Comfort Ye

Author Patience Griffin’s “Gandigow Star” quilt

The comments inspired by last week’s post made me sad!

We’ve given up baking, quilting, scuba diving, swimming, gardening, needlework, and who knows what else, all interesting activities in their own rights, and also ways to positively connect with other people. To part with these personal joys hurts, and isolates us from those who shared those pleasures with us.

When I sit on a horse, I am not merely somebody who enjoys riding, I am a rider. It’s an identity and an activity, and that’s what struck me about the losses described in last week’s comments. We part with the identity–scuba diver, swimmer, gardener, quilter–as well as the activity itself, and there’s no memorial service for that cherished part of us that has quietly slipped away.

Perhaps these gloomy thoughts inspired me to realize that becoming a grandmother is also, for me, a loss. As a single mom with one daughter, I was pretty focused on my only child for a big chunk of my adulthood. Since she left home almost twenty years ago, I have remained in her life, a support and a comfort, I hope, even as her adult partners have come and gone. (Some could have gone a lot sooner, if you ask me.)

Now that she is a mom, I’m bumped down the list of significant people in her life. If she had to vote either me or the baby off the island, I’d be packing my bags. There’s a new kid in town, and he displaces me to some extent, and that’s exactly how it should be.

Rationally, I know motherhood gives me and my daughter something significant in common. I grasp that love doesn’t operate like search engine optimization protocols that rank every hit, and only show the first few. You can love your offspring madly, and have plenty of time and attention to give others in your life, at least some of the time.

But still. A loss.

So this seemed like a good time to say to my bloggin’ buddies, be you a lurker, a regular, or in between, that I am grateful to have this place to share the occasional thought with you. We might have to give up some roles as life moves us on, or shift the way we inhabit those roles, but the fundamental joy of connection remains available to us. I appreciate the livin’ peedywhaddles out of your willingness to connect with me here, whether you stopped by today for the first time, left a few casual observations, wrote from the heart, or caught a few of my earliest posts more than ten years ago.

Someday I will have to hang up my spurs, and that will make me sad too, but to know I’m not the only person aging out of a beloved hobby, not the only woman who will miss flower gardening on her knees, is a very great comfort.

Thank you for that, and for all the thoughtful, kind, funny, and inspiring comments you’ve left over the years. I’ve read every one of them, but I’ve never taken the time to say thank you, so I’m saying it now.

Who or what comforts you when life gets to be daunting?




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17 comments on “Comfort Ye

  1. I think my go-to when things are too daunting is actively ignoring whatever it is if I can (after stewing for a bit). I’m fortunate that I haven’t had too many daunting things/times but I tend to do my “this, too, shall pass” or “in 100 years, it won’t matter.” Of course, if there’s something I can actually do, I will but, if not, then I try to put it behind me. I wonder if being an Air Force brat growing up and always starting over has anything to do with this behavior… Another coping mechanism is to recognize a time limit and tell myself I can put up with whatever for that long. I have always been grateful that when I attended Michigan State University, it was on quarters so even the classes I didn’t care for only lasted 10 weeks, and I could do that, couldn’t I? Same approach today to my dreaded exercises. I pretend they still take only 10 minutes (though I have added additional ones on and it takes longer now) and I can manage to get through that. Self-delusion is strong in me it seems!

    As I’ve said before, I look forward to reading your thoughts each week (almost as much as I look forward to your thoughtful books) even if I don’t always respond. Thank you for what I know is at least a bit of work for you.

  2. Dear Grace
    My past year has been full of losses. Best friend, much loved music teacher, and others.
    Aging is not for the faint of heart.
    What comforts me is reading….your books always help, new and old. I can disappear into a book for hours and nothing else matters.

  3. First all..congratulations on riding!!
    I know that horses give you joy & I am happy for you.
    Sorry that I missed last weeks post.

    I am getting ready to show Gregory my veteran corgi at our Specialty in June. I went for a walk yesterday first big walk since the cancer diagnosis. I need to be able to get around the ring easily so walking is a start. Handling class is part of Aprils plan. Getting Greg out to walk starts this week during my lunch. And remembering where I put his show collar and leash…it’s been 2 years!!

    My surgery has been postponed until August. I was not amused last Monday when I got the news. I was so disappointed.
    I am in the process of re working medical and work issues which overwhelm me. It took me 2 days to find the silver lining.
    I decided to take the medical, FMLA etc one step at at time. Work is busy so I can concentrate there. And I found my old , much loved and read copy of Nicholas…I started my re read this morning.

  4. I really enjoy your books, thoughtful, as Karen said. Maybe because I like to work out problems, & being socially challenged, the plots raise my awareness of situations beyond my ken. My younger mode (probably with blinders on) was to charge forward & fix things, which doesn’t work well when I don’t understand the problem.
    As for comfort,(I have had horses for a good part of my life, and no longer do), routine is my baseline. My piece of dark chocolate with a cup of coffee , then a walk with my Airedale dog first thing in the morning to enjoy the clouds, wildflowers in the bar ditch, & the occasional sunrise. Wind to thy back, take care all.

  5. My mom has just aged out of her beloved gardening, and that has been terribly hard on her. We just moved her to Independent Living, and she is getting a ton more social interactions now, though, which I hope will be really good for her mental health. So maybe it will be a positive move overall? But its hard to watch her have to give up something that has defined her for DECADES.

    And I appreciate you greatly, Grace! Thank you for your book writing, and for your blog and the chance to interact with you and with others.

    • My aunt, a dementia patient, wreaked havoc in the care home’s nursery. They finally gave her a small plot (box) to look after (wheel chair compliant) The aide assigned to the nursery and landscape benefited from what she knew, too. She didn’t always recognize her kids, but usually did the plants until near the end.

  6. Texting someone a nice message. Sometimes one is too depressed to tell anyone, but I know so well that lots of others feel terribly yucky sometimes or frequently. My physical situation prevents me from lacing up my walking shoes and strolling out in Mother Nature, so I stroll out in hyperspace. You work with what you’ve got, right?! Or I turn to the inimitable Grace Burrowes when nothing else will do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! ❤

  7. Pingback: Lord Julian and Lemonade | Grace Burrowes | I believe in love.

  8. When things in my life get too intense, I’m a great “venter.” Fortunately my husband has learned, after almost 46 years, to just let me get whatever it is off my chest and not to suggest solutions unless and until I’ve released all the steam I’ve got in me. I can be quick to anger but just as quick to come back down, once I’ve let it all out. My other comfort comes in the form of 60% to 70% cacao. After a particularly frustrating experience, I sometimes lose myself in a few pieces of candy. It always makes me feel better! Stay safe. Stay well everyone!

  9. My favourite go-to is always reading. I lose myself in the (real-to-me) world of books 3 or 4 hours a day plus audio listening time. This results in jobs on my to-do list rarely being crossed off, which somehow, I’m very much okay with.

    Thanks to Susan G, I pulled out my copy of Nicholas to refresh my memory. I will do a quick perusal today and then reluctantly put it down to get to my book club title, The Nightingale, which needs to be read by tomorrow evening’s meeting.

    Always grateful for your thoughtful words, Grace.

  10. I am certainly far from the first to say it, Grace; but a good book beats all for me! And although I have quite a few “favorite” authors, you have been coming out on top in the comfort department for the last several years. You certainly helped me get through the pandemic! Escaping to another world entirely is something I find immensely comforting. A specific other world created by writers like you. My days of enjoying thrillers and crime procedurals seem to be over without regret on my part. Your fictional worlds have sufficient drama for me especially given what is happening in the real world.
    I can no longer do many things I loved due to aging joints, but eyes and ears are holding out thank goodness. As are dear friends who all meet together frequently.
    And there is always chocolate…

  11. My comfort? My husband of over 50 years. It wasn’t always that way, indeed I planned and plotted my escape from an unhappy marriage. A very dedicated physician, I referred to his practice as his mistress, always first. A selfish approach on both our sides, I was left raising 5 children, managing a busy medical practice and a home. He worked 7 days a week, responding at all hours, not the life we had planned. Over 20 years ago we went to a psychologist. She was wonderful, pointing out both of our flaws, helping us to grow more aware of our behavior. It worked, for a while, but several years later I returned, alone, overwhelmed and frustrated, with a plan to leave once our youngest graduated from high school. She asked me a question that changed ME, my perspective: “ and what about your vows?” Oh, my! What a shock that was! We determined to try harder, and we did. It wasn’t quick, or easy, and did at times get ugly. Now, in retirement, we have found a love and contentment that I never imagined. I feel as if we walked through the fire and survived.
    Thank you for asking.

  12. Life’s presentation of more time on our hands, loved children leaving the “second” nest, and often pain in many parts of a used-to-be active body can daunt life. However, I have found trying a new hobby/activity often brings a new kind of enthusaim. These past few years, I have taken time to use “you tube” to learned to paint, and purchasing a few puzzels has added another a new experiece that creates hope on dreary days and streghtens those neuions to make getting up each morning a grand way to bring back the sparkle, excitement and light of living!

  13. I try very hard to think about what I get to do next… I can’t kneel at all- no more digging in bulbs-so now I get to create container gardens. We moved and there isn’t enough sun (in Colorado!) to grow tomatoes; I get to find the best of the local Farmers Markets. My kids live all around the world; I get to revel in their successes, eat what I want rather than pb&j, and travel to places I never even thought of. Injuring myself while skiing is way too big a risk – and I get to enjoy the fire and a good book and some quiet. It doesn’t always work, but surprisingly practice helps with this just like it does with fixing that danged toilet-again.

  14. I’ve been reading your blogs for about 6 months. I think I’ve read every bit of fiction you or amazon have.

    I’m 82 so a bit further down the aging road. For me it’s a constant fight to maintain the physical function (mobility and energy) that i need to continue to live as I choose. I find I’m still interested in needlework but just don’t ever do any. I maintain a pretty active schedule and try to exercise some and that’s all I’ve got.

    Iam glad you’ve found a way to ride. I’m glad you’ve a grandchild. I think grandchildren bring so much more joy and purpose than I ever imagined.
    I think the joy of grandchildren helps perpetuate the species. When they are little they give you unconditional love and acceptance. Bask for as long as it lasts.

    I find exercising my professional skills as a volunteer brings pleasure.

    I guess this long answer is my way of saying I enjoy your blog and dedications and your blog has become a must check.

    I wish I lived in your state I’d be trying to defeat those officials who dun you wrong! Still I’m delighted with your books. I hope living well is your best revenge. May you be wildly successful.

    Best. Susan

  15. Raised gardens, I mean on legs. Give me back my happy garden. I’m actually thrilled not to be down down on my knees, mainly because getting up is really hard. My garden is high enough that I don’t have to bend over. I’ve figured out how to use physics to get bags of dirt into and out of my car. I slide them into the wheel barrel and tip the barrel over where I want them. I then slice open the bag and take moderate shovels full
    Out at a time. Takes longer but I can still garden.
    P.S. have a younger put the bags in the car. Their back still work