Blog, illness, retirement

Under the Weather but Not Down for the Count

Day 218

Well, the germs have strengthened. Last weekend I prayed that I would not catch my granddaughter’s bug while I was there helping out. My prayers were answered — I did not get sick…not then anyway. This morning I woke to a full on sore and scratchy throat. Enter warm salt water gargle. Now I have had my first cup of coffee and my oatmeal and I need to find the gumption to get up and do some things around here.

Last night our internet went out for several hours. It is one of the things we have learned to accept living in these foothills. We lose power, cell towers, and cable/internet frequently. So many trees and mountains are fodder for the severe storms that love to down trees in their wake. I wanted to write, but my energy was waning, so I just spent the idle time reading.

At least the weather is nice. Gloomy, cold days seem to make me feel worse. The sunshine urges me onward. I have chores that need my attention while hubby is out cleaning up the yard of leaves and branches.

Yesterday, I was offered the opportunity to do a little part-time work which I think I will take on. It will be fun to have some extra money to put toward a few special projects I have in mind. This work involves very little pressure or deadlines, so it should be enjoyable. I appreciate the consideration and the opportunity.

Retirement has phases I think. Now entering year three, I am ready for a little mental stimulation. The first year was just relaxing and adjusting. The second year was remodeling efforts and adventures. Now in the third there is a bit of a cruising speed that involves maintaining our life and our home, but room to do more. Who knows how long I will feel this way?

So that’s it for today. Time for that second cup of coffee and a nice hot shower. Ugh.

Blog, Death, illness, loss, memories, sister

When Memories Slap You in the Face

Day 122

Grief is sneaky. It sometimes waits until the wounds have slightly scabbed over. It waits for you to let your guard down. Then the memory comes and you are slapped in the face.

Today it was in the form of a song. I looked for it intentionally. I was planning to use it in my blog, but not this way. It brought me back to a time when my sister, Rosie, was told there was nothing else they could do to treat her cancer. The memories of her telling me she cried in the night so no one else would hear. The sadness she felt knowing she was leaving the children and grandchildren whom she loved so much.

This song made me ugly cry. I didn’t see it coming. I wrote about this song once before, but I thought I was strong enough to listen. I was wrong. Instead I have picked all the scabs off and now I am raw.

I miss you, Sissy.

Blog, Family, illness, loss, Love, mother

A Sad Goodbye

Day 79

Twenty-two years ago I married my husband and gained a mother. Yesterday I lost her.

Just because you marry someone does not mean that you will be accepted, let alone loved, by that family. This is where I was fortunate. I had already lost my mother and my step-mother — both of which were devastating losses for me.

My mother-in-law and I became good friends and confidants. She visited often and we developed a wonderful relationship. I loved her very much. She was my mom for these last 22 years.

The last 8 days have been difficult as she faced the end of her life. She was a strong woman who fought a tremendous fight. The only gift I could give her was to be there for her as she had always been for me. For seven days we stayed with her and did all we could to make this last part of her journey as comfortable as possible. She was at peace and while that gives me comfort, I know I will miss her so much in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Tonight we drove home. We had taken both cars so we drove home separately. I tried listening to Christmas music, but it just did not feel right. Christmas has been put on the back burner for us. I turned on the CD player and an old Simon and Garfunkle CD came into rotation. When this song came on, I broke down:

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Written by Paul Simon. Performed by Art Garfunkel.

When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all (all)
I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you (ooo)
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
Oh, if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

The lyrics are one thing, but hearing the song shattered my heart.

As I drove closer toward home, the sky turned a beautiful pinkish purple. It was stunning and made me think so much of mom and how much I miss her already. These last months had been so difficult for her and all of us who loved her. We always tried to lift her up and this past week was no different. We were all with her.

Now she has gone on — no longer in pain — and we are left to maneuver through this life without her. It will not be easy. She was a big presence in my life.

Godspeed, Mama. I miss you already.

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Blog, illness, insurance, retirement

Insurance Rant

Day 43

Today I will be ranting, so if you don’t really want to hear it, I will understand if you walk away now. I just need to get this off my chest.

Health Insurance

When we retired, we were on Cobra, a costly but good insurance program. We aren’t eligible for Medicare yet so when our Cobra expired, we had to buy health insurance to bridge the gap until we were eligible for Medicare.

We found a policy. It was double what we were paying per month and there is a $13,000 deductible before the insurance kicks in. Obviously, we bought it because we needed something in case of a catastrophic event.

Medicare

medicareSo Medicare is on the horizon. But that’s not straightforward or free like some people think. Part of it that covers hospitalization will be at no cost, but any doctors visits, deductibles and prescriptions are all something you need to buy.

If only it were simple and easy to understand.

Some people buy insurance managed by the Federal Government. Some people buy from an Insurance company that manages the healthcare offered by the government. That means you deal with the insurance company for claims. You might be required to go back to using an approved network of doctors. And that network may only be available in the state you live in.

If you want to cover non-insured costs like deductibles and services that Medicare does not cover you need a gap policy.

There is Part A, Part B, Part C, Part D, and today we received paperwork for Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N. What????????

Guess what? Not all doctors and hospitals even accept Medicare. That’s fun.

Eyes, Ears, and Teeth

Most plans do not cover eye exams, hearing aids or dental. And all those parts of our bodies get worse and in need of attention the older we get!

Plan Ahead

If you are young and healthy, try to stay that way. Watch your diet and get some exercise. If you haven’t been going to the doctor, go while you can avoid insurance. My insurance would cost 50% less if I was 10 years younger.

Also, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. Your cost of living does not go down when you retire. The only money you don’t need to spend might be for work clothes and gas to get to and from work. Insurance is definitely more expensive the older you get. If you can retire with no car payment and no mortgage, I would highly recommend you try!

Right now I am fortunate to be as healthy as I am. I have some things I need to be better about and I am working on those things.

Health care is a BIG BIG business. And we are two of the fortunate people.

RANT OVER

To enjoy a long, comfortable retirement, save more today.
Suze Orman

 

 

 

 

Blog, children, friends, grandchildren, illness, loss, Stressed

Finding the Light

Day 24

Today was to be the second day of my much-anticipated workshop. I got up early not feeling quite right. I showered, got dressed and started on my way. About 10 minutes from home, I knew I should not be driving so I turned around and came home. It was disappointing, but as a good friend told me long ago, “Everything is as it should be”. I have repeated that to myself many, many times and today was no different.

My husband was kind enough to drive me over to my class so I could gather my materials and take care of loose ends. As we left the class, I received a text from my daughter that my granddaughter was ill and they had to take her to the emergency clinic. She will be okay, but my heart just aches.

IMG_7301As we drove, we passed this gorgeous tree. The light was hitting it from the back and it was just so beautiful. We stopped the car and took a picture of the tree. The light touched me. It was a reminder that even in our darkest hours, there is a sliver of light somewhere. It may be just a trickle, but it will be there.

Later we made a brief stop to enjoy an unplanned latte at a little coffee shop in Hendersonville. We sat out in the sunshine for a few moments and just talked. It was nice. I felt the sun on my shoulders and saw the light through the eyes of a very special man who just happens to love and care for me.

Friendship

Several good friends of mine are hurting tonight. My heart is heavy and hurting and I feel for everyone that is suffering even a little. It can be hard and everything can seem bigger when we feel alone. Life’s problems come in waves and none of us are immune to some dark days or sadness. Doesn’t make it any easier, though.

There is so much hate and violence in our country and in our world. Today, this little bit of a blog is all I can manage.

If you are hurting or feeling sad, I send you peace and comfort tonight. Hopefully we can all focus on that little trickle of light and hope for a better tomorrow.

“Sometimes, the best way to help someone is just to be near them.” 
Veronica Roth