Until It’s Gone

This post like many, came to me in my daily morning shower. Over the past many years I have come to realize that I am a “morning” person. Most of my creative juices come during the first five or six hours after awakening each day. Before I got out of my shower, I had already formulated the storyline for this post. I usually try to limit my posts to one or two, basic points. This one cover more than that, but it just seems inappropriate to strip them apart.

I read the full text in the graphic here with new meaning lately. It’s coming up to a year now that my wife passed, and I come to appreciate what she did for me more and more now that she is no longer with me. I often wonder what I would have been after I went deaf if she weren’t around. I think I am getting a taste of that now. We might not have been perfect mates, and maybe got married too quickly, but we were good for each other in ways that I am just finally beginning to appreciate.

She was set in her ways to almost a desperate sense. Her comfort zone, which I later discovered was driven by anxiety often almost strangled her. I helped her discover that doing new things could be exciting, not threatening.

She didn’t seem to care that I was clumsy, at least according to social norms. She saw something in me that none of my previous female acquaintances, as few as they were, ever discovered.

We were married two years before I became profoundly deaf. She did not let me withdraw into myself, as I most likely would have done. Through the next 30+ years she always tried to keep me involved, by signing all the conversations that were going on around us. If it wasn’t for that, I don’t know what kind of person I would be today, but I am again getting a sense of that now.

I am trying to fit into my new life at my retirement community, but it is proving to be more difficult than I imagined. One thing that hinders my success is the cliquish mode that most here exhibit. To give you an example, our dinner hour is between 4:30 – 6:30pm and most of the tables are already occupied by 4:15 with the same groups of people. They tend to stay at the table until 6:15 socializing. I can remember less than a handful of times that I was ever invited to a table, even if I wanted to join them.

We had the monthly social hour in the common area yesterday with wine and snacks. I tried to find a table that would invite me to join, but none came. I know from experiences that when I force myself onto a group, it almost always shuts down the conversation they were having. They seem as uncomfortable having me there as I am in joining them.

In closing out this slightly longer than usual post, I am almost to the point of giving up trying to find anything more than “wave to” friends here. I just can’t seem to do that without my wife’s assistance. These facts just piles onto my always present depression. I gotta get out of this mood somehow, and I am hoping my soon to come roadtrip and a visit with my estranged big brother will help with that.

My big brother, as I last really knew him (1954)

7 thoughts on “Until It’s Gone

  1. Just a quick question: are there any other hearing-impaired residents living in your community? Is there a way to meet with these folks, either individually or as a small group? It would seem beneficial to build your own community of people who share a common experience.


    1. Thanks, for the Question, Bob. Let me give you a little story about that .

      If the statistics bear out, there are at least a 100 of them. In January, I set up a workshop to try and help them with tools and coping mechanism, but only one who really needed them showed up. The rest were basically there to be entertained with learning some sign language. It started out with about 15 in the class and when it was suspended due to Covid only a handful were left. When the restrictions were lifted I just didn’t start it up again.

      I was told going into it that it is difficult to get people of that age to do something like this. I have one friend that I have had lunch with a few time whose wife is deaf but still couldn’t talk them into allowing me to help them. That was a very difficult circumstance, so now I am gun-shy in trying to do it again.


  2. How about just going for a drive or a walk somewhere locally. It may not change how you feel right now, but it would do you good just to get out. You could just do a safety check on your camper. It’s snowing here in Portland right now. May scoot out to the garage to polish something on the bike. I’m giving you a nudge to go out.


    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Russ. With this pandemic, I have gotten out of the practice of just going somewhere locally for the pleasure of it. I now reside in a college town with many museums. Maybe I will visit one of them soon.


  3. I am sorry to hear that the residents are so cliquish and are oblivious to monopolizing the tables or just don’t care. Maybe management should step in. I have worried about that kind of situation if my husband I were to join a community like yours.


    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Denise. It seems that meals are becoming my top concern now. That is something that you should definitely look at as you make your future choice. The important thing, at least for me is that there must be more than one option for how you get your meals. Ask questions about that and don’t take the answer that “we will be doing something in the future…” unless there is a specific date attached to it.

      I am going to make a generalization here that I know doesn’t apply to some, but it seems that most just spend their days sitting in their room/apartment watching TV and the meal hour is the only time they are around others. I can see why that extended social time is so important to them. We are social animals after all. Managements primary answer here is that due to the staff shortage they have to constrain services that likely will result in people not comfortably getting meals.

      I know this sounds pretty negative, I do still enjoy it here. Most of the staff are very caring people and I love my cozy apartment, but these other issues darken the overall prospective.


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