Six Months – It feels as if a lifetime has passed

It has been so long since my last post and much has happened.  I’m still with Honey (he is such a dear… and continues to be the love of my life).  We are settling into our own.  We are approaching six months since my sister’s passing in March and it feels as if a lifetime has passed.  To say I’m ‘Melon Colly’ would be an understatement.  For some reason the grief and stress I feel today is unimaginable.  I try to picture her and I can’t.  I now know the fear they say one feels of being afraid of forgetting your loved one.  You begin to forget their appearance.  You have pictures, but those are simply two-dimensional; however, there are the mannerisms of the individual that are soon forgotten.  The way she sat, walked in and out of her room.  The way she laughed; even the way she ate her meal.

There are still so many things around this house that remind me of her.  Not just the usual mementos (books, clothing, bedding, jewelry); but spices she purchased for our last family get together.  My other sister Elizabeth was here on Labor Day weekend clearing out the garage while I was out with Honey on a trip.  Elizabeth uncovered just scads of more cleaning supplies and laundry detergent.  So it is those things that serve as a constant reminder.  Sometimes I come across something in the kitchen pantry and can remember Kimball purchasing it.  I can remember being with her right down to what we were saying to each other at the time.

Life seems very peculiar to me at this particular time in my life in that I am in transition (in more ways than you know).  I feel as if I’m at a cross-road as I approach this halfway mark in my life.  Everything seems to be changing (some good, some not so great).  I have friends of whom I thought, at one time, were best friends forever. (forever… what does that mean?)  But I’ve since come to realize that those friendships meant much more to me than they did to those girls/women I confided in for most of my life; therefore I have found that I must move on.

As I approach this time of my life, I’ve been caught reflecting and have realized that I’ve met some amazing people through this half century of living.   I do wonder, however, why it is that some people like my sisters Kimball and Elizabeth still have their friendships of their youth, while people like me seem to go through our lives and (how I hate to use this analogy) similar to a snake growing out of and shedding its skin, grow out of our relationships.  Then I wonder, is it me; is something wrong with me or my character?  Or is it simply my lot in life to endure the very thing I fear?  Change.   I’ve tried so hard (perhaps too hard) to keep these friendships; these friendships that inevitably slip away.

People often say to choose your friends wisely.  I was warned as a youngster to do just that, “Ann, choose your friends wisely.  Don’t ‘cast your pearls among swine.'”  And, like the men in my life, perhaps this was something I didn’t do so well.   Have I happened on some wonderful friends?  Certainly!  They are still there by my side in support and have been there through my sisters illness (I will forever be in their debt).   However early on I was a loner, always bullied, the runt.  So when people befriended me, I was flattered (an easy target).  I carried that over to the men in my life.  I never really valued what  I had to offer; never fully understood the value in my loyalty, honesty and my discretion.  (It is so characteristic of me to learn my lessons the hard way).

So it stands to reason that if I didn’t value it, others wouldn’t value these qualities either.  In fact, the very gift of discretion would be my down-fall.  In that I would know too much about a person and they would push me away.  A dear friend of mine, a woman I’ve known for 30 years has done just that.  I’ve known her son most of his life; he got married this weekend and I was never even give the courtesy of an invitation to their wedding.  Why is that?  I’m an outsider.  And I’ve come to realize that through all this time, with all that I know about her, and all that she knows about me, I am nothing more than an acquaintance.  I shouldn’t let this hurt me like it does, but my heart aches.  It aches as if someone has died.  And they have.  This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, however it is the last.  I loved her like a sister but I was blinded by what I wanted our friendship to be.  Seeing only what I wanted to see and not what was actually there right before my eyes.

And so life continues and I propel me forward, to the future.  I have a wonderful man in my life and wonderful friends who have been there for me singing, laughing and flooding me with support along my arduous journey these past few years.  Still I can’t help but to feel embarrassed; embarrassed to say that those that I knew in my youth cease to be in my life and I have to ask, is this normal?  What is normal?  Each person has their own ‘normal’.  Life is a quilt and we all have our own quilts that we sew; each stitch representing a part of our life.  In mine I have bright and vibrant colors along with pastel colors, neutrals and grays.  All combined they make quite and interesting quilt.  Not quite sure how I feel about the look of it.  But it is looking quite bright from this point forward.

As I’ve written in the past, friends (even false friends) are with us for a reason.  Some are with us for a season or a lifetime.  For whatever the reason, each touch us and help us to get to the next stepping stone on our path in this journey we know as life.  They help us to our next phase in our futures.  I found the following by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Wonderful quote!  Emerson tells us that we must still keep ourselves open.  That enduring the betrayal is still a part of success, for it is finding the best in others, even our critics and our false friends.  Their betrayal is a part of life.  We must not waste our energy and instead focus our energy on simply living… “to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.”

Six months have passed and it truly does feel as if a lifetime has passed by.  So much can happen in a mere 30 days; it will be interesting to find what the next 30 days have in store.  My birthday is around the corner and there are some very interesting things planned.  I shall keep you posted and will try not to be a stranger.

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12 thoughts on “Six Months – It feels as if a lifetime has passed

  1. So interesting that you posted this today, as I am also celebrating my own six month celebration of strength and overcoming. Someone told me today, “It’s not what happened, it’s what’s next.” Cheers to health, happiness, and “what’s next.”

  2. As always, you write with such clarity. I have plenty of words but when I organize them into something meaningful it doesn’t sound right!!! Like you I experienced the bully’s abuse as a child. It gave me strength to be alone and be happy – a trait I treasure now. I find that keeping the focus on the positive in myself and others allows me the freedom to make good decisions. The grief will always be there which is a good thing – it will lessen some with time – but Kimball’s soul will be with you forever!! Just as I can not forget Kimball I can not forget you. Your humor, sensitivity, joy, intelligence, and amazing singing voice have made a lasting impact with me. When we both were younger I knew you only a little. Now I have great admiration for your endurance and ability to continue on and live fully. Keep singing those joyful & soulful songs and you will certainly make the world a better place!!
    Love you, Claire

  3. It very much bothers me you “feel embarrased” that some friends were seasonal friends or false friends. My Italian grandfather used to say that when you die, if you can count a true friend for each finger on your right hand, then you die a very rich man. Most friends are, indeed, just friendly acquaintances or friends of convenience. Some friends are outgrown because the friendship ran its course and there is nothing more there to sustain it. No one’s fault. It is the nature of things. As for friends with whom confidences were shared, sometimes that is a “needy” “friend” who is truly more focused on themselves and having a sounding board to mirror back to them their issues, etc. Not your fault. You not only wear your heart on your sleeve, you actually extend it out in both hands to others. Good for you. You are open. You are also aware of human nature and that it is rare for such an offering of your warm heart to be appreciated forever by others. Does not take away from the beauty of your offering – from the beauty that is you. Don’t forget that!

  4. Sorry Nora had a mare there! Just meant to say There comes a point in your life when you realise who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore and who always will. Don’t worry about people from your past, there is a reason why they did not make it to your future – loved your post and we all have to do some housekeeping with our friends at some time or other but remember that this is to make way for our new fabulous friends

    • Through this journey I’ve discovered that I am a ‘literal’ person; I am realizing however, that with the passage of time people come in and flow out and that the way I feel about it is up to me. All I can do is remember the good times (as there were many) and take them at face-value and move on… As one of my readers pointed out, “it’s not what happened, it’s what’s next.” Thank you for your words of wisdom and for your kindness… You are so right.

  5. Thank you, Nora, for taking the time to like my humble garden posts when you are going through so much! I can relate, as I was the wanderer in my family, and the rest stayed close to home, retained all the old friendships. But, though I am not close with those old friends, I am in touch and am accepted for who I am (I didn’t always think so), and with that comes acceptance of myself. Good luck with your journey. Life is an adventure. I love Emerson including a garden patch and a healthy child as a sign of success. I was just thinking today that I never came close to my dreams of success, but I do have a garden patch and a healthy child, thank God.Thanks for sharing! – Kaye

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