Small World

I noticed in the local weather forecast, that one day the winds would come from the north, the next day from the south, the next from the west, and it got me curious about what all those winds mean. After an hour or so, I’m still not sure. Too much of the information seemed roundabout and obfuscating, such as “the north wind blows from the north.” Despite this, I have gleaned enough to guess that the north wind brings cold, the south wind brings dampness, and the west wind brings dryness. These guesses might not be correct, but I got tired of researching a rather meaningless topic — after all, the wind will blow when and where it wants, and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. As long as it’s not huffing and puffing enough to blow my house down or my roof off, it doesn’t really matter.

During the course of this hunt, I stumbled across something that amused me:

Sanandaj, Iran (7,028 miles away); Shāhreẕā, Iran (7,343 miles); and Alik Ghund, Pakistan (7,671 miles) are the far-away foreign places with temperatures most similar to the town where I am living.

In the annals of vital information, that has to be far down the list of importance, much further down even than wind direction.

Does knowing this get me anything besides amusement? To a degree, yes. It ties the world together in a way I hadn’t expected. Those towns I had never heard of, those townspeople I could never in my life have even imagined, are experiencing same weather today that I am.

Apparently, it is a small world after all.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Living in a Gated Community

Four years ago, I rented a room in a modular house in a 55+ gated community, and the experience gave me the creeps. Although the people I generally hung around with were older than me, I didn’t like being forced into an area with only retired folks. It seemed too segregated. That these people were a mixed lot, all colors, nationalities, and opinions, did not mitigate their age-related sameness.

I vowed never to live in a gated community, and yet here I am:

In my defense, these gates enclose a community of one — me. (Can one person be a community? It seems rather oxymoronic.)

When I moved here, I liked that only a portion of the backyard was enclosed. It didn’t intimidate me the way a large yard would have; it was less yard to take care of, and I am not a fan of lawn pampering. When the safety factor of a fence was pointed out to me, I had to agree that fencing the whole place was important. After all, this is my old age home, and the person I am now has to look after the person I will become.

As it turns out, I like the fence. I like having a large yard. I like looking around and greedily thinking, “This is mine!” At least it’s mine for now. Obviously, I can’t take the property with me after I’m gone, so it’s more that I have a life tenancy. Which is okay. That’s all I need.

Most of my life, I have done without. In a culture that seemed bent on accumulating as much as possible, I tried to keep my possessions to a bare minimum. Now, when the fad is to get rid of one’s excess and to declutter, I am cluttering.

Still, part of the decluttering movement is about keeping things that bring you joy, and seeing my things after so many years of being in storage, seeing my pristine kitchen and my cozy living room with its beautiful furniture, seeing my winter-brown yard, all make me smile. Even something so mundane as those gates make me smile.

Yep, a whole lot of smiling going on in this little gated community of one!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

The Stockings Were Hung by the Heating Unit with Care

A word of advice — if you don’t like the sun setting before 4:30 in the wintertime, be sure to move to the western end of a time zone. The sun sets at the western end of a time zone almost an hour later than the eastern end.

And I live close to the eastern edge of the mountain time zone.

Even worse, there are still three weeks until the end of the creeping darkness.

Usually I wait to put out my bowls of light until close to the winter solstice to celebrate the returning light, but this year, I need them early. Not only does the sun set at 4:30, the long twilights I remember from my previous years in Colorado seem to be missing (maybe because I am further south than where I used to live). So, full dark comes at 5:00. Yikes.

Yesterday I put out the bowls of light.

Today, I put up my Christmas trees. The red tree was a gift to cheer me up three years ago when I couldn’t go anywhere because of my destroyed arm, the green tree was my father’s. I hadn’t intended to bring it with me, but someone thought I needed it, because when my brother helped me move my stuff into a storage unit after my father’s death, there is was.

And now here it is.

One odd aspect of growing older is that everything has a story. Those trees, of course. The stocking that was hung above the heating unit with care was a gift from my sister about fifteen years ago that has been packed away. The bowls the lights are in used to be my mother’s. The table used to belong to an aunt, got handed down to my brother, and now it, too, is here. The red wreath started out as a hatband and will again become a hatband in another week or so.

Every ornament has a story, too. Quite frankly, I had no idea I had so many ornaments — I haven’t had a tree for decades. I put up my father’s tree for him but decorated it with the cute felt nativity set I’d made for my mother when I was young. (It seems to have disappeared. I know she gave it back to me before she died, which is why I had it to use for my father’s tree, but I must have gotten rid of it during one of my storage unit cleansings.) I did recently buy some ornaments from an artist friend — the arabesque (onion shaped) ones — but mostly what I have are things I was gifted. A couple of things I found in with my ornaments, I don’t remember ever seeing before.

It might sound as if I get too attached to things, but if you knew how much stuff that I liked that I’ve gotten rid of over the years, you’d see that some things attach themselves to me, and those are the things I still have.

In this case, it’s good I have the stuff. I mean, first Winter Solstice/Light Festival/Christmas in my new house? Of course, I’ll decorate!!

Besides, it makes the long dark nights on the eastern edge of the time zone a bit brighter.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

 

 

My Life as Told by a Set of Dishes

My Christmas presents the year I was in sixth grade were a used Featherlight sewing machine that my father bought from someone he’d recently met, a set of Melmac dishes that had been a giveaway at Safeway (one piece each week with a purchase), and a new school uniform.

I was pleased with these gifts, even the uniform. My uniforms were the only clothing that was ever bought specifically for me; generally, I wore hand-me-downs from a tiny cousin. (And boy, did having the seams let out to the maximum give me a bad body image at an age when most girls were barely aware of their bodies!)

Back at school, when kids asked me what I got for Christmas, I told them. All day, I could see kids huddled together, glancing at me, and I could hear their tittering. As often happened during those years, I had no idea what I did to make myself a figure of fun. One day, though, a friend came to the house, and with a snicker, she asked to see my gifts.

The snickering stopped when she saw the real sewing machine and the grown-up set of dishes. Apparently, she along with all my classmates thought I got a toy sewing machine and a child’s set of dishes, and they’d been making fun of my childishness.

After that, they still gave me the cold shoulder, which taught me that people blame the victim when they have erred. Apparently, too, being given toys at the advanced age of eleven was infantile, but being given grown-up stuff was plain weird.

I kept the sewing machine until after Jeff died, but I couldn’t keep all three of my sewing machines — my Featherweight, an additional Featherweight that had been handed down to me, and the Pfaff that I had bought in my early twenties when I managed a fabric store. Selling those two Featherweights cheap was a mistake — it turns out they were worth 50 times what I sold them for, and even worse, the Pfaff is so heavy, now that I am getting older, I can barely lift it. (It is solid metal, and I mean SOLID.)

As for the set of dishes, I still have them. They were a source of contention that last year of Jeff’s life. As he pulled away from me, I pulled away from the hurt of his pulling away, and I did not want him to use my plates. The Melmac plates are a nice size, so we used them even more than the Corelle dishes we purchased together since the Corelle plates were too big. But that year, I got concerned about knife gouges and food stains, so I asked him not to use them. But he still did. He liked using things in rotation, so I put Melmac plates at the bottom of the stack. He still used them.

It seems silly now all the emotion I invested in protecting those silly plates. I felt guilty, too, at my selfishness. It took me years to realize the symbolism. I couldn’t protect him, couldn’t protect myself from the pain I was going through at the time, couldn’t protect myself from the grief I would feel after he was gone, but I could protect those plates! But I couldn’t even do that. He simply did not understand what I’d asked of him, and if he did understand, he didn’t remember. Now I know that the cancer that had spread to his brain caused the problem, but at the time, I thought he was being . . . I don’t know . . . inconsiderate, maybe. I don’t use the dishes much any more. Perhaps I’m still protecting them. Or me.

I vaguely remember also having a problem with his using my silverware. (Stainless steel flatware, actually, that had been a giveaway at the bank when I was in my late teens and early twenties — one piece for each deposit). Jeff and I had always intermingled the household things we each brought to the relationship, but for some reason that last year, he began exclusively using my spoons. I preferred those spoons to his because they were a bit narrower and thinner, and seemed to fit me better. Maybe as he got sicker, they seemed more comfortable to him, too, but it left me having to use his thicker spoons, and I resented it. The irony is that after he died, I started using his flatware, and that’s what I mostly use now.

Do you see a pattern here? A set of dishes that’s lasted this long with only one cup missing and a couple of chips on the edge of one small plate. Flatware I’ve used practically my whole life and still use. A sewing machine I bought decades ago and still have. A car I bought new forty-odd years ago and still drive. Could be those kids back in grade school were right — maybe I am a bit weird.

It does seem odd though, that these things are still here, while both my parents, two brothers, and Jeff are gone.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

 

Suzy Homemaker

When I was a little girl, I wanted a toy oven that really worked. Actually, now that I think of it, I’m not sure it was the oven I wanted but the accessories — small baking pans, child-size utensils, and especially the miniature boxes of cake and muffin mixes.

My mother, being the practical woman that she was, thought those mixes ridiculously high priced for the little that came in the package. (I’m sure she thought the adult-size mixes too high-priced, because she baked everything from scratch.)

On Christmas morning, I found huge present, almost as tall as I was. Instead of the tiny boxes of mixes that I wanted, she had given me dozens of full-size mixes as well as a full-size Pyrex mixing bowl set.

Somehow, she just didn’t get it.

Still, it was sweet and thoughtful of her. I enjoyed using those mixes, of course, and the bowls, which I kept for many years, though I don’t know what eventually happened to them. (I think the orange Pyrex bowl I found in her kitchen when I cleaned out the house after my father died was mine, but I couldn’t keep it — I already had too much stuff.)

Well, now I have my very own kitchen, and though all my utensils and such are adult-sized, I still love small things. I spent several days baking, not just making my pretty flower cookies, but miniature cranberry muffins,

Miniature toffee bars,

And, even some full-size cookies that I baked and painted free-hand for an upcoming Snowman (Snowperson? Snowfolk? Snowpal?) exhibit at the museum.

In another couple of weeks, it will be the twelfth anniversary of my mother’s death, and I wonder what she thinks of me now, in my own house, in my own kitchen, using my own oven to make baked goods from scratch — and not a cake mix in sight!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Misplaced Outrage Over Self-Checkout

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook where people who are against self-checkout proclaim that they don’t work for the company. Yesterday, at a community pot luck, I got caught in a group that began discussing that very thing. Luckily, some friends arrived, so I could make my excuses, but that smug line, “I don’t work for them,” has stayed with me.

The truth is, we do work for them.

At the beginning, grocery stores were all service oriented. You’d go in, tell the owner what you wanted, and they would pick the stuff off the shelves, ring it up, and bag it (generally with the bag or basket you brought for that very purpose).

As stores grew bigger, they provided baskets for people to pick out their own wares. I’m sure those people were just as miffed as those today. I’m sure they, too, said they didn’t work for the company.

As time passed, and more automation came into being, customers not only had to pick out their own merchandise, but had to unload the carts themselves. I remember how upset people were back then. “We don’t work for them.” But they did.

Self-checkout has been in the works for at least fifteen years that I know of. Twelve years ago, I used a self-checkout for the first time. So self-checkout is nothing new. And has been inevitable for a long time.

Frankly, the whole smugly outraged attitude about Walmart going to mostly self-checkout is too little, too late. And completely self-serving.

The truth is, we do more than work for behemoths like these. Much of Walmart’s rapid expansion was paid by public funds, not just tax incentives and tax breaks, but free land, infrastructure assistance, low-cost financing and outright grants from state and local governments around the country to the tune of $1.2 billion. In addition, since Walmart underschedules their employees, making sure they work an hour or two a week less than full time, taxpayers end up paying the healthcare costs of Wal-Mart employees through public programs such as Medicaid.

But oh, yes. Let’s get indignant about self-checkout.

To a great extent, Walmart helped to flood the United States with imports from China. I’ve never been able to find out if it was Sam’s decision or if someone in the government approached him — because of new policies to give China most favored nation status along with deals to bring in tons of products, someone needed to peddle the junk to unsuspecting consumers. (Little is ever mentioned about the coincidence of the world’s largest retailer, the world’s largest chicken producer, and a political legacy all rising at approximately the same time from the same relatively backward state.)

Along with the imports (that poured into the stores at the same time their public relations firms touted proudly that the stores were dedicated to carrying things made in the USA) came human rights violations — sweat shops, child labor, dangerous working conditions, sexual abuse and physical violence in Walmart supplier factories. Where was the outrage then? Those things happened in other countries, so no one seemed to care. Nor did most people seem to care about civil rights violations, such as illegally dumped hazardous wastes.

People are outraged that Walmart employees are being replaced by self-checkout, but there was little outrage when the stores come into an area and destroyed local businesses, often businesses who paid their employees more than Walmart did. Did anyone but the businesses themselves and the suddenly-unemployed people care about those jobs lost? And what about the small companies that Walmart destroyed? Who cared about them? When the giant retailer went into the grocery business, they found small companies to supply their needs, and once those companies were committed to supplying the chain, they were forced into ever higher production demands with ever-lower profits. The suppliers had to borrow money to keep up with the increased demands, believing the lies of more business down the line. And it worked . . . until Walmart opened their own supply stations, most recently a milk processing plant that threw their previous supplier into bankruptcy, with way too many jobs lost.

But oh, yes. Let’s be smug and self-righteous when it comes to self-checkout.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Dealing With Grief During the Holidays

This is an excerpt from my book: Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One:

***

The first year of grief after the loss of a spouse or a life mate is hard because our grief is so new and so raw that it’s all we can do to take one painful breath at a time. All the firsts we experience during this period can make things even harder.

The first holidays are painful. The first wedding anniversary, the first birthdays, the first major holidays. Each of these days brings a greater sense of grief because we are intensely aware that our life mate is not here to experience these once-happy holidays with us. Whatever traditions we developed together become obsolete when only one of us remains to carry on. The pain and the yearning to be together once more during these times can be devastating.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Years are the big holidays with the biggest challenges. These special days are family celebrations, and often we are left alone with our memories and our feelings, even if we are surrounded by family.

After Jeff died, I went to take care of my ninety-three-year-old father. That first Thanksgiving, my brothers and sisters-in-law came to have dinner with us. I felt awkward because my widowed father sat at one end of the table, and I sat at the other end in my mother’s place, even performed her hostess duties. Despite that weirdness, it was a nice meal, but as the guests were leaving, two by two, I fell into a deep crevice of grief that took a couple of weeks to crawl out of.

Christmas is even more challenging because if we do opt to join the family in festivities, assuming we have such an option and want to make use of it, our families don’t know what to say to us. They are afraid of saying “Merry Christmas,” because they know there can be no merriment for us. Their fumbling to find something to say makes us so much more conscious of our situation than the rote greeting, “Merry Christmas,” would have done. After all, no one truly is wishing us, or anyone, merriment. It’s simply the thing we say.

We each have to find our own way to deal with the holidays. Talking to someone about our loved one, perhaps sharing a special memory can help, and if there is no one to talk to, writing a letter to our deceased mate can make the upsurge of grief around the holidays easier to handle. There is great power in writing to our dead because it gives us a sense of connection and continuity. We are verbal creatures, so putting our feelings into words can be therapeutic and can decrease the stress of the holidays.

Sometimes we grievers find comfort in doing things the way we always did because it makes us feel closer to our departed loved one. Sometimes we need to create new traditions for us alone, which is how I dealt with the days.

Jeff loved Christmas lights, and since he still lived in my heart, or so people said, I took him for a walk that first Christmas Eve and showed him the abundance of lavishly decorated houses in the neighborhood. As fanciful a notion as that was, it helped.

Over time, as we build new memories on top of the old ones, the emotional resonance of the holidays and anniversaries diminishes, as does the dread leading up to these days. The upsurges of grief we experience soften to a feeling of nostalgia and even gratitude that once we were loved, once had someone to love, once had someone with whom to share our life.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Why is Writing Important?

I’ve been asked to give a brief talk to seventh graders about the importance of writing, which has led me to question if writing really is important. Luckily, the ceremony has been postponed for a week, which gives me plenty of time to come up with an appropriate answer.

Only a small percentage of writers have ever made a living at writing (and most of those were people who wrote books on how to make a living at writing), and that percentage seems to be shrinking. More than 80% of books sell fewer than 100 copies. Maybe 50% sell only about ten copies or so. So, why write? The wonder of writing fiction is that a story born in one mind grows to full power in another mind. But what if you don’t have readers, or at least not many? And why take the time to learn the craft since some of the books that do sell are poorly written tripe?

In the end, it’s the writing that counts. The story.

So much of communication for us humans is story telling. A joke is a story. What you tell about your day is a story. Something you post about yourself online is a story. An advertisement is a story — it tells a story of what your life will be like if you buy that product.

But writing isn’t only about story. It’s about us. About life.

Writing is a super power. What we write can change people, events, the world, and even ourselves.

Writing is the primary basis upon which our work is judged—in college, in the work place and in the community.

Writing is magic. At its core, writing is the ability to transform thoughts, ideas, and emotions into to written word, into something tangible.

When we talk of writing, we often mean writing stories, writing to entertain people. This sort of writing truly is magic since the story that is born in one mind grows to full power in another mind.

Writing, whether fiction, nonfiction, blogs, or social updates is about communicating. Writing helps us with communication and thinking skills. If we write well, we communicate well. If we communicate well, we can succeed.

Writing brings worlds to life and recalls them from ages long past.

Writing makes our thoughts, our learning, our memories permanent and visible to others.

Writing can preserve thoughts, emotions and ideas long after the writer has left this earth. Sometimes, other people’s writing is all we have to learn about previous eras.

Writing helps us develop our ideas and allows us to explain those ideas to others and to ourselves. Writing expresses who we are as individuals and as a people. Writing can help us understand our lives.

Writing is good for health. It helps relieve stress, improves our mood, and increases brain function. And since writing helps us understand our life, it improves our mental health and guides us through traumatic times.

Writing is a left-brained structured/regimented activity that can marry with right-brained images/insights/artistry and create something powerful and life-changing

Writing is at the center of everything we do. Language is part of our DNA. It is part of our birthright as human beings. Whenever we write, whatever we write — a story, a diary entry, a post on the internet, an essay, we are engaging in a form of wizardry using letters and words.

***

A special thanks to Rami Ungar and everyone else who contributed to this list.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Giving a Talk to Seventh Graders

If you were giving a talk to seventh graders about writing, what would you focus on?

The historical museum sponsored an essay contest, and tomorrow night is the award ceremony. A woman from the museum will be talking about the historical aspect of the contest, and I have been invited to talk about the writing aspect.

One suggestion was for me to talk the importance of writing, and how it could lead to a writing career, but I so do not want to disillusion the poor kids before they find out that writing is a career for only a select few. For so many of us, writing is important in various ways, and though we would like to make a living at it, writing itself has to be the reward.

Another suggestion was to talk about how the grasp of writing is important in getting a job, but I don’t know if that’s still true. Is it? The world is changing so quickly that much of what used to be considered slang seems to be acceptable (like, duh). Now it’s anyone’s guess as to the place writing will have by the time these kids enter the job market.

If it were a group of adults, I could talk about the importance of writing (journaling) when one is going through a crisis, but I certainly can’t talk about how writing can help one deal with the loss of a spouse, and I certainly won’t give them nightmares by talking about writing in dealing with the possible loss of a parent.

I could talk about the importance of story, but “story” isn’t always about writing — it can be also be visual or spoken. (Or unspoken if one has ESP) Or I could talk about the importance of writing as communication, but again, there are other ways of communicating besides just writing.

The talk doesn’t have to be very long, but it needs to be fun, entertaining, and helpful. And something seventh graders can relate to. Eek. How did I get myself this situation? Oh, right — I agree to do it.

So, any suggestions for what should I say?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Overcoming Inertia

You’d think, after all these years of doing things by myself, I wouldn’t have a problem with motivating myself, but I do. Ever since Jeff died, I’ve tried to be more spontaneous, but sometimes I simply cannot overcome inertia to just . . . go.

The Union Pacific Big Boy steam engine passed within seventy-five miles of here, and I sort of wanted to see it. But the time for leaving came, and I didn’t go. Apparently, “sort of wanting” is not enough motivation. If I had really, really wanted to see it, I might have gone — after all, I did go searching (in vain) for tarantulas. But maybe not. My days of simply hopping into my car and taking off seem to be diminishing — not just because of no motivation, but because the thought of pulling the cover off my vintage Beetle and folding it up seems too much of a big deal. Also, because I’m not driving all the time, I tend to worry.

Luckily, I can walk most places around here and save driving for the days when the ritual of uncovering and recovering my car doesn’t seem so daunting or if I simply want to drive, worry or no. It might be easier to go somewhere on a whim when (if?) my garage is done, but I doubt it. I won’t have to uncover the car (though a neighbor car guy recommends still covering it), but I will have to unlock and open the garage door and gates, then get out of the car and close them once I’m on the street. Just the thought makes me weary! It’s not an immediate problem, though, since my contractor has disappeared on me again.

Now that it’s getting dark so early, my activities are a bit curtailed — I’m not used to walking in the dark around here, and to be honest, I’m not sure it’s all that safe of a place to be on foot at night — so I don’t attend evening events by myself.

Although all this makes it seem as if I don’t do much anymore, that’s not true. There are many scheduled events I attend during the day, such as the art guild meetings. The meetings are on my calendar, so there’s no need to overcome inertia — I just go. Other times, I hitch a ride with a friend. For example, there was a community dinner last night, and a friend invited me to go with her. It was a wonderful meal, a full turkey dinner, though it amused me — there I was in a Baptist church, eating dinner with my friend and the Presbyterian minister. Only in a small town . . .)

And that won’t be my only Thanksgiving dinner. The senior center will be hosting a potluck dinner for all of us strays. They will provide the turkey; we will provide everything else. (My contribution will be my own creation — a cranberry/apple compote.) Although Thanksgiving as a holiday doesn’t hold the emotional hazards for me that it does for many who have lost their mates, it’s nice knowing I’ll won’t be missing out on anything (except maybe the contention that sometimes come with family get-togethers).

The dinner is already scheduled and circled on my calendar. I’m committed to bringing the compote, It’s during the day. And I can walk. So there won’t be any inertia to overcome.

But it’s not exactly spontaneous, either.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.