Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Check out the Coping With Disabilities Blog for an update on my knee replacement surgery.

Since the last post, life has been interesting to say the least. I decided since I was feeling a bit better after having my right knee replaced, that I would see if just maybe I might be able to start dating. In all my life, dating has not been something that really worked out for me well. But things change, right? So I decided to try some online dating sites. Anyone ever hear of Nigerian Romance Scams? Well, guess what? The online dating sites are full of them. And one of them (though I have since learned that it is never just one person behind the persona and photo) hooked me. Thankfully, I was one of the lucky ones who did not get scammed out of money. Thankfully, having been through some situations much like these scams, I started seeing the red flags quickly and got out. Every cloud has its silver lining though, right? Right. Through that experience I have met some wonderful people from all over the world who are fast becoming good friends, bonded together by these evil scam artists. As for the online dating sites? Forget them. At least I am putting them aside for now. I know how to protect myself if I should ever decide to try again, but I don't see that happening anytime in the near future. I like to live as stress-free as possible, and since my health depends on it, dealing with sorting out scam artists from real people just doesn't seem worth the stress involved. Once again, this is just another area of life I will leave in the hands of God.

My uncle died in November. Since my aunt and my mom died back in the late 1980's, holidays have changed. But now the holidays as I have known them all my life, will never be the same again. When I was very young, all of my family got together at my grandparents' home for the holidays. Every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas found us together there. Most of the time, every other day of the week would find some of us gathering there for whatever reason. But families being what they are, things happened and the family split apart. Have I told you that I am not good with change sometimes? Especially with changes that seem to me like they are destructive. Most of us still gathered for the holidays at my grandparents' house. Later we moved it to my aunt and uncle's home after Grandma died. Then Grandpa moved in with my aunt and uncle. The holidays were still the same, however. We grew older. We married and had children of our own. The house swelled with family, laughter, food, and football. Then my mom passed away in 1986 and I felt the first real pangs of change. My aunt worked hard to be there for me in place of her beloved sister, my mom. In 1989, my aunt also passed away. She died of cancer and in her last days I could not even bring myself to visit her because it hurt so badly to see her that way and to know I was losing yet another person I loved. When she died, the holidays changed in subtle ways and in outward ways. We stopped having Easter together as a group. Some family members started taking vacations, other couldn't fit it into their work schedules, and maybe others just didn't feel like dealing with yet another holiday without loved ones there. Without my mom and my aunt, I started feeling a bit out of place myself. Even though the whole family is large, only my aunt and uncle and their children and grandchildren, along with my mom, me and my children gathered there for the holidays at my aunt and uncle's home. Without my mom and aunt there, I felt like my anchor to the family was gone. This year everything changed. My uncle died. So many questions are yet to be answered. Others may not have even been asked yet. Over the years as all of our children grew up, married, and had children of their own (yes we are now the grandparents) the holidays have become harder and harder to schedule time to get everyone together in one place. Every year someone is missing from the group due to work schedules. Never are holidays celebrated even with my own children and grandchildren on the actual holiday. I don't have any holidays anymore and haven't had for several years. Whenever any of us can manage to get a day set aside to get together becomes our holiday. The past two years because of my foot problems and ending up walking on crutches, plus being sick over the winter, I have not been able to go to the big family Thanksgiving or Christmas. I was looking forward to it this year as I haven't in a long time. Things change. Life changes. Growing up with just my mom and me together, my aunt and uncle became sort of surrogate parents for me, especially my aunt. I also had my grandfather as a surrogate father for me and my mom's great aunt as a surrogate mother for me. I was surrounded by these wonderful people as I grew up. My closest friends were my cousins and to me they were like brothers and sisters to a lonely girl who had no siblings of her own. As these surrogate parents started to leave this world, it became harder and harder for me to feel like I belonged anywhere. As everyone else had someone else to share their griefs with, I was left to grieve alone. This year, grieving has taken on a different tone. This year for the first time ever in my life, there is no big family holiday. It's not that I am sick or injured and can't go as in the past, because my children and grandchildren were still going. This year, there just is no big family gathering for the holidays. My uncle, the father of my closest childhood friends and family, died. At this point, questions remain unasked and/or unanswered. I move on as I always have, with my hand in the hand of my Lord and Savior, without whom I would be totally lost. My children and I have had our Thanksgiving celebration. Christmas is coming very soon. This month and next month my focus is on doctor appointments and preparing for my upcoming knee replacement on my left knee. The future remains, as always, in the hands of our Creator. There is no better place for it to be.

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