Peter and Betty – Together

This week, Loyal Reader, we start off in a dark, depressing place. However, thankfully, my story does have a happy ending, due to a number of factors.

In the period of misery I experienced after Lois’ passing, I came close to “hitting rock bottom”. I really don’t remember much of the last half of September, 2019, and I was actually happy to have the distraction of having to clear out Lois’ apartment the following month to enable me to focus my energy on something besides my all consuming grief. I couldn’t have finished that job in a timely manner without the help of Lois  neighbour Kathy, who loaned me a dolly, and my nephew David, who came over and helped me out on two separate occasions, including going as far as renting a van to help me with moving the contents of the apartment, something I most certainly couldn’t have done using public transit. ( Happy birthday, David, by the way.) a)

Peter and Reg

In November, 2019, I had to have my little buddy Reg put down. Frankly, I was a mess. My life devolved into a series of round trips to the liquor store on the Toronto Transit Commission. Determined to find “someone to love”, I was exploring various dating options. Things looked grim indeed for Mrs Montreuil’s Little Boy, Loyal Reader. However, “it’s always darkest before the dawn”. Here is where the first factor in my recovery enters the picture. I had been previously referred to Women’s College Hospital to have a medical issue dealt with. (After I had been hit by the car in 2003, I developed an ulcerated heel, which I had ignored for years.) The staff at WCH treated it and referred me to a convenient Wound Care Clinic. I am finally able to walk normally, thanks to those fine people.

WCH

They also referred me to counselling after Lois’ passing, and I was able to have my depression addressed. I remember talking to my counsellor about my decision to engage in “computer dating”. She smiled gently and told me that it was actually “on line dating” and that they could help me with “that”. Whether she meant helping me write my profile or providing me with a “pool of candidates” I did not know, nor did I ask, as I feared that it was “a loaded statement” intended to elicit some kind of reaction from me. So I sat there quietly. The rest of the session went well, and I was soon home with CoCo.

That’s where the second factor in my recovery enters the picture. I began to think about where I was and where I had been. I realized that I am a pretty good person, that I have done a lot of good things in my life and have helped many different people. There was someone out there for me, there had to be. 

However, in my desperate search for someone to love, I was casting my net far too wide. I decided that I had joined “a few too many” sites, so I had to do some “streamlining”. It was pretty obvious that my membership in “Wanting wanton, wicked, willing widows” should be terminated, along with“Chasing chaste grandmas”. In any case, that would make things easier for me. It could be embarrassing to get responses for these groups confused,( not that I ever did, of course. 😉 )

Anyway, I began to feel better about ME! I was able to reflect on all the good I have done, and the magnificent and dedicated people in the health care system helped me to re establish my mental equilibrium, my self confidence.

The third factor in my “recovery” was my many friends, both real life and on Facebook. My first Christmas after Lois’ passing, I set up an appointment with the Wound Care Clinic on Christmas morning, as an attempt to provide me with a distraction from my loneliness. I returned home, drank rye and Sprite and watched videos, including several excellent ones featuring my friend Steven Zaloga, who is an esteemed author and authority on World War II, among other things. I didn’t get a single telephone call either that day or on my birthday several days later.

However, my Facebook friends reached out to me on both occasions, and you all sustained me during a very difficult time. 

As I “turned the corner” into 2020, I felt much better on all counts. My efforts to concentrate my search on a few sites began to bear fruit, as some interest was shown in me, or at least my profile, by a few suitable women. 

And then it happened. It was late one night when I got a brief message from “Elizabeth”. I sent a polite response, which evolved into the two of us talking on the phone. I told her that I would call her on a regular basis, a number of times a day. We got to know each other very well, and covered an amazing number of topics during these conversations. Early in this process, I decided to concentrate every bit of effort on developing my relationship with Betty. 

We share so many core values, and we agreed that we had to get together, because it just made sense. During one of our early conversations, Betty mentioned that she had several medical issues which might dissuade me from pursuing a relationship with her. She mentioned them and I laughed. I explained that I had experience with these particular issues and did not view them as obstacles.

So we met, and we both liked what we saw. In fact, the first time that we returned to our apartment, CoCo got off the couch and walked right past me…..to Betty! So I guess CoCo liked what she saw too.

Betty

Here we are now, relocated to London, and enjoying our new lives. Betty has been such a great influence on me and makes me want to be a better person. As a couple, we support each other in everything, from shopping to cooking to collecting Air Miles. We work together as a couple, towards common goals. I look forward to celebrating our first year together on Saturday. I am a very lucky man. 

This week, Loyal Reader, I want to underscore that while my life and my outlook have both improved, these things did not occur in a vacuum. I only rebuilt my life because of a) the assistance of competent and caring professionals, b) the support of a number of wonderful friends and c) the fact that I was able to believe in myself, to remind myself even in the darkest moments that I am a person of value.

Of course, without an amazing partner, the whole thing is purely an academic exercise. I love you, Betty.

a) Not much point in writing a column if you can’t do things like this  😉 .

See you soon. 

=PJM=

A confirmed Cat person, Peter dabbled with being a water boy, a paper boy and an altar boy before finally settling on a career with the Canadian federal government.  Once, in his youth, he ate a Dutch  oven full of mashed potatoes to win a 5 cent bet with his beloved sister Mary’s boyfriend. (Of course he was much younger and a nickel went a lot farther!))

He has retired to palatial “Chez Montreuil”, which he shares with his little buddy CoCo the Fashionable. He is blessed to have the beautiful Betty in his life. He is not only a plastic aircraft modeller, but a proud “rivet counter”. Military aviation and live music are among other interests of his, and he tries to get out to as many shows as he can. He will be here for your enlightenment whenever the stars align. Profile photo courtesy of Pat Blythe, caricature courtesy of Peter Mossman.

5 Responses to “Peter and Betty – Together”

  1. June Pollard Says:

    Hi Peter & Betty! First of all Peter – I would like to say how much I really enjoyed reading this column! I don’t know if enjoyed is the correct word. However, I finished this particular column with such a feeling within of calmness. You always seem to address topics that so many of us can relate to – depression, grief, impulsive actions to combat loneliness, crutches such as alcohol use to numb the pain in difficult times. And finally, focusing your energy to finish a task that would be emotionally & physically draining. Personally, I would like to thank Lois neighbour & especially your nephew David!!!
    Losing your sweet buddy Reginald was a terrible blow for someone already grieving the loss of a life partner – Lois. I don’t doubt that was a difficult time during which you reached out to dating sites & an alcoholic beverage to numb the pain. (cookies, chocolate, sponge toffee and much more chocolate … have been my choices to turn to – I can’t do alcohol cuz I am such a lightweight with it – and a cheap date – 1 drink & I get tipsy)
    Then I got to the part about your heel wound, Women’s College Hospital, counselling and your beautiful paragraph – – – –
    ….. I began to think about where I was and where I had been. I realized that I am a pretty good person, that I have done a lot of good things in my life and have helped many different people. There was someone out there for me, there had to be.
    Everything else paled in comparison to WHO YOU ARE as a human being!!! (ps: I had no idea that there were Dating Sites for …..’“Wanting wanton, wicked, willing widows” or “Chasing chaste grandmas” – see your columns are educational too!!!)
    I loved hearing you say that your FB Friends sustained you during difficult times! Remember Peter – over many years YOU have also sustained ‘many’ FB friends, family members, colleagues, clients, neighbours and more. It is wonderful that they reached out to you to
    help & encourage you in return!!!
    And then – you got THE message!!! From Elizabeth!!! And you began to concentrate on this lovely voice & kind, sharing person that you have so much in common with – which has brought you to this day. The two of you combined have created one exceptional unit by loving & supporting each other. And like you said – even Coco agreed!
    And Peter, you always give credit where credit is due! So you thanked the many medical professionals & special friends who have assisted you in ‘finding yourself & your happiness once more’!!!
    Your column inspires all of us who read your words to aspire to better health, better self worth & belief in one’s self!!!
    Finally you thank your life partner Elizabeth & tell how her influence has changed you. You are indeed a very lucky man Peter.
    May your love, health & happiness continue to grow during your entire lifetimes!!!
    Thanks again for sharing Peter. Your words really do make a difference, your humour totally cracks me up and your loyalty & devotion to Elizabeth & all those friends & family around you are indeed inspiring. Take care, June & Gerry/x0x0 ❤

    • Peter Montreuil Says:

      Thank you so much for your beautiful comments. I am an extremely lucky man and I have to share my thoughts with everyone else. I am honoured by your feedback, June.

      • You are so very welcome Peter! ❤ Your words 'reach out' to people, sometimes soothing, sometimes inspiring, sometimes totally hilarious and 'sometimes for whatever reason – the exact thing that one needs to read & think about. You are a sweet, funny, kind & quite endearing individual who puts aside special time to write this wonderful column. Thank you again, j./x0 ❤

  2. Catherine Says:

    Awhhh, heartwarming and honest. You got the help needed, you worked hard during those dark days. It’s comforting to know after the storm comes a 🌈 rainbow. It’s funny because you needed to be your own best friend as if the shoe was in the other foot I know you would have jumped to yours friends aid without hesitation. Lucky Betty!! You are a knight in shinning armour. Terminal loneliness is something I have experienced in my lifetime but I also have risen out the dark hole. God bless you and Betty with a long loving life together! Our golden years 😍🙏

    • Peter Montreuil Says:

      I am sorry, but I only just saw this. Thank you so much and I am so happy to have you like this column.

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