Growing Pains!

I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since my last post. Truth is, I lost my voice for a bit, having experienced lots of growing pains and I knew that anything I wrote would make me cry. Almost everything makes me cry these days and that’s really unusual for me. It feels like forever since I returned from Maine, but that’s when these growing pains made their way into my life. The renovations to my house that would enable me to move into my basement and rent out my upstairs while I travel around in JOY began before I headed to Maine and were in full swing when I returned the day before Memorial Day. This was my first renovation project and I’m told lots of things go wrong with projects like this, but this was one of the most painful processes I’ve been through. I’ll spare you the details but I cried almost daily, feeling like I had failed miserably in pulling off my dream. It certainly didn’t help that the third anniversary of Tim’s death was fast approaching and I kept wondering what he’d think of this project. The project is finally completed and I moved forward fairly quickly today in moving to my basement. That brought on tears of joy and of sadness. Shedding half my life’s stuff to fit into the basement is painful, but I felt lots of growth as I put stuff into three piles, 1) move to the basement 2) give away or 3) throw away. I’m guessing that over these last two months I’ve had more trash than I have had in years and I’m sure the trash and recycle folks are happy the renovations are done too! But I feel lighter emotionally now that all the piles have been sorted.

Giving away more of Tim’s things brought more tears, and the feeling that the more I give away causes me to lose the rest of his physical presence and existence in my life and our home and that was hard. All of the things I’m giving away will help many people but it certainly didn’t lessen the pain. On the anniversary of his death on Wednesday I headed to the cemetery in 90 degree heat and had a conversation with Tim about all of the growing pains I’m experiencing and how hard this has been for me. The sun was beating down and I don’t think there had been a breeze all day, but seemingly right on cue I felt a breeze on my face. I believe that Tim was letting me know that everything was going to be ok and I’m doing a really great job.

I’m hoping this crying phase will be short, and though I know you can’t always control your emotions this phase has really surprised me. I cry at happy endings and sad endings of my favorite tv shows, I cry when I put a piece of furniture together that I didn’t think I could, and I cry when select a color for the basement that isn’t orange. Most of the tears have been shed as I’ve found a special card or trinket that Tim gave me as I’m sorting through stuff, but can’t remember what year he gave it to me.

I realized this week reading a blog series on the Beatitudes by Paul Roberts Abernathy that I’m growing a lot!!! I’m focused on being and becoming authentic and maybe the tears are part of the cleansing I needed to do as I grow into the person I am now without Tim. And maybe the tears have also been helping my retina in my left eye which I learned in February had developed a hole and a significant amount of inflammation that threatened my vision in that eye. I’ve been doing three eye drops four times a day since February but learned on Monday that I should be done in three more weeks. The doctor said he’s “stunned” with the progress in my eye and I’m thoroughly relieved that I’m going to be ok. On Tuesday I had a really great afternoon with Mom and we “vacationed together” through a travel magazine picking out places it would be fun to visit. Mom usually doesn’t remember anything for longer than two minutes, but after a few hours with her as I headed to the door to leave Mom said to me “don’t forget to bring my suitcase when you come back so I can pack for our trip”. Of course I got to the car and cried, but I’m not sure if they were happy or sad tears. Last night even after being sick most of the day I headed down to the National Mall to view the 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 astronauts walking on the moon. Everyone on the Mall cheered as the astronauts took their steps as if the event was happening for the first time yesterday. And YEP I shed a tear or two, but I certainly wasn’t the only one.

When I go to basement in a few minutes, for the first time most of my belongings will now fill that space. I’m still finding places for things and still throwing things out. Part of my growth is realizing that I can put anything anywhere I want and that it’s ok. Funny that I’ve been living alone for three years now but am still growing into being comfortable with the decisions I make for myself and my space. It seems so much easier to make decisions at work and for Mom, but what I think I’ve learned over the last two months is that every decision I make doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to make me happy! That’s enough for me!!


12 thoughts on “Growing Pains!

  1. Thank you so much for posting. Your journey is one that amazes me and yet I love your idea of all of it being growing pains. I read your writing and I tear up as well, There is a deep authenticity in your writings and I have been thinking about you this week the anniversary Tim’s death. All I have to say something that you know deep in your heart that you’re loved by me by many and definitely by God

    • Thank you so much Michele!! There were points that I thought this process was going to kill me. One thing that has kept me going is the fact that I KNOW how many people love and support me, especially God!

  2. Loretta… as always, such candid and open sharing! I can’t wait to share our podcast episode… it is coming up on this Friday! Thank YOU for Caring!

  3. The spaces are beautiful. You did an awesome job Mrs. V. You know as soon as I saw that you have done a blog I was all in. You’ve made some big steps in your life and that is awesome. Continue to be blessed and know that your friends are always here for you cheering you own!!

    • Robert, I so appreciate you cheering me on!! I’m trying my best with the big steps and I love the way it turned out! Tim would be really proud of me!! I’m looking forward to what’s next for me as I begin to enjoy my new space!!!! Thanks again for your love & support!!

  4. I’m sooooo glad I stumbled on this. How many adjectives – moving, inspiring, encouraging, thanks so much

    • Thank you so much Cecilie!! I appreciate you so much for stumbling onto my blog and making such great comments!! It’s been quite the journey!!

  5. Dear Loretta,

    I’m sorry to be delayed in responding to this post. I was traveling when it came in, then experienced a bad fall while out of town, and am now in the process of trying to recover from the fall (a broken finger on one hand, the opposite wrist broken, and lots of contusions, stiffness, soreness, etc). It’s very difficult to do much of anything right now. I guess this makes me officially “old,” and I’m troubled how much my mobility and ability to do what I want can be so quickly and thoroughly affected. Nevertheless, once again I am in awe of you and inspired by you, as you so intentionally live into your future, adjusting to being without Tim’s earthly presence, and making a full and happy life for yourself and for the people you touch.

    I could feel your pain as you described your renovations and move to the basement, and yet I was also feeling so proud of you for undertaking this huge step for the purpose of freeing yourself to do what you want to do – climb into your beloved Joy and go where you want, meet the people you care about, serve the world you clearly love so much. I picture you as having this unquenchable little light in you that illuminates the path you want to follow and sheds light all around you also, blessing your family, your friends, and all the people you meet. I have a friend whose mother I always referred to as “the Energizer bunny,” because even as she aged into her nineties, she never stopped going and doing and being joyful and giving and serving. Her name was Georgia. Georgia died a few years ago at the age of 96 without ever slowing down much. I think I will now grant you the title of “the Energizer bunny,” since you (although not nearly as old as Georgia was when she got it) are the person I know who so clearly fills the bill for carrying that title.

    Loretta, I wish you much fulfillment and joy as you move into your new space. It looks lovely, and I know it reflects you and your loves and your needs. May you experience more smiles than tears there, but may even the tears serve to bring you to a place of peace knowing that you are living the life you were meant to live, that God’s love (and also Tim’s) walks with you every step, and that you grace the world with your very special blessing every day you live and serve in it.

    I can’t wait to hear more of your further adventures. You have my love and my admiration, not to mention my curiosity about what you are going to do next! Keep us posted!

    Much love,


    • Hi Karen!!!

      Oh NO!! Wow I’m so very sorry about your fall!! Sounds just horrible!! Take it slow healing!!!

      Thank You as always for your beautiful words!! I swear I thought the renovation was gonna kill me!! There have been many times as a widow where I’ve felt really taken advantages of by workers / contractors who know they have you over a barrel. But to be over my budget by double due to senseless errors was unacceptable!!

      I cracked up about your “energizer bunny” reference to me!! I my professional security life I’ve had that name for about 20 years…. it’s even in my bio someone else wrote about me for when I do talks on security!! Georgia sounds like a fabulous person!! So sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet my energy twin!!

      Yeah I’m really excited about what comes next for me!! I think the basement will be PERFECT for me!! I’ll keep you updated for sure!!!

      Heading to PA, VA and Minneapolis to speak over the next few weeks!! In VA I’m actually doing LEGO building fun with the Intergenerational program I do a lot of work with. Since many adults with dementia always want to “go home” I’m going to have the 4th -6th grade kids work with them on building houses! Should be fun!!!!

      Get better soon!! Much love!!

  6. Loretta,

    You’re coming to MInneapolis????? When, dear friend? We HAVE to get together! You must make a little space in your schedule to come and visit, or we can meet somewhere, or both. Tell me how this can happen!

    Excited to think we might finally meet face-to-face!

    By the way, why am I not at all surprised that you’ve been the Energizer bunny for years????

    Much love,


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