Looking for answers to life's questions

I’ve been ruminating on how best to write a sad story where no one ends up feeling sad. My goal in life has always been to look for the silver lining in every event no matter how challenging. Challenges follow all people throughout their lives. The Golden Years are no exception and not always as golden as one would hope.

The sun keeps rising no matter what else is going on.

If one looks at the challenges that are in front of them honestly, one will always see there was probably some part they played in creating the challenge. That’s where I’m standing now. I take full responsibility for the challenges that are now ahead of me and will find the silver lining in them.

There are decisions ahead that I really am not looking forward to making. The ruminating on the best course of action is one that so many have made. I’m not unique here. I just need to keep pressing in a forward motion.

I’ve made 8 so far with material to make more. I wish I sewed faster

A week ago, my last husband passed away after a long and hard illness. He had just had his 79th birthday and I have not seen or spoken to him in the last 5 years. Though I had hoped we could remain on friendly terms, his adult children had other plans. I have missed him even though I knew the choice I made was the best one for everyone concerned. He is now no longer in distress or discomfort and I have never wished him anything but good. This is where I keep the long story short.

There are often rainbows before and after storms

I am now faced with a significant reduction in income that I found out last year was going to happen. Trying to ready myself for it did not happen fast enough. I think it’s been boiling in the back of my mind for months but I couldn’t figure out a good plan. Denial only works so long.

 

As I talk to other women my age who are living on their own quite happily, I find many are also trying to keep their heads above water in so many ways. While speaking with a neighbor about the possibilities of employment, she offered some insight as well as admitted that she would never be able to stop working even though she is well past retirement age as am I.

It’s not a comfortable place to find oneself. I saw my own mother outlive her money after my father died. Like I said, I am not unique here. I’m trying to bring in a little light to a subject that I think needs attention as well as explain my distraction and absence. It’s life in session and I’m in class. Lesson learned and more to come.

You can almost see where the bottom of the rainbow landed

Do you have a little light?

 “She must protect herself. There would be no one to do it for her. A plan started to prick up its ears inside her, slowly, but getting stronger.”
~ Catherynne M. Valente, “The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There”

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

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Comments on: "A Short Long Story" (112)

  1. Marlene, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. While we know in our hearts we can’t live any longer with one we loved there is usually a fond spot for them in our hearts.

    To compound your loss with financial hardship at the same time is so unfair. I wish I had a secret to solving your dilemma, but as you said, there are many going through the same. This will only be solved when society again values its elders and demands they are treated respectfully. I hope that day arrives sooner than later.

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    • Thank you, Lois. I will always have a spot in my heart for him and his family even though it wasn’t reciprocal. I’ve been looking at this issue for a long time while seeing so many even like yourself trying to simplify and cut deeply to just meet your basic needs. There has to be a soulution for all the women of the world who give so much of themselves to family only to be left drifting. Poor planning on my part obviously so I’m going back to the basics.

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      • I do hope you will be okay as you find your way through this but don’t beat yourself up over it, we can’t plan for everything. Basics are good as long as you don’t give up the things that bring you the most pleasure.

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      • Hindsight is 20/20 but in reality, I would have done the same thing again. I have everything I need and most of what I want and I trust that I will get through this gracefully. I’m always interested in how other women pulled themselves up from the floor and started over again. Most of us just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You are one strong lady who I admire deeply. Going to try to take a page out of your book. 🙂 Giant hugs, M

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      • I thought you might have. You gained so many experiences that truly made your life a joy, to have given those up earlier because you were afraid of being without later wouldn’t be you.

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      • Thank you, Lois. You are so generous to me.

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      • As you are to me.

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  2. My heart goes out to you. I really does. I wish I had an answer, this is something I worry about all the time. This sounds so blah, but I really do mean it.
    Hugs

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    • I know you do and I have great faith that it will all work out perfectly. It will just take a bit of time so I will not be online as much for a bit. I think the issue is that there are so many like me and mostly women. I have always thought about the soulution for this challenge.

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  3. I think the financial issue is one that’s facing many of us now. We’ve worked hard, put money away, and assumed, as our parents did, that it would be enough. For them, it was, although my father, at 94, is running out of money. For us, it will be different. Our pensions and savings aren’t worth now what we hoped they’d be. We’re looking at the same problem, earlier in our lives than you, so perhaps we have a chance to improve matters, but downsizing, saving and deciding what really matters is the only thing we can see to do… My condolences on the loss of someone who was clearly important to you.

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    • Thank you so much for your caring words. Yes, in spite of all the heartaches, 30 years with someone and their family makes them deeply ingrained in your heart. I miss the whole family and am saddened that I can’t be there. But you make some very valid points here. My mother was not yet 74when we had to step in and help financially until her passing a year later. 94 is impressive! I am well past retirement age and did make some good decisions by buying my manufactured home while rents are going up by leaps and bounds. I think one more year of the pension and I would have been able to sail through a bit better. But the Universe had other plans so now I must look at this all very clearly and see what direction I’m being guided towards next. I wanted to open this conversation for all of us who have or are facing similar challenges to see how each person addresses it and how we can help each other. It was a hard post to write and put out there publicly but it felt necessary. Maybe I can help one other person going through this not feel alone in it.

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  4. Sorry for your loss Marlene. As the end of my marriage nears with the signing of the final divorce papers soon I often think about this and other scenarios, and realize that no matter how much I want to plan or be in control of issues such as this, I will never be fully prepared. What seems to be enough at one moment can turn into a struggle to just get by in the blink of an eye, and I agree with the other comments, this tends to end up in the laps of women.

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    • Thank you for adding to this conversation, Deb. We need so many more of these. I think that’s why I decided to go public with it instead of staying silent. I hear your fear and know the feeling. I was too ill to work or drive when I ended this marriage. Though I cared very much for my husband and his family, something told me it was time for it to be done. Getting very ill and debilitated by the Bells Palsy was the last warning bell. At 62, with no visible means of support, my daughter and sister moved me out and I slept on their sofas or futons or with my son for almost2 years until I could collect Social Security. Talk about terrified. Costs just keep going up and income does not. You are correct, we can not be fully prepared for everything. We just have to have a little faith that all will work out perfectly. Oddly, in spite of all the emotions I’m feeling right now, I am still content and very, very grateful. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you are doing. We need to be supportive of each other as we take that leap of faith off the edge of the life that once was so certain. I’d like to know how other women cope and deal with starting over. I’ll give you my e-mail if you want to discuss this more personally. Giant hugs of support.

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      • I love that this one post has opened up a conversation among so many women, and I hope it continues. Perhaps we can be a support group for each other as you noted support is crucial. Some of the personal stories shared here with your post today show the extraordinary ability of women to move forward. I will post my own email here and encourage anyone to get in touch. Sometimes just knowing you aren’t alone is a huge wait lifted 🙂 dtecca59@gmail.com

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      • I guess putting this out there has some good come out of it. I didn’t want to embarrass my family but it felt necessary to talk about this. When I divorced, the only people I had in my corner was my adult children and my sister. I was so isolated. Then I started to blog. It’s a wonderful community of people and we seem to find each other. I’ll send you a note so you have my e-mail.

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  5. This is a tough time, Marlene. I think about my situation a lot similar to yours. If anything happens to the husband I’m pretty much in the same boat. It’s scary. One of the reasons I started writing. Although it won’t pay the bills, that’s for sure. If you ever need someone to brainstorm with, you know how to reach me. I know you have your kids and friends that you can talk to but I”m here for you too. I often think about what I would do. Thankfully my house is paid for so the bills would be minimum. But still……. Let me know if I can help in some way. ❤

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    • I was thinking of you too when I wrote this. I have a single neighbor whose son covers many of her expenses. That’s not the solution I’m looking for. I want a way that all of us can live better. I’ll be in touch soon. Hugs.

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      • As I have no kids, that would not be an option for me. Even if I did, I probably wouldn’t do it. The husbands kids….well lets just say we aren’t close. And you know my family situation. I’m going to stay in Canada though, IF I should outlive the husband. We discussed it several times. I’ll be interested in anything you have to say, Marlene. Hugs!

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  6. Life never gets any easier. You wrote honestly about your situation without being maudlin. Such a person as you will find a way.

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    • Thank you so much, Bernadette!!! That was my hope. I am certain without a doubt that all will be well. I just see too many of us at this age having a harder time than necessary because we chose differently or had little choices. I’ve often wondered how we could tip the scale a bit and that’s true all over the world. Thanks so much for your kind words.

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  7. I resonated with your “some part they played in creating the challenge” …… It is very hard to differentiate between self blame, misfortune and victimization, but I think it is very important to try and do so, and I think later life is when some of us more introspective types start to do this earnestly.
    It is helpful to avoid a feeling of victimization to recognize the part one plays in one’s misfortune. However it unfair and harmful to engage in self blame for life’s misfortunes. After all very bad things happen to everyone eventually, and blaming ourselves when this happens, just makes us further victims of our own thinking.
    Ditching self blame is important but it is so much harder to do than to say.
    In summary, you are experiencing misfortune. It is to your credit that you examine what role you played in this, but it is NOT your fault and you cannot be blamed for it. You wouldn’t blame another person in your situation. So, please be as nice to yourself as you would be to them.
    The financial situation completely sucks. It shouldn’t happen . There should be basic income protection for retired people.
    I am truly sorry and I hope and pray things work out for you. Somehow I think they will.

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    • Thank you for your input, Cindy. I have for many years admired the women who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and created good lives after facing some intimidating challenges. I definitely do not feel victimized. I purposely choose to use the term responsibility over self blame. You always know when something you choose is probably going to end badly but you do it anyway because there is some good reason for it. This is just another bump in the road but now I need to see what parts of car have been damaged by the bump and repair it. Moving forward is the only way to go and women have a way of emotionally supporting each other over that bump. I want to hear from women that have overcome that pothole and moved on and how they did that. There are so many women struggling so much more that I ever will. I count my blessings every day and I know all will work out. Time now to be very creative. 🙂 Thank you for adding to the conversation.

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    • Thank you Cindy, for pointing out the critical distinction between not playing the victim, but also not blaming oneself for hard times. I am one of those who too easily takes all the responsibility onto myself, and I’m very self-critical. I need reminders that there is a reasonable amount of responsibility in each scenario, and it is never 100%. Marlene seems to have hit the right spot, and it took courage for her to say it. THank you for acknowledging how well she walked that line.

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  8. Ah dear Marlene – I can see this is really hard going for you at the moment. It’s such a global movement isn’t it – and not always confined to us older people either. I’ve lived hand to mouth for so long now I am used to it – and although I am constantly amazed at how I keep making it through every month, I am also convinced that I am looked after in some way that is hard to express – or understand if you have never experienced it. I lost my home and my income some 13 years ago because I chose personal freedom and health over material security. So while I abruptly found myself living in the’ dodgy end’ of town with no income, I also found my way to becoming inwardly more balanced and content than I’d ever been. Like your post, this is my ‘long story short’.

    I think taking responsibility doesn’t mean self blame, it means seeing what is, and getting on with accepting that and finding still the things we can be grateful for and recognising what this situation asks of us without feeling too hard done by (I don’t know about you, but I always feel hard done by and whine about for a bit – that’s okay, then eventually I get fed up with feeling like that and put on my grown up panties and get on with it) As you say, there is always a silver lining, there is always a rainbow and when we can’t see it we need to trust that all shall be well and all is well. We are in process, we are in change, we are hopeful and we are moving along our path in just the manner we are meant to.

    Let your process be what and where it is Marlene. Don’t try to push yourself through to the ‘right’ place to be. But look also for the things to be grateful for and count them every day, for these things are our saving graces in the end. We are not remembered for what we have, but for what we give to others – for some of us, this is the ultimate life lesson. xoxo

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    • Well said Pauline and I agree completely. I am stepping back and looking at this as clearly as possible but I know without a doubt that it will work out perfectly. When I left 6 years ago, I was too ill to work and may still be debilitated enough that I am not employable but I expect the Universe to provide a way for me to manage. I just need to be open to it. I wanted to tell about this as a way of being honest about my own responsibility and not place any blame while opening up a conversation. I’m not sure how you got back on your feet and am always impressed by women who manage to do just that. It’s that old adage that you can’t tell how strong a woman is until you put her in hot water. I’m being very quiet these days to see and hear direction. I spent the first two years after leaving, shifting between family members, sleeping on sofa’s and futons until I could collect my first husbands Social Security. What a blessing that was. Had I been more vigilant this last year, this might have not been such a big deal but I kept hoping he would make it just one more year. I’m glad he is no longer in any discomfort though. My gratitude list is still my priority each day. There is so much. Unfortunately, many are not as fortunate as I am. I’d like to address that somehow. I am not alone in this as you obviously know. It’s your strengths that got you through that I’m asking about. I’d be happy for you to send a private note if you care to do so. There are too many who would like to know what it takes to turn it all around. You have made a wonderful life for yourself. You have much to offer here. Love and hugs.

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    • Pauline, you added some much needed class to the “dodgy part of town.”

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  9. I understand the difficulties. I spent the majority of my life taking care of my maternal grandmother and then my parents, which was a 24/7 stay at home sort of thing, adding in a husband disinclined to get a real job and 5 step-children didn’t help. The kids were the best part of it. The husband still won’t get a real job. I’ve come to the conclusion the only one going to help me is me. I don’t have enough “points” to even get the bare minimum from Social Security either. It keeps hitting me over and over that no matter how hard I worked or saved, there was not going to be what was needed financially. I scrape together what I can and sell what I make, but it doesn’t bring in much. I think this is so wrong for so many people, mostly women, left alone after a life spent caring for others in whatever way. There are occasional noises made about a universal income for everyone which would supposedly cover basic necessities like utilities, food and housing which certainly would ease the pressure, the major problem with it is that there has to be a way to fund such a thing. My condolences on your loss. It’s sad that some people just can’t allow their parents to be happy.

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    • Thanks so much for stopping by and being part of an important conversation, Aquila. Exactly my point. Though each set of circumstances are unique, the whole issue is not. I have been and continue to be very fortunate in so many ways but poor decisions on my part left me in a bit of a pickle. The kids contributed greatly to the ultimate end of the marriage but it is what it is and I still miss every single one of them and care deeply about their well being. I don’t know if there is a solution for this dilemma we women find ourselves in.

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      • I think the only real solution is women banding together and helping each other. Generally women outlive men. Not every husband leaves his wife in good financial shape. I know I certainly can’t count on anything from my spouse financially now or later. I would have been in far better shape in the money and asset department if the economy had not tanked in 2008, that was the major contributing factor in the failure of my business as far too many of our customers were laid off, locked out or suffered reduced wages/salaries. I also would have been better off without my business partner (a woman of long retail experience but no vision of how to survive in tough financial situations and who blocked many of the things that might just have made the business survive). At least my stepchildren have come to see that there was more benefit to them to accept me being with their father as well as to him. It certainly wasn’t easy or comfortable for a long time. We all just have to hang on however we can and help each other if it’s something that’s possible for us to do.

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      • It’s why I try to see this as an opportunity rather than a problem. It’s a challenge for me to creatively rise above. I very much intend to do just that. Many of my friends here locally are exchanging or sharing plants so we don’t all have to go out and purchase them. If I get a lot of something, I share with them. You are correct, we should be helping each other more even if it’s not monetary. I drive friends that can no longer drive. It’s not much but every little bit helps. I choose to always look for that silver lining and move forward. Have a wonderful week and weekend.

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  10. Oh Marlene, my heart goes out to you for the initial loss that has created additional loss. I do hope you come up with workable solutions to the very present need. Take care, my friend.

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  11. Marlene, of all the people I know I am confident that you will find your way. I find it distressing that in this country we have people who’ve worked hard all their lives can end up in an unfortunate place like this. My mom doesn’t have a lot of income, but at least in Germany there are safeguards in place. She rents a small apartment in a senior building where she is safe, can walk to everything she might need and has her friends and neighbors looking out for her. Despite it being a tiny place, I believe she is the happiest she’s ever been, reading and gardening on her little balcony.
    I believe that there are good things ahead of you. I’m there for you any time! 😊

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    • I’d like to see what Germany has done here. My fiends, Sigrid and Lore had a 2 bdrm flat that was quite lovely but there was no elevator and eventually they could no longer leave their 3rd floor flat. They had a nice balcony and plenty of everything they needed. I loved it there and often thought I would love to live there. Maybe at some time in the future, these conversations will no longer be necessary here. Too many women are barely making it and many are living around me. I will always be ok, I have friends and family. My greatest blessings.

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      • I sure hope that this country makes some changes. But as long as people keep voting for candidates who support more tax cuts for the wealthy and unaffordable health care (sick care if you look at the proposed new plan) for most of us ‘regular’ people those stone-hearted elected officials will go on lining their own pockets!
        So it’s up to those amongst us to have the courage to vote them out and elect compassionate and intelligent representatives.
        I wish you all the best!

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  12. Sorry to hear about what’s going on, Marlene. Sounds like a sombre time but this was such an honest and brave piece. Finances is always a tricky thing and can be very unpredictable. Hope that things work out. Getting a job can help but don’t overstretch yourself. When I was out of work for a few years, finances were hard but it taught me to use what I’ve got. Best wishes to you.

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    • Thank you Mabel , for your kind words. I will definitely get things worked out but so many more just can’t. Women of a certain age and physical condition have a bit more of a challenge. Rapidly approaching 70 and somewhat debilitated adds to the challenge. Not technically employable so I will be more creative in my solutions. My daughter was out of work and on her own for 2 1/2 years and she can really make a dollar stretch. I’m glad you finally found work.

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  13. My deepest sympathy to you in your loss and for the way your step family has been. I find that I feel very grateful to the fact that I live in England where we have affordable housing for the elderly and a basic state pension. Not luxuary but adequate. How to say something that will help you. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so no looking back. My dear friend Claire whom I quote from time to time would say “It’s an opportunity”. Stay positive and go looking for that job, you are a talented, creative wonderful person with saleable skills, from writing a blog to making gorgeous things. go for it with a song in your heart. xx

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    • Very wise words indeed. Think I’ll turn on the music and sing along. We have a long way to go in this country in the treatment of the elderly. Most of our elected officials are more interested in lining their own pockets that caring for those they serve. I do see this as an opportunity to move in another direction and may have been just a tad to complacent. Quite a wake up call. 🙂 Thank you for joining in the conversation.

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  14. Marlene, this is an amazing post you have written and put out there into the world, and judging from the responses, you have hit a nerve with woman from all over the world. Firstly, I am so sorry for the loss of your ex-husband. I know very well just how much an ex can still have a place in your heart. People I meet register great surprise when I say how often I talk to my ex-husband and that there is no acrimony between us. We still have a lot in common (even our own daughter, who is now 23, doesn’t understand it!) The shared experiences and memories can never be taken away from you. I hope (and in fact I have no doubt) that your late ex-husband realised how fortunate he was to have been married to you – you are a lovely, lovely, lovely person!
    And then – personal financial security. It is a great worry, and you are not alone. I gather from the responses from your readers that your government isn’t too great about looking after the elderly. South Africa is also not a good place to grow old in, unless one is wealthy and started making provision for old age from about the age of 18!!!
    I know you will find a way to keep on going, and I also know you are very lucky to have the friends and family you do (a daughter and a son, I think?) I am an only child, and now my mother, at 80, has no-one in her life except me. Her friends have all passed on, my dad died when I was 17, and her partner of 27 years has recently stripped her of her business and home. We are in the process of suing him, but that is a ghastly (and extremely expensive) saga in itself, which has been going on for nearly 2 years with no end in sight. The stress of these losses and the personal betrayal has been a nightmare for her, and she will now never recover fully. I don’t mean to ramble on about this, my point in telling you is that none of us can ever know what to expect from life, and even when you think you’ve got all your ducks in a row, some circumstance or misfortune can happen along and turn your neat row of ducks into a graveyard of dead bird bits.
    For what it’s worth, I am in admiration of your resilience and positive attitude. I have no religious beliefs, but I do have faith in your ability and the ability of those who love you to find a way of keeping it all together.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Jill

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    • I wish I could click a loved button instead of a like button for your comment, Jill. 🙂 ” turn your neat row of ducks into a graveyard of dead bird bits.” tickled me to no end. Yes you are correct. I planned as carefully as possible but was unaware in the beginning and could get no answers from lawyers that the pension would vanish at his death. You are correct that someone you have know for over 40 years would hold a place in your heart no matter what. We did not have children together. Just co-parented both sets. He had custody of his and I of mine. I am also not a religious person, though of great spiritual faith the a way is always provided. I’m beginning to see it. Yes, I was hoping to hit a nerve and start a conversation. As I said, I know this is not unique to me. I wanted to hide my shame at not being better prepared but that helps no one. So I’m hanging out the dirty laundry and hoping the fresh air breathes new life. Thank you so much for taking part in this conversation. I can’t tell you how sorry I am your mother has to go through such a trauma at this time of her life. She is fortunate to have you there for support. I’ll keep good thoughts for her. Life isn’t always easy but it’s always good if we look for the good.

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  15. Wow, Marlene–one thing you can feel very good about is the love you inspire in people! Look at the affectionate, caring responses you’ve gotten! I know that won’t pay the rent and, yet, it counts! I’ve always thought that older women, those without children and/or spouses to help and who have financial concerns, should form little communes. We could share living spaces and costs, look after each other, and give support. I haven’t figured out the details . . . I am endlessly impressed with your optimism in the face of scary times.

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    • I thought about the shared spaces too, Kerry. My guest room will be filled quite frequently and I’m not renting it out as my sister has a terminal illness and at some point in time, she will need to be here for care. I am hoping much later than sooner. She exists somewhat communally with many of her friends that she has know for over 30 years. I’m relatively new to this area with only 3 years here. But that aside, there are ways we can share with each other. My parents did that while in the military and running low of food at the end of each month. They would combine groceries with another family and feed all of us. I’m not in dire straits at this moment and have no plans to get there. There is always a way to work through things. I would much rather have all the care and affection from my blogging family than pay the rent. 🙂 Which will always somehow be paid. I appreciate you joining this conversation. It’s an important one, I think. Thank you so much for your kind words.

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  16. Just another thought, I only have knowledge of English things but some may be true in the US. For example some pensions include life assurance for which you may have been named the benficiary. Your parents were in the miltary and you might be able to get support through that route. We have a voluntary organsiation called the citizens advice bureau where you can get free advice , is there somewhere yu can get advice from. Just because the step family tells you something doesn’t mean its true. xx

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    • No, it wasn’t the stepchildren that told me that. I went straight to the pension holder. And I am looking into all avenues for information and advice. You never know though, there could be surprises round the corner. It will just take time, patience and diligence to sort through this. Thanks for the second thoughts. They are much appreciated.

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  17. I read your post earlier today, Marlene, and it touched on so many good points. First off, I am sorry for your loss. I never married him, but I will always carry a certain soft spot in my heart for one former boyfriend (with whom I was in a serious relationship over many years before I married my husband); having said that, when I knew it was over, it was OVER. I broke it off and never looked back, and while I feel badly for our mutual friends, it has to work for me, too. Sometimes it’s just over and that has to be OK. Still, it tugs at our hearts when death brings the relationship to a close. I also think something better, a better provision, needs to happen for women who worked our tails off–in my case, ruined my back after 34 years in dental hygiene–and later often (or may) find ourselves single and with limited income. I rely on my husband for health insurance because over the years, dentists stopped providing it for part time employees (never mind that few hire Full Time employees for this very reason) and we find ourselves stuck. Some offer insurance for PT workers, but that’s rare NOW in my experience. I’m too young for Medicare. My mother who is 88 and in Independent Living has little to no spare income after spending everything she has on rent. She worked for many years as well. Thankfully my husband is a great planner and has worked on our retirement for years; still, with a changing administration we are uncertain what that may bring. I do hope you will be OK financially. You have THE BEST attitude: focus on the good and pay attention to that beautiful sunshine. 🙂 ❤

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    • Sunshine? You have Sunshine? I know it’s there somewhere hiding from us. 🙂 I will definitely find that sunshine sometime soon. Along with new possibilities. I will not be able to afford independent living. Divorce was financial suicide but better my bank account than me. I liked how you worded your long term relationship as OVER. I told my last husband I was DONE! I couldn’t take it anymore and my kids couldn’t watch it. Not physical abuse by any stretch of the imagination, just mind games that left me questioning my own sanity. I was married 24 years and we knew each other many years before that.

      This was my second go at marriage. That’s why I called him my last husband. Never again. Like your mother, I worked hard at taking care of others, forgot about taking care of myself until it was way too late. Some women make better choices than I did. Even some of them get blindsided and left wondering what happened. Our policies in this country are sadly lacking to protect the many that need it, children and the elderly. I’m not sure it will get better in time for me and the rest of the boomers but maybe the next generation will get it right. In the meantime, ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING! I will persevere. Thank you for joining the conversation. Miss hearing from you. Enjoy that sunshine. 🙂
      .

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      • Better your bank account than you. YES! And, same here Marlene; it was mental games, mind games, and his wanting to enter into that psychotic behavior which I’d refuse to have any part of. I nearly traveled across this country (back when I was young and stupid) to marry that guy. So glad I saw the light before too long (and the cost of my plane ticket was fully refunded, thank you very much!). I hope you will find ways to find peace financially, but I have a hunch you WILL find that sunshine (at least this week, lol). 🙂 Have a great week. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      • We are looking at 92 on Monday and Tues. 😦 Where is the middle ground? Have a good weekend too.

        Like

  18. Oh my dear friend. LOOK what you have done! Look at all this beautiful community commiseration brought together by your post. Think of all the women (maybe men too) who read this and were so struck by its truth that they couldn’t even post a message. You have done a brave and wonderful thing and I am so proud of you to take that big step right in the middle of your pain.

    I know you cared about your ex-husband, because you have talked of him, your memories, and your relationship often. You spent so many years with him, and grew, and lived, and learned while with him. The tie is undeniable. I am so very sorry about this loss of an important person to you and a big part of your life.

    And the finances. So scary I don’t even know what to say. Though I think I’ll be ok when it comes to that time, it’s the fear of the unexpected that keeps me a little too paranoid about money. I have been saving since I was 24, but it keeps getting dashed away in divorces (I am the one who usually ended up paying because I was the one employed), and the stock market crash, and stupid college tuition, and what have you. Life dashes our plans, and all we can do is keep at it. I think I have enough invested right now to live on for 3 or 4 years, as long as the market doesn’t crash again. Yikes. Thankfully I’ll have a pension from the feds.

    So, while I can’t know what you are going through, I do know the fear. And I wish I could take it away from you and protect you from ever feeling that kind of worry. I send my love and my hugs. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for joining in the conversation, Crystal. You are the first one to make me cry. A big ugly cry and it’s the first since he passed away. I’m not supposed to miss him or at least admit that I still care. It upsets certain people that remember the way I was treated. But you are correct. There were so many good times and so much learning and I did love the family. The money thing scares me but I know it will work itself out. It always does. I should have worked more but it just wasn’t in the cards. Kept getting jobs that worked in flexible with the families needs. Thanks for the love and hugs. Much appreciated. Hugs, M

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, my dear, I think you have used a word I don’t like. “supposed to” and “should” are warning words for me. Ask yourself, “who says?” and question their motives. You feel what you feel, and it is real and good, because YOU are real and good. You are an honest, hardworking, genuine, loving person. And so if you feel sad, then your feelings are valid.

        Cry some more. It is *so* good for you. I love you bunches.
        ~Crystal

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks dear heart. I feel what I feel but find it mostly best to keep it to myself. Hope you have a wonderfilled weekend. Hugs, M

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Marlene, what an extraordinary post from an incredible woman. My heart goes out to you. I read this post earlier today, and have been reading through all the amazing comments as well, trying to find the right words to convey my love and fear, hope and worry, friendship and sisterhood. I’m sorry for all your losses: that of your ex and all that entails. The loss of the family you raised together and the loss of the pension that made the difference in your day to day. We lived hand to mouth for many years after our dad died. My mom had three young girls to raise on her own, all under 14. If we had remained in Canada, we could have kept our house. Mom would have received free health care and support from the government while raising us. Instead, they spent all their savings on Dad’s nine month cancer and death. I remember how frightening it was living in a rough neighborhood without enough money to go around. This country does nothing to support the poor, the sick or the aged. It’s disgraceful. Many divorces cast women into poverty as well. So many men default on child support or spousal support, or as is evidenced above, they simply pilfer bank accounts and make off with the cash. I’ve been reading a fascinating book called The Year of Living Danishly. Denmark is considered the happiest place to live, and it’s clear why. People here balk at paying high taxes, but they take it in stride. Those taxes support pregnant mothers all the way through the retirement years with support for healthcare, childcare, elder care, housing, emotional support, etc. How I wish we could take even a few pages from that system.

    I know you’ll figure this out, but how I wish our culture supported the very women that support everyone else throughout our most productive years. (((Marlene)))

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ll have to read that book. I know your mom struggled too and it’s a shame that our country can’t take a couple of pages out of Canada’s book. My sister is living on less than I am but has been able to make extra cash working here and there for friends. She still drives and has some energy but that will come to a screeching halt all too soon. She has pulmonary fibrosis and is in her 2nd year of the diagnosis. I’m going to have to be here for her as well. But I have great faith that things work out just as they should. I’m being moved to do something and I just need to be open to what that is. There are no accidents. Who knows? Maybe someone will hire me to do office work in the back somewhere. That’s something I can do. 🙂 It’s up to me to work this out but I want to bring attention for all the others that have similar situations. I can’t tell you how many I know. I’ve been frustrated about this since I found out and kept looking for answers without needing someone else to fix this for me. Our companies here keep trying to find ways to eliminate employees by going electronic. Even Walmart and Target are going to more electronic checkouts so no one has a job. I’m not angry, am I? Thanks for your love and fear, hope and worry, friendship and sisterhood. Giant squishy hugs.

      Like

      • I’m sorry to hear that your sister is ill, Marlene. How lucky she is to have you. Buying your home when you did was indeed fortuitous. Rents have become unattainable for many. I know you’ll sort this out. I wish it was easier than it is. I caught that squishy hug, one flying back your way.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m sorry too. She’s younger by 5 years and was supposed to see me through not the other way around. Yes, buying this place was perfectly timed by the Universe to help whoever needed it. Something needs to change in this country and many others. I’m feeling optimistic about possible changes here. 🙂 It will happen.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. PS I really like the purple background.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Marlene, thank you for your deeply honest and moving post. I hope you continue to write blogposts, because you approach life with decency and honesty.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Ièll have to wait to respond. Itès nearly midnight here. But I want you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers, as always, but maybe now even a bit extra. Hang in there, Marlene. Silver linings and rainbows abound; open eyes allow us to see them. Open hearts even more so. Lots of love and hugs to you. \ Linne

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I’m sorry for your loss Marlene. Difficult news one after the other, often wakes us up to the reality we must face.
    It won’t be easy, but I know that you will find a way. You aways have. It has gotten you to where you are today.

    In the highs of life embrace your humanity
    In the lows of life acknowledge your human condition
    Know it will pass
    … and that you are not alone.
    💛

    Liked by 2 people

  24. It is clear from the many, many comments that this is a huge issue and terribly biased against women. Whilst there is always money in the barracks and in military hardware, nations allow their women folk to spend their twilight years in poverty! Appalling for such a developed nation. This is something that happened prior to the 20th century. Women were never financially secure and were forced to re-marry to survive, or end up in the poorhouse! However, women like you Marlene, have incredible strength and I would encourage you to reach out to others and collaborate for change! Your blog post is the first step in helping to create awareness of the problem. I wonder if you could create a social media group online to begin with, and if the group grew, become a lobby group for change. Your office and advocacy skills would become an advantage. But of course, you must do what the universe tells you and what is right for you! What a brave woman you are to have the strength and determination to discuss this topic at such a difficult time for you. Financial insecurity is very scary and finding a job in a flat labour market difficult no matter one’s age. It sounds like the despair is merely another challenge that you will overcome! Hugs from Australia!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for joining what has turned out to be a surprising conversation, Amanda. We have an administration right now that doesn’t care two whits about anything but lining their own pockets. The socioeconomic climate is even worse. They are eliminating jobs left and right in favor of automating to cut overhead to boost profits. People no longer count and old women are at the bottom of the pile. I’m staying away from despair in favor of optimism. Optimism will generate more energy than despair. I have come through harder times than this and trust that a plan will come forward. I am obviously not alone in this and your ideas are good. I will see what I can do with this. I don’t think I’ve ever had a reaction to a post like this one! I’m certain this needs to be addressed further. The world is full of unkindness and unfairness but there is also it’s opposite. I’m seeing that part more and more.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You sound like a positive person who is extremely capable of changing your world for the better. It is free and relatively easy to set up a facebook or other “group” that gains immense exposure and can put you in touch with others and other agencies advocating for or wanting social welfare change. Groups like this are also a great source of emotional support for yourself and tips on how to overcome challenges or make the dollar stretch further. Together, women are strong! Good luck!

        Liked by 4 people

      • Thank you so much for all that information! I may be getting back to you for further assistance on this. Everything is easier if we stick together.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Absolutely, Marlene. I have a few groups on facebook/ social media I administer, so I will be glad to be of help to you in this respect. Just ask!

        Liked by 3 people

  25. Oh Marlene, I came hunting for you tonight because I just needed a visit with you, and found your sad news and struggles here. I am so sorry to read that things are difficult right now. Do you still live at the same address I have for you? I want to send you a card but I’m always afraid my address book is outdated. But from the comments it sounds as if you are living in the same place. I wish we could beam each other up like on Star Trek and just have a cuppa together. I have always said we were twins separated at birth so now it feels uncanny that we are both (in very different ways but ultimately not so different) facing a time that has us falling back on those much-depleted inner resources that we have relied on for so long. That closing quote (in purple font) really resonated with me. Hang in there, I still need your amazing example to light my way!!! Sending you giant despair-defying hugs!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • So good to see you again, Julia. I am in the same place as the last 3 years. Too much stuff to move. 🙂 I have great faith that this is just a lesson for me and I’m trying to be a good student. Do not allow despair to set in for more than a moment. It would be lovely to beam up and share a cuppa. 🙂 That would deal nicely with my inability to drive any distance. 🙂 I had been thinking of you too and knew you had a lot going on with all your recent visitors. That had to be spirit lifting. Yes, it’s the inner resources that sustain us. I’m grateful for them. A hard beginning helped me develop mine to be razor sharp. You are the first to comment on the quote. I loved it too! Appreciating the despair-defying hugs. That helps more than you know. Right back at you my sweet friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m posting you a card today! Hopefully it won’t get eaten up by the postal delays that have been affecting me and my neighbors. We just got a new mail carrier 🙂 so maybe things will improve. I lifted some quotes from your comments here that I might blog sometime but I will let you know before I do.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, Julia. You make me smile at thought of you “lifting quotes.”

        Like

  26. Hi Marlene,
    I didn’t see an email contact for you, so I hope you don’t mind me posting here. If you are the “Marlene” who left the sweet review on Amazon, thank you so much! That was so kind of you. Talk to you soon! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Marlene, I am sorry to read of your late husband. Death is difficult for everyone. You are THE most positive person. You have made an impact on my life, for sure. When I have had a bad day, a ‘Marlene comment” makes the sun shine again. I have no pearls of wisdom, just words of thanks and gratitude for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Oh hon, I’m sorry to hear you’ve lost someone so dear to you. It’s true, marriages end but when you’ve shared life and love with someone, feelings don’t go away.
    Needless to say, your financial situation worries me and finding a job…omgosh Marlene, will that not be bad for your health?
    How’s your sewing going? Are you able to do that without ruining your health. I’ve been in a situation of finding a good seamstress here, it’s not easy. What if you could earn money sewing? Would you, could you, take on projects?
    What about a room mate situation? Someone who’s also in your situation. You’d have to be very particular. But you’d both be able to share the burdens of utilities and grocery etc.
    Is there any senior homes near by that might be hiring dining room helpers? My bosses daughter got a job doing this and she really enjoys it.
    Of course, I’m just wildly throwing out ideas here. Maybe you’ve already considered these things. Oh crap, Marlene, I hate that you and so many beautiful mature woman have to worry about these things. What’s wrong with some communities? I loved a story you shared here once. Something you’d written yourself. You’re really a talented writer Marlene! Is that a possibility? Do you have anything you could submit to a publisher?
    You’re home is a real gem and you look after it so so well. Would you enjoy light housekeeper for others? I’ve hired my bosses son to just water and care for my plants while we’re away. It’s a big investment every summer to buy all the plants and it has to be done. Big garden companies charge too much. There was absolutely no investment in equipment on his side. Are there enough people who’d need this near by or could you team up with another senior who still drives. I think that’d be a well received business. You’d be reliable, dependable, knowledgable and trustworthy. Seasonal employment might be nice.
    One thing I’ve noticed here, a number of older gals cashier at the grocery store. Is there one near you? How can I help you? Please email me if I can in any way. I’m serious about the sewing. I bought material in London for a project and never have time. xox big hugs K

    Liked by 3 people

    • You tickle me with your worry, dear heart. You are more concerned than I am. It’s just a fact of life that I will cut back on the fun, find ways to pick up a bit here and there and trust in the Universe to provide ways for me to make ends meet. Party time is over for awhile. I’ve looked at everything you suggested already. Most of my neighbors here are in somewhat the same condition. You don’t usually buy a manufactured home in a park if you are well off. My guest room will remain that until the time comes for my sister to need hospice care which I will provide. I’m hoping that will be a way down the road. I’m not a fast enough or accurate enough sewer to make money at it. Going to keep making placemats and bowl cozies and see if they sell. I’m selling off my Dept 56 village if I get any takers. There are many things I can’t do because of the balance but I’m strong and capable. I trust that the right thing will come at the right time. My point was that there are so many of us ill prepared for this age and often, like me, through late of foresight and due diligence. I will get my financial balance quickly but the whole thing stunned me for a moment. Divorcing at 62 was not the wisest financial decision but the best one for all concerned in other ways. Please do not worry!!! I bounce like a rubber ball. Kind of look like one too. 🙂 The diet will be easier to maintain now as well. 🙂 Like I said, there is always a silver lining in everything. In a weeks time I will probably have it all figured out. The kid is coming back in a couple of weeks to get the rest of his stuff out of my driveway and do a few chores for me. Trust with me that all will work out perfectly. Giant squishy hugs, M

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ok, I feel a little more at ease. I will trust that you know enough about silver linings to be a little less frantic. It’s what I do, worry about everyone I hold dear. That be you xo K

        Liked by 3 people

      • Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair and expecting to arrive in Texas from there. I gave it up. You can only get to Texas by getting in the car or on a plane. 🙂 I’m being challenged! Time to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve become complacent and now it’s time to shake things loose. 🙂 I so appreciate your concern. It does make me feel loved. I wish I was the only one who was trying to figure out which end is up in the world but I think not. Already sold a set of placemats and a bowl cozy today so it’s time to make more. :)) Giant squishy hugs, M

        Liked by 2 people

  29. Marlene, I’ve read through your post, of course, and many of the comments, too, and am inspired by many things:
    * that you shared your story so openly
    * that you revealed frustration with the system while acknowledging that you should have been more careful. (Me? I’m willing to blame our system and how we care for those who worked hard and are not retired, and of course our healthcare system – ugh!)
    * and that so many have come here to share the burden through their words, thoughts, and love.
    I’m not sure that I have any better words of wisdom and support than all the previous friends, but know that my thoughts are with you. I admire you, Marlene.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. Life is an adventure and a learning process. I’m not sure there is a system that can work well but if there is, I hope they find it soon. I was extremely reluctant to post this after writing it but felt compelled. It seems to have touched a nerve and many hearts. I know of many women who are in worse condition than I am physically and financially. We need to find a way to help them have full lives. You are the kind of person that wants to make it happen. I admire that in you. Have a wonderfilled week. Hugs, M

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Marlene, I was just thinking of you, so thought I’d leave a note here. Like you, I have much love for my sons’ father and step-father, although I have been on my own for nearly 30 years. Love doesn’t vanish; sometimes it just takes on different forms.

    Like you, I am facing some challenges, in part due to a lack of planning for this time; in part because I made many choices based on how I see myself and my purpose here in the earth, as well as choices resulting from being an oldest child and oldest daughter by some years, raised in a world that seems to have vanished somehow. And”Way will open” and we will be led to the solutions we need at the right time.

    In my opinion, we are now seeing the result of rampant Mammonism, where the worship of the almighty dollar has overshadowed the values that brought humanity so much. We seem to have forgotten our skills, our need for love and affection, our need for creativity in our lives. our need for community, sharing, helping and so much more.

    I like the idea of you starting a facebook group and would be happy to join if you do so. AS so many of the commenters above,I have found support and inspiration in your posts and comments on others’ posts. I am reminded by you of the old story of the twins who, searching for their birthday present, open a shed door only to find a HUGE pile of compost material (shall we say?) The pessimistic one says, “This is a pile of S**T!”. The optimistic one says, “I know there’s a pony in here somewhere!”

    You are ever the optimist . . . Maybe we can all help you look for the pony . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • The pony is already here, I just have my eye on the pile of compost and wondering where I can shovel it too. The compost is a blessing in itself. 🙂 Yes, I am the eternal optimist. Great faith that the way will be provided. It always has been.

      Liked by 2 people

  31. Hi Marlene,
    I’m so sorry for your loss and will pray that God is with you during this difficult time. I think that it’s great that you showed such transparency in what you wrote. Hopefully, it will make others think long and hard about retirement savings and that kind of issues before it gets to be an issue. I know, it certainly caused me to think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and your kind words. I had it all planned out and all would have been quite well until I decided my health and mental health were more important than financial security. I have great faith that this is just a new door opening. Most of the women my age that have found themselves in difficult challenges have given their lives to the care of others rather than putting themselves first. I wish I was the only one but that’s not the case. I certainly hope you never find yourself there.

      Like

      • I hope I don’t find myself there, either. I waited a long time before getting married, and I try to teach our daughter the same. That way, we’ll know how to take care of ourselves if we face the loss of a spouse.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Dearest Marlene.. So sad to here of your loss.. It comes with a double blow to hit your finances too.. Sad about families isn’t it.. I still have two of my sisters who do not speak after my Mum stopped her contact with with.. Her death came after 10 years of no contact apart from a brief one in which the Universe thought to bring us together.. I spoke she ran..
    So it is..
    I know you are a very optimistic lady who also believes in many things as I do, So I know as you send out your thoughts to the Universe for a solution.. One I know will present itself..

    One idea is to make smaller items that are quick an easy to produce to sell.. for a temporary solution.. or a fill in to help boost your income..

    My thoughts and love are with you my friend.. And So many people here in the comments are sending you that strength too..

    Love and Blessings
    Sue ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Sue! When you leave someone because the relationship no longer creates a peaceful coexistence, It doesn’t mean you stop loving them. There was a lot of good in that relationship and I choose to focus on that. I am looking into what I can make quickly and sell. That will be my first area of attention as well as what I have here that has outlived it’s usefulness in my home and pass it on. I have great faith that the answer will present itself. Several good ideas to help others in need as a stopgap has already been presented and I’m giving that some attention as well. We are all in this together. I have started focusing even more on my daily gratitude for what I do have and what I can do. I may not be employable, but I can work here and that’s what I’ll do. 🙂 This blogging community has been a HUGE support. Love and hugs right back to you for yours. M

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Marlene- So sorry to here of your loss. I am a little behind on my reading and finally catching up. Reading your post certainly makes me think. I have lost 2 husbands and financially I have had to start over twice. I still have a daughter I would like to educate or at least help as much as possible. I work now and am pretty sure that I will not be able to retire. I feel for you. I am 53 and as I get older, I wonder how long I will be able to hold they type of job I have and earn the same money. Not sure how long it will last. I am hopeful for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Lori. I’m always behind in my reading too. Just too many to keep up with. Yes, I’ve started over twice too. Not a good thing. I was 61 the last time and unable to work or drive. My family (kids and sister) were helping me as I was quite ill when I walked away. I see so many of us just barely getting by as we age. I’m doing better than so many so I’m looking at solutions, not just for me but for others as well. We are all in this together. As I lift myself, I try to pull others up with me. I’m hopeful for you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Oh Marlene, what a horrible position to find yourself in – my heart goes out to you. I think all of us are in denial of something-or-other, and I can fully appreciate your dilemma. My direct family in Europe simply cannot imagine or appreciate what it’s like to live without a “safety net” for income and health care. It’s a huge worry. (Although I suppose it does encourage self-reliance). I don’t see my hubby or myself ever retiring (even though he’d love to!), it’s just not possible for as long as we are able to work. You are indeed strong and capable and those traits will see you through this very tough time. I’m wishing for everything good to come your way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Clare. To not be able to retire must be quite stressful unless you make your living doing what you love so much you would do it for free. I may not have income producing work, but somehow have some work to do everyday. All my basic needs are met with my social security. It’s just those other things that will be the challenge. I’m always up for a challenge. I’m wishing you the best as well. We are all in this together.

      Like

  35. I’m so very sorry for your loss and the situation you find yourself in now, Marlene. Why does trouble always come in pairs? I’ve lived through something similar when my father left our family and we had to rely on public generosity at the age of 16. It wasn’t a nice experience especially since all of my schoolfriends came from wealthy families. I was instantly cast out. But it taught me a lesson, when it comes to money people show often their true face. All the best to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your understanding. Yes, money does change the hearts of many. It has been very hard in so many ways. Though we found we could no longer stay together, we worked hard to stay friends. His children didn’t seem to appreciate that but I have always and will always care deeply for this man and cherish all that was good between us. I have not had the experience you have had but spent most of my life without my father as the military kept him away from us most of the time. But we were not unique in that. I am quite accustomed to doing without many things so that will not be the problem here. I see this as a new challenge and a new direction. It will be an interesting journey. I do appreciate you stopping by and sharing in this conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

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