Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The End and The Beginning

January 29, 2020


It is now nearly  a year since David's death and more than 8 months since I tried to use Open Live Writer to post this.  There were problems and more problems with it and since I hate using blogger I gave up.  But recently I upgraded my ancient and wonderful Dell laptop to Windows10 and so I'm trying again with the help of a wonderful blogger friend John Hinton whom you may know as Heyduke.   I had some troubles with duplicate pictures showing up on the post so I gave up again but I need to keep track of where I’ve been and what I’m doing so I’m trying yet again.


Hopefully, this is my first post in the new blog I'm writing because I need something to make me get out and about doing things and taking pictures.  I'm feeling devoid of energy and motivation.  At times life just doesn't seem real.

This post is very old news, a year old to start with,  but it is my first effort at trying life alone.


The story of our nearly 9 years full timing can be found in our blog   https://directionofourdreams.blogspot.com.  Without David, there can be no Direction of OUR Dreams.

I feel I should start this story of my new life with the closure of my old one.


clip_image001This is the last picture I took of David, the day before he died.  He was watching ACC basketball on my laptop in the hospital.  He didn't live to see our hometown team finally win the NCAA Championship.

At the time of David's death, we were camped at Little Manatee River State Park.  Our reservation was over on Monday February 4th.  On Saturday February 2nd when it appeared that he was not improving, I talked with the park rangers about staying beyond my reservation.  I explained to them the serious circumstances, told them I just needed somewhere to park the rig, that I did not need hook ups as I had solar and would park anywhere if I could just be near the hospital.   They turned me down flat.  No spot in a field, next to work campers, nothing at all where I could stay.  In all our time of traveling with his illness, this is the first Florida State Park that has not accommodated us in an emergency.  And this was the biggest emergency of all.  I will never forgive the staff at Little Manatee River for their callousness.   I hope that those of you who camp in Florida State Parks will honor David’s memory by avoiding this park and sharing my story with others.  Such callous unfeeling treatment is unconscionable.


I was actually arguing with them on Sunday February 3rd when he died.  He was sleeping after dinner and I'd come back to the campground to try again when the nurse called me and said he had died.  I wasn't somehow expecting that.  His doctors had told us there was nothing more they could do and it was a matter of days or weeks.  But we both just didn't  believe it.  He had always rallied.   I will never forget or forgive the unkindness of Little Manatee River State Park. I was not with him when he died because of them. Never in all the years of traveling with this illness have I not been told by other Florida State Parks and parks all over the country that they would find a place for me and not to worry.
David died on Sunday February 3, 2019 at 6:35 in the evening.  And so, the very next morning I packed up and moved to Oscar Scherer State Park.  I had driven the rig before but I had never hooked Ruby up by myself before.  Up until this  last week David had always been able to help.  I had never backed into a campsite.  We knew this day was coming for me but practicing ahead of time just seemed too grim.


But I did it.  What choice did I have?  When you have to, you do.


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I backed into my site at Oscar Scherer State Park without help but with having helped a master for the past 9 years.  I was lucky to have two wonderful sets of neighbors on either side of me, Chris Abbott and Heike Daigle on my left and Linda and Mark Cole on my right.  They really helped me get through the next two weeks and I can never thank them enough.






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Though I have no pictures of Chris and Heike, they took me out to dinner with their friend Mary Ann.  Heike brought me flowers of which I do have a picture.  Linda and Mark helped me with increasingly impossible to make Reserve America reservations.  I had to stay in Florida in order to deal with the legal ramifications of his death. 

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In addition to spending time with my neighbors, I spent the two weeks hiking in the park, reading and visiting Nokomis beach.  Even with my wonderful neighbors, to say I was lonely is an understatement.  For 9 years I'd had David as a companion in all our travels.  Now there was no one to share what I was seeing and doing with. Everyone seems to be part of a couple and I'm so alone.

Only someone who has been down this road can possibly understand how very unreal it all seems.  Any moment, I expect him to come back from a walk or catch up with me on the trail.  No matter how long you know death is coming or how prepared you think you are, you are not.


I forced myself to do things and take my camera. 


clip_image005I went to the beach to read but I would get to the end of the page and have no idea what I'd read.

I visited the resident eagles and with my camera was able to get a shot of one of the two chicks with an adult.  They have been nesting just off the Green Trail for a number of years.






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I went for a hike with the Venice Audubon.   I felt less alone in a group.


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And in the middle of the month I just put one foot in front of the other and moved to Highland’s Hammock State Park, the next reservation we had made 11 months ago when we had  no idea our time was seriously running out.

Even a quick wrap up of the past months, which I have lived in a fog, will take me several posts.  I hope you’ll be here with me, to keep me company, and let me know you are out there by even a short comment.  I’m writing this in late January and I don’t feel like I’ve come very far in this past year.

As my friend Gaelyn would say, I’m still making tear soup.  Thank you Gaelyn, the book means the world to me.

61 comments:

  1. I love you Mama and your blog posts. Keep sharing - I look forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing your pictures. You know Dad is always with you in spirit or at least I like to believe that ❤

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    1. Thank you my darling for always being by my side. I am so very lucky to have such a wonderful daughter.

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  2. Good to see that the first comment came from Carrie! Some things don't change.
    I am so glad to see you here again, Sherry. You have been missed.

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    1. Rose, how wonderful to see you and how kind of you to say I've been missed. Not sure how blogging is going to go in this new situation but I'll be glad to have you with me.

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  3. I'm glad to see your post. I have wondered how you were doing. Best wishes. Ann M

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    1. Ann I'm flattered to hear I've been in your thoughts. I hope I can keep blogging and you'll accompany me.

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  4. Ah. I have thought of you this last year. So good to see an update and shame on the park in Florida.
    Please take care

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    1. Thank you Yvette for thinking of me. It's been a very rough year starting out with the terrible experience at Little Manatee River. Glad to see you in the comments. Hope you'll be here often as I try to get caught up.

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  5. Glad you decided to blog. There are many people who truly care about you. As I've told you before...you amaze me!!! Deciding to continue to RV alone is a BIG step. How you handle Winonna and Ruby by yourself just baffles me. I know there are other solos that would like to know how you do what you do!! We are here for you in any way we can...just give a holler!!! Wishing you find your way and continue to follow your new dreams....

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    1. Nancy you are such a terrific friend. Always there. I can never thank you enough. It wasn't so much a decision to blog but getting Open Live Writer to work so I'd be willing to. This is a BIG step for sure and I don't know that I've come very far in the past year. I'd love to find other solos so I hope they will find me. Hmmm, dreams...might be a subject for a post as I don't really feel I have any; just one foot in front of the other at this point.

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  6. As I sit here, all choked up, I'm so thankful to you for this update.

    Have thought of you so many times this past year, and will follow, and read each and every blog post.

    We purchased a home, and sold our motorhome, so I will enjoy your exploits as I travel vicariously along, and cheer you on.

    God bless you on your journey. . .hugs, prayers, and thoughts to travel with you!

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  7. Janice it is wonderful to hear from you. I have been out of touch with most of the folks who commented on my blog and haven't done much commenting myself as I've tried to find my way. I had no idea you were off the road and would love to know where you are and hear your story. Thank you so much for being here with me and for your good wishes.

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  8. So glad to see you have figured out the blogger mess and finally got OLW to work again... safe and happy travels await you I am sure...

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    1. Thanks for all your help John. I really owe this to you. If you guys are back in Florida next winter, let me know. I'm following you now for ideas about the SW.

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  9. I have wondered all year now and what you are doing. I'm so glad that you are posting again. Take care of yourself. You are stronger than you think.

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    1. I hope you are right Doug. This is taking a mighty lot of strength. Thanks so much for the comment. Will try to get caught up so you'll know what I've been doing.

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  10. Welcome back Sherry. You've crossed my mind many times in the past year and I am happy to see you moving forward. I disagree with your comment that you haven't come very far in the past year, I think you've come many miles. The road ahead is calling and you will find the bumps and flats all challenging but also you will find them easier in some ways as well as time moves forward. I agree with Doug, you are stronger than you think, after all, not all of the commenters can be wrong. ;) Safe travels.

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    1. Yes, your title long and lonesome is right. That's just how I feel. It is long and lonesome. I really appreciate the welcome back and comments from you and all those who've wondered about me.

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  11. You've come further and are stronger than you think. I just had a visit with a dear friend who lost her husband in May, she described her emotions as waves, the came continuously in the beginning but now there ae more space between them. Everyone moves through it at their own pace. So nice to see you on blogger again. PS just met John and Sharon Hinton yesterday, what a fun few hours talking with them.

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    1. Thanks Faye. I'm very grateful to you and others who have thought about me and are here commenting to encourage me.

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  12. Good to see you again, Sherry! You've been in my thoughts over the past months.

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    1. Thank you for thinking of me Betty. It continues to be difficult. I hope the blog will help.

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  13. It's good to see you back, hang in there!

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  14. Sherry, I'm so glad you've decided to blog again about your travels. I've always enjoyed tagging along on your hikes and kayak trips as you notice every beautiful detail of nature.

    This past year especially has been a very long and rough road for you, and you have faced devastating challenges with courage and resilience. We will miss seeing David's smiling face on your blog, but we are happy that we will continue to see you in your blog (and of course, in person!). Take good care, my friend. (And I will never go to Little Manatee River SP. Shame on them.)

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    1. Thank you for your boycott vow. I appreciate your understanding in all of this. You are a wonderful friend.

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  15. I think it is wonderful for you to get back to traveling and blogging. We have all missed you and are cheering you on. I think it was good to take a year off and think about where your life will lead you now, and I'm sure David will always be with you in spirit. Hang in there, and know you are strong.

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  16. Gypsy, how wonderful to see you here. Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope the blog will help me stay connected. David and I did everything together and we weren't terribly social outside of each other.

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  17. I’ve never posted before and have just been a lurker. I have enjoyed your blog for years and shared it with friends and family. I enjoy your pictures and descriptions and can imagine myself there.
    I would love to be able to spend time like you did in Shenandoah National Park. So glad you are back with a new blog.

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  18. Sherry, I'm happy to see you blogging again. I read your "Our Dreams" blog from the very beginning, over a period of a few months. I always regretted not commenting on your lovely posts, even if it would have been many months or years after the original post. I have so many hiking trails squirreled away thanks to you! My husband and I purchased our rig last summer and are working on getting rid of our house. We'll then be able to travel full time. I can't wait! I look forward to reading your continuing adventures, and to continue to be inspired by you (and David, by way of those squirreled-away posts!) Best wishes to you, Jennifer R.

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  19. So glad to have heard from you and your new blog address. It will take time to fill the void that David had filled before. A lot of us can't begin to imagine the loneliness you must feel. Please know we're all wrapping our arms around you with warm virtual hugs.

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  20. I so understand, Sherry. Nobody really understands unless they have experienced the death of a husband who was your best friend, your lover, your kindred spirit, and your soul mate all wrapped up in one. Rich was my David. You are still going in the right direction. ~ Nancy

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  21. Take a look at the Yahoo Women A_Frame Campers
    group They are wonderful—probably saved my life after I lost Rich. They are all over the country, and camp in small and large groups when they can...I camped with them mostly on the east coast—just right for you. Unfortunately, I can no longer camp/travel because of my health and other problems that have arisen. oh, don’t let the name of the group put you off—we all started in a framed—but all kinds of campers/motor homes are welcome. {{Hugs}}

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  22. https://thelossfoundation.org/—sorry—meant to include in my previous post

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  23. So nice to see you blogging again. We are still out there as well. We fell in love with the SW desert and now spend the majority of our time in the west. We go northwest in the summer and spend winters in Yuma where we have bought a small home. Looking forward to following your new adventures. I am in awe of your tenacity to move forward. You are amazing!

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  24. You just made me cry to add to my soup. I am happy to see you picking up pieces, big and small, and sharing your wonderful story and photos. Many people out here care about you. I hope you make it west so we can meet in the real world. Hugs.

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  25. It's great that you've started your blog again! Obviously, from the response, lots of people are happy to hear from you. It's like an online diary of sorts. It is always fun to see your photos. You are a strong and spirited being. Thank you for being a sounding board for me and for being a very excellent friend!xxxooo

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  26. Hi! So good to see you blogging. I’m so glad we met you last year and (skipping ahead), it was great to spend some time with you this year with a little more to come! Safe travels until we see you again! ��. Heike

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  27. Oh, Sherry, I have thought of you often the past year and wondered how you were and where you were. I will be reading your new musings, never fear. I don't write much myself any longer; maybe in the future when we're not working so much. Please feel free anytime you are nearby to reach out and we'd love to visit with you.

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  28. One of the best things I did for myself after my husband passed on was begin something new that he hadn't been part of and that put me in touch with people regularly, so your starting this new blog is in my opinion a great idea, for your sake, and because it helps those of us enjoying your story.- Mary

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  29. Good for you, Sherry! I'm happy to see you continuing on, as hard as it is. You are a very strong person and will always be a special friend to us. We are trying to get back to a more normal life now too as my Dad passed away just before Christmas after living with us for almost two years. I hope that we'll be able to travel a bit more now and look forward to crossing paths with you on the road.

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  30. Here u are.. Made me cry, that horrid place....
    I somehow thought you would return to the farm, or maybe near Carrie and family...
    Everyone was kind 'on the road' but it was lonely for me and not my cup of tea... but had i access to travel, would come meet up with you... hasn't it been cold in Florida this year?
    I SO hope all is ok and you are finding a measure of peace.
    Thinking of you

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  31. I got so excited to see a post. I checked often and wondered how you were doing. I'm happy you are still traveling and gave yourself time. Please keep blogging and sharing your awesome pictures with us.

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  32. I can only imagine how very difficult this has been for you. It is so good that you are carrying on you shared dream of travel. I hope you find some peace along the way and remember all the good times. Take care!

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  33. Another lurker so glad to see you again. You are still on my blog list, and I've checked often. I hope you'll continue to blog and share your vast knowledge of our natural world - I know I've learned much from you.

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  34. Nice to hear from you in the blog world. Wishing you the best in exploring and enjoying life on your own. It will be hard for a long time but time heals and seeing new places helps. Take care.
    Tom

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  35. Hi, I thought about you a lot and wondered how you were doing. I'm happy for you that you're still RVing, and I hope that you can continue to find solace in nature the way you have always been able to. I'll be eager to hear about your life in your future posts.

    Danielle

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  36. I made the jump over here. I will add this new blog to my sidebar. I am in awe of you doing the tow thing. I am going to have my first tow dolly by the end of the month and finally be able to tow my Mazda. No longer have to decide which vehicle to take. I hope you can make it out here sometime to AZ.

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  37. Sherry, I "accidentally" found this blog, and I'm glad/sorry. Glad to be in touch, sorry ... for all the rest.

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  38. Sherry, I’m so glad you are following dear Mary O’s wise advice, although not exactly in the prescribed order! I’m hoping that, in making the efforts to pay attention and tell about it, astonishment too will return for you. And clearly, community is here for you, and will hopefully enlarge and ignite with new friends who are also living/traveling solo. Much love to you!

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  39. You are such an excellent writer and gifted at sharing your emotions. Had no idea the difficulty you had with the park personnel though I'm sure you shared that at the time. I shed some tears reading this post. I am very happy to see you creating a new blog to document your experiences and feelings. I miss David too but I know my grief is a small fraction of yours. I love that you two were together during that difficult time yet did so much! With love and admiration.....

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  40. Hello Sherry ,,,,I am so happy to see your blog ,,,,been thinking about you so often ,,,also am glad you started traveling again ,,,,you truly are an amazing woman ,,,David would be so proud ,,,love ,Bob and Nancy

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  41. I'm so pleased you decided to continue. We've never met but I always loved your photos. The human spirit is an amazing thing. It looks like you found the strength you need for the moment.....one day at a time.

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  42. Hi Sherry ,,,I am so glad to see you are back ,,,,I have missed you ,,,,sending my love ,,,,,you are truly an amazing woman

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  43. Sherry, as a friend said above, David would be so proud. Such a loss, I know. An interesting quote from Einstein..."Life is like riding a bicycle....to keep your balance you must keep moving." Often is is hard to just put one foot in front of the other. Hoping your wanderlust will fill your heart....and the wonderful memories that you and David made traveling together will keep you going. Looking forward to this new blog. Love, Carol

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  44. So happy to see you back as you are a wonderful writer. Your journey gives us all things to think about. We just came off the road in June after 13 years and miss it so. You are in our thoughts and prayers

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  45. It is good to see you back in a different capacity.

    The treatment by that park is disgusting. If anything, even now, I'd write to someone in state government about it.

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  46. It's good to see you are back in the blogging world, Sherry. You are one brave and determined woman. So glad you are moving ahead with your life and enjoying the road life once again. David would have wanted you to pick up and get going again like you are doing. The RV community is a strong group to help you begin a new life on the road. I've read back through all the posts you've done so far. You have some beautiful kayaking photos. The wood duck is my favorite. One day at a time, one small step at a time. You've got this!!

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  47. Welcome back. I have thought of you often over the past year. I was a silent reader, who rarely commented. I cheered you on as you continued your journey and grieved when David passed. I hope this blog and your readers support you as you continue to grieve, heal and continue living. Sending love to you! Lori

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  48. I love seeing photos of the farm. You are doing an amazing job of carrying on what David started....and loved. Lots of history and memories in that place. Seems as David got older, he loved the farm even more. I must echo the sentiments of the heat heard from others who have commented on your blog. Still remembering the time we went to Acadia ....and met you and David...in Bar Harbor? and ate at that lovely spot overlooking the water. Aren't memories wonderful! No one can take them from us. We also need to get "out of Dodge"....but the Rona is slowing us down quite a bit. I stay inside most of the time during the summer here...would love to escape to Maine...or Vermont...or ?? where normally the summer temps are delightful! A friend of mine recently posted this poem by Wendell Berry....and I pass it along to you...because of your love of nature. My guess is that you are already familiar with it. "The Peace of Wild Things." When despair for the world grows in me..and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives might be (and grandchildren..and great grandchildren)....I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

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