Did you know that writing can be so very therapeutic? It’s not a myth. Take it from me who began writing at seven years old. Growing up in a dysfunctional family life with a heart filled with compassion and worry, I took to writing poems, notes, and journaling. I didn’t always show them to anyone, but I took my pain out of my head and put it on paper. It was a release.
Growing up with a narcissistic mother who mashed my father over and over until he finally died of a broken heart (underlying health issues exacerbated by his grief), my young empathic heart could feel his pain. He came to me since I was seven and poured his heart out to this broken little girl who was powerless to help him, but I was all he had to pour his heart out too. That was a huge responsibility for a little girl – a daughter to witness her father’s ongoing grief and not be able to do anything about it except summon up the bravery to approach my mother to beg her to take my father back, yet again. I received no compassion from my mother in doing so, only a slap across my face as she reminded me to mind my own business. It was my business! But my voice and hands were tied. This is about the time I learned to write out my feelings. I needed to be heard and release, if only to the universe.
Know that whatever you write is to release and doesn’t always have to be given to the person our words are directed at. It’s to get those jumbled thoughts and worries out of our heads and on to paper. Perhaps there will come a day you may want to give it to the person the words are directed to, maybe you might just burn it and vanish the thoughts away into the universe. Or just maybe, like me, you’ll journal enough through your life and end up writing books about all the things you once could never say out loud. Either way, it’s cathartic. My small beginnings of writing on scraps of paper, eventually, made me a memoir writer. Whodathunk?
Speaking about grief, my latest podcast is live now. In this third episode, I’m talking about how when we lose a spouse, our identities change – along with everything else. I hope you will visit me on Youtube.
I finally did it! I’ve put up my first #podcast on anchor.fm, and Spotify, and Soundcloud. I’ve had pre-written episodes ready for over two months now, but had to spend some time learning some recording ropes on the anchor platform. I’m no novice when it comes to sharing my thoughts and experiences, but recording was a whole ‘nother experience.
Because I’m quite the amateur when it comes to recording, I am SO not well-versed in the editing part of recording. Editing, yes, this is the part when while recording and a blip comes out of my mouth that I don’t wish to share with the universe. This could be anything from a missed word, a missed pronounciation, a ding notification coming in from nearby computer, or anything. As it turns out, I attempted for hours to record from my laptop, but it just wasn’t working with interruptions. So I went to my phone and did the recording there. I was concerned the sound wouldn’t be that great, but was pleasantly surprised that the quality sounded just like my laptop’s recorder – despite my never liking the sound of my own voice. Okay, maybe not radio quality, but pretty acceptable, I think.
I hope you will take under eight minutes, when you have some minutes, to listen to my podcast. I’d be interested in comments about suggestions, or your opinions on how you felt about episode one, the context, and what you thought about the quality of sound.
Also, I wasted another few hours trying to do a simple thing like try and load the video to Youtube. At first it was because I had to convert the file to an acceptable form for Youtube, that entailed another hour or so looking for a good file converter. Then, for no valid reason it still wouldn’t download. I wasted more hours Googling the problem, to no avail. No solutions or helpful videos, wasted hours of my time. What I did see in support groups were angry people at Youtube’s changed downloader, giving them all the same grief, but no solutions. So if any of you Youtubers here have any ideas why it kept telling me ‘process abandoned’ while in the creating video download stage, I’d welcome your thoughts. The video is in the correct format, it’s under the fifteen minute mark and has all the right speeds, so I’m baffled.
Thanks for listening.
Episode One – Introduction to Grief – The Real Talk
I was introduced to the poetry of John Roedel by my lovely friend, Jane Sturgeon. Roedel writes heartfelt poetry from his soul. As a writer myself who writes raw from my soul, and as a griever, John’s poetry hits the mark with everything he writes. Upon Departure is his newest release I was eagerly awaiting to read. Roedel’s storytelling through prose and poetry is sure to touch anyone who has ever loved and lost.
From bestselling poet, storyteller and speaker John Roedel, comes a collection of poetry that explores the concept that our grief as a natural wonder that terraforms the landscape of our world in increments. It can take a lifetime to find peace when our loved one becomes an empty chair at our kitchen table.
let’s lace our hands as if eternity is opening up the veil into the great mystery right in front of us
let’s feel our fingers against each other as if this is the last time we will touch before we become celestial kites
let’s part our lips and say what we should have said to each other years ago:
“I love you. I love you so. I forgive you.
I’m sorry. I’m blessed to know you. I’m so grateful to you.”
My 5 Star Review:
Upon Departure is one of the best books I’ve read on heartfelt poetry, and on loving, life, and losing. After reading, Untied – the poetry of how knots become strings, also by Roedel, and as a writer myself, and one who is also living through grief, I will say that Roedel’s poetry speaks to me louder than some of the other many books I’ve read on grief. And this is simply because the rawness and realness of his pain jumps off the pages, especially to those of us who have also walked the walk – and are still walking through the haze of grief.
In this new release of prose and poetry, the book begins with a short introduction to Roedel’s journey of losing his father, the whirlwind of emotions, the unacceptance and disbelief, till the final acceptance, the ‘what ifs’ of doing things differently he experienced, and how the lingering effects continue through his own journey through life. In this beautiful book, you won’t find a table of contents, nor will you find titles of each poem, rather a story in prose spoken through poetry of words that paint pictures of loss, loving, hope, and eternal love, in metaphors. For anyone who loves emotional poetry, looking for comfort in poetry, or seeks a path in understanding grief, this is a book for you.
poem #1 begins:
“I don’t care what form
you return to me
I just want you back”
The poem continues on with stanzas about how Roedel doesn’t care in which form ‘you’ appear to me in various appearances:
“If you come back to me
as our favorite song on the radio
I’ll pull the car over immediately
and let the music retell our love story
on 80s power ballad at a time…”
“If you come back to me
as a row of goosebumps on my bare arm
I will trace my fingers across my skin
Carefully so I can read the love letter
you wrote to me in spirit braille…”
“If you come back to me
As a passage in a book
I will grab the fattest eraser I can find
And get rid of all the periods so you
Can become a run-on sentence…”
One of my favorites, Poem #10, grief summed up in a post card:
“Your grief is the purest love letter that you can ever send to the one you have lost to death…every tear that rolls down the grooves on your face is the most tender postcard you will ever write…”
“…everybody that you have lost along the way
returns to you on your last day
-it turns out that
love is a boomerang.”
Roedel has another wonderful book titled, Hey God, and wrote another excerpt for this book:
#13 – Me: Hey God…
“Grief keeps sneaking up on me.
God: To grieve means that you have loved. Grieving is one of the truest human experiences that you will ever participate in. It often arrives without warning – like a late-day summer storm – obscuring the sun and drenching you in downpour. It’s a gift, isn’t it?”
“…Bereavement is the debt you must pay for having loved. There is no getting over the loss of a beloved who is now resting in the arms of endless love. Grief has no expiration date. Despite the pass of time, the phantom pain of mourning is always one memory away from returning.”
From poem #15
“Every tear of
Loss that we shed
Carries with it
The DNA-of the relationship
Of the love
Of the story
That two people
Poem #16 might be my favorite:
Tells about the writer stating he’s just a tourist in the world, and writes of all earthly experiences and possessions he’ll leave behind:
“…except for my
thoughts of you
-they are coming with me…”
Poem #22 – Where the author uses metaphors likening grief to a field of “rosebushes and bees”
“…Grief is a stretching field full
of thick beautiful rose bushes
and bees that you must travel
through to get to the other side…”
“…On the other side of the field of
grief is another – even bigger field
of grief that has even more beautiful
rose bushes and even angrier bees
and even more pointy thorns that you
must get through…”
“Being mortal means that we are all caught in a loop of meeting each other at Baggage Claim…”
Roedel goes on to say “To grieve the death of a beloved isn’t something that we check off in a box. Once we experience grief it changes us forever. Grief transforms us. Grief doesn’t just stay for a weekend, Grief moves into the loft of our hearts…”
“Grief isn’t an obstacle we overcome – it’s a masterclass in what it means to be human.”
“It can take a lifetime to find peace when our loved one becomes an empty chair at our kitchen table.”
“Life is life
there can be no after
for something that never ends…”
“…because love is the act of holding hands with
another person and counting to infinity by twos…”
“There is this unspoken call for us to have our wounds become scars long before they are ready to.”
“To grieve means that we have taken the risk to love without fear.”
“These tears are proof.
That I loved.”
“It’s okay, my love. Eternity is holding me. Death isn’t an end. Death is a threshold. I’m still here. I never left. Love doesn’t die. I remain. There is no afterlife. There is only life. I’m here wih you. Love doesn’t die.”
“…After somebody that you love dies, it feels as if you have lost a limb. Even years later there can be phantom pains that can send you to your knees…”
In memorium to my brother-in-law ‘Bill’ – William Gies who left a void September 13, 2022 – a legend in his time. ❣
Rest in peace my lovely brother-in-law. I will miss our conversations, and your checking up on me every few weeks as a dutiful brother-in-law and friend, and all the laughter we shared for years in our monthly card club get togethers, parties, picnics, and Christmases in those so very golden days.
I don’t wish to sound like a broken record sharing my moments of grief here, but besides the fact that writing about it somehow eases the weight of my grief, I know that there are plenty of us out there who are living it and may feel an ounce of comfort or kinship with these posts. And also, undoubtedly, everyone has lost a loved one, or ultimately, will, so my thoughts here may become beneficial to others somewhere down the road. This is why I’ll soon be starting my podcast on Grief – The Real Talk, for exactly these reasons.
But know this God honest truth – not five minutes of any day since the day my husband left me here, goes by that I’m not thinking of him or speaking to him. That man was woven into my soul, and not thinking of him would be like forgetting half of my body or forgetting to put on clothes. But today, I figured it was time to share more of my thoughts here in what I like to call my Grief Diaries series. In this series I’ve been discussing thoughts and/or moments that strike hard, baring my soul so to speak, but sharing not just because I need a place to vent, but sharing my realizations in hopes of spreading awareness.
Let me start by saying that this post might seem a little dark, but grief isn’t a sunny topic. And let me also state that this post isn’t me crying out for help, but more for recognition for the so many in this sometimes dark world who can’t summon their voice. Yes, I am one of grief’s victims, and I have been working diligently with books, videos, spirit and meditations since I lost my husband so that I can try and learn how to dig my own self out of the darkness that reigns because if I want to survive and find life again I must find the life boat back to the light. It’s a difficult thing to do one’s self, but I have spent my whole life since childhood ‘finding a way’ to get through adversity. I share my struggle on this journey, and I am not ashamed to admit it. But there are the so many out there who may not be able to search for or find their strength to want to go on, no matter what their traumatic issue is.
I’m a strong woman. I built myself up that way throughout my life. I’m strong-willed and minded, but I will tell you honestly, this grieving business is a Goliath of a beast. I know what it has taken from me and can tell you, it’s not difficult to see how the weaker sometimes can’t pull through. So I felt that besides letting off a little personal steam in this post, that once again, I wanted to spread the awareness to others and want to speak up for those who may have family going through some tough times who choose not to speak about their pain, so that family may clue in.
What sparked my wanting to share this post came from my scanning through a book of material I’ve written in draft to put into a book on my grief. I am suddenly getting inspired to read through just some of the material I’ve written as I witnessed my husband’s health decline to after his passing. For now they are in a Word doc temporarily titled – Conversations and Observations, and, Obituary. I currently have oodles of permanent titles on a page listed that I will have to work with once the book is put together and I find the most fitting title.
From this side of Grief:
I am a strong woman who has lived through some terrible shit in my life but nothing, I mean NOTHING is as painful as the grief I carry with me daily from the loss of my beloved husband.
It doesn’t matter that I could almost lift park benches from the strength I’ve acquired through difficulties in life, this enormous strangle hold that suffocates daily is an opponent bigger than life. And many days it can be emotionally crippling.
I often go to the dark side since losing my other half. And no, time doesn’t ease. When the grief monster and the bubble of sadness that comes along for the ride appear, I find myself in yet another duel. These duels become more and more trying and they don’t dissipate with time, despite everyone else in our circles forgetting we are in this grief for life and it can take a long time – or forever, to climb back into joyful living. Our grief never leaves. Even with however much time it may take for it to come to a slow simmer that resides within without constant bubbling over, mine never seems to leave, I am only still learning how to temporarily suppress it. So we are forced to find a way to continue on with our lives or merely just exist. I am choosing life, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy and that it some days doesn’t knock the actual wind out of my breathing sails.
The loneliness is overwhelming. I am naturally a tactile, social being, often dubbed a social butterfly. Nobody is physically here for me, and I’m not one to cry for help to burden others. But I can’t help but wonder, where are the people who used to be in my life? Why did family forget me after such a traumatic event that goes on daily? There I said it, and I’m going to leave that one alone – for now, because, honestly, the people I’m related to by blood give me enough fodder to write a book, erm, make that a tome.
Some days I’m living on the precipice between living and existing. I am, me, myself and I. I was never that person who got depressed, but I can surely say I know what so many in this world struggle with as this visiting sadness that looms large over me has given me new understanding. I don’t want to call my sadness depression, more like PTSD. My mind too often drifts in a continuous cycle of visionary reminders of watching my husband die daily before my eyes. This is some tough shit to erase from the play list of home videos. It’s a repetitive cycle that is easily triggered by a memory, a random object in my home, or just plain looking at photos of my husband (which surround my home like a mausoleum because I need them to be all around me). I’ve thankfully, never been a depressed person despite some of the awful things that have happened in my life, and knowing depression does exist on my maternal side, I am grateful I didn’t inherit that dis-ease. I may get temporarily depressed, knowing that’s the wrong word I sometimes substitute for sadness, but I don’t allow myself to live in darkness and I fight back with all my might not to allow myself to let a sad day turn into many in a row. Perhaps I’m lucky that way? But there are plenty of people who live in deep depression and can manage to keep that under a cloak when around others. This can lead to dangerous outcomes.
I’m not that person who calls people to wa wa my troubles and moan. Instead, I am silent and solitary. My cries for help will come in subtle ways, maybe talking to a friend and almost begging them to come visit, invading that fine line with my silent cry for help so as not to sound desperate, when in fact there are days when I am.
People are busy. We don’t wish to act sucky so we stuff down our silent hell when all we are craving is some human connection, a hug, an ear for us to cast off our fears, fears that sometimes keep us in the dark and have us questioning ourselves on why are we still here. Why am I here where nobody has time when I could be with one who my heart aches for?
Often it’s the crushing, suffocating pain of having to tolerate our own existence that leads to the many suicides labeled as mental health issues. Funny how I see in my own life how nobody has the time for a cry for help, even when it is deafeningly silent. But they make time for the damned funerals.
Depression, like grief, is a silent thief that traps us at its will. It comes like a tornado sweeping over us, leaving us nothing to grab hold of in its wake, it can often be called a silent killer.
Us grievers, the sad, lonely, or depressed, don’t typically cry for help. And for the some that do, they aren’t always heard. This is why so often these people commit suicide. They don’t feel they are being heard, loved or cared about. They’re misunderstood for craving attention when in fact, they are, and sometimes that attention they didn’t receive could have been the very lifeline that saved them. Connection and companionship are a crucial need for a griever, especially one who lives alone. Those who don’t understand how depression can take hold of someone in their darkest moments should pay more attention to the signs, without judgement. We watch movies and news reels about people who feel there’s no help for them and choose to end their pain, all too often. And their loved ones sit in question. Asking themselves, why didn’t I see the signs? Because you don’t always see signs as many depressed are clever at masquerading their pain with smiles and jokes with their pretended happiness. But if you listen and learn not just to the words, but the silences in between, you can learn how to read between the lines and you just may hear.
I remind you all that if you have a person in your life suffering from a situation, to give them a thought once in awhile. If you noticed their silences, patterns, or dispositions have changed, check up on them. If you noticed they don’t show up like they used to or don’t call you, take that as a sign they are in retreat mode and could use a little company, even if they say they are fine – because they are not. If they are going through an ordeal in their life, pick up a phone and make a point to get together with them or just go visit them. Take it from me. I will never beg, and neither will many others. Please have compassion for someone in your life going through a difficult time. Most of the time, their silence is not a good thing. Take it from one who knows.
I wrote a post awhile ago about the symbolism of the semi-colon not just being a punctuation mark, but a survivor symbol – we are making it through, or have made it through, after a life-altering pause. Our story is not over because we choose to fight on.
Welcome to my Sunday book review. Today I’m reviewing one of the most important books I’ve read yet on grief and loss and a path to healing by Christina Rasmussen – Second Firsts. She received her masters in bereavement in 1998, and as she claims, when she had to live in her own words in 2006 when she lost her own husband at age 35, nothing she learned had prepared her for such loss. She knew her husband’s fate, yet when she lay with him in his final moments of life listening to his last heartbeats, she felt like she had died with him. This is my life! She explains how she came to write this book, questioning herself how she could tell people their hearts would someday mend when she felt her own would never. “Grief takes us into the Waiting Room but our Survivor fear of losing it all again is what keeps us there.” Below, I’d like to share her message to the reader in the beginning of this book:
“I have lived in the shadow of loss-the kind of loss that can paralyze you forever.
I have grieved like a professional mourner-in every waking moment, draining every ounce of my life force.
I died-without leaving my body.
But I came back, and now it’s your turn.
I have learned to remember my past-without living in it.
I am strong, electric, and alive, because I chose to dance, to laugh, to love, and to live again.
I have learned that you can’t re-create the life you once had – you have to reinvent a life for yourself.
And that reinvention is a gift, not a curse.
I believe your future self is a work of art and that science can help you create it.
If you’re lost . . . if you’re gone . . . if you can barely absorb the words on this page . . . I want you to hold this truth in your heart: when it’s your time to go, you won’t wish you had spent more time grieving; you’ll wish you had spent more time living.
That’s why I’m here. And why you are, too. Let’s live like our lives depend on it.”
A widow and therapist explores grief, loss, and our innate resilience in this updated guide, drawing on neuroscience and personal experience to lead the bereaved through the five stages of healing
After studying to become a therapist and crisis intervention counselor—even doing her master’s thesis on the stages of bereavement—Christina Rasmussen thought she understood grief. But it wasn’t until losing her husband to cancer in her early 30s that she truly grasped the depths of sorrow and pain that accompany loss. Using the knowledge she gained while wading through her own grief and reading hundreds of neuroscience books, Rasmussen began to look at experiences in a new way. She realized that grief plunges you into a gap between worlds—the world before loss and the world after loss. She also realized how easy it is to become lost in this gap.
In Second Firsts, Rasmussen walks you through her Life Reentry process to help you break grief’s spiral of pain, so you can stop simply surviving and begin to live again. She shows you that loss can actually be a powerful catalyst to creating a life that is in alignment with your true passions and values. The resilience, strength, and determination that have gotten you through this difficult time are the same characteristics that will help you craft your wonderful new life. Her method, which she has used successfully with thousands of clients, is based on the science of neuroplasticity and focuses on consciously releasing pain in ways that both honor suffering and rewire the brain to change your perception of the world and yourself.
Using practical exercises and stories drawn from her own life and those of her clients, Rasmussen guides you through five stages of healing that help you open up to new possibilities. From acknowledging your fear, to recognizing where you stand now, to taking active steps toward a new life, Rasmussen helps you move past the pain and shows that it’s never too late to step out of the gap and experience life again—as if for the first time.
My 5 Star Review:
This book should be on every griever’s reading list. A raw, compassionate telling begins this book of Rasmussen’s own experience with a great loss precedes the premise of this book, a path to healing through her 5 Stages ‘Reentry Model’ – how to enter back into the world of the living from an abyss of grief and loss and a feeling of loss of our own identity. The author will tell us about ‘the Waiting Room’, a space where us sufferers are stuck between the inseparable past and the unfathomable future, and our ‘invisible losses’. As she states in the beginning of her book, she got her masters degree on bereavement in 1998 and had to live her own words in 2006 when her own husband died, claiming, nothing she’d been taught prepared her for her own grief and loss.
The author tells us that grief makes us question our reality, our safety, and our abilities. “You are more than your loss; you are a whole human being waiting to come back to life.” Rasmussen explains she wrote this book to help us see the light and build a bridge from our past to where we are now. When our identities have been ripped from us through grief and uncertainty and despite our wanting to move forward, we get stuck, and this book will reignite parts of us that have been shattered by loss.
This book is about the five stages of self-guided discovery and reentry process. It teaches us how to use the brain’s ability to rewire itself to help move past fear and sadness that looms over us. “You can live as you grieve.” Teaching us that we can meld our two worlds of grief and living. “Starting over isn’t only about the life you leave behind. It’s about the life that lies ahead of you.”
She speaks at first of the three stages to recover from loss by creating new habits to rewire our brains instead of staying stuck in grief and making it our default mode. Focus on new things to move forward. Loss forces us to leave behind the life we knew and we can’t just push out the old life, so we’re stuck in a gap between two lives – the ‘waiting room’, where we reside while afraid to take steps forward in our new present life because we’re safe in that grief. “It’s not the grief that stops us from starting life over, but fear of losing that life all over again.” Fear keeps us stuck in grief. She teaches us to create a ‘launchpad’, not staying in survival mode for distraction, but to move forward. “Loss can be a launchpad into a new dimension of living.”
Five stages of Reentry – 1. Get real – losses are real, grieve and acknowledge and validate your loss and feelings to begin getting real about our new life. Explore and confront our grief, write out our invisible losses. The more we understand our invisible losses (loss of security, support, identity, etc.), the better we leave ‘the waiting room’. Instead of reflecting on our futures, the grieving brain stays locked in the past – the ‘infinite loop of loss’. 2. Plug in – learn to replace fear induced procrastination with action. Reconnecting with life in small steps, ie: going out, making plans, inviting life back into grief. And letting go of what no longer serves us – including relationships. 3.Shift – “When the dream that was, no longer can be, you have to dream a different dream.” She explains how switching ‘Survivor’ thoughts back to the living by getting ready to join back into life, using positive thoughts to overcome the voice of loss. “The goal is to end the habit of repeating thoughts of loss by instead repeating thoughts of life.” How to face the fears that block our happiness. How to shift our thoughts using affirmation and visualization because “Grief creates habits and beliefs in our minds that don’t serve us.” She demonstrates methods to learn to love ourselves again by focusing on people who lift us and our positive attributes and offers us to take ten minutes to visualize us in a brighter future. “Evolution does not take place when our hearts break but when they mend.” Advising us to create a new relationship with ourselves and find a supportive tribe. 4. Discover – she reminds that our ‘Survivor’ self needs to get out of the ‘Waiting Room’ with our false sense of feeling wanting to remain comfortable there and get back into a mindset of connecting with the ‘Thriver’ self that remains within us buried. Relearn how we overcame and triumphed over losses of the past to create a happy future. 5. Reenter Life – Finding your new life, dreaming big, and setting goals. The author instructs us to write out goals we want from our new life, and affirm those aspirations daily, as we get what we focus on. She speaks about the certainty that we will have moments of guilt and betrayal as we venture on to a new life, and possibly a new relationship, reminding that ‘Survivor’ mode will occasionally surface – “Because of your sadness, you have more depths in you to feel joy.” And adds, we also gain the compassion to help mend other’s broken hearts. We are told to create a separate place for the grief and guilt that will occasionally push through and to envision a separate housing unit for those feelings to dwell in. It’s okay to visit there when we need, but we know the way back, and not to stay there. Once we’ve processed our grief, “Reentry doesn’t mean we forget those we once loved or forget our pain. It means we remember how to live.”
Rasmussen concludes by saying some pieces of our old life are now scattered in the universe, never needing to be found again, but tells us our hearts will give birth to new pieces. The new ‘me’ is born from loss, every cell changed in us when our hearts broke.
This book is a most helpful guide to help grievers learn to separate grief from getting on with living, in stages.
“The heart remembers the past by loving in the present.”
“There are no words to describe the experience of losing someone you love more than life itself. You cannot know the feeling unless you have experienced it.”
“Loss is not something that keeps happening to you; it’s an event.”
“In the midst of his death, I lost my life too…we were both in a place between two worlds.”
“He died on July 21, 2006 at 2:00am. I died with him at 2:01 am.”
“The silence of grief attacks your body.”
“Everything about me changed, and everything about the world around me was altered forever.”
“Why hadn’t the world prepared me for this agony?”
“Mending is the ability to reenter life with a broken heart, while it’s getting fixed.”
After 27 years I had to service my car for the first time on my own, and first, find a place to do so.
For 27 years I didn’t have to worry or think about gassing the car, oil changes, car washes, tires, or brakes. My Puppy was the car man in every sense of the world. Then that ‘service car soon for oil change’ light began flashing. Where was I to go? The last time I took my own car in for a oil change was somewhere in the era of 1995. I paid $29.99 at a Speedy Auto – 30 minutes or it’s free. Ya, those were the days!
Back in the day, just pre, my husband, we were just switching over to self-serve gas stations. Gasp, I have to put in my own gas? Gone are the days when after another human put gas in our cars, the attendant would then bring a squeegee and wipe down all our windows. And maybe, if we were lucky, they may even open up the hood of our car to make sure we had enough wiper fluid. Yes, those were the golden days and how I grew up. The sudden switch over to self-serve didn’t have me liking the advance with the times. I learned quick to stop letting my cars go down to empty before a fill, and when the gage was hitting a quarter tank left to hit the gas station on a good weather day.
So, last week I returned from the gym and when I turned off the ignition, I saw that flashing message reminding it was time for an oil change. Oye! What a dilemma. Where should I take my car now?
I made some inquiries with friends. Most gave me warnings instead of suggestions. Don’t go here or there because they’ll rip you off and try and sell you things you don’t need. One friend offered me to call the auto garage she uses and didn’t even remember how much she pays there. I called, the person who answered the phone was kind of quick and rude, ballparking me anywhere from $80 – $130. Are you kidding me?? Did I mention the last time I took my own car in I paid $29.99? Had prices gone up that much??
I thought about taking it to one of the two dealerships my husband worked for. I know for certain the first one where he worked for 48 years, they charged too much because even when my hubby worked there, he’d take my car elsewhere for certain work or pay a service guy cash to do the work on his lunch hour, and all those ‘elsewhere’s’ I remembered, were no longer around. Then I considered where he last worked up until 2020, but that was a half hour drive away. So I then proceeded to visit my friend ‘Google’.
I knew for certain there were some automotive garages in an industrial area five minutes from where I live, which is incidentally, five minutes from the first dealership my hubby worked at. I know he did business with some of these places, and picked one to call, based on the many, many, five star reviews they were rated without a complaint in the bunch. Fair, honest, great, don’t try to upsell things, were just a few of the common themed comments I’d read. Bingo!
Before calling, I had to educate myself about information I’d come across that people were now changing over traditional oil to ‘synthetic’ oil because of better performance and longevity for the engine. I wanted to learn why that price was practically double than the traditional oil, and learned it had something to do with the refining process, and that once upon a time, when oil was discarded, the automotive places got paid for discarding their oil, and now, they have to pay for discarding it.
So, I decided my best option was to call Mr. Automotive, based on the fantastic reviews, close proximity, and maybe they knew my husband?
Nikki answered the phone. I asked a few questions, and before a few minutes passed, we were laughing together like old chums. She’d asked me for the make and model of my car so she could quote me the accurate price. Yes. I learned each model of car has different engines and oil requirements. But when she asked me more about my model, my response was, bwahahahha, are you kidding me? I don’t know such particulars. We laughed, and after two call backs of her checking the possibilities, I went down to my underground to search out the extra fancy initials and numbers beside the model name of my car for her. She then called me back with the quote – at which I gasped, but after doing my research, had kind of expected. And after checking with a few friends, they’d all converted over to synthetic oil.
Nikki gave me the price and assured me that besides the oil change they’d check all my car’s vitals: fluid levels, belts, tire pressure, wipers and more. And gratefully, they filled up my wiper fluid, because I don’t even know the difference between the wiper fluid and anti-freeze compartments. The car was remedied in an hour and the report came back that my car was still in mint condition, now with converted to synthetic oil, and all vitals reported fine. I felt peace of mind about my car, and that I now had a place to take my car that I could feel secure about the service and integrity and honesty and friendly service at Mr. Automotive. Sadly, nobody there recalled knowing my husband, but I’d landed in the right place anyway.
A popular slang term for a person with a ravaged past, incident, or reputation – no longer perfection. Aren’t we all damaged in some way? Hard to think that anyone has sailed through life unscathed by hurt, pain, or inappropriate abuse. We don’t have to experience physical pain to feel abused – mental, or emotional, abuse can appear in all forms.
My husband used to joke around with me because three days after we were married, I wound up in hospital – on and off for three months because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, thinking it was a cancer that turned out to be hard to diagnose Crohns disease. No, it wasn’t funny then, but through the years, I had a few other scares, and throughout our marriage when all was well, my humorous husband used to like to say to our friends that he married damaged goods. He’d add to that, in true used car salesman talk, he married a lemon and it was too late to give her back because the warranty had expired.
Yes, that was my husband, always full of humorous slogans. Yes, I can laugh, and so can you, because my husband loved me to the nth degree and would move heaven and earth for anything that would make me happy. I lacked for nothing and never asked for anything, because I didn’t have to. He was always willing to give anything of himself. And he always did.
Damaged goods isn’t an endearing term by any means, typically it is referred to as a product we’ve bought that failed to live up to its projected expectations. Not so pretty when used to refer to a person’s state of being. My Honey had a joke for everything between us, and that’s why we laughed together every single day we were together. Life isn’t always funny, but if you can look past the painful parts and find a way to make light of things, it helps to lighten the load. Having unconditional love allows for such jokes, without that, a comment like that would sound abusive.
My husband had so many funny sayings. He was also always full of surprises. Every year or so he’d come home and inform me that he sold my car again. This was his department not mine. I knew that when he found a happy paying customer to buy a car he didn’t have on the lot for him, but he had one his wife was driving, of course, in mint condition, it was time to sell and make a profit. It became like a side business for him because all my cars were bought at wholesale price, and sold for retail. Getting a new car didn’t cost us anything and we’d buy a newer model. He had always warned me to never get attached to ‘things’.
One day he came home from work while I was sitting outside with a neighbor. He got out of his car, came up to me and gave me a kiss as he did every single day of our lives together, then told me to clean out my car, it was going tomorrow. I’d lament as I always did once I got attached to a car, reminding him how much I loved it and didn’t need a new one. The logic would repeat, he’d laugh and add, “Now Cubby, make sure you don’t stand on this driveway because you can be sold too.” Lol, I always remembered that one. As if! He loved to give the neighbors a laugh, pretending to be the guy with authority when anyone who knew us, knew that it was I who always had the final say. But I let him get his glory moments in, and we’d both burst out laughing at the mere conception that he’d ever give me away for any price.
I miss that man more than I could ever write. My heart breaks daily again everyday I wake up without him, and the painful longing for his embrace and love. I try to keep focusing on our funny moments to overshadow the black hole that resides within me, there were so many moments. It’s a Herculian task to say the least, to struggle daily with missing my other half of me. My husband joked a lot about my being damaged goods, but little did he know that’s exactly how I feel now without him. And there are no jokes possible to lighten this load. But one thing is for sure, the warranty on my love for him will never expire.