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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

I have just been to visit my son, the one who lives on the edge of a desert.  I always seem to see things different from there.  Where I live we have all the amenities of large coastal towns, where he lives life is tough and only the barest amenities exist.  Where I live most people are retired, seem financially comfortable and looking forward to the future, where he lives people are being retrenched and had to retire long before they were ready to do so. The whole of the small city which once depended on  mining is descending into poverty. And yet the people are friendly, resilient, helping to support each other and ready to make an effort to participate in life.  Well, that is the impression get while I am there. It is as if they are saying:  "We have been in this position before and have battled our way out of it so we will just have to do it again."  It is a positive attitude I admire.

From a a distance my problems look different, I think because I am aware of how much I have, maybe at home I compare myself too much with those who have what I had wanted for so long, an opportunity to go places, do the things I wanted to do in retirement.  In the desert town I see people just enjoying sitting talking to each other in the sunshine,spending some time together is something we are often too busy to do where I live.  Most of the retired folk I know are too busy getting the things ticked off the "bucket list". In the bush they like driving around to see friends, having a BBQ or sitting down with their kids and grandkids running around them. Some go by calling out and waving as they pass Trev's small house. It is small town life, and I think it is that kind of life I need to get back to.  I don't mean I have to move just that I need to simplify, enjoy the moment more.

We also had a six hour drive to visit my older son who had an accident about a month ago that caused him to have a couple of operations on his leg.  He was helping a couple of ladies push a broken down car off the road and tore a calf muscle.  The doctors said he was lucky he came straight on to the hospital as the artery tore and an hour or so later he would have lost the use of that leg.He is still on heavy painkillers and not on the leg more than he has to be. Because he is a long way from me too I don't see him that often so it was good to be there for a day and catch up a bit.  That is one of the things that worries me  that my two sons do live so far away so I have to overcome that by doing the travelling to see them myself while I am healthy enough to do so.

I came home to a ruined garden as the brush turkeys had been in and dug out all the parsley and some of the geraniums and generally ruined everything at scratching level.  Yes, I was mad as hell, no I don't begrudge them the right to roam around the place.  I only have low fences on two of the sides and they fly if somewhat awkwardly so over they came and with no-one home to disturb them and so they did a great job of digging.  A few days and a few dollars will fix it I know.  I really like to live in a place that has birds and animals still close by.  We pay the price for that in the damage they do I guess.

Tomorrow it is back to working for the church in the pastoral care field, I will leave pastoral visits etc till next week when I have got over the trip.  Tomorrow morning is call in and chat coffee morning so I need to be there at 8.30am to help set up and serve tea and coffee till 11am.  I just love it.  We don't have a lot of people come so far so that allows a lot of one-to-one chatting and getting to know people at a different level.  That too is a 'small town" experience. Our group do welfare, handing out groceries etc in the afternoon but at the moment I am not involved in that job. Doing good makes you feel good.  I am not a "do gooder", well I don't think I am, but I like what I am involved in to benefit the community and also help people who are in need, not because I take the moral high ground but because it is what I think we should all do, an act of helping out those who need a hand along, paying it forward if you like. 

I want to spend some time thinking about what I need to do to change my life around, take a deeper look at what makes me  ME.  I have been so long as part of a couple that some of this is new to me.  Forty four years as a married woman was a large slice of my life and the three and a half years since Ray died and I have been a widow has not been enough for me to see clearly what it means to be Only One Sue. I need to keep working on that.

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Comment by Blue Snow on May 22, 2016 at 5:13am

You've always served others in one way or another through out your life, Sue, only now you have more time to do it. It's going to take time to accept that you're only Sue (and not Ray and Sue) in that endeavor.

Comment by Nieta on May 20, 2016 at 11:08am

Your soul is revealed through your words Only1Sue.  And, you are beautiful!

Comment by deaf widow on May 19, 2016 at 3:10am

You have great wisdom and understanding of people and  how they live and think about their neighbors and the difference in their attitudes about life.  This is a great gift!  And to think that.... in spite of what you have suffered with the loss of Ray after 44 yrs. of sharing his love, laughter, closeness....you are managing to help others.  I believe you are a Saint!   Very few people have that energy or drive.  Thank you!  I do think you might need some time off (vacation) to do the things you enjoy.  Fishing, exploring new places, shopping, back rub?  Whatever you like.  Am sending you ((hugs)).

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