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None of my children or grandchildren came to me for Mother's Day this year which was a bit sad.  I did get a phone call from each of my sons and daughter but no cards or presents this year.  It was my own fault as I offered to do the sermon at church on that day at both services so our two paid clergy could have their time with their families, first grandchild for one, three grandchildren visiting from another state for the other. Next year it will be my turn to have the day off. Now I am going on for five years since Ray died it doesn't seem as important somehow.  Those days, Mother's Day and Father's Day are now something my sons and daughter can celebrate with their family. No sense in thinking about how it was in the past, that way is madness.

Last Saturday a friend gave me a rose from her garden so I found a single rose vase to put it in, then yesterday while I was visiting one of the older ladies I visit once a month she pointed to a large overcrowded vase and said her son in Sydney had sent her three dozen roses for Mother's Day.  Wow, how lovely I said.  She immediately went to the vase and pulled out seven of the blooms and gave them to me.  Of course they will not last long but for now I have seven roses and some fern in a vase on my dining table to enjoy.  I have always loved flowers and on special occasions Ray would buy me a bouquet and that is a good memory for me so to have beautiful flowers on my table is a real treat.

It's raining cold winter rain but I was able to go out today to the church coffee morning which I help to run. We didn't have a lot of customers due to the rain but I had a long talk to a lady who often comes, she is partially deaf and so likes a one on one conversation as she lip reads. There are a lot of lonely people in the world and a conversation can temporarily drive that lonely feeling away. When I had counseling the year after Ray died the counselor told me any time I had a bad feeling, anxiety, panic attack etc I was to go out to where there were people, the shopping centre if it was hot or wet, a park if it was a pleasant day  and on the right sort of day a walk along the lake shore would give me the exercise I needed. She was right in thinking that was what I needed and I often fled to the shops at first, now it is much rarer, I can bear my own company now.

I just had lunch out three days in a row.  On Wednesday with an old friend from my school days, his mother was my daughter's godmother.  He is a single man, has been married three times before and now shares a house with his son.  It is always good to meet up with him as we know each other's family history so I really enjoyed that. I get a few envious glances as he is a good looking man but to him I am just Sue, an old family friend. The next day I met up with a couple of girlfriends who are also widows and we spent time talking about our families and their children and how different it is now to when we were bringing up our own children and of course the state of the nation as we always do.  Today it was just an older widow who has problems that she wanted to talk over, she looks after a son who has had a stroke and that is harder as you pass 80, the main worry being what will happen to the one you care for if anything happens to you. 

I was glad I had a sociable week as I find rainy days make me feel more isolated and I am tempted to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.  I rarely do that as I like to make the day worthwhile but the temptation is there.  A lady at the coffee morning asked me how I find time to do all I do, that is easy to answer I like to keep busy as keeping busy keeps me from moping.  I think if I didn't do all I do I would be depressed so I don't allow myself too much leisure time. This afternoon I sat in on the welfare interviews and that made me think how very lucky I am to have a roof over my head and food on the table.  One man said his rent had gone up and now the rest of his money doesn't cover the food bill.  I can understand that. The cost of living is higher in winter than in summer so the money does not stretch as far.  Sad but true.

I think some people think that I am always smiling, always laughing, always happy.  It is the perception but not the reality.  Like most of us here I have my bad days, I just try not to let it show.  I have those days when all I want is to have someone to talk to, a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on. I seem not to get a lot of hugs these days and I really miss that feeling of closeness too.  With my children and grandchildren so far away who is left to hug me? That sense of isolation from family is also just part of being a widow or widower not for all I know but certainly for some. My church family do smile, chat and one or two hug me occasionally but that is it - occasionally. I really miss bodily contact, an arm around the shoulder, a hand to hold.  Apart from hiring a gigolo there is no solution that I can see for that so I guess it is just another thing I have to adjust to.

So if the rain continues I will just have to go out when I can, stay home and read or do handwork or if the worst comes to the worst do housework.  The garden will grow weeds which will give me something to do when the sun shines

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Comment by Callie2 on May 19, 2017 at 1:27pm
Widowhood is hard for a lot of us Sue. It can sometimes be a battle to remain optimistic and cheerful, but as I see it, our only choices are to try and be happy or succumb to the misery and loneliness. I think the latter may be easier, though! It's good to have a venue like this to air these feelings--especially since most of us (if not all) truly understand. You express yourself well, keep writing!
Comment by Cee on May 19, 2017 at 4:34am

You are an inspiration.  Thank you for expressing how many of us feel, and giving us strength to move through this life we have been given.

Comment by Maggie on May 19, 2017 at 2:46am
Ah Sue, I enjoyed your post here. I can relate to the loneliness and the longing for a hug. A recent blog infollow calls it skin hunger and they weren't referring to sex. I think this is common with older widowed people without a new partner.
Comment by underthefarmhouse on May 19, 2017 at 2:45am

Sue, thank you for such a positive message, and hiring a gigolo is not an option for me, either!  I get lots of physical contact and love from my two rescue kitties. They stick to me like glue since their Pappa died at home on 17 Feb. 2016. You inspired me to take a walk today, to get out and see other humans, and I thank you for that. It's almost summer in the USA, where I live, and everything is blooming (and we're all sneezing). Carpe diem. 

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