Rusty Struts, Jigsaw Puzzles and Serenades

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Hey blog readers! I’m still here!

I’m working hard to get my new world in order after my husband’s passing last year. I’m having a rough time getting my Boomerrantz rants going again. But here’s a little story that happened to me this week.

So I took my car in for servicing on Monday. I told the mechanic that I could hear a grinding sound. He asked me where the noise was coming from, and I told him, “From the car.” He raised an eyebrow and searched my face for something; humour, senility? “But then again, it could be coming from me,” I told him.

It turns out my struts were rusty and I needed new mounts and bearings. Yup, I can identify with that. I’m feeling out of alignment these days too. I wish fixing me was as easy as ordering new parts. I’m learning to live alone for the first time in my life, and it’s rough going. After forty-two years of marriage, some things were never on my couples-job description.

What do I know about upper strut mounts and mysterious noises emanating from the deepest bowls of my car? And for that matter, what the heck is the vehicle permit number that’s needed to renew my license plate sticker? Yes, I finally found it in my glove compartment but not without help from my Google sidekick.

As with many couples, over the years we each took care of our assigned list of chores. But this living alone thing has me confused and insecure a lot of the time. I’ve spent my life making decisions without looking back or second-guessing myself. But now, as soon as I make up my mind, I’m filled with doubts about my choices; sometimes working myself up into a full-blown panic attack.

How do I cope with losing the “we” of our life together and finding my bearings with the “me” I now have to live with? I’m doing the best I can and with the support of my wonderful family and friends, I’m finding my way.

But every day is like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces don’t quite fit. I tried using a hammer to pound them into place, but that just left me feeing exhausted with a bunch of sad-looking leftover pieces.

In the end, I realize the only way to complete the puzzle is to take one piece at a time and gently, patiently find where it belongs. There’s no skipping over the nasty bits if you want to see the bigger picture.

Anyway, back to my car and my mixed metaphors. Something lovely happened to me amidst my lubes, oils and filters. A nice retired gentleman was driving the dealership shuttle service that day. He offered to drive me home while my car was being repaired. We chatted and he told me he had been in an acapella choir for many years. (As an aside, I joined a “pop choir” last year to help bring joy into my life, and I’m now in my second season. It’s wonderful!)

As he was approaching my building he started to belt out an old Al Jolson song…”I’d walk a million miles, for one of your smiles, Patriciaaaa.” He made me smile for the rest of the day remembering that song. Who knew a random act by a shuttle driver could bring such joy to a lady of vintage years with serious alignment problems?

I’ve been alone for a year now and most days I feel like I’m moving forward. But then there are days when I have to adjust my stride when the grinding noises start.

I miss ranting on Boomerrantz and I miss feeling inspired with mischievous stories for kids. I’ll get there, one rusty strut at a time. But I think maybe my spark plugs need replacing.

See you between the lines.

Pat

16 responses »

  1. My heart hurts for you. My husband and I are 80 and know the clock is ticking. We’ve been married 61 years, five months, 24 days, five hours, and 13 minutes. 🙂 Neither of us are looking forward to finishing this journey alone. You will be in my prayers.

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  2. I loved this and the comparison to your car….that’s awesome!
    I can’t even imagine what I would do if my husband of 48 years died…..but you are really trying hard to move on and doing wonderful things. So glad you’re writing again too. ❤️❤️

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  3. I certainly feel your pain having been through this myself after more than 50 years of marriage. I encourage you to re engage with your writing..it’s good for you and for us 🙂

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    • It’s a tribute to both your spirit and your writing talent that you could make me laugh several times during the telling of such a heartfelt tale. We, your avid readers, need more of your rants to help us negotiate our own paths, so please keep those spark plugs firing!

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      • Thanks so much Brad. I’m behind in my reading of your blog but plan to get back in there and enjoy your writing soon. I remember a poem you wrote recently which I loved, but couldn’t get in to comment. Loved today’s too. Enjoy the sunshine.

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  4. Pat, You put a smile on many faces. You are a gift to many people, including me. I found myself smiling in places as well, while reading your blog. I always think that those, who have moved on, are in a better place, but they still are also with us. We still have work to do while we’re here. Love & Hugs. Donna

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