More than a year has passed since my husband, Carl went to heaven and I still don’t know how to manage this lonely life. After 45 years of marriage, life without Carl is foreign. I no longer watch for his pickup to turn into our driveway at the end of the day or listen for him to come through the back door, but I still get a lonesome feeling around 5:00 pm without even looking at the clock. Carl would be calling to tell me he was on his way home and ask if I would like for him to pick up something for dinner. That and so many other routines have been built into my psyche for too many years to turn them off in such a short time.
But as lonely and difficult as life is without my husband, I am thankful for those who have helped me along the way and wish to give a few accolades to some special folks though they don’t seek recognition. I have
a group of people I call “Team Jay,” who have helped me for months. Twice a week, Dotti, Becky, Mike, Glenda, Carol, Pam, or Shouna show up at my door to stay with my son, Jay while I go to physical therapy. Some also stay when I have doctor appointments or do grocery shopping.
My neighbor, Nancy, and her son, Caleb, have helped me water my 30 trees, two-dozen crepe myrtles and other flowering shrubs for two hot and dry summers. Her daughter, Alexis, weeded an overgrown flowerbed and planted new flowers without being asked. I enjoy this acre of land that my husband loved so dearly, but the upkeep is overwhelming. My lone contribution to this family was to babysit Fred-the-fish while they were on vacation.
I am thankful for so many people. My son, Aaron, calls often to check on me. My sweet daughter-in-law, Amy, spent hours helping me purchase and set up an iPhone. My 95-year-old mother frequently sends cards to Jay. Diane, my longtime friend in Tulsa, calls weekly to see how I’m doing while Sandi and other friends e-mail often. Marqueeta spent most of one night in the emergency room with me while Jay was being treated for cellulitis. Of course, Glenda, Claudine, Becky, Dotti and Mary Lou have spent time with us in the ER too. Not a place I want to be but good that friends are there when needed.
Mary Lou brought me scrumptious cupcakes on Carl’s birthday and mine—just nine days apart and two of the loneliest days of the year. Aaron, Amy, Alex and Axton came from Arkansas the weekend following my birthday to give me a “rock & roll” party, complete with a standup Elvis in his gold suit. Yep, I am definitely an Elvis fan! His love ballads take me back to my dating days with Carl.
My son, Jay, is the reason I get out of bed in the morning. He needs help in every area of his life and I need him. Without Jay, I would probably pull the cover over my head and never leave the house. He keeps music in our home, playing inspirational songs daily and gives me something to smile about each day. A passel of people at church make Jay smile when they comment on his snazzy ties each Sunday.
Of course, I thank God daily for giving me strength to get through each day and this ongoing grief. When my husband was in the hospital he would often put his arm around me and pray for God to give me an extra measure of strength. Surely Carl’s prayers are what keep me going.
And now, during this season of thanksgiving, I’d like to thank you, my readers, for being an encouragement to me. I love hearing from you and smile each time I open one of your emails. You have blessed me tremendously. May you also be blessed with a “Thankful Thanksgiving.”