The evolving me

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Nuts

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It's been a long time, my family. I thought I'd pop in and give you an update.

I'm still working on physical recovery. Tomorrow I'll have surgery for a prolapse that was aggravated, if not caused, by all the heavy lifting. I've been waiting for several years to get this done and I'm rather excited about getting it over with, as it's kept me close to home and less active than I need to be. I've lost half the really necessary weight and am optimistic about losing the other half once I've recovered.

I'm finding that the new me is much less judgmental and I just don't sweat the small stuff. The tenant in the rental house failed to report a slow water leak and now I'm going to have to repair walls and replace flooring. The insurance company denied the claim because it was long term damage, so it's going to cost a pretty penny--after a very short meltdown I decided to sell the house as soon as she's out of there and the repairs are done. The rental contract makes her responsible if she does not report the damage in a timely manner, but I'd have to sue her to get any money out of her and I'm just not interested in the drama. Thankfully, the sale of the house will cover the cost of repairs. I had a flash of anger at the tenant, but then decided that I don't know what's going on in her life that caused her to just let things get continually worse. I've learned about the inertia that depression can cause, so who knows. I'll just assume that she needs a break on this one.

I've been meditating--or trying to. It's surprisingly difficult, but very effective. All I want is peace and no drama.

My plan to turn downstairs into an accessible Air BnB was put on hold for a second year by COVID and my slow pace. The ceiling lift is still in place, but I've repainted and redecorated the downstairs. Maybe I'll actually get moved upstairs this winter, and hopefully I can give it a try next summer. I've realized recently that I sleep better with other people around (it used to be just the opposite), so perhaps the timing is good on this.

I've just learned that one of my (step)daughters commented to my son that it feels like I'm erasing her dad from the house, so I've got to work on that perception. He is everywhere for me, and that's a good thing, but apparently the overall feel of the house, rather than the individual items, is what she responds to. Maybe if I write a letter to him describing what I see and how I think the changes honor him, and give it to her to read, she'll understand. I just thought of that while writing to you--I'd almost forgotten how helpful this place is!

It's been 21 months, and I'm just now able to pick up a book and read for pleasure. What's interesting is that I now enjoy reading non-fiction rather than novels. Escape is no longer disappearing into someone else's story--it's time to write my own story. This is the longest that I've been alone in my life, and I"m good with it. This new me, who is a combination of Matt and me and our journey, no longer looks to someone else for validation. I do miss the warmth and support of loving arms around me, but I'm finding that love and support from a spiritual source, and it's good.

What I am fighting is a very deep seated fear of being a caregiver again. I realize that if a loved on needed me that it would just happen and I'd step up, but I think I'm afraid to let anyone else into my circle who may need care before I do. I don't want to be responsible for anyone or anything other than myself, and even that's a struggle. I fantasize about trading in the house for a travel trailer and hitting the road, but for some reason it's just not time yet. Every time I leave this place I find myself thinking that it is too much for me and that I need to downsize, but when I come home I fall in love all over again.

I'll leave you with some pictures from yesterday morning's kayaking in the creek behind the house. Nature is my best medicine. At 21 months it's still a struggle to exit the doors and leave the house, but when I do, nature is my best medicine.
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lgelb

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It's so beautiful and peaceful, Becky. I can see how that is therapy.
I'm with you -- the less drama the better. Now, more than ever, the adage that everyone is fighting an unseen battle seems like a reasonable guide.
Keep the pics and updates coming, please!

Best,
Laurie
 

affected

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lala land
So good to see you Becky 💜
21 months is so early, still so fresh and raw. You are doing amazingly well as you are being very perceptive about just where you are and what you need.
Nature is truly a healer. It sure has been for me as you know.

You have time to make the big decisions like selling your home. I'm glad you are getting on top of the physical issues you need to solve first. You will know when it is time.

Thank you for sharing those photos, your little nook is awesome 😊❤️
 

vltsra

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Dear Becky, what a beautiful, peaceful spot you have. Thanks for sharing the photos. I was just thinking yesterday about how it will be when I am no longer caregiving. While the work is so hard now and seems impossible, what also seems impossible is losing my PALS.

V
 

Narrowminded

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Becky it is great to "see" you. I'm not on her much either. I have some of the same struggles you do. And I'm glad you haven't been able to do the Air B&B just yet. I believe it is a blessing from above.

I went to a friend's home to help "protest" his 50th BD. I met him through our ALSA here at the Caregiver overnight. Seeing his girlfriend was extremely hard for me. Watching him help and interact with her I felt like I was watching myself in a mirror. Her reactions were nearly identical to Brian's. It was a huge trigger. This is why I say the delay is a blessing.

I'm happy you are finding yourself. I wish you the very best as you decide the best path to move forward.

Hugs my friend!
 

Jrzygrl

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Hi Becky!

I seemed to have dropped off too. I also miss my family here. It will be 11 months for me next week. I am still trying to figure out who I am now and where to go from here. I felt like I was moving in a good direction, then COVID hit. Now I feel a bit stuck.

I will be selling my house, it's much too big, as it's just me and the dog now. But, I'm not sure if I want to stay local or move further away. Was hoping to visit some places this summer, but that's not happening. Your place is beautiful! I would definitely be drawn to stay there. I am glad you find peace there.

I have the same fear of being in a caregiver role again. I can't ever see myself in another relationship because of it. Right now, my mom has been in the ICU for a week. I've had to be the caregiver because of COVID restrictions - I am the only family member who can get in the hospital. I have made it clear to my family that once she's discharged from the hospital, I need to step back. It's going to be hard, she will need extensive rehab and I only live a mile from Mom, while all my siblings live out-of-state. Fingers crossed they will respect my boundaries.

I want you to know that you and my family here are never far from my mind. You helped me through the very hardest part of my life and I will be forever grateful.

Love to you all! ❤
 

Atsugi

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V. beautiful!!!
 

lgelb

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Hope your mom makes a good recovery, Jersey, and that your family respects your situation.

Best,
Laurie
 

affected

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{{{{{{{{{{ MIKE! }}}}}}}}}}}}}

{{{{{{{{{{ Jrzygrl }}}}}}}}}}}}

So beautiful to see the 'faces' of some of the people here who really feel like family to me as you guys have been part of my life for years - even if we have never 'met'.

The 'other side' is a long road too, day at a time. The biggest thing probably is that you can take all the time you need to 'figure out the shape of your life'. That's how I always described it to myself. There was me, there was a Chris shaped hole, and there was all these possible paths to move along. It took some years to fully feel I had found it, but I did and I allowed myself the time to do that.

Anyone who has not lost their life partner, their 'other half', really can't comprehend that. It's ok, I don't want them to have to find out what that is like.

But if we allow ourselves to heal in whatever way we need, we do find a new shape that 'fits'. Even if I still know I would trade it all in a heartbeat, I have found much beauty and joy in life.

Covid has rocked things for me, but I'm sorting through that a day at a time too.
 

Narrowminded

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Mike!!! It's so great to see you!.

Jersey - do take your time. I have put my moving off due to the current real estate market here. In doing so, I actually calmed down. I don't think it was the right time. I'm now focusing on making adjustments to my current place to suit me better. Not quickly and lots of thoughts before doing so. It's just me and the dogs too.
 

Lkaibel

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Hi Becky,

I know this post was from awhile ago but just wanted to say that your place is absolutely beautiful and that I share your fears of being a caregiver again. I’m glad you feel better physically. I have lost almost 50 pounds Still, shoulders not the same as pre CALS days.

I miss Brian so much, but moving forward 18 months later, as you are. What can we do but keep going. ❤️
 
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