"It's a Dog's Life"
My daughter, Son-in-Law, and grand daughters have gone for the day on a little trip to Lake Havasu, for Faith's, the 11 year olds, school choir performance there today. I was invited, but had I gone, it would have required us taking two cars instead of one, and it's a 3 ½ hour drive from here. The dogs would be alone all day, and yadda, yadda, yadda. The truth is, I just really didn't feel like going.
I've lived with Jennifer, Dave & the girls for nearly two months now, and I consider myself so very blessed that they have opened their home to me, providing me with a roof over my head, a warm bed, and food with which to sustain me. But they cannot fix my head, nor can they alter the feelings of woe that continue to plague me in this new life.
For all of my adult life, up to the death of my wife, I have always taken care of myself, maintained a home, paid our bills, and acquired the “stuff” that normal people do throughout their lives. Although we were never wealthy, I always managed to make ends meet and enjoyed the simple pleasures that a self supporting man enjoys.
We had a three bedroom, two story house in a nice Southern California neighborhood. I had tools in my garage in a big, red toolbox. We had a big screen television in the living room. We had our couch, chair, and table in the living room. Our bookcases were full of books of all kinds. We had patio furniture out back with a Bar B Que grill and our swimming pool had one of those “creepy-crawlies” that roamed the depths, keeping the bottom of the pool clean. Barbara had her own room, and I slept in a king sized bed in the master bedroom with my very own shower and commode all to myself. There was a balcony off the master bedroom where I could stand and admire my backyard with the pride one feels as a homeowner.
There were dishes in the kitchen and utensils and blenders, juicers, waffle irons and the usual assortment of gadgets one usually finds in the kitchen of the restaurant manager that I was. The refrigerator was ours, as was the freezer in the garage. I managed to keep both fairly well stocked with the food to sustain us.
With Barbara's death, my whole world just came crashing down on me, and as I have expressed all too many times here, I found myself in the untenable situation of being disabled, having no source of income, having a stack of bills that I could not pay, as well as being behind on two mortgages on our house. I left everything behind. All of it. My life, as I had known it, was over. But my existence was not.
While my daughter's family has been wonderful to me, I cannot shake the feeling or the sense that I am intruding upon their lives. They, like all families, have their routines for their daily lives, and I am having a difficult time inserting myself into that routine. While none of them have said or done anything specifically to cause me to feel this way, I sort of feel like the fifth person on a double date, if that makes any sense. None of the “stuff” in the house is mine. I have a small bedroom with a single bed, a desk for my computer, and a nightstand. A few clothes in the closet, and that's about it. And I share a bathroom with one teen-age and two pre-teen age girls.
My life has gone from one of being gainfully employed, self sustaining and independent, to one of being “kept”, with my basic needs provided by my daughter. Very much like my doggie friends Sparky, Paris, and Ellie. We are all loved, but none of the four of us seem able to express our true needs or really do anything about them anyway. At least I cannot for now.
I realize that part of the process of grief is the sadness and woefulness of being alone. And I am in the position of grieving not only for my wife, but for my home and my own sense of self sufficiency. And the time WILL come where I will be able to fend for myself. It's only a matter of time, I know. But in the meantime, it's O.K. That I feel like “one of the dogs” occasionally. I know it's a temporary “pity pot” that I am sitting upon. And soon I'll be able to flush it, pull my pants up, and move on. And with God's help, that day for me will come sooner, rather than later........