Anticipation on the holidays

Anticipation of holidays can be so hard when you lose someone you love. Time really does help. But sometimes the holidays bring on these emotions you don’t expect. The good news is that the anticipation is usually worse than the day/time you were anticipating.

You should always be prepared for what you may feel and plan something that will help you honor that person. Light a candle, tell a story about them, send a balloon up with a note or take just plan some time to think about them. It doesn’t have to be anything major, just so you are prepared and allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come your way.

It doesn’t always have to be a holiday. What about when it’s not. Sometimes you go on with your day and you do something that reminds you of your loved one and as you start to feel these emotions, they catch you by surprise.

Recently a tree fell on my deck. I was very lucky. Just a broken screen and a couple of cracked rail caps. I went and bought the rail caps and put them on myself. I was ready to pick up the phone and call my stepfather and brag. But, I remembered that he died a few years back. I remembered things like when I had a question about something broken I called him. When I fixed something on my own, I called him and he was always proud. It’s been a while since he died, but it still had that twinge of “I miss him.” I don’t ever want that to go away.

For me this year it was a different than past holiday seasons. Thanksgiving seemed to be very small this year. I always had a large group, around 20 people. Everyone seemed to have different plans this year. It turned out to be 2 friends, my 2 kids and myself. Later the evening a friend’s daughter in law came with her kids.

Christmas was smaller too. My kids are older now and don’t want or need much. Opening gifts was much quicker and my older son went to his girlfriend’s house. My other son and I were here, just hanging out. I took a nap and he played video games. It was a reality check for me. I realized that my family was not only small, but it’s shrunk. Now my kids will be doing their own thing and I get a small portion of their time. For now, I’ll take what I have.

I’ve been dealing with the empty nest and seeing lots of changes in my life and family. As the New Year approaches I realize that it’s time to kick start the next stage in my life. Like adding some new traditions. As I adjust to less time with my kids and a small family I know that things are changing and the things I do need to change.

I’ve decided that this coming year is going to be the year of new traditions and new beginnings. Whether grieving a loss or the fact that a new stage of life is coming, we need to change with the loss or the new stage of life. Why not take some old traditions and combine them with some new.

I Hate Valentine’s Day Feelings Of Grief

I hate Valentine’s Day feelings of grief. Valentine’s day is hard for some without suffering a loss.

When you lose a spouse, or significant other, it is already hard to deal with the feelings. Now you throw in this romantic Valentine’s Day holiday and it just adds another day in the year to remember that you suffered a great loss.

I’ve read posts from people that have lost a partner in life and so many people have heartache. We see love all around, candy, flowers, cards, gifts, decorations, people holding hands, special Valentine’s Day menus. It’s hard to be happy for those that have that special someone.

I remember before marriage I was single and it was always a day that you just wished you’d have someone. When you have a great love and you’ve had some wonderful years, then they are pulled out from under you, you just want to crawl in a hole.

For me it’s been over 18 years since my husband died. We didn’t do much, but for us just being together was special. I’m in a great place in my life, but hate seeing other people suffer.

If that’s you, I want you to know It will get easier, I promise. I just takes time.

My message to those that have a great love by their sides, love them every day. Cherish each day you have together. Take a minute and think about those that lost someone and give your “date” an extra special hug for someone who’s suffered the huge loss of a lifetime.

For those feeling the heartache, allow yourself to feel the pain, but treat yourself to something that may give you a moment of happiness.

My Dog is Sick

My dog is sick and I’m hit with the reality that she is an old dog. I adopted her 4 years ago and she’s now 11. I’ve become so attached to her it’s hard to think of her not being a part of my life.

Lulu, my dog, sitting on the couch

At the vet I find out that there is some concern and I need to do some tests. We aren’t sure what’s wrong. She’s more active than normal but also going to the bathroom more than normal. Tests can become expensive. Those expenses are only the tests, then there’s medication and retests once she’s done with the medication.

One step at a time

We run some tests, just the most important. The tests were $166 making the visit total $250. Now it’s go home and wait.

The next morning, Ring, ring, the test results are in. I get the call to find out that her liver is showing higher than normal numbers. Like they should be about 100 and they are 1500. (don’t ask what the numbers are or mean, all I know is it’s a big difference and doesn’t sound good)

The medications would be $125, but they have a program where I could get one of the prescriptions free. So it was only $95. Next week I go back to get more tests done to see how she’s doing. I’m sure it will be $166 or more, bringing the total to $511.

In December I took both my dogs to the vet and had to do IMG_1274some vaccines. I only did the required because as it turned out the other dog had a tear in his eye. That visit with medication was over $600.

I still have to get more vaccines.

When is enough. At this point I don’t have to worry because it’s minor. I’ve seen people with dogs that had cancer and they continued to treat their animals. Sometimes spending upward or $10,000.
So when do you know enough is enough.
It’s an individual choice, just like people, each person is entitled to their opinion. And each of us will decide what’s right for us.

IMG_1047

Until I had dogs of my own I didn’t fully understand the love you can have for a pet. I now have two and love each of them in their own special way. I don’t know what I’d do if it was cancer, or something that needs lots of expensive treatments, but I know I would do more now than I would have thought anyone should. But the unconditional love of these dogs has taken my heart and I am glad I don’t have to make that decision at this point and hope I never do.

Communication With Your Teenager

Trust Your Mom

Having good communication with your teenager is hard, but so important. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that. It takes good communication to get them to trust you.

We’ve had several discussions on how to handle communication. We’ve gone back and forth and I think we are finally at a point where we can communicate, talk and have trust.

The best conversations I have with my kids are in the car. I used to drive them to school when they were younger. Looking back, I know that’s when I learned a lot about what they were thinking.

Over the years I’ve had to make coming to me a safe place to go when they need help. I’m not talking about tying a shoe or doing laundry for them, but when there’s peer pressure.

They have heard many things from me, including how to get away with not giving in or if it’s a hard situation how to get out of it. For example, if they are in a situation where they are being super pressured into drinking a beer, go to the bathroom, dump out the beer and fill it with water. Nobody will know.

If there ride has been drinking or doing drugs or if they themselves are too drunk to drive, I’ve told them to call me and I’ll come get them no questions asked.

One day my younger son said “I know you’ve said I can call and no questions asked, but I feel like you will get mad at me”. I had to think fast on my feet. How can I make him feel safe and trust me.

Ah ha!

I told him “if that happens and I start giving you a hard time just remind me I said no questions asked. However, I will be so happy that you did the right thing and you won’t die or kill someone I’m sure I won’t be mad.”

The town I live in has lost a number of kids because someone got behind the wheel and the others got in the car with them. No parent should have to deal with that. Teach them well and offer them a no questions asked way out so they feel safe.

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