Thursday, January 05, 2023

Never Going Back Again

Hello! To anyone who may still be checking in here on occasion. I'm still around but time marches on and lots of things have changed in the last 3 years since Allen died. I still find typing those words to be weird but after a little more than 2 years of grief counseling, I can type them now without a breakdown. I am doing better these days. I miss Allen terribly but that man taught me to be a survivor more than anything, so I have to keep going. And I have survived a lot.... and kept making progress. I admit I was in a very bad place for quite some time but you know, I am doing good now. And I'm not embarrassed for my struggle. I'm proud of myself for continuing on and for really diving in to learn enough about myself to see why I tolerated so much shit in my life for so long. It's been hard to come to grips with some personal things, to see and understand how much I was abandoned as a child, manipulated as a young adult, and how that affects a person later. But I stuck it out and I've learned and done the really hard work of holding MYSELF responsible for healing from these things. Allen's untimely death was the catalyst for these things and I swear that I will do whatever it takes to give his life all the meaning I can. Because his life meant something to me. 

I am stronger than ever in many ways. Maybe not physically, although not too bad there... but my soul is strong and I have risen above everything meant to take me down.                                                          I survived Allen's death, which I did basically alone, other than my grief counselor. That in itself is almost a miracle.                                                                                                                                            

I've continued to work on the house and am nearing completion!! It looks wonderful. Need to do some landscaping but it's all coming along. I probably won't post much more about the house; it doesn't really matter much anymore. But it will soon be done and that's what counts. I finished it for Allen. 
It has a nice, new HVAC system that works great! No more chopping firewood unless you just want to. Let me also say... The house, and surrounding property, has a great surveillance system installed also. Cameras you can see.... and some that you can't. And it all goes to the Cloud immediately. Battery back up in case the power goes out. You get the idea. 
I have also survived a couple of fair-weather friends who hung around for what they could use me for. When you come to a point in your life where your hard work starts paying off materially.... there are a number of people who will do their best to relieve you of whatever they can. Some feel they didn't get dealt as good a hand in life and see that as an excuse to take. Some think you are too sick to notice, so  what would it hurt? Well, it does hurt. You don't take what is not yours. 

Life has also turned a bit sweet too! I met a wonderful man this past year. I was quite surprised that I could open my heart again but I have and he is wonderful. A real true man. He had a great career in the Army, left as a warrant officer. 2 tours in Iraq but he feels good about his service, his combat. He is truly a loving, gentle man and that is what a real man is. We have a wonderful time together and even though I really have no idea how long we will stay together, I am having a wonderful time with him and find joy in living again. 

And this man is so helpful on days I physically struggle. He helps me and without motive. Other than he cares for me. I am going on 6 years being diagnosed with early Parkinson's and I can feel it progressing. Oh yeah... of course, some think I'm making it up! Haha! That' so funny that I could get 3 premier neurologists to go along with a made-up diagnosis! Especially my current doctor being an excellent movement-disorder physician at an internationally recognized hospital. Haha! I must be an incredible actress. Maybe I should get an agent? Haha! But seriously... I am working very hard to stay ahead of this disease and very soon hope to get into a position where I can do more for research and fundraising. I've been lucky enough to get into a great support group and get into a treatment schedule that is helping a lot. 

Ol Chigger is still plugging along. She's getting pretty old now and can't see or hear very well but she's still doing pretty good. All of my chickens died of old age, so she spends her days just napping in the sun, rather than guarding hens. I don't have time to garden any more either but hope maybe that will change in time. 

So, life is very different for me now but it is still good. In fact, it promises to get even better. Of course, Allen will always be in my heart. I will never get over him not living to enjoy this place, after all the hard work we both put in it. And the 15 years we were caregivers for an old bastard that made Allen's last couple of years very hard... that is something I may never really be able to resolve in my heart. Some parts of life are still too cruel for me to understand. But I won't forget. In fact, I swear to Allen that I will build something positive from that. I'm not sure what right now, but I will. 

For many many years, I struggled hard with the idea that people get what they deserve, as most religions and people like to teach. I've been thru enough and seen too many good, honest people get took by horrible examples of humankind. I wrestled with this over and over again with my grief counselor, who happens to be a minister. He would never give me a straight But I don't think you can. That's something people have to figure out and decide for themselves. And I think I have decided. It may take years and years... but people do eventually get their reward. Good or bad. You get to have a peaceful life and death. Or not. The reward may not be riches or a big loving family or an illustrious career. Or it might. But I think being able to sleep at night with a clear conscience... bleeds out into the rest of your life. And you can see that in people by what their hands and lives produce. They will sow either love, joy, tranquility, optimism.... or they will sow hatred, strife, greed, jealousy.... They can talk and talk and explain and make excuses.. but you look for those qualities and that will tell you everything you need to know. Believe the evidence or not. 

I hope you all are doing well and enjoying life. I suspect that many of my older dear readers are no longer with us. Sadly. So we must remember to make the most of the life we have. It is very hard at times but we can overcome. Keep fighting the good fight. Drop me a comment or email if you can. I do still enjoy hearing from anyone. 


Friday, September 10, 2021

The Show Must Go On

 Hello! To anyone that might still be checking in. I'm sorry that I have been away so long and I DO appreciate those that have left comments and condolences. I have meant to post something before now but just have been very busy and not really of a mind to compose much that made sense. 

So much of this blog seems so irrelevant now. There is hardly any of it that I can identify with anymore. I guess a lot of people would be surprised that Allen's death would have affected me that much but then, very few people know mine and his full history and what we meant to each other. We had a difficult relationship at times, but we always loved each other truly, up to the very end. I still have a really hard time grasping that he is gone. I am still going to grief counseling though, so I am making progress.  I think what a lot of folks fail to consider also, is that I have lost so much besides Allen, in the last few years. Of course, his was the greatest by far, but losing my health to Parkinson's.... my career, which I really did enjoy and it gave me a sense of purpose. A certain amount of my art also, which I had a lot of identity in. And, as the death of a partner or spouse often brings, I have lost a fair amount of friends. You know, couple friends that Allen and I would go out with, this and that. I'm in the "widower's club" now. And other "friends" who felt his death was a great opportunity to take advantage of me. I learned even before he died, that there are many people in this world who feel perfectly justified in trying to take everything you've worked hard for. You finally get to where you have something, after all those years of work and they'll be sitting there with a knife behind their back. I narrowly escaped from that situation and others, only to go into Round 2 after Allen passed. People are vultures. 

And other people just don't know what to say or do. You have about 6 months top, to get over grief, and after that most people lose patience with you. They don't understand that 27 years of my life died along with Allen. 27 of my best, healthiest, happiest years. No one else that was actively involved in those years is still around. Either they also have passed away, or they have chosen to not contact me anymore, or I had to remove them because of toxic behavior. Of course, I still have friends from before Allen, and I am eternally grateful for them. They have been a great help. And I still have a little of my work family, which has also been a great relief and help. But it's like 27 years are just gone. I have almost no connection to those years anymore. I know it's hard to make someone understand the significance of that but it's very disconcerting. It leaves you feeling very, very lost and without direction. 

But... I am doing my best to forge on ahead though. I am doing my best to plan a new life. Allen would be very disappointed in me if I were to give up, so I can't do that. At this point, I really don't have any idea what a new life looks like, but I will figure something out. I have mentioned before that my house here means nothing to me anymore and........ that's not really true. It does mean something to me because of everyone that helped me build it. Even that aggravating ol' BFA. But it's just so lonely there now.  And as far as what Allen and I inherited from that ol' bastard Fred.... there is not enough drywall mud and paint in this world to cover up the horrid memories of that experience. I do not regret ever being compassionate and caring for even bad people, but I question whether we really should have gotten involved in all of that. I will forever regret moving to this county and settling down here. But, nothing I can do about it now. Just have to make the best of what I can. To that effect, my nephew has expressed interest in renting or possibly buying my house and land, which I would be happy for him to have. He is deployed right now with the Army but will be out soon and does not want to move back to his place of birth. He is a very good young man and I know he will take care of it. 

As for myself, I plan on finishing cleaning up (y'all remember Fred was a extreme hoarder), remodeling, repairing and then sell everything. I would like to move back towards Birmingham where I have happy memories and would be closer to UAB and Kirklin. I got transferred to a great neurologist there and have improved a lot in my fight against Parkinson's. I would like to be involved in more research and maybe some trials too. I want to do something positive. 

You know, so much of the world is so different now, than it was before Allen died. This Covid virus and people are SO politically distanced from one another. It's especially bad here in the South if you are not conservative and Allen and I are not. I never thought of myself as particularly liberal either, but if you don't go along with these ridiculous religious and political stances, then you are the Devil. In their eyes. It can be rather scary at times. So I keep a low profile and another reason to get out of this county. 

So, I hope you all are doing well and having a good life. I really do. I hope you'll leave me a comment. I have thought about starting another blog but it doesn't seem right in a way. I don't think people are much interested in them in some ways, anymore. Maybe I'm wrong. I really do want to find something constructive to do with what time I have left. I'm not done for yet!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Magic Time

I thought I'd drop another little update and put up a few fun photos that I recently received. This was one of the more fun projects that Allen and I did together, which was to set this large bronze sculpture for my former sculpture professor at the University of Montevallo. It was a very interesting and challenging project. I miss those days dearly.

 I'm the one in the brown overalls, by the way. Haha! So, I meant to say on the last post that I actually will maintain this blog. I will still answer questions because, unbelievably enough, I still get technical questions on posts that are 10 years old. So, I will still answer questions. Will still keep things in order and I am slowly cleaning the blog of a lot of personal posts; stuff just not related to the house, work, building, gardening, or that sort of thing. The blog is valuable to me, in that it is a great reference point in regards to time and projects that I, or Allen and I worked on. It's a great diary and has even provided some great insight into my health issues because I started recording my symptoms years before I was diagnosed with Parkinson's.

 I also wanted to note on that subject: I have finally, finally made great progress on the incredibly horrid pain I used to have in my hips and rear end. It's basically gone now. I can ride in a vehicle fine, even for extended trips. It started going away after I got on a decent dosage of the carbo/ levodopa in 2017 and has just continued to fade away. My new doctor prescribed an extended release carbo/levodopa for nighttime that has helped incredibly well and with it, that hip/ sciatic pain is gone. I will occasionally have a little hip pain that jumps back and forth between hips but it's nothing like I used to have. It's amazing. Of course, I still have tremendous amounts of pain elsewhere, mainly my Achilles tendons, feet, calves, hands, and shoulders. But that other pain was ungodly awful and I'm so thankful it's gone.
I'm also incredibly thankful to have been able to get transferred back to a neurologist at UAB/ Kirklin Clinic. The one I was seeing at St. Vincent's was just not getting it. Just brushed me off. Completely ignored what I tried to tell him.. I was sorely disappointed in him because he seemed to good at first. But, my new UAB doc is great and I'm very happy with him.

So, I continue to go to grief counseling and it does help some. But I miss Allen so much. I am continuing to finish my place and parts of Allen's and to clean up. Lots going on. I will try to show photos of my places as it is completed, although I suspect much of the remainder may be done by people I hire. I will still do some but some of the work is too much for me now and I just have wayyyy too much on my plate.
So, I'll be back maybe a few times a year. Or something. I don't know. Y'all take care.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Magic Man

I wanted to post a little bit of an update for anyone that might possibly still be coming here. Might be a few of you still checking in occasionally. I am doing okay. Technically speaking, things are going very well. I am making good progress on finishing Allen's place. Not doing a whole lot on his remodel yet but making good progress cleaning up the place and getting rid of the tons of crap that had accumulated over 30 years with the previous owner. I have replaced the roof on the (Allen's) house and the store building next to it. I don't know that I will be able, or inclined to open the coffeehouse that Allen wanted but I will at least get everything put back together and remodeled. I'm working on much bigger plans actually but not going to go into details on those projects.

For myself, I'm doing okay. Fair. I have been going to grief counseling and it does help....but I can't say that I really feel any better. If that makes any sense. It's been 7 months and 16 days since he died and it still feels like someone just ripped my heart out. Counseling has helped me understand some things though. He was my dearest friend in this world. We had been together, in some form, for almost all of my adult life. And as I said before, we had not reunited as a romantic couple, but it didn't matter. We loved each other dearly. We had a wonderful, passionate time as a couple and we had a timeless bond as friends.
Allen was the only person in this world that I could always depend on and I hope he knew he could depend on me that much too. I certainly did my best to always be there for him. No matter what was going on, I knew he would be there. We had our problems, obviously because we did not stay together as a couple or marry. We could both be very stubborn and unfortunately, we only had a few years together where I was not dealing with some hideous tragedy or life-altering health issue. I had only known Allen about a year when my brother killed himself, so that literally scrambled my brain and took years for me to come to grips with that issue. I did okay for a few years when Allen and I were reunited again, but then started having my first symptoms of what I later found out to be Parkinson's. Contrary to what most people think, the first PD symptoms are often crippling anxiety, panic attacks and other similar problems. Allen had a lot of trouble dealing with those issues due to years of very bad experiences with others in his early life and also went through an extremely stressful job for 14 months, while I was coming apart at the seams from illness. We tried hard but decided then to live apart, albeit next door. We both hurt each other and we both forgave each other a lot.
 Despite everything, Allen never walked out on me when I was choking or having other health emergencies. Allen never stole from me or attempted to. No call from me ever went unanswered by him. Allen literally shared all he had with me. Allen never once threw me under the bus or ran me down to his family to make himself look like the victim. 
I can only pray that I was anywhere near as good a friend to him. I did my best. When Allen needed to get away from Fred, I would come up here and tend things for him so he could have a break. I'm so happy that Allen got to travel to England (twice!), Scotland, France, and Ireland! And around much of the East Coast. I was happy to hold down the fort for him. And when Fred got bad and needed constant care, I would come up here every day and we took care of business. I'd take morning shift so Allen could sleep in and work on his projects most of the day. Then he'd take over in the afternoon. That's one instance I was thankful for my Parkinson's. It forced me to retire from construction and travel, so I was home to be able to help Allen. And we never left each other even though we both had ample chance. He was a real man and he owned it.
I thank God every day that I had the years with him I did and that it was just me and him the last couple of years. We had a lot of fun in those 2 years to add to all the others. We got to go and travel a little on some day trips and just do some fun things. I regret every day, the years I wasted where I was not always by his side. They were a waste in the most tragic sense, other than they taught me a very good but very painful lesson. But Allen loved me regardless and I loved him. We built many, many wonderful things all over Alabama through the years and I treasure each one. Happily, many of the places are public and I can visit them whenever I want.

I do not know exactly what the future holds for me but I will do my best to make the most of what I have left. I will not post on this blog in any regular sense and maybe not at all anymore. Of course, y'all are used to that by now. I just want to say that this blog will remain and be dedicated to Allen. He was the one that came up with the name for it! It will be cleaned up of many other personal references. I've already started on that. I will keep all the building info because I still get a lot of people looking for such.
My house means nothing to me anymore. I mostly stay at the apartment where Allen and I lived for 3 years before I moved into my house. That has shocked many people and it has shocked me too, honestly. But I have no interest in that house anymore and don't know that I ever will. It's almost as if it doesn't even exist. Kind of like Fred's memory too. They are both just a bad specter in a faraway story that cause a tremendous amount of pain and anger. I never really felt at home in my house and had even thought of moving a few times. I think I may have even mentioned it on this blog a time or two. Allen had also thought of moving and we had discussed it on occasion, but one would never leave without the other. I think the reason my house never really felt like home was because Allen never lived there with me. He did stay with me quite a lot the first 2 years down there, and I was very happy with the house then, but as he left, so did my attachment to the house. It surprises me, because Allen and I did build it!. But I realized, we built tons of things, all over the place. It was just one more structure. With him gone, nothing here means anything to me anymore. I wish we had never moved to this county and that I never had the idiotic dream of homesteading or whatever. We never needed all this to be happy. In addition, after a few years of living here, we both realized that maybe this area of Alabama was possibly not the best choice. It's beautiful here.... but sorely lacking in progressive education and social activities. It's high in drug crime (meth) and just this redneck "I'll do whatever I please" mentality. When a junior college started moving into town, Allen and I both had great hopes that things would improve but I'm not sure they are going to.
But for now, I will complete what we both started. His place will be completed and be done the way he wanted it. After that, I don't know. My Parkinson's is progressing a bit faster than what I thought it would and I have no desire to beat my head against a wall trying to maintain all this. And Allen would not want me to. He provided for me and I mean to make the very, absolute best of what he did for me and honor him in the process. Not one red cent of what he worked so hard for will be squandered. As another friend put it so well: Allen was a good and loving friend. And he will be in my heart forever, until we are together again.

I'm sorry that I have not and will not continue this blog. I know some people used to read it for encouragement and ideas and it hurts me that I will stop. But, as I said before, the world is a MUCH different place now than it was 14 years ago when I started this blog. And it's much different just in the 7 months that Allen has been gone. I am not comfortable sharing as much anymore with unknown factors out there. I have realized, and been personally confronted with the fact, that many people are not the way they present themselves and I don't want to be on their radar. There are some people so manipulative and so good at it, not to mention just flat out physically dangerous, that they can do a tremendous amount of damage if they can weasel into your life and my circle is much smaller than it used to be. And I also know that I don't owe one damn person on this planet any explanation of how I live my life. There was one I did (Allen) and he's gone. No one else.

I used to be very insistent on telling my story, my side, but I realized the futility of that. And all of this has absolutely nothing to do with Allen or any part of him....People don't care about the truth and, once again, there are people so good at manipulation, you would never be able to overcome their deceit. But I don't care to anymore. People believe what they want to, so let them have it and gorge themselves on it. I have a life to live and I intend to make the most of it on my terms.

Y'all be good and be safe. I may drop in once a year or such and let you know a little of what's up as things progress. I'm still here and going. Allen and I still have a lot of work to do and I don't intend to let him down!!
If you are inclined, you can find me on Instagram (DragonValleyArtworks) or on Facebook (Ann Beaird). I can also control who follows me there. I don't post a lot on Instagram but there are a few things and you can message me.
Thank you all very much for the many years of companionship and encouragement that you gave me on this blog!! 

Sunday, November 03, 2019

My Heart Is Broken

October 23 my heart was ripped in half.  Allen passed away suddenly from a massive stroke and I don't think my heart will ever be whole again. If you've read this blog for long then you know Allen and how much a part of my life he was and I was to him. Well beyond romantic partners, we were best friends, cohorts, work buddies. Allen and I have been together for 27 years, in one form or another. Almost all of my adult life. I met him when I was only out of college maybe a year. He was there to help me through my brother's death. He is the reason I got into construction and became a tradesperson. No matter what life brought, we were always there for each other. It occurred to me the other day that, even though we never took the marriage vows with each other, we lived them with each other and it was only death that parted us.

I've experienced well over my share of pain and heartache in my life. And I've gotten a belly full of Life's unfairness. We had finally found freedom from taking care of others (Fred passed away in April), Allen was able to do whatever he wanted with his property and life, and we were enjoying just being. He was joyously working on building a coffeeshop, after spending his entire life building things for everyone else. No worries but what to have for lunch or supper.
It was just me and him again and, although we remained just friends, we were closer than we had been in a very long time. We were having fun and I was starting to feel better after finally getting my meds adjusted correctly. Finally feeling like living again. All those years we, but mostly he, took care of Fred and took his abuse, and Allen doesn't even outlive him a year. There is nothing that will ever make sense to me anymore. Nothing is fair, right, justified....nothing.

I am eternally grateful that I was with him and able to get him to the ER in a timely manner but it came on so fast no one seemed to see it coming. It actually appeared to be his heart at first. The last thing he knew was talking to me and that I was holding his arm. He "lived" until the next day when they took him off life support but I know he passed away not long after he lost consciousness.

It's really hard for me to understand he's gone. I swing between numbness and the most excruciating pain I've ever known. I can only hope he understood how much I love him and that one day we will be together again.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

So Much To Say

I just spent an hour and a half typing a fairly detailed account of what's been going on and how I am doing, and Blogger just ate it all. I have no idea where it went. So, that's really frustrating. I have trouble typing these days as it is and then to have it deleted after I struggled through a fairly long post.....You are a piece of crap, Blogger.
If I get the energy, I will try to redo it all. I am doing very well and am happy. Things are going very well. I'll try to get back soon. There has been a great many changes and stuff happening and I'd like to update everyone.

In the meantime, I am on Facebook if you would like to join me there. You might send me a PM if you never commented a lot on the blog, so that I know who you are. I don't know that I will ever get back to posting much here but I do write some on FB and post about the house and stuff. It's actually easier to post on Facebook and I can control who sees my life there. I'm not very inclined anymore to just open everything up to the world at large. I got nothing to hide but I do not trust people and the world is very, very different than what it was 12 years ago when I first started blogging.

I will include a photo of one recent project I just finished. I got all the flooring down in the bedroom and repainted, redecorated etc. I am very pleased with the results. I will try to blog about installing the flooring. I'm moving on to the kitchen now.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Here I Am

Well, so....I just look at people like this all the time now actually. But anyway. Hey! I'm still around and doing well. I'm tired and have a lot going on but I'm doing good.

 Since the last time I posted my Mom had a small stroke, which she recovered very well from. Then she had some spinal issues but we got that worked out also. Since my brother lives in the way northern part of the state and she and my sister had a bit of a row, I was the main caregiver in these incidences. But that's fine because Mama is generally easy to deal with. Then we had new windows put in her house and I went out of town a few times to do some work for Daddy Rabbit. That was fun but hard on me physically.

I have a couple of part-time jobs and various work I do, some of it from home. So that's great. Let's me work on things here too and rest when I need to or when I'm having a real bad day.

Then about 2 weeks ago a huge tornado came through here, right down my road. I was actually at my Mom's when it happened, and we watched it on TV! They were pointing at my road and saying, "it's right here!". I had no idea if I had a house anymore or anything. I couldn't get Allen on the phone, which scared me to death! I finally got home but it took a long time as there were countless trees down on our road. The police told me it was over 40 down. I don't doubt it. Both ways were blocked. I finally got in through an old gravel back road and then to Allen's to see if he was okay. He was!!. My place was okay. Several trees down and the top of one through the chicken's run but they are all okay too. We were without power for a couple of days and without phones for several but they finally got it all fixed. Still cleaning up the mess.  Then another one came through early this morning but I was so tired I slept through it. It did some damage but was further north of here.

Seems like there has been more to happen but I can't remember. I have meant to post more, but in lots of ways I am reluctant to post much. I just don't have as much to say anymore and I don't trust anyone. That little meme I started with is actually true. I've had someone (guess who) try to break into my credit card account. I got the ol' "you've tried to log it too many times" email from them and saying I must change my password. Which I promptly did and on a bunch of other stuff too. Then they were trying to get a hold of other financial info. Trying to find out how I'm living and not having to sell this place or whatever. No, I'm not living off credit cards or some man. Ha! I'd drink gasoline before there will ever be another man living here. But anyway, I'm just not inclined to talk much anymore. I don't trust people, due to so much bullshit and so many batshit crazy people that will cut your throat first chance they get. I would like to start another blog and refine what I post about but things have got to get less crazy first.
I hope everyone out there is doing well.! I do hope to establish some kind of posting again about the house, because I am starting to work on it again. But also a personal blog in another location. I hope you'll check in on me every once in a while.