I know a couple. I have know them since they were teens. They met, married, fell in love, had children, and seemed on the road to forever together. But life happened and the couple divorced. The man, not so young now, lost the wife that he loved and the children that he loved, and is blamed for the break-up of that home. Today, that man is living in another state, and he has met a woman and seems to be in love with her and hopefully they will be married soon. And the wife is still single and still blaming and still bitter. No man is good enough for her.
Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping that the other person dies.
Here is an interesting bit of information. Men of failed marriages tend to marry again with 2 years. Women of failed marriages typically take 9 years to start over. That is a glaring difference between men and women.
You can move on in life. You can be happy if you want to be. Or you can stay bitter. But you cannot be both happy and bitter.
While the wife hates what her ex did, he has found new love with someone who accepts him as he is.
Life is only unfair to those who fail to deal with life as it is.
You may have heard of the Appalachian Trail or one of the other long, scenic trails in the US. They are all over 2000 miles long and it takes most people several months to hike them end to end. Those who do it all at once are called thru hikers.
I have been following a few AT thru hikers on You Tube this summer. They all feel the need to record video of their endless days. I tune in and follow along. My list has gotten shorter this week as some of the people who I began to follow I stopped following.
Here is what I have noticed. Everyone ought to succeed. They have the right gear. They do the right training. They mostly are smart and well prepared. They have the app to guide them along. They know the lingo, they have trail names. They have the right clothing. And every day all they do is complain
People who hike tend to complain about what they are afraid of. I am surprised how many complain about nature. You plan to hike in the woods and sleep in a tent and nature freaks you out? They are afraid of ticks and snakes and bears and moose They are afraid of heat and rain, wind and cold. They are squeamish about water even though they can filter it. And they are such social butterflies that the isolation and solitude that are hallmarks of hiking terrifies them.
Folks who hike the AT come from all ages and all walks of life. Some understand the call of the wild, some are party animals out to have fun. I guess what you get out of something like this will depend on what kind of person you are. Thru hiking will not change you. It will reveal who you really are underneath the facade you have erected for yourself.
I thought about doing a thru hike of the AT in 2023. But as I counted the cost I felt like it’s a lot of time and money spent for little benefit. There are beautiful spots to visit that do not take months of hiking to get to. And for every nice person I would meet there are people who I choose not to spend time with.
Some of the complainers might yet make it. Several have quit already. One is so far behind that she is running out of time to finish before winter.
One final thought. I am planning to do a short backpacking trip in September with 2 friends. We will spend a few days hiking. We will sleep in tents on the ground. We will eat freeze-dried meals. And I will take some pictures to send to my friends. That is good enough for me.
Some friends of mine are on their way to Norway as I sit here. I was able to track their flight to London yesterday evening. And I set my alarm to get up early to see them land this morning. I found a plane spotting channel yesterday, so I saw their plane take off. And I found another channel this morning, so I saw their plane land.
That is an amazing reality in our modern world. From where I live, by means of the internet, I am able to follow my friend’s journey in real time. While I slept in my bed last night, they slept on their plane as it flew across the ocean.
It is a sobering fact that most of my life is behind me. To live as much of life as I have already lived, I would have to be active and healthy until age 120. That is about 50 more years. In that amount of time I will do things and accumulate things no doubt. But who is going to live that long? Probably not me. I am happy and healthy today. But from time to time I notice areas of life where I am not a sharp and as quick and as strong as I once was. I have to wear glasses more often. It is harder for me to drive around this big city, especially at night. It takes me longer to recover from physical exertion. I already have set 2025 as a reevaluation year where I stop and consider how I am doing and do I need to make any changes.
Before I moved, I read a book about retirement and relocating. Should I stay or should I go was the idea of the book. The writers helped me evaluate my situation and I trust that I have learned some things over the years that make it easier to do what is best and not what is popular.
Today I am grateful for who I am and where I am and for what I have. And I am considering both my age and my budget to decide where I need to go and what I need to do in the near future.
Noone knows how long they will live. But one thing is sure, we all must live life to the end.
Almost all of the people who were posting when I started this grief blog are not here anymore. That seems to be normal. People need an outlet to explain the unexplainable. Or they think that If I made it maybe I can help someone else make it. But creating content is hard work whether in a blog or on You Tube or on Instagram or on Tic Toc.
I do not create content or try to make money from my blog. I write as therapy or to help me deal with the ups and downs of my life. Some people journal, I blog.
I hope that the people who I used to follow are well and happy and that they have moved on in life. I thought about starting a new blog but this one seems to fit my outlook in life.
As I have had time to think I want to update some of my thoughts. First, about my stuff. I did not bring stuff with me because I could not afford a moving van to move me. I also did not have a place to live yet, so I was in limbo for 6 weeks. My reason for not bringing stuff was determined by my budget and how much stuff I could fit in my van. So that is why I am derelict of sentimental stuff living here.
Second, about bucket lists. I am not sure if I want to spend the time and money to do a long-distance hike. I figure it would take 6 months and it would cost about $6,000. I’m not sure if the benefit is worth the investment. I am not afraid of trying. But once it is finished what do you have but pictures and memories. I have those without spending a fortune in time and money.
So overall things are going well for me. I am still learning how to live here. And it is going as well as I can expect.
Stuff is just stuff. It’s not anything of any value to anyone else but you. It is full of memories. It is full of sentiment. Our stuff will never go into a museum. But our stuff is the record of the life that we lived.
After Kathy died, I tried to protect myself from painful memories by getting rid of stuff. Her stuff. Not just her clothes and shoes and jewelry. But anything associated with Kathy had to go. And now I am sitting in my house that she never lived in, and I feel the emptiness of the stuff that I no longer have.
When I moved, I made a foolish decision not to bring anything with me. I thought that nothing that I had was worth moving to my new home. I was starting over and that included most of my stuff. And I was wrong. The stuff that I did not bring I now wish I still had. I will not live long enough to accumulate the kind of stuff that makes a house a home. That takes a lifetime, and my lifetime is not as long as it used to be.
If I knew then what I know now several things would be different. First, I would not have moved. I would have found a way to make it work back there. Second, after getting rid of Kathy’s clothes and make-up I would have let everything else stay. If it was too painful to have out in plain sight I could have stored it away. Now my life seems so sterile and so empty and frankly so meaningless without my lifetime of accumulated stuff.
There is no turning back. I made my bed and I have to sleep in it. I am doing alright. And I learned a lesson through it all. The only time stuff is a problem is if it becomes a burden on thouse who deal with our stuff after we are dead and gone.
Before my wife died my experience with death was minor and my experience with grieving was minimal. But my experience dealing with Kathy’s death has made me understand some things about dying and grieving.
I think that the absolute hardest person to grieve over is your spouse. The death of a husband or wife has to be the most tragic and destructive thing that can happen. When my wife died a part of me not only died, but it was ripped out of my heart and left me damaged beyond my ability to describe it.
The other person to come close to this is when a mother has a young child or infant die. She carried that infant in her body. She bonded with that baby upon birth. A mother’s love for her child is beyond my ability to understand. But I saw mothers in my support group who had suffered the death of a child and their hearts are broken by this. No mother wants to bury a child.
But death in any form affects us and if we loved, we will grieve. But grieving the death of a friend is not the same as grieving the death of your wife. Grieving the death of an aging parent is not the same as grieving the death of a toddler. Those who have the deepest love and the deepest connection will grieve the hardest.
Do not wait until they are dead to show your love. Tell them. Marry them. Stop playing with their heart and do right by them. There is no right way to do the wrong thing.
I was watching a show on ancient Greek and Roman artwork and I noticed something interesting. Being obsessed over body types and body image is nothing new. The ancient Greeks tried to capture physical perfection in their art. And the art that they produced seemed as unrealistic to me as the modified images I see on Instagram.
The other interesting thing is how standards of beauty have changed. The women are not stick figures with enormous breasts like today. The men were normal in every aspect and not endowed like a horse. Sorry if I am too graphic but you get my drift. Porn is as phony as a three-dollar bill.
Art is the idolized vision of the artist. It rarely has any relation to real people or real life. Even television images are not how it really looks. Do yourself a favor. Look in the mirror and like what you see. Never compare yourself to the stranger on a screen.
I found myself thinking about a bucket list today. What a difference to actually be thinking about something fun to do in the future. It was not that long ago that I wasn’t sure if I would live to see another day. And here I am contemplating future enjoyment.
If you are in the depths of grieving the death of a loved one all I will say is do your best to make it through just one more day.
But for me, 9 years later, I find that plans that I could not even consider are actually taking shape in my mind. This still amazes me.