This Friday marks the 6th month anniversary of my moms
passing. Its also Veterans/Remembrance Day, as well as the
date that my husband, Roy, and I first met seven years ago, and
the day that we plan to go to a workshop for new hospice volunteers.
This seems like a good time to take stock of where I am and where
I think Im going. I say think, because if Ive
learned anything in these past two years, its that life
has its own plans independent of my personal intentions.
But before I do that, Id like to acknowledge all of the
people who have reached out to me since last Spring. To be honest,
my past six months have been a haze of mourning, empty-nesting-adjustment
and kitchen demolition. My response-tank was on empty,
but I want those who havent heard from me to know that their
efforts were very much appreciated. The emails, phone calls and
condolence cards have helped me to begin to process my grief.
At the same time, its been wrenching to witness the world-wide
storm destruction. Our very existence has never seemed so precious
and so fleeting. As George Harrison observed, Life goes
on within you and without you.
So where do I find myself now? My main realization is that personal
grief continues to follow a course that is beyond my control.
Some days Im OK and some days Im not. But as I emerge
from this six month fog, Im sensing that I have new work
to do. Special work.
Ive been hearing a quiet, but insistent whisper that tells
me to look into hospice service to take my experience with
my mom and use it to help patients who are terminally ill, in
order to make their last days and those of their family members
more comfortable and peaceful. I feel I was blessed by being allowed
to witness the positive impact of hospice services on my mothers
last weeks and that honoring that phase of life helped all of
us to better deal with her transition. Id like to do the
same for others.
Otherwise, life continues to be good even if its messy
at the moment and were constantly losing our keys. The kitchen
renovation is coming along, although everything always takes longer
than you think it will. Thank goodness I teach time management!
The kids are doing well in college Lauren is finishing
up her senior year at UNC Chapel Hill, and AJ is enjoying
his freshman year there also. Empty-nesting means that Im
free to work on my new book whenever I want, which is definitely
a mixed blessing because I cant use children as an excuse
The theme for this period of life seems to be Simplification.
Re-organizing our attic has forced us to accept that we have somehow
turned the corner from accumulating stuff to needing to distribute
stuff. Theres just not enough space anymore to keep taking
it all in. This is tough to accept for a nostalgic little collector
like myself, but its reality. Im looking seriously
at ways to preserve and remember, without having to trip over
things or keep them clean.
And we keep learning. Ive discovered yoga, which I like,
and I'm going back to the Fitness Center, which I dont like
but which Im doing because Id rather be healthy than
not. Yes, there are people who embrace change, and there are others
who have to be dragged kicking and screaming. I used to consider
myself among the latter, but Im accepting now that time
moves on for a reason. Sometimes you have to get with the program
or suffer trying to maintain the status quo.
Most importantly, Im giving thanks. How lucky we are to
have each other!
Im endeavoring to re-center myself in the world, knowing
that my parents would want me to move onward and outward, rather
than hang on to what was. Being in this new place feels very strange
and every now and then I feel like running back to the familiar
and the more comfortable. Truth be told, I miss football Sundays
with them like crazy. But Ive also begun to realize that
if I stand on my tip-toes, I can see beyond this vantage point,
and visualize possibilities for adventure that I never would have
Im glad were all in this together. Ill keep
you posted on my part of the trek.
The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things
behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which
means leaving things inside us.
-- Gilbert Keith Chesterton