So…Coronavirus is in full effect. The kids are out of school. You may be working from home. God-forbid, you’re in self-quarantine! Whatever the case, many of us are spending a lot of time in our homes these days. Why not take some time to catch up on my Life After Vlog series? Posted here are the last four of 2019. And if you subscribe to my channel you’ll be one of the first to see my first video of 2020. Like the videos? Then hit the “thumbs up”, then subscribe. Have a question or want to suggest a topic, put it in the comment section or comment in the blog.
It might be too late in January to say Happy New Year but it’s early enough in the year for me to share with you some things in my life that I left behind in 2019. Check them out…
My response to the question”Do you drink?” The answer to this question will always be yes. I will no longer fumble my words for an answer that says, “I drink, but not that often”, as though I need to explain that.
Trying to fit into old clothes that I’ve outgrown. I have a grown woman body that I damn proud of. I’m done with the obsessing over the number on the scale or my dress or pants size. I will continue to be fitness focused, limiting my sweet treats, and engaging in exercise that I enjoy as often as possible. Whatever clothing doesn’t fit my current size will be replaced with new clothes. That’s the whole purpose of all the inventory at retail stores!
Telling Men that I’m not interested in a relationship. It was eight months after my husband passed before the reality of being single really hit me. He was my friend, my lover, my husband for 10 years. I’ve been out of the single game for quite a while. So when started having conversations with men I was trying to be clear that, at this stage of my life, being widowed after 10 yrs, having a teenage son to raise, I wasn’t trying to jump into a relationship. What I didn’t know was those words were communicating to them that I just wanted to have sex with them. 😩 Noooooo. I’m interested in engaging in interesting conversation, taking in a movie, going to breakfast or dinner with a nice guy. IF our chemistry leads to sex, then it does. BUT, that’s not my first intentions. Interestingly, a male friend brought this distinction to my attention. Now I say, “I’m interested in dating that could lead to a long term, serious relationship.”
Spending time with men that I don’t thoroughly enjoy. Ever heard of rebound sex or relationships. Well I’m my life, I’ve had both! Married the man and had two children, who are the joy of my world. However, I learned my lesson. And, now, I’m this time of singleness and being a real grown woman of 44 years old, I’m not hanging out with any man that I don’t thoroughly enjoy. Enough said!
I can’t properly remember my husband without remembering the bad times. As a married couple, we had just as many of those as we had good days. And even more as his health worsened.
Having a great night like the one we’d had the night before didn’t prevent me and Kevin from have a typical Kevin and LaCharmine argument. The kind where the real small things blows up into something much bigger.
After Kevin and I got home the Friday night, he went back out. Apparently his car wouldn’t start so he asked if he could take mine. I’m like, “Sure honey.” He goes about his business. I go to sleep.
The next morning, per usual, I’m up early, preparing to go out for my morning errands and such. I go outside and immediately notice my truck kinda hanging off the driveway . My first thought was like, “Hmm.” I get into the truck, crank up the engine, put in the reverse to back out the driveway. The wheels were spinning on the snow covered driveway but the truck wasn’t moving. Then my thought changed to , “Kevin, what the F$ck?”
I go in the house, fuming. Just not understanding why he couldn’t turn into the driveway like a normal person.
I say, “Kevin, my truck is stuck. I can’t get out the driveway.”
He says, “Oh yeah. I meant to tell you that. We’re going to half to call AAA.”
I think to myself, You forgot to tell me this important detail as I walking out the door.
But what I said was, “Well we don’t have AAA anymore. The membership expired. Are you going to pay it today?”
He says, coolly, “Nope. I paid for it last time.”
This ticked me off but I kept my mouth closed. I called AAA, paid the membership and put in the service call. The tow truck arrives in 20 mins.
Cool, I think. I can get out of here.
Now this is where the day went downhill…
Kevin says, “I need you to take me to get this part for my truck.”
Blank face…What, sir? I think to myself. Then I say something like, “You didn’t want to pay for the AAA to get the truck pulled out the ditch BUT you want me to put you above my plans for the day and do what you need me to do. I don’t think so!”
The yelling and cursing began.
I eventually caved and took him where he needed to go. But I was not happy about it. In the car, we continued to argue. At one point he threatened to get out of the car! LOL. I think I literally laughed at him on that one.
I dropped him off at home to tend to his car and finally got about my day. I knew I would pay for mouthiness with him later. Kevin was a silent treatment kind of guy.
That particular day, I was like, whatever. It was my 5th Deltaversary. I was going to enjoy my day with my line sisters.
My line sisters and I met at a local Applebees to have our annual toast for our Deltaversary. I was having a great time but Kevin was not far from my mind. I really hated arguing with him. Particularly because he held on to anger like a dog holding on to a bone.
Back at home, like I suspected, Kevin wasn’t speaking to me. I remember going to bed thinking, Damn. There’s goes our Merry Christmas…
The anniversary of my husband Kevin’s death, 12/18/17, feels more like a weekend event rather than one day. Because we had such an eventful weekend leading up to his death, my memory of his passing begins on the Friday before that fateful day…
In December 2017 the 15th fell on a Friday. Kevin and I are had plans to celebrate his sister’s surprise 50th birthday which was the day. I remember being at work that day and talking to my friend about possibly not going to the party. The terminal illnesses Kevin was dealing with, interstitial lung disease, caused him to be increasingly angry, resentful, and quite frankly, not pleasant to be around. For me, as his caregiver, at least. I was beginning to tire of the Kevin that Kevin became in the presence of his family. Positive, glass half-full, God is good all the time Kevin. Because with me, in the privacy of our home, I witnessed the total opposite. Full disclosure, he was often a jerk. But the expectation was for me to be with him. Not because he enjoying my company but because I was his wife, his support.
However, this day I was considering letting him go on his own and use the time with him away to enjoy some peace at home. I had a conversation with my coworker about it and she understood but she encourage me to go. And by the end of my workday I decided to do just that. Putting Kevin’s needs before my own.
I didn’t tell Kevin that I had thought about not going to the party. That would have just soured whatever mood he was in when I got home. Plus I had decided that we were going to have a good night. I was not going to press him about us being on time to the party to be apart of the surprise. He hated when I rushed him for anything. I told myself, “This is his sister’s party, and we will get there when he wants us to.” Once I relieved myself of that pressure, I was able to relax to tend to his his needs.
While Kevin prepared himself for the party, I prepared Kevin for the party. I put 8 full sized metal oxygen tanks & all five of the liquid oxygen tanks in the back seat of Kevin’s truck. We would need enough oxygen for the 35 minute ride to and from party and for the time we were at the party and anything that came up along the way. The time we had been dealing with life with supplemental oxygen we tried our best to prepared for anything.
Thankfully we made big to the party in time to yell “surprise” along with everyone else. Though kevin was physically struggling breath, I could tell he was happy. Kevin loved being around his family and his family loved to be around him. There was a lot of love between them.
If there was a prayer to be a given during a family gathering, Kevin was always the one to do it. But at this event, after taking family pictures, Kevin’s mom or sister requested prayer for Kevin. We formed a circle around him as the minister present prayed for him. When the prayer was finished Kevin had his own words to share.
“I don’t want y’all to worry about me. My God’s got me and I’m gonna be alright!”
He’d moved everyone in the room, in kid me, to tears. In that moment I couldn’t have been happy that I decided to attend the party with him. To witness the heart of a dying man who thought so much of his family to have comforting for them when he was one in greater need of comforting.
When we got home, I was in such a good mood. Kevin was too. The night had been a good one.
This is definitely one for the books. I know that there a lot of men in the world named Kevin. I went to school the. I work with them. They’re at my church. Interestingly, I’d always wanted to date one. And in 2007, I met #myKevin. He captured my heart and wifed (is that even a word) me up. LOL!
In the video I talk about a recent experience meeting another Kevin for the first time since losing mine. I also talk about the happy couple I was out with when this happened.
Go ahead and check it out and let me know could you just imagine that? Be sure to subscribe to the my blog and YouTube channel for regular updates.
In this second video of my Life After Vlog, I talk about celebrating my 2nd birthday last month without my husband as well the approaching holidays. It still seems surreal that I’m living without him.
When asked in those early months how I was doing following my husbands passing, the answer was the same as what it is now.
“I’m fine” or “I’m doing okay”.
But what else would I be in those particular settings–at church, in the office, at a sorority function, at a party. I was absolutely fine in those moments. No one was there , however, to ask that question when I was alone in the rental house awaiting the repair of my home, or driving in the car listening to a song Kevin loved to sing or traveling along a route we drove so frequently together, or when I was enjoying something that I wished I were enjoying with him.
I wasn’t always fine when I said I was. Sometimes I say, “I’m fine”, to convince myself that I was. Other times, like I say in the video, it’s because I actually was in those moment. The best advice I can give when dealing with the widow in your life is to prayer for her continued strength. She’s needs it.
Though my dad and I are currently estranged, his choice, I might add, I still take the time to honor him for his service to our country. My dad served in the United States Army and fought in the Vietnam War. I hadn’t been born yet, but it would be many years after my birth that I would begin to touch the surface of what he truly sacrificed for this country.
My dad never talked much of his time in the war. I can count on one hand how many times he mentioned something about it in my 44 years of life. But from what he shared about what he endured during the war coupled with his abandonment issues from his youth, I know my dad returned from the war physically whole but with emotional issues that only issues that God deliver him from.
My understanding of this is the only thing that allows me to focus less on my own pain from his deliberate absence from my life and to pray for his pain. I know my dad is only one of thousands of Veterans who return from war forever damaged. I’m sorry for the other children suffering in relationships with their mothers or fathers who suffered emotional damage from war. Our Veterans deserve so much more than the freebies they get on this day.
Today I texted my dad “Happy Veteran’s Day”, pushing away any expectation of a reply. It could go either way. Instead I reflected on fond memories of these pictures of better times with my dad. It was November 2015. My late husband, son, and I had gone to meet my dad at one his favorite steak joints. He way happy. I was happy. My husband and son were happy. It was a good day.
I was sharing these photos with a coworker when I received a text.
Believe it or not, I suffered a real stroke on 8/27/19. I’ve only mentioned it a few times between my FB page and this site but my physical state and mental state make it hard to believe. Not just for you, but me too. Ever since the doctors confirmed that what I thought was just crazy confusion that morning was stroke— not a mile stroke—it’s still hard for me to believe it too. Aside from having the fear that I would wake up any day in an incapacitated state, not being able to care for myself, or even worse—dead, I feel eerily as if the events of that day never happened.
But they did. I take daily medications hat reminds me each day. The implanted heart monitor which downloads my heart rhythm into an app on phone, that gets transmitted monthly to my cardiologist is a constant reminder as well. On yeah, I have a cardiologist, neurologist, and a hematologists. Didn’t have any of those on my medical roster before that day. So, yes, the stroke is a real part of my life whether I want to believe it or not.
The doctors released me after a week to resume my normal activities. But they didn’t even know what those were. So I was scared to do anything that I thought could bring about another stroke. And for me, that could have been anything because I still didn’t know what caused it. The test the ran on me in hospital confirmed that I don’t have a hole in my heart, no clots in my legs or neck. All I knew was that morning I washed my hair, boiled some eggs, and then, out of nowhere, couldn’t figure out why I suddenly was confused about the order in which to put my clothes on. How did I know that wasn’t going to happen again?
A trip to the stroke clinic confirmed the importance of exercise for my recovery and prevention of future strokes. That irritated me because I’ve been exercise. Maybe not as consistently as I should but definitely I’m more active than most, and if I don’t get to the gym, I’m walking. So what gives?
I found myself pretty angry. All the Zumba classes, walks over lunch at work, exercise videos at home, stints of Yoga and Pilates classes was the point of exercising and trying to eat right didn’t prevent me from having a stroke in the first place.
I was ready to throw in the towel. Stop stressing myself trying to fit exercise into my life. But then reality hit me. Maybe my history of exercising are the exact reason that I didn’t experience any physical ramifications from the stroke I had. Maybe that why when I was in the hospital I had free reign to walk the hospital halls without supervision because I wasn’t a fall risk. Maybe that’s why I could go home and didn’t have to attend occupational or physical therapy.
I consider myself blessed that I don’t look or feel like I suffered that stroke. But because I know I did, exercise will continue to be apart of my life!
If you ever enter a women’s—unisex, family, or whatever it’s called—you won’t see me pick up one of those seat covers. Why? Because I can’t stand them. When I try to use them the damn things always fall in the toilet before I can sit on it. And while I fidgeting around with that I’m about to damn near pee on myself!
It’s usually in the workplace that I feel the most judgments. It’s usually where I’ve tried the most to use them. Just for their perceived sanitation. But what works best for me is old fashioned method of covering the seat with tissue, squatting over the seat and wiping any droppings. The way my mom taught me as a young girl.
I accomplish the same goal without the frustration . Now if anyone wants to give me a tutorial…never mind. I don’t want one . I’ll keep doing what works for me.
P.S. Before you call me a trifling, might I say the trifling ones are those who flush the seat covers without checking to make sure it’s gone down. And the next one coming in the stall has to deal with that! That is all!
As you read in my previous post (I hope you’re a subscriber!), part of the reason for my hiatus from blogging is that I started a graduate program in library science in the fall of last year. Since I published my first book in 2007, I have considered many career opportunities/fields. Accounting, education, communication, and librarianship. Over this time, I would get so frustrated with the internal debate of what course I should take. My biggest fear was that in considering these other career options that I was somehow doubting my ability to gain success with my writing.
The truth is that doubt is a creative persons silent partner.
However, the reality of being a writer, even an eventual successful one, is that the bills have to be paid in the meantime. And there’s life to live and enjoy until I write the book or meet the person who catapults me to the success I long for. Timing is everything.
I have no doubt that I will enjoy working in a library. I love libraries, specifically public libraries. I don’t frequent them nearly enough–well, I didn’t until I started school. But, for me, walking through the doors of my local library is like a kid walking into a candy store. Pure delightful.
I imagine drawing inspiration for my own writing being surrounded by the writing of our literary greats. I am anxiously anticipating planning readings and book signing events for local and national authors. I look forward to planning activities that the community will benefit from. I look forward to servicing patrons who recognize the continued relevance of library services.
To date, I have completed one full semester of classes toward my degree with one or two more to go. I made the mistake of taking two classes the first two semesters, under estimating how demanding these courses were going to be. Like most people probably think, It’s library school. How hard can it be?
Let me tell you. It’s not so much hard but time consuming and demanding like any other graduate program. Also, although the program states that a prospective student does not have to prior library experience to enroll in the program, it’s kind of taught as though you do. Or you’re going to spend a considerable amount of time in one during the program.
After having to talk myself off the ledge of quitting a few times when things got tough, I finally got smart and told myself, “Uhh, who told you that you have to take two classes at a time? This program is not a race.” And I must say this spring/summer semester has been much more manageable with one class. It’s a keeper going forward. I actually have a little wiggle room to fit in some committed time to work on my current novel, which ranks above the. I still have my December 2019 goal to have that work completed.
Needless to say I’m excited about what the future holds. My future as a librarian and my life as a national bestselling author!
What are you excited about for your future? I’d love to hear.