Sunday, February 22, 2015

Back to my life

I'm back!  I sure hope you all remember me. It's been a long, long time, and so much has happened.  I will try to catch you up, little bits at a time, instead of writing my usual novel!  As I write I'm watching the snow gently fall, enjoying the beauty of winter. Brrrr, it's freezing cold - but I still love it.  

Mom is in assisted living, since last summer.  I thought I would be back to my life immediately after that happened, but helping her make the transition still required plenty of time and energy on my part.  She wanted to go home, and I felt terrible guilt that I could no longer keep her there. We had no choice - it took more than one person to get her up now. For several months I spent the majority of my time either on the phone with her or at the assisted living. After she was settled in and I had most of my time to myself,  I had this strange feeling - like I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing.

I found myself starting this project, then starting that project, then feeling overwhelmed because I had so many things I wanted to do and didn't know where to begin.  I also kept having this nagging feeling that I was supposed to be somewhere and was forgetting.  I was so used to caring for Mom, pretty much 12 hours a day 7 days a week, that I almost didn't know how to live my life anymore.

My brother and I have finally finished cleaning out her home. That was a heart-wrenching experience, because so many things had sentimental value.  Memories, thought to be buried forever, came flooding back. A ceramic frog, sitting in a planter still blooming with some sort of green vines, reminded me of Mom taking ceramics classes. Maybe this frog didn't mean the world to her, but I couldn't donate this or throw it away.  Add it to my pile. Items that I have used or walked by a million times while caring for mom in her home suddenly meant more than a 5 carat diamond. In my pile they go. Pictures . . . oh the pictures, and the feelings that came up while going through them. Of course, in the pile they go.

I am a very sentimental person, and believe me when I say the tears flowed, the sadness overwhelmed at times, and the overall realization that life is fleeting really hit me. I need to live my life now.  I need to find out what makes Julie happy.  Perhaps find my purpose in life. How to make the world a better place.  I will evaluate my priorities, making sure that when I am nearing the end of my days I won't have regrets.  At least not any new ones. 

I am thankful. Thankful that Mom is in a wonderful place. Thankful that it wasn't the house I grew up in because it would have been so much harder. Thankful to finally get my life back.

Wouldn't you think my first project would be something amazing and fun and wonderful?  Nope - the first thing I did was spend a month cleaning, organizing, and tackling the basement. I'm so boring! 
Ironically, it is once again bursting at the seams - filled with things that I am either storing for my sister or one of my kids, or that I just couldn't give or throw away.  I am reminding myself to go through it all and downsize my stuff, because I don't want my kids to have a monumental task when I leave my home. 

I miss so many of you, and can't wait to try to catch up on all I've missed.  I hope you are all well and happy.