all to himself!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gail in her glory

Taken in the summer of 1977. Gail loved outdoors, she loved her family and she could have worked in the garden all day so there you see her in her glory. It is easy to see that everyone is happy.
I had a few triggers times today. As I drove past St. Thomas I could not help but remember the summer of 1968 when we were first married and going to summer school in Minot. It was a summer of being just the two of us and the things we took pleasure in were so new, so fresh and so silly at times. I remember walking in the rain and loving it, I remember seeing who could get home first to hide from the other, I tried to cut Gail's hair and in the middle we had to call a beauty shop and we could not stop laughing and of course there were things I would not share on this blog but all were so much a part of our new life together. It seemed like we had waited so long to be married and finally we were one in so many ways. If I remember correctly we got about $150 for our wedding and that seemed like so much money to be able to spend on home things. Some things we were able to purchase were a card table, a tape recorder, silverware and dishes. Anyway that was one trigger! I still get misty every time I am with grandchildren. I was with Faustina and Jude as well as dinner with John/Mary and family. I love the grand kids so much but I miss Gail so much when I am with them.
Actually I think for the first time today in the last several months I had a small glimmer of spark when I thought about house projects. I have been sorting, cleaning, recycling etc. but I am talking about projects to make the house nicer. I need to rehab the bathroom upstairs and I actually got a bit excited when I looked at new toilets in the store. I would say on a scale of 1-10 I was excited about .5 so that is a start. One thought I had was when Gail and I would talk about doing something we would sometimes have different ideas. I know there were times I thought to myself if I could just go ahead and do it things would be so easy!! Now I CAN go ahead and do it and it is no fun. How life has a way of coming back to bite a person in the wrong way and wrong place!!!
I am going to pick Liam up from pre-school tomorrow and we will have lunch together and then he wants to watch some cartoons so that should be fun. I had better get some sleep.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A long time ago

This picture was taken in 1976. You can see Travis staying really close to his mother. This was the year before we moved to St. Paul.
Today was one of those days that I guess is hard to explain. I went to men's group and on the way home I thought that my stomach didn't feel very good. Then it dawned on me that I had forgotten to eat dinner and I was hungry. One of the men in the group is going through major health problems with his wife. She will have a ten hour surgery December 1 when doctors will take out part of her jaw and rebuild it with a bone from her leg. It just was so difficult for me to listen to that. The whole night I could not get Gail out of my mind and what she went through the last months of her life. As I drove home I just felt that I was lifeless and helpless. I do know better than to try to figure out illness but it is so hard to see loved ones go through suffering and pain. One of the most lasting impressions of Gail's cancer is that of seeing how totally helpless we are when a human body goes through pain and suffering. I am talking about the physical part because we all know that the emotional and spiritual part one can deal with through our God. Actually I also know that the 100's of people praying also helped Gail with the physical pain but it still was hard to see her go through that.
There was also a trigger moment tonight. A trigger moment is when something happens and it triggers those emotions. Several months ago our men's group had scheduled a night in December with our wives. It was brought up tonight and of course it triggered those darn tears again.
For some reason I am tired so will probably go to bed early.


Another picture of Gail and her Buster. I wonder if Buster is in heaven and Gail just jumps on him and rides in the wind everyday.
Nine weeks ago today on a Friday(Sept 18) we were preparing for Gail's funeral. In my memory forever will be details of the day. Some of the ones that are most vivid are the wonderful sharings at the lunch, the cars (about 75) with lights on winding around out to the cemetery, how proud I was of Gail as so many people shared how much they loved Gail and how special she was, the finality of the moment when they closed the casket and the list could go on.
I often use the term "plastic person" and by that there are many times when someone puts on a smile for show or does a laugh just for you ETC. Well as I have been thinking so much about Gail I came to realize that one of the special things about Gail was she was NEVER plastic. What you saw and what you heard was REAL, it was the real Gail whether you liked it or believed it or agreed or disagreed it made no difference because there was nothing plastic about anything she did. I think she got that from her dad. In the end to be real is to be respected and loved by many.
I am going to do some more sorting, cleaning etc. today as Thanksgiving with each passing day comes closer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back to the 60's

A chevy family!!!! From left to right is Jeanne (Al's first wife), grandma Saunders, Allen Saunders, Gail and then sister Deb. Gail is by the car her dad gave her so she could get to student teaching and it was our only car for the first 2 years of marriage. When we moved 4 times in our first year everything we owned got in the car, including our 3 drawer file!! I can not tell you the years of all the cars but I do know ours was a 1961 Biscayne.
I experienced a big knot in my stomach this morning that is still there. I went to SS to file for Gail's death benefit. A one time sum of $255! I had gone to St. Paul office last Friday and when I arrived I am guessing there were 60 people waiting. I did not stay. This morning I went to Brooklyn Center and I only had to wait 40 minutes. I actually do not know if it was worth it. "Death Benefit" sounds so cold, hard and final. I had brought nothing to read while I waited so I just sat there and remembered---all kinds of things like our wedding day, like our first date, like our canoe days near our farm, like motorcycle rides and of course how incredibly cute Gail was as a little girl and how beautiful she was in her adult life. I did fall and found myself saying Lord this is so hard and then I was reminded that the risk of great love is great pain. With that thought I said thank you Lord and went on to thinking about what I should do today.
The day is wonderful. Sun shine, warm temps and it is great to be alive---I think.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A day of change

Much of my day was spent in preparing and having the wrap up of our August camp. It was so different and very difficult without Gail. Of course I vacuumed, dusted, picked up and those kind of things and that was work but really the absence of Gail's love, her care of detail, her smile and most of all knowing that this is the beginning of camp 2010 without Gail was difficult to deal with. She could not do a lot for camp 2009 but the hope, the expectation, the faith that she would be with us for 2010 was always in the back of my mind. Now, that hope is gone and the reality is I am the trigger man almost without the ammunition. Well it is not quite like that but almost. I do believe that God will bless camp in perhaps a greater way without Gail but at this time such a dream is hard to come up with. Of course we have Jeanne, Ginny, Molly and Mike but there is not Gail and she is about as irreplaceable as trying to drive a car without the gas.
Susan Wind made most of the meal and it was delicious, thank you Susan.
I drove Henry to school today as I was going that way at about that time anyway. It was so cute as at his request I was trying to explain to him why I was changing some things in the den. When I was all finished he just said--I liked it the way it was. This is before he had seen what I had changed. Of course he loved grandma and everything she did. I am sure he does not understand why grandpa needs to change anything. I am not so sure either but I do know that I am no longer a we, I am a me and despite what I would like life goes on and "me"s have different needs than a "we". I actually need Gail but that is not possible so I will smile, I will persevere and I will ask God what he has in mind. He must have something because I certainly can not come up with much at this time. I think if he decided to mold me into a ball of clay so that some young child could play with me I may just end up drying up, falling to the earth and cracking into a thousand pieces.
Not any big plans tomorrow but the guys will come at 6 for meditations so I best be ready.

Those wonderful grade school days!

I think Gail is about 2nd or 3rd grade here. I can now see where we have such cute grandchildren!! You can see the old army truck in the back and I am sure that is the truck that her dad was driving when Gail was run over and could have easily lost her life. As it was her leg was broken. I bet she is clutching those books because she does not want the dog to eat her homework.
Not a lot happened in the last 1/2 day. I still have trouble sleeping unless I take something which I don't really like to do. Was up at 3 this morning and not able to get back to sleep.
I will put out a lot more for the recycle truck today.
I am trying a few different things in the arrangement of the downstairs, I will see if I like it or not. I would like to move things so I can do my computer work etc. on the first floor but not at the dining room table. I can not really figure out how the house should look with ONLY me in it. I do think that it needs some changes from how it served Gail and I. I wish the house could stay the same to serve both of us but what one wants and what one gets is often different as I have experienced the last several months.
I have found that I need to be really careful as it is easy for me to observe couples and be sad or question God. I do know that is wrong and each time it happens I ask God to forgive me and be patient as I am trying my best. God told me he created me and of course my best effort is fine with him.
I have found reproducing old pictures of Gail is so fun, so enlightening and also so emotional. It does sound strange but really I did not realize how cute she was. Like I have said in the past that darn cute head band was THE thing!! I say that and I don't even think it is a bias opinion. The one thing I notice in her childhood pictures as well as pictures of our family when they were young is that Gail is always smiling, she is always enjoying life and it seems that she is passing that gift of life to those she is with. Of the 100's of pictures of our kids almost all of them picture them with smiles, not made up but real ones!!!
I haven't really smiled much lately but I will try to change that as time goes on. I certainly was not smiling yesterday when I was at Ikea.
We have our annual camp wrap up meeting tonight at my place and I have much to do so it is off to clean, order and prepare.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Many happenings---same old thing!

Here is Gail at age 1. When this picture was taken she was living in Oakland CA and her daddy was patrolling the west coast as a member of the US Coast Guard during WWII.
Same old thing---by that I mean I am doing fine but it sure is lonesome, it sure is quiet, it sure is long nights and I still say that when a person tries to follow God's plan and be in his hand in the end things will be fine and God's glory and love always shine BUT for the present and NOW the struggles continue with human fragility and weaknesses.
Happenings--yesterday had several. It may sound small but I took the time to empty Gail's purse. It had very little in it but there were tears. I may use it in the future as a small camera carrying case.
The 40Th wedding anniversary gift (sewing machine) went as well. I am so happy that I was able to sell it to a lady who seems like she will use it, love it and sew some quilts but it was difficult to see it go. It was almost like part of our marriage was packed up and sent away. I knew that it was too nice to just sit and collect dust as a mechanical monument to 41 years of marriage but......
I felt that by letting go of it I may be able to better walk the walk that I need to do over these next few months. My heart swelled with pride when I showed the lady an example of the quilt squares Gail sewed. The front was perfect and so was the BACK! I would say it did not mean anything to the lady but to me it was good to be able to show it to her. She learned about the machine through Connie S and I am so thankful to her.
I spent time yesterday cleaning up some things and actually the first floor is now somewhat in order, I said somewhat.
I also went through some more pictures. I would say that I have come face to face with my own mortality. As I think back on my life, see how short it really is and remember those family members who have passed on I realize more than ever how a person has a responsibility to live for the here and now as tomorrow who knows.
I have begun to think and pray about what I might do after Christmas. It looks like there will be a need to get serious about some added income so I may need to stop thinking and start doing. I have said the last 2+ years that if I needed more income I wanted to be able to earn that without getting tied up in certain hours on certain days. I MAY be able to keep that but perhaps I need to be realistic and be open to a job that has hours and days tied to it. I am confident that God will open doors and give me insights into what I need to do when the time comes.
As I write the sun is shining and I know if Gail were here she would want to go for a walk with Wallace, that is a good idea!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


It is Travis' birthday today. 38 years ago he was born at about 5:30 AM. I was at the hospital for everything but of course back then no fathers were allowed in the room. I spent about an hour with Gail and Travis and then went south of Devils Lake and shot a nice 4 point buck. Got back to the hospital about noon. Now I am not sure I would recommend that schedule to all new fathers but it seems to me I did it with Gail's blessing. As I write this Travis is tailgating at the U for their 11 AM game today. It was so funny. He was here yesterday and I showed him a picture of him and his big jackrabbit he shot when he was about 10. He took the picture to tailgating as U of MN is playing the SD Jackrabbits. I think only Travis would do that.
I think I am going to spent most of the day cleaning up here. As I sort, recycle, throw ETC. the house gets to looking very messy. Maybe an orderly place will cheer me up a bit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Two months

On the back of this picture it says that Gail's dad, Chic, carried this picture in his wallet. I don't know how old she is but her smile here with that little gap in the teeth reminds me of Faustina.
It will be 2 months tomorrow that we said good-bye to Gail. It seems like a few days ago in many ways. I have decided that I need to do something on Fridays. Friday night was the night that we tried to spend together and my oh my some Fridays have been so difficult. Tonight I went out in the garage and just sat there. I have not done anything in my wood shop for several months so there is much to do but I just sat on a stool and stared. Of course that was fruitless so I came in the house and what did I do? Well I just sat, cried, and missed Gail so much I could almost taste the loneliness. After I gathered myself I ate a big bowl of ice cream as if that would help anything. I still think I am doing OK but wow tonight it didn't look that way. I have not figured out if I have been tired or lazy the last three days. I just want to sleep. Cynthia was here this afternoon and the next thing I know I wake up and she is gone.
I have thought a lot about people who live alone. I will have to ask Travis as he has never been married and lives alone. I have many times told people that I would be very happy to just work in my shop, stay at home etc. but for the last 2 months this being alone thing just is not good. I am counting on that changing when I am able to deal better with Gail being gone.
There have been times that I thought I had an answer, a good idea, something I needed to do or something like that but tonight I just don't have any wisdom or ideas or anything else worth thinking about. Maybe, just maybe I will put 3 ice cubes in a small glass of Baileys and then see if I can get some sleep.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Those college days

This was taken in 1967, in the fall. Gail was a floor monitor in the dorm. She sent this to me as I was still in Fargo at NDSU. For spring semester I transferred to where she was a senior and then we married June 1st of 68. She graduated on Friday, May 31, we drove 400 miles for our rehearsal that night and were married the next day. We then started summer school June 5Th.
I had another one of those nonproductive days. For some reason I was tired. I was up at 5 AM so I could be at Cyn/Mikes by 5:30. Jude's surgery went well and Cyn and he were home by 11 AM. I came home and actually slept much of the afternoon. How bad is that. Had dinner at the Winds and of course that is not only always fun but delicious as well. As I was walking home from the Winds I thought about doing the walk alone, going to an empty house, spending the evening alone and I thought well Lord if you will this for me at this time it must be OK. Yesterday and today I have had this tremendous hollow empty feeling. I actually do not know what it is or what it means but it has kind of consumed me in thought and prevented me from doing much. I would guess it is another step in the road to new life, new experiences and a new me. I have been thinking a lot about life this week. I have thought how all of us are shaped, molded, formed and changed as life unfolds. I thought about how a death, a lost loved one, a relationship that goes sour, lost job or what ever one wants to think about---as those things happen in our lives they leave us different in some way. Sometimes we are better for the experience and I would think other times there is something lost that can not be recovered so it leaves us somewhat a different person. I though how many of us do not like change but really life is all about changes, good and not so good. There is no doubt that the changes in my life over the last many weeks will affect me forever and what my challenge will be is to take those changes, see God in them and use them in some way to better myself and to give something positive to our world. I will pray that I can make that happen. But really for tonight I will be a bit lonely and sad. Not that I want to be but because I am so human and so frail in the eyes of God. It is humbling to be so frail yet perhaps it is good for one's soul.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not fair

It was not fair. Gail wore a cute little head band most of the time and I just thought she was the worlds most beautiful and magical girl. It seemed to be all in that little head band. I just could not resist carrying her books or carrying her horn to the bus. Even in those days there may have been the short little skirt or those beautiful legs (you get my drift) but to me it was those cute head bands that sent me almost into handstands. Of course in those days you did NOT hold hands or anything like that in school.
In this picture she is a senior in high school. She actually was as sweet and innocent as she looks.
Today was not very productive. I did nothing with pictures or anything else. I did have a surprise visit from Geoffrey Bornhoft which was great. He is taking classes at St. Kates. He is such an outstanding young man. Our world needs more of him.
I think I was not able to get anything done as it just was a sad day. Not sad in the way of poor me but rather sad in that I think time brings about more of the realization that Gail is gone for ever. I know it and have of course known it for many weeks but I guess one has to actually live it for it to be really real. As I was sitting at the kitchen table this morning I said to myself, "I wish I would have hugged her more" I remembered how often when I would give her a hug she would give me that extra little squeeze that would silently say you are special to me and I will never let you go. I wondered if I gave her enough hugs those last few months.
I think I had better get to bed as I need to be at Cynthia/Mikes tomorrow at 5:30 AM as little Jude is scheduled to have surgery at 7 in the morning. He needs something fixed on his kidney. Let's all pray that God's hand is guiding the Dr and all goes well. It seems that things should be OK but prayers always are needed.

It was meant to be!!!

Here is proof that it was meant to be. Gail is in the 6Th grade and I was in the 5Th grade for this classroom picture. My dad took the picture and I made sure he let me stand right behind Gail. Well that is a little from the truth but there we were waiting to get older so we could get married and live the rest of our lives together! Well the real truth is we did not date until Gail was a senior in high school but isn't Gail a cutie.
I actually have some success in my life. I want to get off those stupid blood pressure pills and cholesterol pills and have taken them for a month without missing. That is a milestone as I usually forgot to take them unless Gail put them in front of me. If my blood work looks good maybe I can reduce or get rid of some of them. I also have taken Wallace on a morning walk for 3 straight days. That may not sound like much but for me that is a great start.
I continue to work with pictures but funny thing as I have done that the dishes do not wash themselves. I think they used to, I do not know what happened. Whatever it is as I look in the kitchen I had better get in there and work for a couple of hours.
That is what Henry said when he was about 3 years old and grandpa came over to fix the crib. He ran up and down and all around giving grandpa ideas on how to fix it. Well I have an idea for our camp director's meeting. We meet every year after camp to talk, discuss and evaluate the August camp. Well this year we did not meet as we knew it would only result in tears so now we are ready, I think. We have done many different things from going to a nice restaurant to someone making us a nice meal. Well my idea is that I am going to try and make the meal and serve it at my house. I am not sure I can pull it off but I think I will try. Let me see we need meat, veggies, dessert, salad, appetizers, drinks and well I had better write this down and see if it is doable.
I find myself getting impatience. I know that it is only 8+ weeks since Gail passed away but I am so darn lonesome and empty. I know people say a year or more but I am wondering if one becomes less lonesome each week or each month or each whatever. I actually have fewer tears now than some weeks ago and maybe that is a start. I do know that it is much much better when I am very busy and do not have much time to think. I am wondering what would happen to me if I tried not to think for the next year??
I have been able to expand my prayer times from 10+ minutes to about 20+ or so. My mind is so distracted that more than that and I am off in another land or some place. I have been spending short times throughout the day but my goal is to spend again one time for an hour or so. That is not to say that the Lord only gets one hour. I really feel close to him all the time and I do rely on his input all day.
Here I am in the middle of the day blogging, I need to get to work.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can you believe

I just had to post this picture. Gail loved her horse Buster. Most people did not know that side of her. She loved the outdoors, she loved to be active and she was very athletic.
As you may guess I have spent most of the day going through pictures and putting them in uniform boxes. It has been fun, emotional and interesting all at the same time.

A new prespective

Pictured on the left is my sister Janet with her husband John and their daughter Ester. It was taken in 1963 and Janet died at the age of 27 in February of 1966. Pictured on the right is my oldest brother Lawrence (Ronald or Red) in the middle. My brother Dave is on the right and you got it, me on the left. Ronald died in October of 1964 at the age of 27. As I was looking through pictures last night I found these and the thought went through my mind that John only had Janet for a few short years and Glorine (Ronald's wife) only had Ronald for a very short time too. How blessed I was to have enjoyed 41+ years with Gail. Does it make the hurt less? Actually no but the mind is a powerful thing and it helps in thinking about all the blessings I experienced during those years. Thank you Lord for ALL you have given me and for the blessing of family. I am so happy as we have been able to stay in touch with John and Glorine all these years and count them as family.
I received a very nice e-mail from someone yesterday. She said she e-mailed me rather than comment on the blog. My e-mail is in case anyone wants to let me know how cute I was as a 4 year old!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know, time changes many things.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A quiet day

The day was uneventful and I was thankful for that. Cynthia stopped by with lunch so we ate together which was much appreciated. Travis stopped by for a chat and to get water. I took Wallace for a walk which I need to do much more often. Susan Wind stopped by for a chat also. As I write I guess it was not a lazy day but it seemed peaceful.
I walked up and down Niles a couple of times tonight. I find that it helps me relax, unwind and think. Actually at this time thinking is not my favorite thing but I know it is good for me. It is interesting to look in the windows at night and guess or wonder what is happening in that house. It sounds a bit childish but for some reason now that is good for me. When I returned home I sat on the front steps for about 30 minutes. My thoughts turned to a conversation that Gail and I had more than once when we talked about putting 2 chairs in the front as a place to sit, talk and visit with people as they walked by. As I thought about that I did not feel really emotional but all of a sudden I felt warm tears on my cheeks. As I sat there they dried up and got crusty. I have been surprised at how quickly and unexpected those darn tears come. They just seem to appear and say to me that my Gail is not here, she is not coming back and that is OK. Now I can say that she is here in spirit, she is near me all the time etc. but the truth is I can't hold her hand, I can't hug her, I can't hold her tight and when that is taken away it changes one forever.
Thanksgiving is only 2+ weeks away, the holidays are fast approaching. I want and need to do several things before Thanksgiving so I had better keep busy the next 2 weeks. I have been thinking what I should do for a Christmas letter. The Lord will have to give me a thought because I have come up with nothing at this point.
A lady had set up an appointment to see the machine but tonight she e-mailed and said she will not look at it so it is wait some more.
I need to do a few things before tomorrow morning as the guys are coming for meditations at 6.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Few deer and many thoughts

This picture is one of the reasons I enjoy hunting deer. This is of the Binde farm at 6:45 AM on Saturday.
The time away was a little bit of several things. I had a nice time with Grandma Saunders on Friday noon. I arrived in Fargo about 11 AM and left about 1:00. Grandma does very well for someone who is 88 and can see almost nothing.
I arrived at the Binde farm mid Friday afternoon. I walked around their land for about an hour and the soil was wet wet wet. It was almost impossible to walk in the fields, most of which are not harvested yet. John arrived before dark so we kind of put together a plan for Saturday morning. We saw several deer on Saturday but no shots. John left after dinner and I hunted again this morning until it started to rain. I got one shot off at about 225 yards and at that distance my shooting skills leave a lot to be desired. I missed!!! The deer walked almost in the spot that John had been sitting Saturday AM so it certainly is a story of being in the right place at the right time. End of my deer quest for 2009.
Actually, my mind was marginally on deer hunting. It was difficult to be at the Bindes without Gail, it was difficult to be with Grandma without Gail, it just was plain difficult to be without Gail for the time away. When I returned home I realized that for now I am the most comfortable close to where Gail and I spent most of our time. It actually is kind of strange that a table, a buffet, a book case or any thing like that can give one comfort. It is comforting to be near things in the house that make me feel closer to Gail. Of course this will change with time but NOW I like to be home. There were times in the field that my mind just went too far on too many things. John and I spent about 9 hours sitting on Saturday. Other than looking for deer there is nothing to do besides think and think I did. My mind went the extreme from what to do in the house to old high school days to dreams unmet to the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. In one sense the rain that halted my hunting was kind of welcome. That meant that I could jump in the truck and head home where at this time I feel safe, welcome, comfortable and I can focus on things to do.
I did get 2 e-mails when I was gone concerning the sewing machine so I do hope I am able to sell it soon. I don't have to but it would be nice. I have never sold anything on Craig's List so I really do not know what to expect.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Young men will have visions and old men will dream dreams

I heated some soup, sat down at the coffee table and did some reading while I ate dinner. When I finished I just sat back and stared at the mantel. I burst into tears and they just did not want to stop. I needed to get out so for the next hour or so I just walked up and down Niles Ave. I watched people through open windows, I met people out for a walk and I saw some working yet in the dark but mainly I kept asking myself why did I cry like that, why why why. I think God gave me the answer as I walked past a house that has several children. It came to me that at this point in my life without Gail I have no dreams. Gail and I dreamed a lot. We raised 4 children on a teacher's salary which tells anyone why we dreamed a lot and did not do so many things. Those dreams were so important. They fostered hope, they actually took us places we could not afford to go, they made for wonderful conversation and a whole lot more. As I looked in at that family it just came to me that my family is grown, Gail is gone and for the last 7+ weeks there have been no dreams which means no hope and no anticipation. Perhaps when death is so close one is not meant to dream but rather just to remember and cope. I must keep that in mind as time goes on because I want to dream again, I want to anticipate, I want to hope and I want to plan.
The things a person sees when you walk in the dark are pretty interesting. A lady down the street was almost running as she mowed her lawn in the dark. I am not sure if she had worked late or she waited until dark as she dumped the leaves on the street!!
I am not getting my packing done for hunting. My motivation is about a D- tonight but I need to get on the road early in the morning so best be doing what has to be done.

It is hard to believe

Cynthia sent a quart of green smoothie home with me this morning. So what did I do, when I arrived home from Sam's Club this afternoon I had a choice of a tall glass of green stuff or a nice cold beer. You are wrong, I had the green smoothie!!! Not only that but when I stopped in the store to get some things for hunting I bought a can of steel cut oatmeal. I am sure that radical move was prompted from above. I will not put raisins in it but I will have it for breakfast tomorrow. All of that just goes to show that miracles still do happen in my life.
I had a nice breakfast with Jim c this morning. I then got a call from a person who needed a ride to the dr. I went over to get her right away but there was nobody home so I am not sure what happened with that. I then met Travis and we looked at tires for his car and now I must get busy and pack for tomorrow.
I did put about 9 more sacks for the recycle and several boxes in the garage. Travis said he would come over Monday AM and put it out for me. The number of cards Gail got from the fall of 03 to this fall is overwhelming. She kept each one and I know it was her intent to thank each person. Oh my but Gail's desire to relate and thank people was too too too much for her energy. I have found envelopes stamped and addressed to people and of course her intent was to write a thank you. Some of them had 37 cent stamps on them so it was a long time ago. I just know that her heart was too big for her mind. There are just so few people who have the kindness that Gail had.
I will be leaving about 6 AM tomorrow and IF I am lucky enough to get a deer on Saturday I will be home on Sunday. IF that is not the case I will be home sometime early in the week so my blogging will wait until I return.
The weather has been so so so so so nice today. These nice fall days makes my heart ache for Gail's presence. Perhaps next fall will be different. Today I was picturing the times in the fall when Henry and Liam were here and we were raking leaves. Gail was in her glory with the boys working, playing and having so much fun. I wonder if she gets to rake leaves this fall??

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It just ain't the same

Today I was on the go a lot. Went to the store early this morning and then enjoyed having Travis over for breakfast until about 11:30. Did some running and then took care of Henry, Liam and Audrey for about 3 hours. It was fun but it just was not the same. Gail loved those kids so much and I realize she is in a much better place now BUT oh I wish she could see the grandchildren grow. All of them are so much advanced now then last June. Actually June was about the last month Gail could really enjoy the kids. I know I should be happy but I am sad. I just can not help it. I was on the brink of tears most of the evening. I will resist as much as I can from saying why God. I know his plan is perfect and his timing is not mine but today it makes me cry. God must have a special plan for Henry, Liam, Leo, Faustina, Audrey, Jude and ? as they will miss out on what Grandma could have given them so I am sure God has another plan that is grander. I know that in the short time Gail was able to be with the kids the last few years she loved them so much and for that they will be better but the time was so short. She often said she did not have a grandma and she wanted to be the best one she could be. I know tomorrow will bring more peace but it will not bring understanding and I guess I need to be OK with that.
I will go out with Jim C for breakfast tomorrow morning and then I need to finish packing for deer hunting. I am going to pray that I get a deer on Saturday as Jude will be baptised Sunday and it sure would be nice to be back for that as I also missed Faustina's baptism. Who knows I may get out in the field, dream about Gail and a whole parade of deer may walk by and laugh at me.
I am lonesome more so tonight than I have been in the last week. Knowing the Lord one can be sure that this will pass. I honestly do not know how anyone can lose a loved one and get through it without knowing and loving God. As the days go by my life alone becomes more real and I will have to grow into it as for now I would have to be honest and say it is difficult. I can often cover my wounded heart by "doing" but when I stop to rest or to collect my thoughts the wound festers and hurts.
When people ask me how I am doing I still say fine and that is true, I guess the journey that I am having to take will be measured in months, not days or minutes.

Life goes on

Each day it seems that I come to a new thought or a new realization about life after Gail (LAG). I now call it lag for life after Gail. I know that Gail is so present and so close to my heart but her physical presence is not with me and that is so missed in every thing I do so my life is now LAG.
Last night I had dinner with Mike/Jeanne Oberg and family. Mike and Jeanne have been working camp with me forever almost and of course the talk turned to camp without Gail. The talk was short and the spirit was let's not go there yet. Everyone knows that Gail's impact, her input, her work for camp just is irreplaceable. Do we need another program director? We can wait to see but for now no. Outside of family I know that Gail's physical presence will be felt most at camp meetings. Her quiet, insightful, wise input will be so so missed. Of course it goes without saying that her infectious smile will not be there.
I am becoming a tiny bit more comfortable going places without Gail at my side. In all honesty most of the time I go someplace in my heart I would rather stay home but I know that I should not isolate myself but rather I need to do things, go places and act like a real person. I am sure God's grace is with me as doing that has not been as difficult as I thought.
I continue to be fairly successful in avoiding the "why" question. The times I fail and I do ask that I find myself with no answers and falling into a spirit of self pity and the "poor me" idea. I find that when I am able to thank the Lord for Gail, smile when I think of her and hold her close to my heart without piercing my heart it is much much better for me. I will continue to try and do that Lord but I do still need your help ALL the time.
Travis is coming over at 9 this morning and we will have breakfast together. He wants to learn how I make scrambled eggs. I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another first

I was so happy and blessed as John/Mary and kids, Travis and Cynthia/Mike and kids came to the prayer service at Lumen Christi last night. I have not ventured to church at Lumen Christi except for the 4:30 mass last week so I have not encountered people I know there. Well last night was a first and of course it is a bit difficult. It was OK but not easy. I will have another first this morning as John Z, Harold and Jerry come at 6 this morning for meditations. We have not gathered since before Gail died. This morning we will just talk, share and then decide on meditations for the future. Little by little, bit by bit these firsts are taking place with some time since September 14th and the streams of tears are becoming a trickle at times or perhaps a moist eye.
I did go to Bonnie's funeral yesterday. I did not feel up to staying for lunch so I left before that. One thing that makes losing a loved one somewhat tolerable is that people are so kind. Almost everyone gives hugs, kind words and so many assurances of support and company. I would say that I have almost (not quite) too much support. It is unbelievable how many people invite me over, ask if I can go out for lunch etc. This may sound strange but sometimes I just marvel that people are so kind and genuine in their support and love. I do hope my surprise about that does not say anything about me.
I had a surprise yesterday. I needed something and went to the 3 drawer file we have upstairs. As I opened it I could not believe everything in it!!!! Of course I had opened it many times before but I had not the mind set of going through that too. The file was our second piece of furniture we purchased and as I somewhat laughingly fingered through it last night I asked myself if everything we filed in the late 60's and early 70's is still there?? In the receipt file was the papers from our tiller which we paid $250 for in 1973. I do believe the warranty has expired but it still works! Also noticed the papers from our 1971 World Book Encyclopedia set and well you get the drift! I would ask who else in this world has a 3 drawer file. A 2 or a 4 but a three!!!!! It might say a lot about Gail and I.
Lastly I begin to look at more advanced digital cameras Monday. I have always enjoyed picture taking and I have a Canon SLR EOS 630 and of course have not used it for a long time. But I have 3 very nice and expensive lenses for it. I found out that my lenses would fit on a new digital Canon but the catch of course is at this time they are not giving them away. I decided against pulling a Petters or Mardoff things so may have to wait a bit.
It is almost time for the guys to come.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A new day and many thoughts

I have an unusual number of thoughts as I sit here this morning. I would like the Phillies to win the world series but the Yankees took a 3-1 lead last night and actually I don't care. The Vikings beat the Packers yesterday and that is nice but not a big deal. I am preparing to hunt deer this weekend and that is OK but if I were to miss it that's fine. Visa will get my auto payment today which will cover 2/3 of my expenses from the last 6 weeks. It literately will consume all the money I have available and more but that some how does not seem important now.
I will be shaving and getting ready in a short time for Bonnie's funeral. Bonnie would have turned 59 next month. I could not get myself to go to Paul Korkowski's funeral 2 weeks ago, I think he was 47. I am in the middle of mourning and grieving Gail who would have celebrated her 64 birthday next month. At times the hurt is so big and so real that I almost look in the mirror to see if there is a huge lump of coal in my throat. As I sit here with tears streaming down my face this morning I guess I know why the Phillies, the Vikings and my finances are not so important. Last night as I sat near the back at Bonnie's prayer service and felt the hot humid tears trickling down my cheeks on to my green fleece top I wondered silently if those tears would etch little paths on my face that would forever label me "a man who lost his woman" as the song says. I decided that I didn't care and if that happened perhaps people would ask what happened to me and then I could tell them how I missed Gail so much. I asked if that would or could be part of God's plan and he said maybe.
When I arrived home last night I remembered how in the last few months I would always tell Gail when we got home that I would go to the back and then come through the house to open the front door for her. (I need to fix the front door) I didn't have to do that last night. I just went in the back door and that was the end. Wallace, my dog, greeted me but I kind of ignored him as I noticed how big, how empty, how quiet and how dark the house seemed. And it actually is better now than a month ago.
Gail died 7 weeks ago today. I will think of that at Bonnie's funeral today. Lord your plan, your timing, and the personal path we each most take I accept but sometimes it is not easy.
Once again I put out much recycling today. I almost feel like a tiny part of me is scooped up and thrown into the truck as they take away papers, cards etc. that I have been putting out.
The more I write the more I think and the more I think this morning the more I just sit. I will get up, get ready and be on the go most of the day. Lumen Christi is having a prayer service for families who have lost loved ones so it will be another emotional night.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Slow down

As I tossed and turned in bed last night I tried to figure out how I can slow down my mind. Each time I would wake up I would think of something to do, some place I needed to go, someone I needed to call, yard work left undone and the list goes on. I need to figure it out soon as I am tired this morning.
Twenty-nine years ago this morning Gail and I got ready to go to a meeting. As we pulled into the parking lot mid morning Gail said we had better turn around and go to the hospital. Her water broke before we got there and I dropped her off in the emergency driveway. By the time I parked and arrived in the birthing room Cynthia had arrived. Today, at the age of 29, she is this lovely young lady with 2 precious little ones and a fine husband. I would almost give anything if Gail could be here today but it is not to be so we will have to celebrate without mother. That is difficult to do but we will give it our best effort and we will give the Lord thanks for all he has blessed us with in the past 29 years.
I think I continue to be in the infant stages of figuring out who I am, how I should live and what should I do. After spending 40+ years molding my individualism into one with Gail it now is a daunting task to step back and figure out who I am. The last time I was an individual (I say that with NO regrets) was when I was an 18 year old green behind the ears. I mean I was so green I have come to believe there was some mold there! Today I have 7 children (3 are by marriage), 6 2/3 grandchildren, 41 years of marriage behind me, 38 years in education behind me and I am brand new. It is almost not believable. It is an experience that I never wanted for myself but it is here so I will try to make lemonade out of lemons. For some reason that expression has new meaning.