I posted this on my other site but realized that I wanted to share it here also.
I have long been a believer in the “butterfly effect.” The idea that somehow we are all connected. I see this in so many ways. There is a wonderful children’s book called “The Invisible String” that tells us that love is one of the ways we are connected and it is the “invisible string” that never goes away even with death.
Sometimes we have a strong feeling of connection to someone we have never physically met. I feel that way about some people I connect with on this blog. I hear their voice through their words. I have a sense of who they are and feel connected. Because I don’t know them otherwise I could be wrong but there is still something there. Kindness and compassion are clearly felt.
We are connected to the people we see in our everyday lives. It could be seeing the same grocery clerk every week or someone we meet for lunch. People touch us in our work. Obviously some of these links can be good or bad but there is still a connection. Each of us has an impact on those around us.
We are connected to those who have gone before us. We may not know about them or we may have heard stories about their lives. They are present in our DNA. We often find that there are personality traits that have been passed on. People say that I look like my great grandmother. Pictures do show a strong connection.
In the church where I worked for years there is a sense in the building of the lives that have gone before. It is something I feel when I sit in silence in the sanctuary. It is as if the “communion of saints” is physically present.
Don’t doubt that we are all connected. The things that I do each day affects others. Science tells us that nothing is lost…just changed. What I do matters. What you do matters.
What is it like to live in a retirement community? I am not sure that I can entirely answer that yet. I haven’t been here long enough. First impressions: there are good things. The food is good…there are three restaurants and many choices, someone cleans my apartment once a week, there are people to talk to when covid doesn’t interfere. My apartment is small but nice. Divesting myself of many things has been freeing.
Other thoughts: It is an adjustment as you see everyone else with grey hair (although this has become quite popular) and understand that living in a place where all of us are aging means that people will die.
Everything we do in life requires change. This is just another in many that make up my journey in life. There are still adventures to have, people to love and new things to experience and I am begging to look forward to that. There has been a real change in my perspective in the last few weeks.
Life goes forward. The question is are we willing to go with it or just rest in the past? I choose to move ahead.
Today I did the little decorating for Christmas that is possible in our small apartment. It looks nice. I still can’t get my mind around having to find gifts for those I love. I’m just not there yet. This is so unlike me. I usually have things done way in advance but then this has not be a normal year for any of us.
I am hoping that we can look toward Christmas as a new beginning. Some vaccines are due to come out soon (we hope) and maybe we will move into the new year with a new vision.
I am continuing to clean things out and today I put all of my dvd’s in a case. That eliminated the cabinets that housed them. This is the first time that I have moved any pieces of furniture. I was a small thing but for the first time I realize that we are actually planning to move away from here.
This is a major life event. This is a complete change and an acceptance that we are growing older and need to be set for the time we have left. It may be long or short but we want it filled with people to meet, things to do and new adventures. Even though we are going to move to a retirement community it is one that has people who are still living fully, having fun, exploring new things to learn and enjoying a expansive life. It is connected with a University and has much learning experiences and opportunities.
We will also be near my youngest daughter and her family whose lifestyle makes them able to be supportive and caring. Their church home is also a plus since we have visited there many times and also feel at home there. The best of all worlds.
This kind of change comes with some sadness and loss. We will be leaving long time friends, a church home, a beautiful home with an amazing view and things we love. As a Parish Nurse I have seen so many people sit in a home they love until they can no longer manage and family has to make decisions for them. This leaves everyone unhappy and we decided that it is better to make the decision for ourselves.
This cannot happen too quickly due to medical issues and the problem of covid but we know it is on the near horizon. So this will be a time of looking forward to good things and still grieving over where we have been. A time of mixed emotions.
If I don’t keep finding things to do, read, and see I will sink into boredom. I have been knitting, crocheting, cooking, reading, watching TV. I don’t want to walk since it is so hot outside but I really need the exercise. I get lots of steps caring for my husband that is one plus. I guess if I were counting steps I would be doing good.
Nevertheless it is hard not to slip into being bored. I don’t think it is because I don’t have anything to do but because I can’t do anything I want. Because of that I feel stifled. I know it is just a state of mind and I’m trying to get around it but it’s not working as well as I would like. Oh well…everyone else is in the same boat. We’re all just getting on with what we can.
It is scary to think that I am beginning to think this life is normal. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I guess I am settling into a routine.
For me, routine is always a plus. Just getting up and following a pattern makes me comfortable. I don’t know how others feel but it works for me. I go out to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy and doctors visits. Otherwise I connect with people through electronic means. I do feel the absence of personal contact as I truly believe that human physical contact is necessary to our well being.
I suspect that this time has been more challenging for those of us alone or with someone else who needs care like my husband. We seek our connections with others and that is limited. My life has changed so drastically that covid is only one aspect of the whole. I have spent months adapting to constant change and now there is some sort of consistency and I suppose that is why I feel more settled.
I hope that each of us continues to find our way through into a routine that is helpful and sustainable. I pray for those who have lost job, income, health and whatever else has struck them.
Hallelujah! My husband is home at last. He is very weak and will need time to regain strength after this more than 3 month ordeal. Things have moved with frustrating slowness but they have moved…..just like covid.
Patience is not one of my virtues but I have had to use it and will get used to it more than I ever have before.
I am getting good at this. Maybe some day it will become one of my virtues.
In the last week a dear dear person I knew died. Her life was everything we are called to be. She had a loving family and loved and cared for them every day of her life. She loved God and often wrote wonderful posts about his love and his care for her. She never lost this nearness to God even in the darkest of times.
Her name was Elaine. I first met Elaine as a Parish Nurse and her health journey would have crushed most of us early on. She was determined to live every moment of her life in spite of all the doctors who couldn’t see her going on for long. She not only went on but went on with joy. She traveled, boated, spent time with family and friends. She shared her joy with everyone and each day was one to be explored and lived. She lived! Each and every day she lived!
Now she is gone but never forgotten. Her example will remain with all of those who knew her and spur us on to live fully every moment. She has transitioned to be with the God she loved and who she knew with her whole being loved her. While those of us here are saying goodbye others are welcoming her home. Good journey Elaine.
The American Dreamis to reach a point in your life where you don't have to do anything you don't want to do and can do everything that you want to do. Jerry Reinsdorf
People have had bumper stickers that said “whoever dies with the most toys wins.” The focus for a long time has been “me first.” We idolize the rich, the famous and those whose life seems perfect to us. We think “just how I want to live.” The sad truth is that the majority of those who have that life are not living the life we think. So many of them have died of drug overdoses, committed suicide, had multiple divorces and aren’t really happy.
The people who are happy are living a different kind of life. Most of them care more about people than they do money or things. They give freely of themselves and their bounty. It doesn’t matter how much they have they will share even if it leaves them little.
Our vision of how we think we want to live is so very skewed. Wishing always to want things we don’t need, stepping on people to get what we want does not bring joy. Living a life of caring and compassion does.
This is a difficult post to write. Since my husband has been recently diagnosed with dementia our life has changed. We will learn and adapt as we go but some major changes will have to be made.
Our home is one that requires us both to be able to help with its maintenance. It is really too much for me to manage on my own. It is time to move forward and find the right environment for both of us. This will be heart wrenching and particularly hard on my husband but we need to do it now and get settled for the future.
My aunt ( who was really quirky) always said that if you do all the things you CAN do at the moment then you can stop worrying. This is my plan. We will be taking one day at a time. There are still some medical issues to be resolved and the virus hasn’t helped getting those done but we will get there. God is with us.
There have been lots of ups and downs in our life together. This is just another down to get through and look forward to the next up. On the 9th of June we will have been married 58 years. A wonderful journey.