A lot is going on over here on the French Riviera. Each day is filled with at least one crisis, often more. And, it is always exciting to go to the mailbox to see what has arrived in this day’s mail. Usually, it is another bill or problem or requirement or whatever. The list goes on. As a result, my original intentions of moving to France, travelling with my husband, dining in delicious cafes and restaurants, reading, writing, practicing the piano, taking photographs, learning to paint with oils – has all gone out the window. Steve died. As a result, I write. I read a little. I take photographs from time to time and practice my scales on the piano. Don’t “dine” – it is expensive and no fun to do alone. Don’t travel – it is no fun to do alone – well, sorta. And, learning to paint with oils – well, that sounds expensive. I would need supplies, wouldn’t I?
Instead, my days are filled with trying to reach someone on the telephone at the Social Security office in Paris, sending required documents to the U.S. Embassy in Marseille. Dealing with l ’Assurance Maladies, AXA Insurance Company, dealing with Hopital Les Sources, Hopital Pasteur, and Hopital l’Archet. Trying to find out who gives flu shots. Making doctor and dentist appointments for me. Buying less groceries – groceries are heavy. And, at my local supermarket, Monoprix, I must package my own, schlepp them (without a cart) to the car (after I find a parking space in the carpark), schlepp them into the building, get them into the elevator, up to the condo – all things Steve used to help me do. I am good at putting them away. 🙂
Then, I started looking for good things happening- small things that were working. Small things that mattered.
At that point, I got sick – caught a bug going around, possibly a virus of some kind. I looked up “Viral Infection” in Louisa Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life”, and it says, “a viral infection signifies ‘lack of joy flowing through life. Bitterness'”. HELL, YES! Duh. This is not fun. It goes on to say that I should say the affirmation, “I lovingly allow joy to flow freely in my life. I love me.” Yeah … well… maybe, as soon as I find out how to get rid of these money-eating time shares, pay the insurance company, see a dermatologist, put the groceries away, meet with Hopital Admissions at three hospitals, deal with my landlord, …. Then, to my surprise, I discovered – this building has turned on the heat!! In the middle of the night, I felt heat – actually, heat – coming through the radiators. Great news!! This condo building, like many buildings in France (so I have been told), has its heating system in the cellar somewhere. I cannot control it from my unit. And, in the summer, someone turns off the heat. It is turned back on in October. So, if it gets cold before then, tough luck. Last year, when Steve and I first came from Encino (100 + in the shade), we were sleeping in down jackets. This year I was better prepared for the cold nights – Andrea and Slav let me use their portable heater – a favor that mattered.
Small things matter.
When I thought about it, I realized: Monoprix delivers groceries (70 euros minimum + nominal delivery charge) – I am still learning how to order – just received too many zucchini, apples, and carrots (enough for a cafeteria), and L ’Atelier de Julien delivers Vegetarienne pizza AND Vin Rouge (for a fee) and they know who I am. I see trees out my bedroom window. I have my warm bathrobe my sister Patricia gave me for my birthday one year. My piano is holding its tune – with all it has been through. I can close my windows (with the weather getting cold) and practice my scales. I know two – count them – two young women at Pharmacie de Cimiez who speak English, know me, and explain things to me. Lignes d’Azur No. 17 bus stops in the Monastery parking lot during the week – good for me in case it is raining. Riviera Radio (FM 106.5) in Monaco (News, Music, Talk Shows in English) wakes me up in the morning on my Bose Radio that Steve and I bought in LA. Church bells toll from time to time in the Monastery – don’t know why they are tolling, but I don’t care – sounds comforting to me. Mama Loudermilk’s water color that she painted when she was an Art Teacher at Brenau College is hanging by my bed. Some of Steve’s clothes fit me – Nautica sweat pants, skinny jeans, sweat shirts, T’s, denim train shirt and white dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up. He loved it when I would wear his clothes. And more.
Small things matter. Good things are happening.
This post is about small things mattering. Good things happen while we are focused elsewhere. It is not about the filler pictures at the end or windows to truths or God or faith. Just an observation by me at a unique time in my life. Life is fragile. It is important to live each day fully. Steve and I both thought he would get well and be home soon. Not to be. So, the gofundme.com campaign continues. If you have contributed, or cannot contribute, or don’t want to contribute, please share the campaign post. That helps a lot. And, to those who have objections to a personal campaign like this, I understand. I used to have them myself – before the need arose. Thank you very much to all who have helped and are helping. It means the world to me – especially at this time. Jay