AN INTENSE YEAR

This past year has been intense. If you’ve read any of my blogs you may remember that I wrote our town’s first art history book, ARTISTS OF SEDONA 1930–1999. Written in a narrative style, readers will see that it is filled with stories of outstanding, talented people, some of them internationally known. Humor, determination, frustration, accomplishments and adventures reveal their humanity. More than a hundred photographs, most of them in full color, show them with their art. Located in northern Arizona, Sedona is an art hub surrounded by gorgeous red rocks and rugged mountains. Just a week or so ago someone had to be rescued by helicopter just up the street from where I live. Ordinarily I would have said “where WE live,” but I try not to say that any more. Every once in a while I slip. My husband died from cancer last fall. I was his caregiver, Hospice my backup.

I produced his Celebration of Life service, and that’s exactly what it was. I wrote his bio for the former nun who led the proceedings. It started when he was six years old and drove the tractor on the family farm. His work ethic developed early. He was a Boy Scout and eventually became a leader. He first noticed me when I was fourteen, but realized that twenty-year-olds don’t go out with young teenagers. I was nineteen when our church wedding was performed. Five years later our first son was born. A year-and-as-half later, the second. Middle-aged now, they both came from across the country for the service and spoke briefly about their memories of their hard-working father. For fun he worked on model trains, and for the arts he sculpted abstracts in wood and alabaster.

The former nun in charge of the service had become a Reverend. One of the comments I later heard was, “She sounded like she had known him all her life.” An extended family member read one of my poems.

I arranged to have a local performer with a powerful, booming voice sing the Lord’s Prayer and just
before the end of the service, “You Raise Me Up.” It was dramatic.

It is now four months since my very kind and loving husband’s death. One of the last things he said to me was, “Thank you for taking care of me.” It blew me away.

Now I’m in the midst of preparing to move. The house was the perfect size for the two of us. He did a lot of the mundane chores so that I could concentrate on my writing and art. Now I find that the errands, grocery shopping, taking care of the car’s needs, cooking, and cleaning house, wear me out by three o’clock in the afternoon. It leaves me no time to do my office work or get the word out about my books. So now I’m making a life change——buying time to do what is important to me. And I have a new status: I’m a widow. I’m trying it out, but I’m still wearing my rings. I think I’ll like the small apartment. It has an office. And they accept dogs.

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