Thursday, January 26, 2017
How is Your New Year Going? Life is Always Changing? Dealing with change?
Stress was pretty high the past several months. The winter weather brought things to a head. Ice, snow, slippery steps, slippery mud, rain, rain and more rain just pointed out how dangerous it was for him to live with us. He is a commander and when he wants to do something, it is hard to stop him.
Finally now the barn is safe, the animals are safe again and my father-in-law is now living in a beautiful, safe, cheerful independent living arrangement with my help. In fact I am writing from there today. Change so often is forced into our lives. It is up to us to find the rainbow in those unwelcome changes. We can get mad, fight them, let them make us sick or find a way to make them work in a positive way. That is rarely easy but in the long run, it is the healthiest answer to forced change.
One thing we are in control of, is our reaction to changes and the rocks life throws into our path. It was our desire to keep his dad living with us at our own home. That is not always the best answer in every case. We were always telling him no. He wanted to help us mow at 92 with COPD, help us with the barn roof, take shortcuts through the mud and water, and refuse to hold the rail on the steep stairs. He was confused by our farm life style. He could not understand why we wanted to live in the country with trees falling on the barn. He would get scared when we were on the roof trying to fix it. He got upset every time we were not in the house. Were we hurt? Did we need his help? So after many emotional discussions, we knew living with us in the country was hurting him in this situation.
So with hours of research we found a independent living apt near our house that was wonderful. I would have to be there a lot during the day to make sure he was managing ok, but it would work. This required our dedication to being there every day for several hours. Since I am the one with care giving experience, most of the responsibility would fall on my watch. That meant being away from the house, not having the time for a garden or much else, and being away from the house most of the day. The mental adjustment was hard. I love working on the property and working green. I realized that time for a garden might be gone for this year but that here sitting with him during the day, I could get some writing back into my life. Here there are less distractions and no chores, so no guilt for not doing this or that at home. Other than errands and taking him to play golf, I just have to learn how to concentrate on writing while he has the TV very loud. Keeping track of my thoughts while keeping track of what he needs. His memory goes in and out so it is important for me to be here when it is not working well. I am his stability when he is not functioning well. A balancing act that is easier here than it was at our house.
So now that he is more settled here, I can get back to writing. I still get to be home for a little while in the mornings and evenings for my husband and my animals. I focus on the blessings that he is still functioning on many levels so that he does not need a nursing home. All is all, there are many blessing in all of this.
I know that many of you are going through changes that are hard, much worse than mine. It is our choice to be happy or feel resentment. We can either find the blessing in each change or focus on the pain. You may feel there are no blessings in your situation. At times, it is very difficult to see how your life can ever be positive again. I try to see the lessons in any given situation. My lesson now is to learn to live one day at a time, not knowing what the next bend will bring. I hate that. I am the girl with back up plan one, back up plan two and three. I hate uncertainty. I don't like loose ends. It seems that life right now is full of the unknown. My father-in-law may get worse at any time and require a nursing home or other decisions. He may be fine for months. There is no one who has that answer. So I must learn to go with each day and know that God will help me now and through each step of this uncertain future. We can only do our best on each day. We can only strive to get the most from each step in our life. So I do hope you stay reading this blog as the year goes through. I hope your new year brings you peace, beauty, and joy.
Kate Freer, the Herbladyisin