Those four words kept gnawing at me, but I refused to
listen. “I don’t have time right now!” was always my rebuttal.
You better slow down.
I heard it over and over but I just kept going. I had to, I told myself. Things needed to be done. Arrangements needed to be made. People needed to be taken care of. Boxes weren’t going to pack themselves.
There was no time to slow down.
So I kept going and going and going until I found myself laying on a gurney with needles in my arms, sick to my stomach from drinking the chemical chalky shake they said I needed. “Take a deep breath in and hold it,” the computer voice told me as the gurney moved my body into the machine that would take photos of my insides to help determine what was going on with my (lack of) health.
The day after our wedding we left our hotel in San Francisco to go explore the city. It was a beautiful spring day, and we were excited to spend the day together as husband and wife.
Our wedding was everything we hoped it to be, and we were still on a love-high we wanted to bask in for as long as possible.
My phone rang as we stepped out onto the sidewalk and I answered immediately. My son and daughter-in-law were due to have daughter number two any day, and we were happily assigned to take care of daughter number one while they were at the hospital.
The weeks after my accident were, in a strange way, some of the best in my life. I know that sounds odd, but you need to remember my past experiences of being taken care of were not such stellar memories.
I’ve never had anyone dote on me like John did during those weeks of recovery. He wrote down all medications and times I’d taken what and made sure I was taking a probiotic to offset the antibiotic prescribed by my doctor.
He drove me to doctor visits and physical therapy and he even helped me with my hair. I could hardly go to the bathroom without him wanting to assist me. I felt completely spoiled and cared for by the man I loved, and it was the first time in my life I’d experienced that.
I was deeply honored to be featured on Catherine GraceO’s Forever Fierce podcast. She is a wonderful host that put me at ease and coaxed my story and thoughts out effortlessly.
Here’s what she had to say about the show:
“Loretta’s story will inspire you to look at vulnerability in a whole new way. Join Catherine and Loretta’s Count Down to 60 in a powerful and intimate conversation that will shift the way you think about the process of aging. On todays show you will learn:
▪️How to use the power of vulnerability to change your life.
▪️Why what you are most afraid to reveal is where your power lies.
▪️How vulnerability impacts every relationship in your life.
A few days after breaking up with John he called to see how I was doing. I think he was surprised to hear I was fine. I was sad our romantic relationship had ended, but we had grown a strong friendship over the past year that neither of us could easily give up.
I told John I had some things of his and asked if he’d like to meet for coffee.
Starbucks seemed an appropriate place to meet up since that was where the seeds of our friendship had first sprouted. It would be good to see him and to return his personal things.
The summer of 2012 was filled with so many highs and lows I honestly don’t even like recalling it, and the ratio of highs to lows was unbalanced in the wrong direction. John and I not only had to deal with the snail’s pace of the legal system, but also the uncertainty of love.
John had told me he loved me one night back in April, but
after the accident failed to remember he’d said it or that he even felt it. He
spent the entire summer wondering if he’d let ‘the right one’ get away.
That morning John said goodbye and headed home to take care of some business. He wanted to make reservations at his favorite place in Pismo Beach for my upcoming birthday, and said he had a few other things to attend to.
We were so happy.
The night before, John told me he loved me just seconds before drifting off to sleep. We didn’t speak of it the next morning, but there was joy surrounding us we could both feel.
Yes, I know, you hear so many of us touting that it’s wonderful and amazing and enlightening and empowering but in all honesty, I’d take my 20 something year old body, over my 58-year-old body any day.
The other day, I plucked a black hair off my chin that was at least an inch long! First, how did that happen? And secondly, how did I not see it until it was an inch long? I think the biggest reason our near-sightedness gets worse as we age, is so we don’t see that sort of thing on our partner’s face.
On March 21, 2012 John asked me to be his “girlfriend”. I had no idea what that even meant to him.
I’ve used the term “girlfriend” casually and never thought of what it meant to anyone else. To John it was a big deal. It was a step towards “forever” and his experience with forever wasn’t a good one.
I’d met John eight months earlier, and I can say that the best thing that ever happened to us…for us… was the fact that we became friends first. Once the pressure of the possibility of a romantic relationship was taken off the table, we both relaxed and stopped acting like peacocks looking for a mate.
There was no need to try to impress the other in hopes of “pick me”. Continue reading
I wanted to tell him to shut his ugly mouth, but instead an uncomfortable laugh came out. It’s what we do, you know, when a man much bigger and stronger has you trapped in his car while telling you just what he wants to do to you.
The entire drive back from San Francisco to my house in Napa, I kept up a nervous banter with the drunken guy driving me home. The second he pulled into my driveway, I flung my car door open and ran out.
I was shaking when I locked the door behind me and watched him drive away.
After John’s flat-out, in my face, “NO, I don’t ever see us in a relationship” statement, I was a bit numb. I had to come to grips with the fact that not only did I had a bad picker, but my instincts were off.
You know what having a bad picker means right?
Yep, that was me, the president of the “can’t pick the right guy club”. And my instincts couldn’t have been more skewed if I was looking at the world upside down.
I want to share more of my story, and know most everyone who is close to me already knows all of this. But I also know there are way more people who don’t.
So I’m going to continue sharing.
I left off in January of 2012, with John deciding he still wanted to date around, and me wondering what the hell just happened.
Over the next month our relationship became more and more strained. I knew John was dating other women and I had no idea if he would ever let go of that pattern of casual dating and see what we had.
He was messaging me daily and we still did a lot of things together. But it wasn’t the same.
We planned to meet up for coffee on Valentine’s Day, but the day before while chatting on the phone I asked a question that was on my mind most days.
I asked, “Do you see us getting into a relationship?” He simply said, “No”. So then I asked, “Do you EVER see us getting into a relationship?” His response sank me. “No, Loretta, I don’t ever see us getting into a relationship.” Continue reading
When I signed up to help coordinate the FierceCon event, I had no idea exactly what I had gotten myself into. Or how all consuming it would be in the end.
But I’m so glad I did.
When Catherine Grace O’Connell approached me with her plan for a weekend dedicated to bringing women together, I was intrigued. I’ve enjoyed meeting many of my online friends, and definitely wanted to get the chance to meet more.
But I also knew I’d be volunteering a lot of time and energy.
I wanted to write about my experience there, but when Linda Williams shared her experience with the group, I was moved beyond measure. I believe her words speak the truths of many of us there. Continue reading
We learn how to be women from our moms, or at least a mother figure.
So we watch them closely and subconsciously put each act or word into columns of either, “This is good advice to live by and pass on,” or “No way do I believe this and I am so not going to do this to my kids.”
There are probably a lot of other columns too, but those two stand out the most for me.
I learned how to be a woman by watching my mom. Which is probably why I’m not a girly girl. She didn’t wear makeup or dress in pretty clothes. And she lived in “practical shoes” and flip-flops.
I think she made most of her dresses. You’ll recall I said she only wore dresses, even as a farm-woman, right? I have to wonder if her mom wore dresses too. But I can’t recall much about my grandmother.
My mom learned how to be a woman from her mother too. It’s passed down from one generation to the next with varying degrees of changes for each of us. Continue reading