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December an emotional month for many

The month of December can be an emotional time for people of all ages, particularly for those over 50. Sometimes the emotions are sad; sometimes happy. With a new year coming, people reflect more than usual about what’s in store for them in the months ahead.

This December, I think of our Champ Melinda Bachman—I mentioned her a month ago—whose husband Dale passed away unexpectedly in January, and her Santa Rosa, California, home--they bought together in 2016--burned in the California wildfires in October. What a bundle of sad emotions this month is for her.

Melinda Bachman in front of her burned home

Melinda Bachman in front of her Santa Rosa, California, home ruins - October, 2017 But if you visit Melinda’s Facebook page, you’ll see she puts a positive spin on life:

(See end of column for a link to her gofundme page)

And I think of Champ Sue, my high school classmate, who this year happily married Phil, another Jackson High School classmate friend of mine, in a storybook scenario, only to have him pass away four-months later. And yet, in speaking with her this week, she has an upbeat attitude and outlook on life.

And there are others who have recently lost their mates, and now the most recent fires in Southern California have taken their toll for thousands. You can imagine they all are having an emotionally difficult December.

Also, relationships can get challenged in December. Perhaps because a new year is looming, people who are unhappy in relationships decide it’s time for a change, or it’s time to move on, hoping to start in a new direction, on their own. Often, the partner, spouse, or significant other has no clue these ideas are brewing within their mate’s head.

I speak from experience. On Christmas Eve., 1993, while I was in Santa Rosa in Northern California, visiting my 83-year-old mom, I did not know that my wife of six years was cleaning out our house, taking what furniture and belongings she wanted, and moving out of my life. What a shock. That was an emotional sad December for me.

Now, this December, 24 years later, I am very grateful that what happened to me led to a writing career and to a wonderful life with my partner Greta.

A similar experience happened to one of our Champs, who I consider a dear friend, although we’ve never met in person. She contacted me in 2007 when her husband had left her. Her December that year was an emotional downer as I recall.

We’ve kept in touch, on and off, since. She wrote me this week to order a couple of books. I asked her for an update on her life. Her name is Liping. Yes, that is an unusual name. She’s originally from China.

Liping wrote, “I was touched by your recent newsletter. When I read it, I cried; it brought back memories of 2007 when my ex went back to China and left me and my teenage son in the USA without any clue or warning, and then a difficult divorce followed in 2008.

“I was hurt deeply by the divorce, struggled a lot when I look back, I can still see those days. In the spring, 2008, I tried online dating in Boston but with no good luck. Emotionally, I was not right. I did not get to see one person. Then, I moved back to Spokane.

“I am glad I was able to get over it. It took 3-4 years for me to heal and get ready to start again. I am very grateful for where I am now.

“In 2013, I met David via Craigslist in Spokane. We have been married four years.

Liping and David - married 4 years

David and Liping, married four years

"We met in person in an Asian restaurant. We started seeing each other often. David and I share a lot of the same interests. He likes hiking, reading and doing crafts. He has two daughters and he is a wonderful, loving father to them.

“So, this December, I am so glad and lucky to have found him. I am very happy and peaceful, and feel Spokane is my home.”

Tom’s comment: For those of you going through an emotional December that might be on the sad side of the fence, remember that out of adversity comes opportunity, and the chance for a better life. I found it. Liping found it. And, Melinda and Sue will find it. And you will too.

Link to gofundme page for Melinda Bachman.

A similar article appeared in the Dana Point Times

Dana Point Times Newspaper logo

Part 2 - South America Trip Blog

Several people have asked for more details about the 48-day South America trip that Greta and I took in October and November.

MS Zaandam docked in Puerto Vallarta Oct. 2017

MS Zaandam in Puerto Vallarta I have posted details on each port with more photos to the website. There in no cost to visit the website. The home page opens on our first port, Cabo San Lucas. At the end of each post, the next port begins. The final post is Brazil, where we spent two weeks after the cruise ended. Pretty easy to read and follow each of the posts.

The best way to view the posts is to use your mouse roller and just roll up and back. I would enjoy hearing any comments or suggestions about improving this travel blog.

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