Getting back on the horse

I’ve been dreading posting again — even though most everyone who reads this blog knows what’s happened since my last post.

It’s been over a month since my mother-in-law died…almost 2-1/2 months since my mom died. In that time, I’ve written countless posts in my head. Thought about the meaningful things I wanted to talk about. In thoughtful, insightful ways.

But most days it’s all I can do to sit in front of the computer and do my job, let alone be meaningful and insightful. My clients were great…they gave me time and space. But now they need my time and attention.

Everything needs my time and attention.

The house and its numerous projects. (Is cleaning a project? It feels like one now.) The book I’ve been reading for months. The books I can’t even remember the names of waiting on my Kindle. The clothes and clutter I’ve been meaning to donate. The groceries I haven’t bought. The exercise I haven’t done. My mother’s house. My mother’s house. My mother’s house. And the stuff. All that stuff. So much stuff.

The yard has fared better, a perk of being the most therapeutic to-do on the list. The spring mulching — five or six truckloads? — finished just tonight. Hot, sweaty, satisfying work. Sometimes, when I’m not looking at what still needs to be done or redone, not mentally trimming or pulling or adding or moving, the garden takes my breath away. A bright spot in an otherwise bleak time.

I’ll take it. And be grateful. And hope that things will slowly return to normal. New normal I mean. Whatever that turns out to be.

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak
whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.

~ William Shakespeare

Baby Steps

My mom is officially “on her own” again after a whirlwind nearly 4 months. She is happy for the peace and quiet (actually calling my sister and leaving not 1 but 2 messages on her cell asking her NOT to come over yesterday so my mom could have a quiet day).

Well alrighty then.

No guarantees that at 89 she will be OK staying alone. But there are no guarantees at any age. We all feel pretty proud we were able to accomplish so much for her in such a short time (watching over her for 2 months in a rehab hospital and 5 weeks in an assisted living facility, concurrently overseeing a major construction and renovation project to add a first-floor bedroom and bathroom to her house, lots of clean-up/clean-out, then 3 weeks with 24/7 family care at home). I know we are very lucky we were able to do all this — in that same time, a good friend of mine lost her dad and another her mother. My mom lost a dear friend (fellow card-player) and a cousin. Talk about perspective.

Now it’s baby steps for her as she tries to adapt to independent living again (she loves being waited on, so it’s a big adjustment), and for us as we try to adapt to her independence, while still trying to manage everything for her behind the scenes.

But, ya know, those baby steps can cover an awful lot of ground, as all moms of toddlers know. We’ll have a few bumps and bruises (please God, no falls!) and hopefully get a little stronger and more confident every day. At least that’s today’s plan. 

In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.
                                                 ~ Charlie Brown

Back among the living — and loving it.

Nothing like a killer case of the flu to bring new perspectives to life. What started out 2 days before Christmas as an annoying holiday cold, 10 days later had relapsed into what had to be the flu or a very good impersonator. I don’t believe I’ve ever been that ill before — 3 days of pure misery. (Note to self: Get a flu shot next year.)

But today was better — temperature almost back to normal, body aches all but gone, no chills or sweats, corner turned. With fresh meds to see me through the last stages, clean sheets on the bed, another day of rest ahead of me — I feel grateful. Especially when I think of all the people out there for whom pain and illness and simply not being well is a fact of life. Day after day, week after week, month after month. Through no fault of their own, life is a struggle of making it through, trying to stay positive, and never really feeling good. Sure makes a couple of weeks of feeling lousy seem so insignificant. 

It’s one of those wake-up calls we all need now and then: Count Your Blessings. Sitting here in my cozy living room, tapping away on my laptop, surrounded by cheerful Christmas decorations and beautiful lights (it’s Twelfth Night!), I can’t feel anything but incredibly blessed. Remind me of these the next time I complain about silly annoyances or the ups and downs of everyday life: Status quo is quite enough. “Normal” is worth celebrating. Life is good.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
                               ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson