Feeling at Home On the Roads Less Traveled…

It’s Sunday and I am happy to report that I survived my second Thanksgiving holiday weekend without Tim. I hadn’t been looking forward to the weekend at all because Thanksgiving at the Veneys had always been a really huge event with lots of great food cooked by Tim. In spite of my sadness, there was one thing I was looking forward to – our first Thanksgiving dinner that Kim, Kendal and I would have at the Gaylord Restaurant in National Harbor. The food at the buffet was endless and awesome!! After that I spent a few hours with Mom and we had such a great time looking out the window and reading magazines and the Thanksgiving card I gave her.

But the main thing I was looking forward to during my four day weekend was going to Chesaco RV to pick up a replacement for Memory Maker II. On Tuesday on my way to York, PA to give a presentation, I went back to the RV dealership where Tim and I had purchased Memory Maker in 2014 and picked out a 24 foot beauty that felt as if it was made for me as soon as I stepped into it. I was so happy to be back to Chesaco again, AND my salesman’s name was Tim. He wasn’t there when we bought our first one, but several people at the dealership still remembered my Tim. They treated me like family and gave me an amazing trade in deal for MMII.

By the time I picked the new RV up on Friday morning, I had already named her Joy! On the way home I even took the back roads! Since the RV is so short, she turns on a dime, and is truly amazing! I started to cry on the drive because I felt a peace come over me. I was driving a new RV that was just my size and I knew I’d never feel lonely in it. One thing I had never told anyone was that when I was in Memory Maker II alone in my room, it was such a long way to the front of the coach. When I looked up at the front toward the living and dining area, I felt so lonely. All of that space, 31 feet of it, just for me. Of course I bought it for when the kids come with me, but when they weren’t there I felt lost and alone in all that space. And at times, especially in bad weather MM II was scary to drive. After Kendal fell out of her bunk bed in July and broke her collar bone, and we had a minor accident on the way home, I knew I’d be trading MM II in before the next camping season.

With MM II I always stayed on the main roads, so that I could manage the 31 feet without difficulty. Now with Joy, I can focus on the views, take the back roads, and enjoy all of the small towns that Tim and I loved to stop in and walk around. I can even park Joy on the street if I need to. For most of Saturday I packed and added all of the personal touches to Joy and before church this morning, I sat in Joy with a cup of coffee, looking out of the windows feeling very much at “home”. Tim’s picture and favorite hat sit in their proper places in Joy, and I didn’t feel alone at all.

Joy 8

Joy 7

I’m so looking forward to spending time with Kim and Kendal in Joy, but I’m also looking forward to being alone, just me out on the road less traveled learning more about me and my life’s journey along the way.

Joy4

This is the largest purchase I’ve ever made in my life without Tim, and I’m thrilled with my decision to buy something just for me, that feels so right to me…Something that I truly deserve … Tim always said I was always doing things for others but I never do anything for myself… So this time I did, and I can even hear Tim cheering! So here’s to me and Joy and exploring new places and visiting new and old friends in my home on wheels. Who knows where we will end up, but it’s going to be great! If you see me and Joy driving by, please wave! Invite me in for coffee or dessert too.. I’d be happy to come!

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A Week Of Many Emotions!!

It’s hard to grasp everything that happened over the last 7 days. I was in Atlanta last weekend where it was supposed to be 77 degrees. I had clothes for 77 degrees, but the temperature on Sat was a drizzly 46 degrees. Needless to say I came back Sun night at midnight with quite the head cold. 

The only things I remember about Monday was that after 3 hours sleep I got to work on time, and that my cold was worsening by the hour! Tuesday was Halloween and it was the worst day ever! I don’t know WHY I missed Tim so much that day (the color orange, the candy or dressing up??) but I cried for a good part of the day. Thankfully my work family, especially my friend Holly helped me to get through the day. 

On Wednesday I was just happy that Tuesday was over! I took enough cold meds to get me through the workday and to the airport to get me to Greensboro, NC where I’d be speaking twice on Thursday at NC A&T University’s Center for Alzheimer’s, Aging and Comminuity Outreach.

When I arrived in Greensboro, Dr. Goldie Byrd  the Center’s Founder treated me to a fabulous dinner. She’s an extraordinary woman with incredible vision. I’m learning a great deal from her and am looking forward to our future collaborations. 

Thursday can only be described as incredible! I got an amazing tour of the Center and gave one presentation to the Center’s staff and the other to the caregivers attending the Center’s Support Group Lunch and Learn. 


I signed books and barely had time to use the rest room between presentations but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I even got a tour of the campus before heading back to the airport. I barely noticed my cold but was aware that my voice was gone.
Had a great day at work on Friday and got a ton of work done. I didn’t talk much since I had no voice. I was looking forward to a quiet Saturday preparing for my two presentations this week. 

Saturday couldn’t have started any better. I read, researched and printed information for hours and rested my voice. Then I received a call from my favorite Chief from work with the horrible news that one of our colleagues had died suddenly. How could a 44 year old Mom just die?  But no answers were available yet. Holly wasn’t just any colleague, she called me her “work mom”. I instantly started to cry and I was stunned and devastated! Holly helped me so much after Tim’s death and we were each other’s confidants. I will miss her so much!!

Today I attended church at Calvary Episcopal Church and then stayed for a luncheon to honor four Women of Valor selected from the Diocese of Washington. My Rector Michele Morgan nominated me for the award and I was one of the women selected. The award ceremony was led by The Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher-Stewart, who in her previous life was Tim’s supervisor on the Police Department. I was so emotional about the award. Kim and Kendal were there to support me and I’m sure Tim was smiling down on us too! 


Now that I look back on this emotional week that ended with the Women of Valor awards, I realize that all the women who impacted my life this week are all Women of Valor in their own right! So thank you Dr. Goldie Byrd, Holly Jafer and the rest of my work fam – Peggy, La Shawna, Jill and Angie, Rev. Michele Morgan, Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher-Stewart and to Kim, who has overcome a lot in the last two years and is charting a new path. Thank you each and all for supporting me and giving me the strength to get out in the community to do the work I do. And none of this would be possible without my Mom Doris, my hero and the strongest woman I know. Love you Mom! Here’s to next week! Bring it on!