The lazy days of summer have come to an end



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Nighttime Arrival At The Cottage


     I am at the cottage. I arrived at an unusual time for me. I motored with my daughter and son in law who live at the cottage. They were in Toronto for back to back meetings which they thought would end early evening. The meetings ended just before eleven. Not so, so bad. At night, especially on a Thursday there is usually light traffic and the weather was clear. We thought we would  make good time and arrive at our country abode around 12:30. This was not to be. I guess people were trying to get a head start on the long weekend, and traffic was heavy. Highway 400 was under major construction. Suddenly overhead signs appeared stating all lanes were closed. Whats an automobile to do?. Where could it go? It couldn’t turn around and unless it could sprout wings it couldn’t fly. We decided not to abandon the car. and sat in bumper to bumper traffic just inching along. Finally at Bradford a policeman directed vehicles off of the highway and back on again after a short detour through the town. We still can’t understand why on the eve of one of the busiest weekends of the year that they would decide to undertake such major construction.

By the time we reached Barrie, we were starving and stopped at an all night Sobies to stock up on snacks. The one lone cashier must have been lonely because she initiated conversation with us and we talked for a long time with this interresting grandmother. Her daughter had a baby at 16. Her mother insisted she finish high school while the family helped raise the child. The daughter not only finished high school but became a registered nurse and a mother to two more children with the same original partner. Her mother is very proud of her daughter. Her only regret  is that the daughter refuses to get married stating that times are different now, than when her mother was young. That it is.

When we arrived at our destination we stopped to admire the stars before going inside. The air was nippy and fall was definitely in the air. Once inside we were greeted by dogs and one sleepy daughter who awoke when we arrived. I fell asleep at 4:00 A. M. and slept until noon.  I slept through the commotion of young grandchildren waking and clamouring  for breakfast . I slept through the tantalizing  odours of a gourmet breakfast preparation by a daughter and son in law. I slept through the barking and roughhousing of the three grand dogs. I slept through the departure of family members going on a day excursion. I even slept later than my 19 year old grandson. I must be  getting younger. The last time I slept in to noon was when I was 16. 

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It has been  just over 3 months since D. left me. The hardest part for me is coming to terms with the fact that I am no longer a part of a We and that I am only a Me. I often say we are going to do this or we are going to do that. Then I remember . I correct myself and tears spring into my eyes. For numerous years we were a couple–we were a We. We did things together , we raised four children together– we weren’t always on the same wave length on child rearing , but I have to admit our offspring turned out pretty good.  We spoiled our grandchildren together. We laughed, I cried -he didn’t he wasn’t a crier I am. We argued, we shared a similar mischievous, somewhat perverted sense of humour and we faced the ups and downs of life together.

I miss that guy. Oh, how I miss that guy. When I see a senior couple walking hand in hand or talking and laughing together–It hurts . Oh how it hurts. I am not an envious person by nature. I am happy for them and for their happiness, but wish I could still have that happiness . When I am included in social get-togethers with our married friends, I am appreciative of the inclusion, and I try hard  not to feel like a fifth wheel. It isn’t easy even though they do their utmost to put me at ease.

The paper work has been exhausting. A simple name change request for a billing from a utility company can take forever. If I attempt to do it on the phone, I am put on hold for the next available operator. Sometimes I am disconnected. Sometimes they say they will phone back. They never do. Sometimes I am told  they cannot do anything until I  fax or mail the death certificate and documents to them showing that I am the executor of the estate. Sometimes I am told that they can’t do a change over the phone and I should go online to their website. Often when I do go on line their site is no longer available.

The  paper work is coming near the end. That is good and that is bad. Now that I have a little more time, there is more time to think and more time to cry.  When something reminds me of D. I still burst into tears. It doesn’t matter where I am. I still don’t have the patience to read. I used to cook. I don’t cook any more although I keep buying food for the fridge and freezer. I throw out a lot of food . What a waste. I am determined to change my ways. Some days I feel like my head is ready to explode. I have fog brain and can’t think. Stress is bad, and so is sadness.

A few word of advise. Keep things simple . Multiple gas cards, credit cards etc. are not necessary. Both partners in a marriage or relationship should know the financial goings on — how bills are paid and from where. Communicate with each other and most important enjoy and love each other and treat each day as this might be the last day of your life as you know it.


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Missing marriage licence needed after death of spouse

In Ontario, Canada before one is eligible to collect Canadian Pension benefits after the death of a spouse-one must fill out an application and submit the death certificate of the deceased as well as the marriage licence to the government. My dear D. passed away near the beginning of May,  just shy of our celebrating fifty years of marriage. Over those nearly fifty years many things got misplaced or lost. It didn’t help that a few years previous we had downsized from a house to a condo. Our marriage certificate was one of those things that couldn’t be found. I didn’t realize it couldn’t be found until I started to look for it.I looked high and low and low and high–in cupboards, and drawers and shelves, and in D’s office that I had closed and relocated to our living room, and in our locker room and in box’s stashed from sight under our bed. But alas, to no avail.  It had simply disappeared.

Finally my accountant { a family friend} advised that I should apply for a copy of the  document. This proved to be a lengthy time consuming process and one that involved, after contacting the correct government division, filling out a long application and paying a fee for this service. Once the application was received it took 15 business days to process which translated into a little over there weeks. Finally at last it arrived. It was mailed back to the government  and I breathed a sigh of relief . Ah- at last one more thing I could cross off  my list of multiple tasks to be done after the loss of a family member.

That afternoon I was in D’s den or man cave, looking for a spot to store some memorabilia that I had brought home from his office. I opened a cupboard. There were some books and a smallish  plastic storage container labeled business papers that I had not bothered to open.I  don’t know why, but I decided to open it that afternoon. There nestled among some ancient bank statements was the elusive marriage licence. “Why- Me ?”  I am still waiting to see if I will receive any benefits. I now plan to put our original marriage licence in a safe and accessible place to trigger cherished memories of our fifty years together.


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We survived after eating wild mushroom puffball soup

E.p. Snider's photo.
The above is a photo of the little brother of the giant puffball mushroom that we picked and cooked at the cottage. It made a delicious mushroom stir fry and a mellow soup to feed seven.A Google research indicated it was an edible mushroom, but never the less we were all relived when we woke up the following morning alive and well.
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Dear D.

It has been almost a month since your passing.  Writing to you is therapeutic for me. I have been experiencing so many different emotions. I am SAD, I am MAD and I am GLAD.

I am SAD that you are no longer with me. I miss hearing your voice. I miss seeing you sitting in your chair  in your man cave, watching television with a bag of chips at your side. I miss how you tried to hide your stash of chips from the grand children– they found it every time. I even miss wiping the bagel crumbs off the kitchen cupboard every time I walk into the kitchen. I miss our heated discussions as to whether the toilet seat should be left up or down. I am SAD that we will not be doing things together and if I travel in the future, you won’t be at my side. I am SAD that I am grieving and that  our children lost a father and that our grandchildren lost a grandfather. I remember when my father died when I was 16, everybody said that I had to look after my mother. I remember thinking “yes, but who is going to look after me?” I am sad that our friends and relatives are also mourning. You touched the lives of so many people .

I am MAD that you are no longer with me. I am MAD that I now have to pay the bills and mange household expenses. I am MAD that I am left to deal with all the everyday occurrences and I am MAD that I  have to deal with the “WHY ME—G-D ? occurrences. Yes there have been some. A little more than a week ago the fire alarms from the building were activated at midnight. A somewhat panicked voice came over the speaker system telling everyone that an emergency situation had occurred and to remain calm, stay in your suite and wait for further instructions. Further instructions were a long time coming. The sirens continued for two hours. I was glad that two of our neighbours called me for moral support. An announcement was made stating that all was clear. I was going to go back to bed when I heard noise outside our door. Two workman were there with a suction machine trying to dry out the wet carpeting. They told me that a pipe had burst a few floors up and that the water was making its way down. It knocked out the elevator closest to our suite, knocked out the communication system and set off the alarms. I was relieved that no water came into our condo. But wait– that’s not the end of the story.

The next evening I was at our daughters for dinner. I returned home at 9:30, only to find that the three  elevators were not working. Water somehow found its way into the other two working elevators. I walked up multiple flights of stairs to our place. The knees and lungs aren’t what they used to be. I was exhausted. Security checked to make sure I reached my destination safely. I became aware that several condo units in our line sustained water damage. I was told by management that they were going to check my apartment. Sure enough some of the floor boards were buckling.They removed some of the wooden  boards and ran blowers and a dehumidifier for three days in an effort to prevent mould and mildew from forming. it appears that all our floors may have to be replaced because they have discontinued our flooring and we will be unable to match up  the damaged area. It looks like there is water damage behind one wall. Management is planning to break open that wall to see what is going on. Our insurance has a large deductible and the renewal rates will go up drastically. But thankfully no one was injured.

I am GLAD  for the continuation of love and support that I  am receiving. I am GLAD for the memories and the stories friends and family tell of time spent with you. Nobody had a bad word to say about you. Interestingly, a number of your friends and buddies said they considered you to be their best friend.I am GLAD that you are at peace and that you went quickly and didn’t suffer. I am GLAD that you are no longer struggling to breathe. How hard it must have been for you to slow down the past few years. You were always so active and on the go and took advantage of what life had to offer. I no longer  check to see if you are breathing. I no longer am in constant fear that you will suffer a heart attack or stroke. I am no longer in fear that death will find you. The worst has happened. Rest in peace my soulmate.

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What a beautiful day :)The view from the “office”! What a beautiful day :

The view from the "office"! What a beautiful day :)





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