California, USA
August 10
When I figure it out I'll add it, one blog at a time. I illustrated "Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks" written by Lea Lane. You can get it at Amazon and on Kindle!


BuffyW's Links

OCTOBER 5, 2011 9:54AM

When you have a vacancy...

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Do you find throughout your life the emotional side often is left with a big "vacancy"?  Are you sometimes feeling like a motel, renting out your heart and/or body to the person who seem to show up at your neediest and you are content to have the vacancy filled even for a night?  Did you find sometimes this one night turns into a decade or longer? Often the fear of not having a clear plan for your life often leads us to accept something less than we had hoped or planned for.  

When a lover becomes unloved, a job is over, a house is sold/taken away, a child or spouse leaves you or dies, all of these leave an emotional vacancy in our emotional well-being.   How do we fill those vacancies?

I wondered about this myself.  I have had some pretty large vacancies in a very short period of time.  How had I handled them?  

I realize I haven't spoken about my son lately.  The reason is because we have settled on a kind of steady relationship for now.  It's filling emotional vacancies for both of us.  I examined our relationship awhile back deciding if I expected it to be different the difference would have to be with me, how I approached our relationship, or what was left of it.

 It hasn't been easy.  I took tentative steps deciding I would use my newfound ability to draw to communicate messages to him, rather than beat a dead horse with words he would not hear.  The drawings were not always subtle, but they were always colorful.  He appreciated them, and told me other inmates looked forward to his "mail calls".  I liked doing something personal for him, he had to know I spent my time doing them only for him.

Leap of faith 

©Sheila 2010

Taking a You Break

©Sheila 2010

True Strength

©Sheila 2010


Cheer up 

©Sheila 2011 


©Sheila 1011 

 I was filling three emotional vacancies with my art, my grieving, his loss of freedom, and bridging our own relationship gap.  There are probably more, but these are the most relevant to this writing.

 I filled another emotional gap with my desire to not go life alone.  Oh I tried it for awhile, but frankly when you have had a partner to talk, laugh, travel, cry and whisper with, it just isn't fun to live life alone.  Heck, I lost my son (physically) just a few months after my husband.  

No Love

©Sheila 2010 

I reached out at midnight.  Odd how we do that.  Sitting alone with just the glare of a lone light from bedside nightstand, I can remember filling out hours of forms then taking a picture with my computer.  I was wrapped in a black cashmere robe, not a stitch of makeup on andam sure I attempted to not look as forlorn, abandoned and tired as I felt.  This would be the photo I put on the E-Harmony © site. This would be the photo which spoke for me and ultimately gathered the few responses I had.


The midnight picture. 

I immediately narrowed them down by the answers I received when I responded with three questions to them.  How?  Well, I was not attracted to any of them by their photos alone, I'd just lost a movie star handsome husband.  I was unconcerned with their looks.  Their sense of humor and compassion came first, spelling was second (really? Yeah.), and the ability to write in cohesive sentences.  Those were the initial tests for me.  Simple enough.  When you throw out the stuff that doesn't matter you are left with the core of a person.

Paul filled this bill perfectly.  I got lucky though, I could have dated a few or many men and never found love.  I had filled enough emotional vacancies in my life (both mine and theirs) to know what I needed.  I never intended to go with what I wanted, those things are pie in the sky to search for.  He had patience and the intelligence to wait for my fog to lift.  To really fill the vacancy those other things will come with the things we really need.




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I blogged again, will wonders ever cease?
Sheila, I am sending all of my best wishes to you and your son! Your illustrations are wonderful, witty, and cheerful! Great to see a new post from you today, as well!
Well this is one time I'm glad to see the "no vacancy" sign glowing in the window. We all have to fill our lives with something... some do it with grief, others with food, but the smart one fill it with love.
Sheila, I understand about the vacancies.. I have one with my youngest. For a few hours the room might be rented but then it goes back to being empty and on fire.
I am glad you met someone. I finally have someone that loves me and asks nothing but love from me. Some days I wonder if I deserve it and make life difficult - but no way no how I ever want to find my room empty without his love.
As for the other room I have no idea if he will ever try again.
Love your drawings.
Good to read, good to ponder.
You have given us a fine slice of your life here, Sheila, in so candid and open a fashion that we - I, anyway - cannot help but reflect on some of the hard-earned wisdom you provide. I love your drawings, and I'm sure they cheer and encourage your son and remind him of what a uniquely wonderful mother he has. And your courage and pluck in reaching out for a mate, and the luck that brought you the love you now have. Inspiring.

I miss you when you're away, but you sure make up for it when you return!
You are a lucky lady on two counts, my friend. First of all you have been blessed with your artistic ability which has helped you bridge the gap between you and your son....no easy matter. Secondly, you found Paul. I am happy to have had the chance to meet Paul and I gotta tell you, he is an amazing man and he is good for you in so very many ways.

After Lance passed away I can not tell you how worried Mel and I were for you but that worry quickly melted away after our visit and meeting Paul face to face. Now you can enjoy sunrises as well as sunsets my dear friend and not alone. Love ya!
Oh boy, I am so glad you blogged again. I joined OS just as you were writing about some bathtubs you were using to garden with. I thought you were so fun. And then I realized how deep you were too. The drawings you share with your son are the perfect solution to filling that void and E Harmony with a plan and a great deal of courage filled the other hole. I have some holes to fill too and Im not going to give up. There are solutions in life and you found some. Thank you for sharing. It helps so much.
I like the no vacancy analogy a lot. Your artwork is very charming. You sound like you will always end up on the right track, BuffyW.
I think that this is wonderful. Am I gushing to much? The words ring true but for some people the emotional holes fester and it can be forever to heal them. You deserve the peace you have found, and now you've made me check my spelling. :)

P.S. That is a great photo, I like them honest and real.
So good to see you back, and this post shares both your honesty and your talent. As one who had been alone for many years between husbands, I have to say I did feel peace alone. But yes, those blessed with mutual love with someone special have the greatest gift of all.

Having had the chance to meet both you and Paul I can attest that the two of you share that gift.
You will always come out fine, Sheila; you deserve the best. I love the pics. R
reading you gain has added brilliance to my day. i'm so happy and amazed by your tenacity for life — for being you.
The way you chose to communicate with your son is masterful, Sheila. And i am so happy you have found a good one!
Yay!!! Buffy's back, and in rare fine form, too. 'Bout time, as others can atttest. Love the cartoons -- and the thoughts that surround them. My best to Paul.
Always great to see you Shelia. I think that a brilliant form of correspondence to fill that vacancy between you and your son. you are so talented and I'm sure Paul saw that in you right away.
Enjoy the place you come from, the wisdom you have gained and the way you write it out. It seems we have all come out the last few days and it's a great thing to see a lot of OS peeps here.
You are a resilient woman. Nice to see this tonight.
By the way, your photo in both your avatar and the one you posted are great, I love woman without all the makeup, I think it takes away so much beauty, true beauty which is something you have. I try not to succumb to the overly made up 50yo lady look, it's hard not to buy into that crap.
So good to see your exquisite writing and drawings again, but more than that to see how your own determination and courage have helped you through the darkest of times.

You are a true inspiration to many, myself included. I wish you years of happiness with Paul and a future filled with the things you love.

Those vacancies are hopefully filled full time now. Love you.
Yeah, you blogged again! Oh life is a series of emotional vacancies isn't it? And nature does seem to abhor a void, so there are ways to fill. I love the way you fill yours and your zest for life and I wish for you peace and resolution with your son.
No vacancy rules and you too as a matter of fact.
lately, everyone in my facebook network has been quoting steve jobs. this piece reminds me of one where he (paraphrasing here) said that in life we must connect the dots but can only happen after....when looking back. i'm glad you're able to connect the dots with content. there is a calm to this piece & i admire it.
I finally had a chance to catch up. Life can really suck some days, weeks, months... I am glad you found a new life partner. Loss can be overwhelming.

This is such a good piece. It's so accessible. Its comfortable to read. And simply you: clean and clear. The concept of vacancies really got me thinking as well.

Of course, loved the drawings, as per usual. They're sunshine.

I too consider spelling to be pretty damn important. Doesn't have to be perfect but if it's too off-base...bleh.
Very useful analyze, I’ve made some bets on them this season! Thanks for helping me too see the situation objective. And hey, don’t be sad for the results, it could be worse anytime! sportfogadás