On being stretched
October 12, 2016 | My Jottings
I’ve grown allergic to busyness in the last few years. Having a seriously ill husband who required some kind of care sometimes round the clock, made me crave quietude on the most visceral level. Then, when his cares were finally being done at a skilled nursing facility (Silver Bay Veterans Home), a new kind of stress set in. The crushing weight of trying to care for Michael at home while Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia took firmer hold in his body was lifted, but now I carried a different burden: guilt and sorrow in such scraping depth I had no way of expressing it or dealing with it, except to weep and cry out to God every single day. And to be almost a bystander outside of my own mind as I constantly tried to figure out how I could bring him home and have it work this time, or how he could stay there and both of us not be losing our sanity.
So for one year after Michael’s death, I did as little as possible.
Perhaps no one else would have thought that. The house was still in order, laundry done, meals cooked, Community Bible Study attended, birthdays celebrated. With the help of my friend Carey, I even took my foster gals on a cruise to Alaska during this time, so I didn’t actually become a recluse. But whenever I could, I rested. I sat in my bedroom chair and thought. And cried. And read my Bible, and prayed as I could. I spent a lot of time writing in my gratitude journal. I sat in my living room recliner and watched TV, especially my favorite show, Life Today, with James and Betty Robison. I walked in the cemetery. Slowly. Breathing in the fresh air and intensely observing the beauty there.
I don’t know if that season is coming to a close or not. This year I have taken on a responsibility I take very seriously, a Core Leader at CBS. This means that on Monday mornings and Tuesday mornings I’m gone now. For those of you who work 40 hours or more outside the home I realize this sounds like nothing, but for me, after having felt hollowed out by Michael’s terrible and beautiful journey, this is a lot. Because I am still working in my home, providing foster care to two women with developmental disabilities, and all the paperwork that the state requires with that.
I also began the fall term at University for Seniors recently, and am taking one class — Great Books. It’s the continuation of the same class I took last spring. I haven’t loved the stories we’ve read so far, but I do learn when I go to the discussion group made up of around 25 people sitting around a large table.
So I’m feeling a bit stretched, and I’m still trying to figure out if this is a tiny waving red flag in my peripheral vision cautioning me to slow down, to restrain myself from jumping in with both feet, to intentionally keep taking time for healing and rest, or if feeling this way is a good and growing thing.
And, I have lost my brother Steve. He died alone, on October 1st. I cannot talk about it yet. I might someday.
These are just ramblings. And this photo is just the view looking out of my living room window. In between the two neighbors’ houses across the street, I am blessed to see our inland sea, Lake Superior, every day.
I hope you are taking some time for yourself too, and resist busyness if you can.
God’s peace to you, dear family and friends,