One Little Word 2015

For the past several years, I have been participating in Ali Edward’s One Little Word Project.  It’s a year long project with monthly prompts.  I began in 2011 with “Nurture”, then two years of “Organize”.  I could do a lifetime of organize!  Last year was “Embrace”.  This is my fifth year, and I have yet to get further along than doing the January prompt.

January OLW

Once again, my January page!  Although I never get past January, I do keep the word in my mind all year.  Last year’s “Embrace” was the perfect word.  It was a tough year, and I had a new life to embrace.  This year, I’m ready to explore!

january olw 2

In my mind, I’ve sort of divided my life into thirds.  Believe it or not, I gave this a good bit of thought, e.g. divided in fourths gave me too little time left, divided in half gave me too much, and divided into anything else was too complicated.  I’m beginning a new phase, and this year I’m concentrating on exploring what this third phase of my life might look like.

January OLW 1

In addition to Ali’s January scrapbooking prompt, I also have a physical version of my word.  No idea how she does it, but Colleen Attara makes these custom words from recycled plastic.  She calls them salvaged words.  When it arrived, I was surprised to find that not only did she send me a big EXPLORE to hang where I’ll see it often, but also this smaller one.  Her packaging was so cute — it included the little sewn tag above and a sweet note.

explore

Will I go further than the January prompt this year?  Can you teach an old dog new tricks?  Let’s explore that idea!

Embrace

“Embrace” is my word for 2014.  It seemed perfect since I have so many new situations to embrace in my life.  In the last three years I have participated (using that word very loosely) in Ali Edwards’ One Little Word.  I was always faithful for at least the first month, as you can see here, and here, and here.  Nothing up yet for 2014 — I can’t seem to get going on it.  And of course, the Focus on Life challenge which I did last week, now a minimal color self photo.   And various other things for which I have signed up — life goes on.  Or so they say.

me blog

Ten days.  People expect you to grieve for ten days.  People call, visit and bring food for ten days.  I think of myself as a strong person, and I think most people I know think of me that way too.  Sure I can understand the confused and disoriented widows that I see in my accounting practice — their husband took care of everything and they have never been alone.  Me?  I’ve lived alone, and enjoy the quiet solitude.  There is very little around the house that I can’t do or find someone to do.  I knew our finances; I did our tax return.  No problem.

I planned a visitation and funeral.  I wrote thank you notes.  I set everything necessary in motion for an estate.  I sorted, tossed, filed, donated, stored — from early morning until I collapsed at night.  I traveled to south FL to visit with his elderly father.  Sure there were a few quirky things that I struggled to do.  But slowly, I marked them off my list.  After all, it’s been almost three months.  Connie is fine — she’s strong.  Not taking new clients, and even letting go of a few was my plan to make up for me maybe not being quite up to par.

This week, I discovered — Connie isn’t fine.  My dear, dear friend — my college roommate, wrote me a note talking about grief since she had experienced the sudden and unexpected death of her brother years ago.  She said she read everything she could on grief.  I, who buys a book about anything that comes to mind, had never thought to get a book.  Maybe I don’t know anything about grief and should read a bit.

As I read and cried, I saw myself in the book.  My exhaustion which no amount of sleep overcomes.  My exhaustion which had made me think that swift death is surely on my heels too.  The scenarios that go through my mind — if he had called, if he had stayed home, I know I could have saved him.  He would have had more years; we could have done the things we had planned.  My inability to multi-task  How easily I am overwhelmed with things that once were mere irritations.  Simply put, I’m not fine.

Grief isn’t something that one decides whether or not to do, I’ve learned.  There is no time limit.  Embrace is after all the perfect word for 2014.  And the first thing that I need to embrace is grief.  In time, I hope to embrace much more, but for now, I’m going to be gentle (this is tough for me) and give myself time to heal.