Monthly Archives: December 2008


One of the drawbacks to living in this house is the trees. They’ve grown up around the place and I knew it could be dangerous. I’ve made it through this storm okay, but here is what I’m talking about.

Tree on the garage

Tree on the garage

This is the garage and the tree against it. Now, let’s look at the car port:

Tree on the carport

Tree on the carport

There was a small tree across the drive, now cut up, thanks to Heath’s help:

Tree across the drive

Tree across the drive

And finally, a view of the ruts, left after Heath got stuck doing his good deed:

Loretta and the ruts

Loretta and the ruts

But happily, gloriously, the weather has warmed and the snow continues to melt. The ruts did make it easier for me to walk. I needed a break from the snow. There is a lot of winter left. I’d like for the driveway to clear and I miss my walks in the woods. Life at 1700 ft in winter does not always let you do the things you would like. I’m thankful that the trees caused minimal damage. I hope I don’t have any more of these pictures to post.

Merry Christmas!

Well, it has been an awful year and truly the most awful Christmas eve imaginable. I won’t go into details. At any rate, it’s Christmas day and I am ready to move forward past the holidays into a new year. We have snow, lots of snow. There is a tree down against the carport roof, one against the garage and a small one that came down in front of my other car. I don’t know how many will come down today. But the house has stood for a long time and belonged to a good Christian. So I am hoping that he’s left enough of himself around to keep the house standing through this. I haven’t felt like celebrating and still don’t, so this is as festive as it gets. Hope you are having a happier holiday than I. Be careful dealing with the snow, if you have some.

It’s cold out…

It was 10 degrees F this morning in the car port. The house was down to 55 degrees last night. I had all six cats on the bed. We had to make room for Loretta too. We are all managing. I try to keep the fire going at night, but I get home so late that there’s barely enough time to take the chill off. It is supposed to moderate later and dump a bunch of snow. I can’t say I’m looking forward to that either. I always find that this extreme cold just saps my energy. I was supposed to go to the Christmas party, but changed my mind. Somehow, it’s as though Jeffrey is still out at the trailer, fighting to warm it up for me when I come home. I know it’s not so and I’m glad he doesn’t have to deal with this, even though I miss him so. My mind is just working that way tonight and I won’t be any fun at any party. The dogs, as always, will be thrilled to see me.

Back home

I manage to drive back home occasionally. Sometimes, it’s very painful. Some days, like today, it seems wonderful. There was a flock of small birds in the tree next to the trailer. There was a flock of chickens, out where our chickens used to cruise. Jeffrey always thought they were from one of our black hens, that crossed with the neighbor’s turken rooster. They mostly have naked necks and there seem to be about three roosters in the bunch. They grew up in the trees behind Mike’s place. I loved seeing them out there today.

I went up to the garden to check on it. I still have lots of fall crops. I love the wild kales and picked some to have for dinner. It is supposed to start snowing on Friday night. I am planning to go out tomorrow and try to cover things up a bit. I am taking the 11th off, as it would have been my 38th wedding anniversary. I think I will be okay but did not want to push it at work. I am so grateful that I was able to get the garden in this year. I’ve even got some cabbage up. If I can shelter it from the arctic air this weekend, there’s a chance for some real growth there come spring. I do not know yet whether I will keep the place, or move back home. I miss it, some days. I miss Jeffrey every day.


Okay, so I’ve talked about grief and death, cheery topics all. Time to talk about laughter. I think everyone’s heard of Norm Cousins’ experience with laughter healing his illness. Now, can you think of anyone that you know, who has a serious illness and has tried it? Nope, me neither. What I know so far, from my experience, is that laughter eases the burden of grief. It doesn’t make the grief disappear. It just makes the physical burden of grief lift for a bit. If you have been dragging that weight around, that is enough.

Yet, when I’ve talked about this on lists for widows/widowers, you would think I had insulted them. One woman told me that it was her grief and she would deal with it in her own way. That’s fine. It truly is a very personal grief and no one should be told how to handle it. My point was that laughter is a tool to help you deal with it. You can chose to use it or not. My situation is that I have to function. I don’t have the luxury of dwelling in that grief. I have to be able to go to work and do all the things that need to be done at home. I just can’t let myself get so weighted down that I can’t do these things. So I will take my laughter any way that I can.

Christmas will still suck. It will be hard to get through our anniversary on the 11th. Some mornings, I get up and I just want to stay home and ride the grief out. Somehow, Loretta or one of the cats will bring me out of it, maybe even just an email. It’s enough. Grief can recede in the background, just like any other mood. It can be managed, just a bit. Some days, that’s enough.


I’m going to try and write some thoughts up about death. I don’t want this to become the grief and death blog, but there’s not a lot of homesteading going on right now.

So basically, when you lose your spouse, there is that life you had together. Then there is the death and there is now. The death is like a barrier between you and that life. The thickness of that barrier depends on how long you fought death. If your spouse went quickly, as in an accident, the barrier is like a plate of glass. If it was a long fight, the barrier is thicker, like glass bricks. There are true warriors out in the world, that fought death for months, trying to win the battle. If death wins, they are terribly wounded by the battle. You can’t imagine some of the stories I’ve read on the grief lists.

There’s a book by Ianthe Brautigan, about her father’s suicide. It’s called “You Can’t Catch Death”. It was something her mother told her, meaning that death is not contagious. But it feels like it is. You didn’t die, but everything about your life did. The relationship is dead. The future is dead. You are in a strange limbo, weighted down with grief. If you are trying to comfort someone that has lost a spouse, this is why they may seem strange to you. Until it happens to you, you simply can’t imagine how awful the reality is. You get frozen in time, trapped down by grief. You can prepare a bit for certain days that you know will be bad. But it is the little routine things that stab you.

So here you are, with no life ahead of you and nothing but memories behind you. Between you and the memories is the death. You’ve fought with death and lost. You’ve been wounded. You can’t live in the past. It’s pleasant and you would certainly rather spend time with those memories than with the nothing that is your current life. It’s your grief and you will have to find your own way through it. Sometimes, you just run away from it. What you need is distance from the death. Time will do that, as will new memories. To move forward, you have to build that new life. That too takes time. You can throw new memories at it and put a little distance between yourself and the death. But it’s the best that you can do. I don’t have any answers for you here. It’s just the way life is right now.