The Recovering Farmer

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Difficult Question

Just after I posted my last blog I received a phone call informing me that a close family member had died. Shocking to say the least. Forty two years old. Something really wrong with this picture. That is not supposed to happen. But, unfortunately, it does. How we deal with it becomes the challenge.

We dropped in at my nephew’s that fateful day. His wife had gone out for her usual morning jog. She collapsed. She died. We wonder why. It is heartbreaking to see a family without a mother. Things have changed and will continue to change. I have no concept of what those changes will entail. I often pride myself in being able to connect with people who have or are enduring hardship. This one leaves me completely befuddled.

As we were sitting there and contemplating this tragedy I made a comment to her brother that situations like this brought everything back into perspective. It does. All my whining and complaining about spring taking its jolly time becomes a minor issue. Those financial issues I have been worrying about become a minor irritant. Health issues I thought I had seem to have gone. Reiterates for me what I suggested last week. “The important things in life are not things”.

I saw pain this week like never before. A pain that cannot be fully explained. A pain that leaves one breathless. Hearts that will never mend. Words mean nothing. A feeling of hopelessness. A feeling of being in a really bad dream. A feeling that surely we can wake up and find it is not true.

I also saw family coming together to support, to help, to share the grief. Shock was evident. But I also saw these family members dig deep and find the strength to do what needs to be done.

The world is missing a wonderful person. She epitomized what many wish to become. A mother, a wife, a partner, a sister, a community leader and a mentor to many young kids. On the mantel was a caricature of her in the midst of a bunch of smiling kids. Something she received just a week ago to celebrate the work she had done with kids in the community.

Life is short. In some cases much to short. Finding answers may never happen. Probably not even sure what questions to ask. Other than, WHY??? Here is hoping that this young father finds the strength, finds the stamina, finds the wherewithal to cope, to carry on, and to be the parent that his kids will so desperately need. Here is hoping that the kids can carry on with a life without their mother. Embrace what she has taught them in her short life. And here is hoping that in a time of need I can be there. It will take a community to rally around this family. I need to be part of that community.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Some Thoughts

I am looking out the window this morning and I see beautiful sunshine. It looks almost spring like. Could it be? The problem is most of the brightness is because the sun is reflecting off snow. That needs to change. Having said that I seem to be spending an inordinate time thinking. Perhaps some creative thought but for the most part not.

Saw a wall hanging the other day. It simply said, “the best things in life are not things”. As I recall, I saw that the same night that there was a record lottery win. No. I did not buy a ticket. A 1 in 14 million chance did not sound promising. I am hoping there is a better chance that we will get spring. During a news cast that day it was reported that, on average, lottery winners lose their winnings within seven years. That certainly puts “things” in perspective. How often do we look around and wish for some material “thing”? Far too often me thinks.

I have often mentioned the fast paced world we live in. How we cope becomes an issue. Do you ever notice that when you are in a stressful situation you wish for a cigarette, a strong drink, some chocolate cake? We seem to have these cravings that we know will help us overcome the situation we happen to be in. This may be a problem for some as it can easily lead to addiction. That in itself can be problematic. Trust me, I have been there. I have had to “quit” numerous “bad” habits or addictions in my life. Often times we are not aware that they are problems when in fact they are. I still maintain that some of those bad habits help us maintain our sanity. Unfortunately they can also kill us. “Quitting smoking or drinking does not help us live longer, it just feels like it.” That is probably not a scientifically proven point. For some strange reason I can relate.

I do some work in an office that is primarily women. When you go into the washroom there is a sign on the wall above the toilet. It says, and I quote, “please put down seat after use”. I have seen that in other washrooms and obviously heard that from many and all women around. I always found it rather curious. Why is that a concern? I am privy to a list called the “Man’s List”. Someday I would like to share it in its entirety. But for today I will share but one point. Again, I quote, “LEARN TO WORK THE TOILET SEAT. YOU'RE A BIG GIRL. IF IT'S UP, PUT IT DOWN. WE NEED IT UP, YOU NEED IT DOWN. YOU DON'T HEAR US COMPLAINING ABOUT YOU LEAVING IT DOWN”. Somehow, for some strange reason, that makes sense. Then again I am a mediator and try to find common ground. I will leave it at that.

The forecast tells me that by the end of this week we should have normal temperatures. That means that by May 1 I should be golfing. I have had a tough time believing the forecast but for some strange reason I am trusting it now. Perhaps it is desperation. Even my wife is hoping the weather will turn. Aside from the fact that she is sick and tired of winter driving, after all it has been six months, she is tired of me looking longingly out the back window. She also claims that I am getting very ornery. I said ornery. For me that is a sign of cabin fever. I need to get out. If these long winters become a norm I may have to take up a winter sport. Curling? God forbid. Make it a good one.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring is Sprung

Spring is sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder where them . . . Excuse me. Spring is sprung? Where? Not here. I am finding that this long, protracted winter is having a debilitating effect on everyone. People just seem to be “off”. I keep looking out of the window thinking this must change. I check the forecast and wonder whether they know what really is going on. Okay, granted, a slow melt is good. Particularly because of our above normal snow pack and the time of year. I may think that an ongoing winter is devastating but I know full well that a long, drawn out winter is minor compared to a flood. How do I know this? I married a woman who grew up in the Red River Valley. If anyone knows about floods its those folks. They have been there. They bought the Tshirts.

I have had significant difficulties in writing any type of blog. Not sure where to go. Even my happy place does not seem to be happy. I have played numerous golf courses in my mind but even that does not work. My anxiety levels are up. Way up. How do I combat that?

I think there is hope. I hope there is hope. I need there to be hope. But all I see is snow. It will take some time to get rid of that. In desperation I may have to take up snow golf. But I don’t want to. In fact I have suggested to my family that should I be out there, playing snow golf, that they should do what it takes to take me out of my misery. Really. There must be more to life than that. I want spring.

It is interesting to see how our spring, or lack thereof, seems to have sucked out the life of most everyone around. Monday of this week it seemed that everyone I met was tired. Everyone seemed to be without energy. I should know. I was part of that group. Whenever I asked people how they were the answers were the same. Tired. Grouchy. Lack of energy. Where is spring?

So I was going along with the idea that a slow melt was a good thing. That is what we have heard for the last month or more. To avoid a major flood event we were better off if there was a slower melt. I tried to overcome my selfish desires to golf because I realize full well what devastation a flood has. Now I hear that the melt is to slow. That has now become an issue. Excuse me? We can’t seem to win.

Yesterday morning my son informed me that the long range forecast was for a colder than normal summer. I thanked him for providing me with hope for something better. NOT. I shared my frustrations with a group later in the afternoon. One of the participants in that discussion said I needed to relax. It was only April. Things would get better. They always had. My response to him was that in just over two months the days were getting shorter and then the summer was basically over and so what was the use.

Yes, it sounds like I have given up. To top it all off this is the Masters weekend. My all-time favorite golf tournament. Played down in Georgia. Where the azaleas are in full bloom. Stunning vista. Entertaining golf. But guess what? I am missing it all. Going on a short jaunt for the weekend. Check out the spa in Moose Jaw. Poor planning on my part. Perhaps I can fill my emotional gas tank. That is my only hope. The question is, do they have TV’s out there? Oh, I will pay for that. Oh well. Make it a good one.