Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Random Thoughts

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I bought a book from Amazon and had it downloaded onto my ipad.  The name of the book is “Seven Choices:  Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World”.  I am still trying to find some balance in my life since Pati’s death last June 16, 2012.  You would think I would move on by now and accept what is but I haven’t, however I am working on it. I am going to talk a little about that now.  If this makes you uncomfortable, my only suggestion is to hit the delete button.  Actually that’s how I feel about a few issues I will be writing about…..I feel like my delete button was pressed.

I was only a 22 year old naive GI when Pati and I met in January of 1965.  We got married one year later January 22, 1966.  I fell in love with her at first sight on a blind date and have known nothing but a wonderful and loving life with Pati for over 46 years.  Other than my year in Viet Nam and some overnight business trips I had to make, we were never apart.  We had two wonderful sons and we love them dearly and raising them was the joy of our life.  I loved Pati unconditionally and we grew up together and our life together was magical; she and I together forever.  I knew before I married Pati that she had medical issues from her childhood that may someday take her from me but I always hoped we would live forever.  Doesn’t everyone?  Even the nineteen years of assisting her with her special needs after the second brain tumor operation when she had a stroke and then six more brain tumor operations and many other medical issues, like losing her hearing and eyesight in one eye, didn’t stop our hope for forever.  We never wanted to accept that one or the other will have to die, even after I had a heart attack at age forty six.  I knew I could never leave her alone and I could not allow myself to be weaker than she was.

As I write, I will be paraphrasing this book I am reading for the second time, to try and express my feelings.  I am reading a chapter called “Stumbling in the Dark, A time of Second Crisis.”  It tells of a bleak, hopeless and empty future for someone like me unless I make some major changes. The structure, shape, focus and direction of the past are gone, and there is absolutely nothing to take their place in the present.  The world as I knew it has been shattered.  The writer says all one can do is make a new and different shape for their life because what has happened is irreversible.

I have been crying and sad and lonely for over eight months now and I am doing everything I can to try and get a grip on this issue.  The best thing I have read is that I am not alone.  Did you know that over 800,000 people lose their spouse every year?   The writer tells of other people’s loss in their own words regarding anger, loss of faith, strained relationships, guilt etc.  Also, the writer says, “Now, not only must we mourn the absent one but we must mourn the loss of the future we naturally assumed we were going to have”.  As I move forward through this book, it tells me some things that I have already experienced and don’t understand.  Why are people scared and embarrassed by death?    The pain and loss of a partner only intensifies when others are uncomfortable about acknowledging the relationship. 

So….after reading this book twice, I feel a little better that I am doing some things right.  I want my future to be less stressful, less sad, more happy and more productive.  I believe I am headed in the right direction by being out here in my travel trailer traveling and making a new future and meeting new friends.  Some days are very long for me but I am finding that solitude and loneliness are two very different things.  I actually relish my solitude as it gives me time to ponder and plan my new future and relish my past…..and read a lot!

I am really looking forward to some great times while in Montana this summer where I am closer to nature and all its beauty.  Right now I am enjoying the beauty created by the owner of this beautiful East Texas country property I am watching while they are on a six week cruise.  Every time I look up or out the window I see or hear something new or exciting….like a butterfly or a bird or a fish jumping in the pond or a new bush or flower or tree I didn’t notice before.  Nature is worth watching and I get the feeling she is watching me too and spreading her beauty with a smile just for me.

Maybe Pati has something to do with that.  The thought that it may be so makes me happy, and that’s what Pati would want.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Springtime In East Texas

Monday, April 15, 2013

It has been awhile since I took the time to write.  I guess I was just not inspired to express myself for some reason.  I think my time in San Antonio brought back too many good and bad memories of what we hoped would be our golden years.  I realize after my visit that I have to close that door and move forward and try to build my new life.

Right now I am sitting on a beautiful eight acre homestead near Lake Tawakoni in East Texas listening to the cardinals singing and watching cottontails bouncing around.  It is so quiet here compared to being near or in a big city.  This morning is muggy and warm and overcast with a soft breeze.  What a beautiful world we live in.  I can see God’s creations all around me and it makes me happy.

Our pad in Point, Texas

One of two stocked ponds on this property
The road leading to a two acre tract for sale next door to where I am staying.

This is the two acre tract for sale...might be a possibility.  The lake is just down the trail.

When I left Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio I went west to a small town outside of Kerrville called Ingram.  There was no real reason for going there but it was an enjoyable place to park for three weeks.  The rv park was in the middle of a large pecan orchard about five miles outside of the town.  I enjoyed being there and met some very nice folks.  Every morning some of the couples would go to the old ranch house that served as the rec center and have coffee.  All the guys would gather around the kitchen and the gals would sit at a table in the back.  I thought this was kind of strange but it worked for me since I always feel like a third wheel being alone around a bunch of couples.  I don’t usually go to the potlucks or other events because of that until I know someone.  Anyway, sitting around with a bunch of old farts can be informative and funny too.  I actually enjoyed myself and learned a few things I did not know.

Here are some pictures of the area:

Johnson Creek behind the RV Park

Our walking road behind the park.  My rig is the little brown one.

This is Austin.  He was my RV neighbor.  Singing at Chili's.

My view looking back toward the walking road.  Pecan trees.

Replica of Stonehenge in Ingram

There wasn’t much going on but Dexter and I got in a good walk everyday and we took some long rides in the Hill Country and saw some nice areas.  The best thing that happened while there was when some folks I met in Rockport came to visit on Easter.  Margie and Don are full timers and were going  back to Georgia but called me and said they were coming by to visit and Margie was cooking Easter dinner.  I had planned to stop by Austin and visit with Fred and Judy but Margie called them and asked them to come to my location so we could all get together.  They all came on Friday and stayed until Monday and it was really nice visiting with them again before leaving there.

Fred cooked some great tenderloin fillets Saturday along with Judy’s great salad and other fixings.  I supplied the wine.  We all ate and drank too much but it sure was special.  Sunday morning I took Margie and Don to Easter Services at the Presbyterian church in Kerrville.  It is a massive and beautiful church and we really enjoyed going.  After church, Margie brought her early Easter dinner over to Fred’s trailer and we ate too much again.  She made Grasshopper pie for desert and it was wonderful.  Rather than cooking a ham we ate more of Fred’s fillet roast.  All the food and great company was really special.

Weather wise, it was an unsettled day that Sunday and we were all outside enjoying ourselves and taking bets that it wouldn’t rain when all hell broke loose!  We had thunder and lightning and then heavy rain and hail.  We rushed into Fred’s trailer and waited it out.  We were all laughing because I told them it was a good thing we were outside of Fred’s trailer and not mine.  My trailer is much smaller and someone would have been standing up or sitting on the toilet due to the close quarters!   It was certainly a good time to remember and I hope we will all see each other again in the coming years.  I am really lucky to have met such nice folks while out here on the road alone.  I should thank Dexter because he is the main attraction….not me.  I’m not looking for a personal relationship but, if I were, he would be my main “chick magnet”!

Portland, Oregon and my Family

After leaving Ingram I drove up to the Dallas area and parked my trailer on the property I am watching while the owner’s go on a six week cruise to Europe.  They let me park it early so I could catch a plane to Portland and visit with my two sons and grandkids.  That saved me a bunch and I am very grateful.  I even offered to mow his very large lawn while he was gone. This was the first time I had flown in many years and it wasn’t bad except for the cramped seats.  I didn’t have any issues going through security and was glad to see that it was still in force.  I don’t mind being a little delayed if it prevents anyone from being hurt.

Flying into Seattle to change planes

Mt. Rainier in Washington State

Green and wet....that's Oregon!
I have to admit I love the Pacific Northwest.  It is so green and beautiful and the mountains were all covered with snow.  I also have to admit the Spring-time pollen gave me the fits while I was there.  It never bothered me before but it was terrible this time.  I stayed with my old friend and neighbors, Jeff and Letty.  They are such nice people and great hosts.  Here I am intruding on them to save a few bucks and they did all they could to make me comfortable and feeling at home.  I am again very fortunate to have such great fiends in my life.

Letty and Cloie (Cloie is 15 years old!)

My best friend Jeff

My American Bolivian friends Josie and Yanni.....world travelers!  We were both sucking it in for the camera.

This was the first time I had seen my son Josh’s baby son, Ben.  Benjamin Patrick Murray….seven months old and born two months premature.  He has been struggling to get a grip on life since he was born and is doing pretty darn good now after some difficult times for him and his parents.  He had just had surgery to remove a stomach tube that had been in since birth and he was a little weak but he will come around and catch up as he grows older.  He is a beautiful little boy with a full head of hair, unlike his Grandpa!  I hope someday Ben and I will get to go fishing together just like I did with Josh and Jason when they were young.

Grandpa and Ben

Kathleen, Ben and Josh

Jason’s daughter Kaitlen is four and a half and a bundle of energy!  She is a beautiful little girl and very bright.   Jason and his wife, Anna, informed me I am going to be another Grandpa in October.  I hope all goes well for them and I will be back in the area next October to be part of that wonderful event.  Maybe it will be a boy!  I plan to take Kaitlen fishing with me too someday.

Kaitlen and he friend Bailey



While in Portland, I visited with Pati’s brother John and sister Judy also.  We had a great dinner at John’s home up on Bear Mountain in Washougal, Washington.  He lives on three acres way up  the hill and has some black bears around so he named it after the bears.  It is a refreshing place to go and Pati and I always enjoyed getting together at John’s house.  It was really sad not to have her with me this time.

Pati's brother John

Pati's sister Judy

Grandpa Murray feeling pretty proud.

Until next time, I will bid adieu and safe travels.