I did more than quilting during 2012, and it occurs to me that I ought to look back at the year for that as well. But first, a picture of how I look today. It isn't easy to take a photo of yourself. There is no way to see how it will look while you are taking it.
Joe died on August 1st. I'd been grieving for a couple of years by then. It started when I placed him in the nursing home in July 2010 because I could no longer keep him, or me, safe at home. Everything changes when you realize that your husband is not coming home again. All dementias are terminal, but that is not something I spent a lot of time thinking about when I was the active caregiver. With him in a nursing home my role changed. I was his advocate. I needed to make sure that he was safe and taken care of. But I wasn't the one doing the care anymore. But more than anything, I knew that the end was coming. No way to hide from that.
And when I was home the house was empty. After 3 or 4 weeks when I didn't have a second to myself, suddenly there was all this empty time to deal with.
About a year later I realized that for all intents and purposes I was a widow. I didn't have a partner to share my day with. I didn't have someone who needed a lot of care either. There was just me and I needed to spend some time figuring out who I was and what I wanted out of the next stage of life.
There was a time when you really didn't have a next stage of life at 69, but in this world I could easily live another 30 years. There is no reason to waste that kind of time.
Up until Joe's illness got very ugly I was a digital scrapbooker, but I just could not do that anymore. I'd worked a lot of the old pictures when current life got sad, and I didn't want to do any more of it because it all made me sad.
I was in art school in both high school and college, but I didn't like what my work looked like next to others who had a lot of talent. I put down the paint and brushes and didn't pick them up again over the next 50 or so years.
Sewing clothes is just plain a waste of time these days. And when I did it I did it for all the wrong reasons. You can't save money sewing clothes in our world. The things I remember making were all special things where I enjoyed the process of sewing the garment.
I'd done some quilting, mostly by hand. I knit and crocheted stuff, but back when I could have used a community to share it with that community did not exist locally, and there was no online back then. I did a lot of very complicated cross stitch, but you would never have known any of it looking at my house.
One of the first things I did was locate some of my "stuff" and consider putting it out. I knew that I'd need to change the way the house looked so it was MY house instead of OUR house.
I knew I needed an artistic outlet. I've always had some kind of artistic thing going on.
What happened during the last 18 months was that I began to move forward in a lot of areas of my life. I joined a small bible study group, which meant that I began to have a social life. I even hosted a few of the meetings at my house. Baby Steps. I met with friends for lunch, and occasionally for dinner. Dinner is harder because I don't drive at night.I joined a church. I bought the first sewing machine and then upgraded to one that better fit my needs. I began to make things that I liked the look of.
I began to live.