It is just over 3 weeks since my husband Pete lost his 5 year battle with his cancer of an unknown primary.  This grief journey is not new to me as 18 years ago my first husband took his own life.  I never thought I would ever find love again, but I did.   I was so lucky to find Pete and we had 10 special years together.  However, half way through that he was diagnosed with cancer.   I feel so cheated, but at the same time I feel blessed I was given another chance.   I know that many people do not get that, so I shouldn't feel sorry for myself.  AT the moment I do, but I know that will pass.  Every day the tears come and I try so hard to find comfort in the good times.  But at the moment the thoughts of the good times are what bring on the tears.    As someone once said to me, "you will never get over this, but you will get through this."  Thank you for listening.

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Dear Enza

My heart went out to you as I read your message.  I've also had a bad few days and I just wished I could be there by your side to support you.   It is just so hard when you feel so alone, isn't it?

Do you think there is a possibility that you would learn how to use the tractor?   I wondered if that was something you would ever consider?  Forgive me if I am treading on your toes as I know how hard that would be for you and I know it was your husbands pride and joy:  it would be a difficult decision for you to make.

Three days ago I went to do my grocery shopping and it was a bad day, I knew I shouldn't have gone into town, but I did.   While parking my car I clipped a post and took paint off the front corner of my car and caused very minor damage with a small crack in the paneling as well.  In the scheme of things it is nothing and Marty said he can mend it for me to make it appear better.  But I had never done that in 47 years of driving and I felt so disappointed in myself and I felt so bad as Pete loved our car.  It was his pride and joy.  I felt so much guilt.  When Marty and Joel came out yesterday I told them about it and how I felt and I broke down in front of them.  Marty hugged me and I felt such an idiot, but I couldn't help it.  As Marty said, I have had so much going on with losing Pete and then being confronted by family I hadn't seen in years, not to mention working hard out here etc etc etc, I shouldn't beat myself up about it, because it is now in the past.   I know he is right.

I have many plumbing issues needing attending to out here.  A plumber came out here on Friday and checked out the drainage issues I have with all this rain, plus she is ordering parts for my hot water system among other things.   Everything just seems to pile on top of me at the moment.

Tomorrow I have an appointment at our accountant and it will be the first time I have sat in that office without Pete.  I hope I can be strong for that meeting.  I'm already dreading it.

As far as I know my daughter and granddaughter recovered ok from covid.  I didn't get it, which I guess I can count my blessings for.   I also received a belated mothers day msg from my son in the USA a week after the event, which was nice.  My youngest daughter just ignored me.   I can cope with that.

Good on you for painting those railings.  I could use you over here with the paintbrush, so much to do!!   Be proud of yourself for attempting the work that you have, because I'm proud of you because you are having a go despite the difficult situation you are in.  You are a fighter even if you don't realise it yourself!!

Before I sign off I must tell you that we did have 3 days without rain this week and I manage to mow, prune and whipper snip like crazy during that time.  The autumn leaves are falling and I was mowing around a liquid amber and curled up in the leaf litter was quite a big python.   Initially I thought he was dead, but when I came back to that tree he had moved to the other side and finally he disappeared altogether.  I think he was trying to find a warm spot.  Reptiles don't like the cold.   I wish there was some way I could send you some photos.

Take care my friend.   I think of you every day and I am so proud of you.

Ros

Hi Ros, I'm glad yo hear you didn't catch Covid and that your family is ok now. Sorry to hear about your car damage, it isn't your fault, your friends are right, you've really got so much on your plate at the moment. I admire you for being able to do so much on your own, especially having to 'deal' with snakes every now and then.
We've gone from Winter to Summer all at once, already in 80s humid temperatures, pollen still around, I'm still wearing my facemask for that, not for covid,it hasn't rained much this year, that's why there's so much of it. Living out in the country multiplies our"spring cleaning" by a thousand, as you probably understand Ros. So much to do, and no, unfortunately there is no chance I could ever learn to drive the tractor, it's huge, you need real physical strength just to get it going and then our land is hilly, full of obstacles (fruit trees), my husband always said it had taken him years to learn all those awkward manouvers you are forced to do. So instead, I've just been painting more rusty railings, at least you don't have to have a particular ability to do that.
I hope your appointment with your accountant goes ok, I know what it's like having to confront alone all those issues you used to face together with your husband, they all seem so much more difficult now, don't they? I do hope you solve your plumbing situation, I understand how frustrating it is, I used to have the security of knowing that every problem could be solved and it's so hard now, not having that guarantee anymore.
I'll leave you now, until next time, sending you lots of hugs, always a huge pleasure hearing from you.
Enza

Hi Enza

I feel so much more at ease now regarding the minor car issue.   I have so much else to deal with, it seems so insignificant now.

Finally we have sunshine and a weeks worth is predicted, so I will be busy trying to catch up.  Even though winter officially starts here on 1st June, after all the months of rain, things are still growing, thankfully though, a little slower.

Tomorrow would have been Pete's birthday.  Another "first" I have to get through.  I'll occupy my time by mowing.  Like anything, if last year I knew would have been the last birthday we would celebrate together,  I would have tried to make the day more special.  I'm sure you would feel the same way too.  Hindesight isn't always a welcome thing.

I had to defer my accountants appointment as his daughter came down with covid.  So I'm waiting to hear back from them.  I'm also waiting to hear back from the plumber as to when they can start all my jobs.  Now we have no rain, I hope they get a move on with things.

Well done on the painting.  We have a flat roof house and back in 2018 I treated and then painted all the roof capping around the edge of the roof to protect it from weather.  I calculated in total it took me 18 hours to complete and if it ever needs doing again, I've resolved to get a painter in.  Considering I don't like heights, I was proud of myself for achieving that result.  Pete couldn't do the job due to his lack of balance at that time and not long after his brain surgery either.

I don't blame you for not using the tractor, after what you have described to me.  I think I would be hesitant too.

I hope your summer doesn't get too hot.  We have been told later this week it will turn really cold, so that will be a change from our summer heat.  Take care Enza, I hope you are having a better day.   The better days I relish in, but as you know, it doesn't take much to turn a good day into a bad one.   The tears are never far away.

Big hugs until next time

Ros

Hi Ros, I hope you're doing well. It's getting hotter and hotter here, the humidity is terrible. We've literally jumped from Winter to Summer all in one go, from wearing coats to suddenly wearing Tshirts. I'm just feeling more and more depressed with these long Summer days, fed up of hearing the TV remind us that this Summer is the first "normal" Summer for the past two years since the pandemic started, people holidaying all over the place. I ask: "What's normal?" My life isn't normal anymore, I don't feel normal, don't even feel like a human sometimes. Sounds odd, I know, but that's how I feel.
You're right Ros, about your car damage seeming so insignificant to you now. I've come to realise that after losing my beloved so suddenly that way, I no longer worry about minor issues I used to worry about before, I just shrug my shoulders and think: "oh, not to worry, there are worse things...". I want to tell you about a strange episode Ros. The other day while I was in the laundry room loading my washing machine, I suddenly had one of my 'attacks' (that's what I call them), and began crying out for my husband: 'Where are you? ", "Where are you?". The light bulb flickered, I cried out again, another flicker. I stopped in silence and waited a while, it didn't flicker. I don't know, I've always been sceptical about these issues (just like my C was) but I suddenly found myself wondering and felt a little comfort at that moment. I just want him back so much.
I'll leave you now Ros, I hope your Winter days don't get too cold.
Look forward to hearing from you, lots of hugs.
Enza.

Hi Enza

It's getting colder here which is nice after the heat and rain of our summer.   I understand with the humidity as we get that over her too.   I agree with you, "normal" for us isn't "normal" is it?  We have to readjust on our own.

I survived Pete's birthday at the end of May.  It was such a hard start to the day, but I worked hard and made it through.   Yesterday was 7 months since Pete passed away.  Another shocking day, but again I worked hard.  If it wasn't for this property I don't think I would have survived this, truly I don't.  No wonder I ache all over.  I do too much, I know I do, but it helps me to survive.

I agree, minor issues are nothing compared to losing our life partners.  It makes you appreciate what you have left doesn't it?    You know what, I believe that was your Claudio telling you his is still there with you, that day in the laundry.  I've always been a believer in things that can't be explained.    I just know he was there and always will be.   

Pete told me he would be with me when I'm working on the property and at times when I do I feel him so strongly.  I just know he is there probably making sure I'm doing things right!!!Today I asked him for another sign he is still with me.   We just need that reassurance don't we?

I finally had my hot water system fixed last week.   Now I'm waiting on the plumber to return to do other jobs.   At least it's not raining, that is one blessing.

Life gets lonely doesn't it?   I don't go out much, unless I need shopping or fuel.  Friends these days rarely call.  That's ok, they have their lives to lead and I'm not one to go visiting.   But losing Pete has made me realise who was a true friend and who wasn't.  It has certainly weeded them out.  I hate to be cynical, but sometimes I can't help it.

Take care Enza, I do so look forward to hearing from you.

Ros and lots of hugs back 

Hi Ros, we've had a rainy, cooler week here but now the summer heat is back again. I'm having really bad weekend blues at the moment, especially today, Sunday, glad it's almost over. The other day I got our friend handyman to cut all th grass on our property with his tractor, so good to see it clean and tidy at last, but so sad to see it so bare. My husband and I used to plant so many types of veggies, I've just managed to plant a few tomatoes, just for the sake of it. Killed myself hoeing by hand, though. You're right about realising who is a real friend and who isn't. I've also had some disappointments, but I'm like you Ros, I've never been in the habit of visiting, also because me and my beloved didn't need anyone else for company. We had each other, we were complete, that was enough. We weren't just soulmates, we were best friends too. I know you understand Ros. It really is so hard at times, I miss him more and more everyday. I'm glad you got your hot water system all sorted out, I know what it's like to have these problems. Isn't it funny how it's getting hotter and hotter here and colder and colder where you are Ros, do you ever reach freezing temperatures?
I also venture out just for shopping about once a week, and sometimes I have to take my mum or dad for medical visits. They can be so frustrating sometimes, they're in their mid-late 80s, so obviously they have a few minor health problems, and when they start moaning and complaining I snap at them, shouting: "it's absolutely normal that you have these problems at your age what about all those people who don't even get to see old age?"They can't possibly understand what I'm going through.
I know I sound bitter saying these things, but I just can't accept that my husband was taken so prematurely, we were supposed to grow old together. I also think he's always here with me, giving me strength to accomplish as much as possible. So much to do here, but just like you Ros, these endless jobs are my survival kit. Haven't finished painting all the railings yet, had to stop for the rain,but I will finish the job. Been cherry picking too, I usually manage to make some homemade jam but this year we haven't had so many because the winter was too long,and had no spring. I wish I could send you a bowlful.
I'll leave you now dear Ros, keep strong, your Pete is looking after you, and helping you, I'm sure.
Lots of hugs.
Enza

Hi Enza

Thank you for your email, I do so look forward to hearing from you.  I'm glad you had a small break in the hot weather.  It has turned quite cold here and I've had the fire going all day for the past 3 days.   I'm going through my wood, but I have a good supply.

You and I sound so much alike don't we in many of the ways in which we lead our lives?  Pete and I also only needed each others daily company.  We had friends and they still keep in contact (well to the most part anyway), but unless I'm invited I won't call in.   We were also best friends and going places where we used to go together is just so unbearable at times.  Some places I still can't go to on my own.

I feel for you with your parents reaction to their simple aging issues.    I guess it makes you wonder if they ever think about you and your loss and how it has affected you?  I know my own mother doesn't.  She never asks how I am, how I coped with the 5 years of Pete's ill health, nothing.  I find I have no-one in my family I can actually talk to about Pete.

I have a lemon tree which is loaded this year.  I thought I'd invite my daughter over to get some.  I also made a chocolate cake for the kids and had a jigsaw puzzle to give them.  True to form, she arrives empty handed as always.   Things went ok to a point and as she was leaving she says, "I knew I wouldn't have a relationship with you until he died.  I just didn't expect it to be so soon."  I was gobsmacked and really didn't have a response.  Some time later she sent a text and in a round about way kind of apologized by saying she didn't mean to disrespect my grief, but it  is hard to juggle that and past hurts.  Coming from her as a psychologist, I do have to wonder  just how good she is at her job.  All day today I've felt so down and cried and cried.  I just feel this relationship with her and her family is being pushed onto me.  As long as I live the blame for anything will be placed fair and square on the shoulders of both Pete and myself.  She can't seem to recall anything untoward she has said.   I worked hard today chopping fire wood and pruning, just to take my mind off it all.

My sister actually rang this afternoon and I was telling her about it.  She also couldn't believe it.  She was telling me when she found out Pete had passed she contacted my daughter to tell her and she asked my sister what she should do about contacting me.  My sister was amazed that a psychologist would need to ask that question.    I'd like to curl up, shut my eyes and never wake up at times.  This whole thing of being there for other people whether I need it or not I find just so hard to handle.  I know I probably sound selfish, but I can't help it.

Keep up the good work with your painting Enza, it is an achievement in itself.   Yes my hot water is sorted and now I'm waiting on quotes to come in for the drainage issue I have when we have lots of rain.

I also wish you could send me some of those cherries.   I'd send you lemons if I could.  I actually pruned my one and only olive tree today.  Many years ago it nearly died until I took care of it.  Now it is so tall it is growing beneath power lines and needed a hair cut.   I hope you are right about Pete helping me.  Like you Enza, some days I need all the help I can get.

You take care.  How I wished we lived closer. Hugs returned to you.

Ros

Hi Ros, hope you're doing well. Sorry to hear your relationship with your daughter is not going very well, I can understand perfectly how her words must have hurt you. Family issues can be so difficult to deal with, especially now, our husbands are no longer with us. Everything seems so much more difficult, doesn't it? My hubby always knew what was the right thing to do in any difficult situation, in fact he was always right in the end, he solved all problems. On the other hand, I've always been the type of person who just can't make decisions, perhaps that's one of the things that made us a perfect duo, two sides of the same coin. I'm missing him more than ever now, must be Summer blues added to weekend blues, so many memories of our days out together, spending time on our property. The other day I went for a walk around our land, it was early evening, I had arrived further down near a bush, when I heard an "oink oink" snoring sound. I quickly speeded up my pace and rushed home. Unfortunately for the past few years, we've had an invasion of wild boar around our area, actually the whole country is seeing this invasion. There are videos in internet where you can see these groups of wild boar (dozens of them), merrily strolling the streets of Rome! Can you believe that! They are terrible because they dig up huge holes in our land, fortunately they don't seem to like the taste of tomatoes, otherwise they would eat them all. They usually come out at night, when we are not outside, but it's not unusual to start seeing them just before sunset.
The days are getting hotter here, temperatures in the 80s,soon we will have to stay barricaded inside with all the blinds closed, at least from about midday to late afternoon.
Take care of yourself Ros, don't work too much and keep warm, near your cosy fireplace.
Hugs to you.
Enza

Hi Enza

I couldn't believe your story about the wild boars.  That must be such a worry for you, as they can be dangerous.   Are people allowed to hunt them to reduce the numbers?

I've been busy stacking fire wood for next year and building yet another bon fire.   This morning I've been using my long battery operated chain saw to chop down saplings that are growing up under the power lines.   I've currently, a bit at a time, been digging out an invasive plant that is taking over part of my garden.  It will take me awhile, but while the weather is cooler, I thought I'd tackle it.

My daughter contacted me today to see if I would like to see the two younger kids aged 9 and 14 place soccer and netball at their various venues on Saturday.  I've never been into sports, but I will go and watch and put in an appearance.   My youngest daughter who turns 40 in August will be coming from her home town, some 5 hours from here to spend a few days with her older sister sometime next week.   She is coming out here to my place on 1st July for what she calls an "honest conversation".  Trouble is, if I'm too honest I will end up back where I started and she just wouldn't want to listen which is what happened 10 years ago.  Anyway, I'll do my best and take it from there.  Even though my 3 children are 40 and above, I still feel like I'm dealing with 3 young kids who expect their mother to be what they want and not what she wants.  I tell you, at times I could really lock my gate and just keep everyone away from me.   I know that doesn't solve anything, but by god it's hard trying to be all things to others and not yourself.

How are you coping with the heat?  Over here in Summer we get into the mid to high 40 deg Celsius which is pretty hot.   It is over 100 F I believe.   So while it is cooler, I'm enjoying it.  Do you get humidity with the heat, we do over here where I live?

I know what you mean about having that someone to talk decisions over with and to just be there to share the load.  When you are on your own it is so much harder.

I look forward to hearing from you.  I always look forward to your messages.  Take care and a big hug back to you

Ros

Hi Ros, we're going through a scorching sweltering heatwave over here (40 Celsius, about 100F, I believe). The humidity is unbearable, but luckily our house still remains cool, keeping all the blinds down. News bulletins warning us all to avoid going out in critical hours. It's really annoying, as we have to stay barricaded indoors, I can only stay out early morning or evenings, so can't get many jobs done outside. This weather is normal though, happens every Summer.
With regards to the boars, yes, there is a hunting season here, but the hunters hunt everything but the boars, these wild animals only come out evenings and nighttime, but the hunters go out in the mornings. It's not just that, it's also because over the last few decades these wild animals have multiplied in numbers because hunters themselves started importing others from Eastern Europe and now we are inundated, not just with our own native ones but also others from other countries and these types reproduce themselves even more often and more numerously than our own ones. There are over a million now, compared to hundreds of thousands a few years ago.Add to this, all the acres of abandoned uncultivated land in our country (attracts them even more) people continue moving to the towns and cities, leaving our beautiful countryside. Mostly because our state, unfortunately, does not encourage agriculture, offering no financial incentives.
Just to change the subject, I've had an awful hectic week, calling the blacksmith to fix our front gate yet again, my husband used to do this himself, taking my dad for medical visits, being forced to drive in this scorching hot sun, then arriving finally home with a punctured tyre. Obviously, it was too late to call the mechanic, called my son from work, he usually changes tyres easily, but the wheel bolts on my daughter's car just didn't want to be taken off, my poor son put all his strength into it, dumbfounded by the fact that they just wouldn't move. So had to wait the following day to call our mechanic. Then I went alone to our nearby tyre specialist/repairer and while I was outside waiting, I just wanted to cry, not for the punctured tyre, but because I was my missing my husband, what was I doing out there all alone? He would have taken care of all that, or we would have been there together. Seemed so abnormal, as if it wasn't really happening. I know, it's no big deal, everyone has a flat tyre every now and then, but for me it was the end of the world. I felt so helpless and inadequate.
Ros I hope your daughter's visit to you goes well. I'm sure she will be understanding with you.
I understand what you mean about sometimes wanting to just lock your gate and shut everyone out.
Hugs to you dear friend, until next time.
Enza.

Hi Enza

Your summers sound just like ours.  We are in winter over here and it has just started to rain yet again after the month of June was bone dry.  Thank goodness.  Having said that I still have boggy places on the property from the flooding rains of Feb/March.  Yesterday I got my ride on mower bogged and was brave enough to get my car and tow it out all on my own.  I felt relieved and proud at the same time.  For once I didn't have to ask for help.

Those boars are a real pest aren't they?  You must get so fed up with them?

I totally understood where you were coming from when you told me the story about the front gate. I can so relate to that.  As for the car issue, it must have been so dreadful for you?  I felt like crying along with you when I read that.  I was only saying to Marty the other day if I had a flat tyre I wouldn't cope with that.  My arthritis wouldn't allow me the strength to take the bolts off the wheel for a start.  I always check the tyre pressure myself, oil, etc, but changing tyres would be beyond me I think.

On Wednesday June 29th it was our 11th wedding anniversary.  I was so upset and cried a lot.  Then I had the urge to start reading the many notes and cards Pete had given me over the 13 years we knew each other.   As I was going through them a piece of paper fluttered to the floor.  It was a poem I hadn't even realised was in with those cards.  It was a poem called "Don't Quit."  As soon as I saw that a calm came over me and I knew it was a message from Pete.  I found myself gathering strength and I was able to go outside and do some work.  It was such a blessing.

I watched my 9 yr old grandson play soccer last Saturday and my daughter picked me up, which felt so weird.  After the game she took me to their house for a cup of tea.  Her husband also was the soccer coach and though aloof, was ok. It's strange, I feel like I'm sitting in a play acting out a part, it doesn't feel real.  After the tea she took me home.  I didn't invite her in as I was feeling so tired and just wanted to be by myself.   It felt strange being around them.  I can't talk about Pete as I know they don't care and having to keep all that to myself when I should be able to speak about him, hurts me so much.    My youngest daughter who was coming to see me today 1st July, isn't coming now as she isn't feeling well.  To be honest I'm pleased.  I've been ill all week with a tummy bug (hence feeling tired on Saturday I think), so best to leave it til another time.  I'm still unsure as to how that meeting will go.

It's strange, as I feel like I'm mixing with strangers.  While in their car last weekend my daughter started playing a song called I can't smile without you by Barry Manilow.  She was singing along and I had to ask her to stop as I found it upsetting.  I truly don't think she even got why.

On Sunday Marty and Joel invited me to their home for lunch.  I feel more at home around them than I do my family because I know I can be myself, I know they loved Pete and I know they have my best interests at heart.  They had bought me a gift bless them.  They know I love purple and am such a fan of little birds like we have here.  They had bought me a purple towel set for my bathroom with blue fairy wrens embroidered on them.   I was so touched by their thoughts.

Well, nothing more to add from this end Enza.   I think of you all the time and I wish there was a way we could share photos.  Please take care of yourself and I do believe your beloved husband is watching over you, as proud as punch of where you are today.  He will never leave you.

Hugs back to you

Ros x

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