This morning we as a family laid Mom to rest in a beautiful, simple ceremony. We got to say our earthly goodbyes and send her off with love and beautiful flowers. We shared donuts and coffee at home and once again held each other up.
What will stick with me forever about today is something that could be seen as unimportant to some but I am almost 40 years old and spent the better part of my life trying to convince my hard working mother to join me for a manicure. As a child I desperately wanted to paint her nails! She always had an excuse and said no because she wasn’t into that sort of thing! We lived on a farm, It wasn’t practical! She painted mine as a child but never hers! This morning as I got to say my last earthly goodbye to my Mom I was drawn her her beautiful hands, the hands that raised me, that tended our home and farm, the hands that cared for our pets and horses. The hands that cooked our meals, grew our food, baked treats, and held us up when life was hard.
This morning her beautiful hard working, well lived hands had the sweetest shade of pale peach nail polish applied to them. Very faint almost easy to miss but my heart noticed right away.
Today a stranger who cared for my Mom in her last earthly moments gave me the gift of seeing my mothers well lived hands look peaceful and beautiful. A stranger gave me a gift they have no idea I’ll carry the rest of my life.
For that I thank every one of you in the death care industry.
You would of been 77 today. You would of told us you wanted nothing for your birthday but then been thrilled with the gifts and cake. You would of snuck a second helping over the kitchen sink leaving nothing but crumbs and a frosting covered knife to give you away. I wish you were here. But as you spend your first heavenly birthday please know we are honouring your special day down here too. Nancy got the most beautiful delicious cake and together we ate and said your name. We will always remember your birthday and continue to say your name because you still walk beside us even if we can’t see you. Happy heavenly Birthday Mom 🌹
I asked my Mom for a white Christmas just an hour or so before she left us 2 weeks ago. She delivered today. I cried and laughed simultaneously. I can’t explain the way I felt today. I can tell you I’m not ready to pack Christmas away. At dinner we left an empty chair between my Father and my husband. This too made me both smile & feel empty and sad at the same time. Navigating the holiday season through this season of grief has been hard. And so know my journey has only just begun. I’m thankful to be surrounded by an amazing group of friends who continue to check on me, who continue to do little things to raise my spirits. I’m thankful Christmas Day was white and snowy. Im thankful for the memories of Christmases past with my Mom. I’m thankful and I’m sad. In the words of the Grinch “Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand. ❤️❄️❄️❄️🎄🎄🎄💔
I’ve got a lot I should update about but I’m not ready. I’m sad and grief is absolutely unmapped territory.
So instead I’ll share some photos from today. Our day was quiet but productive. We got groceries, I hugged a friend, I drank coffee sitting down, I left the house, I ate yummy food, I wore my festive pants and I felt all the feels. A friend dropped off lovely flowers and fun Rae Dunn things to cheer me up. I thought a lot about my friends who are checking in and showing up. It means the world to me.
But I saw something today that really slapped me in the face and got my attention!! Now I’m sharing it with you because it’s so important and no one tells you this!!!! Don’t put your well-being at risk to avoid making a scene or hurting someone’s feelings!! This goes for all the things listed below but also for friendships, jobs, marriages, family dinners, appointments, etc!! If something is making you uncomfortable you don’t owe it to anybody to stay there and suffer!!!
I think this resonates with me so deeply for a number of reasons but especially because of how long I stayed working for an abusive employer because I felt I had too!! I was raised to believe you don’t quit and now thanks to life experience and therapy I know it’s ok to quit! It’s ok to put myself first! It’s ok to walk away!!!
It’s funny writing this today after coming home from my shift at my new job which I absolutely love. I think about what I worked through at my last job and feel so incredibly grateful to now be working for a family who values me as nurse, as a caregiver, and most importantly as a person!
When I left my last job I truly didn’t know if I’d ever return to nursing but after a long hiatus involving therapy, self discovery, self love, and healing I’m so thankful to have found a job in the field I love that reminds me why I went into health care in the first place. I’m so thankful to have found a family to help that truly is thankful for my help.
I now know it’s ok to leave when you don’t feel right about a situation. It’s ok to leave when you aren’t being respected, it’s okay to walk away. You don’t owe your well being to anyone except you!!
This morning I crawled out of my warm bed to take Muffin out to pee. I was hit with cold air upon opening the door! Cold air I haven’t felt since early last spring! I rushed Muff along and upon returning inside took a moment to crawl into bed beside Jacob. His barely awake warm self instantly embraced me and we cuddled for a solid 10 minutes before going about our regular before school routine. Now as I sit here reflecting on the morning I realize how much those ten minutes changed my day. They made me feel loved and relaxed and that put me in a great mood. I had more patience with my parents this morning and generally find myself less stressed!!
I hope our cuddle had the same effect on his day and I hope he never outgrows Momma cuddles! ❤️
The passing of time is a cruel reminder that life is only so many seasons long. I’m sitting here this morning trying to figure out where the Summer went.
I’m thankful we got to spend time as a family making memories. As I look towards the approaching Fall I have an extremely strong grasp on what’s important to me while everything else seems to be spiralling out of control around me.
With that being said, honestly im exhausted. We are about to start down a brand new path of a child in school learning, a husband with a permanent injury attempting to go back to work, and continuing to weather the storm of aging parents.
Every time I think I’ve caught my breath something seems to push be back under the wave I’m trying not to drown in. I think I’m tired of trying to fill that void.
Let’s be real here…. Clearly this year I haven’t stuck to the Thankful Thursday posts this year. It’s one more thing that has fallen to the wayside due in major part to the massive changes in my life. Why when I type that does it sound like such a cop-out? I think because I’m still trying to learn to cope with the changes. Learning to navigate.
Obviously the project didn’t go according to plan! I haven’t done one of the Thankful Thursday posts in a couple months. Those of you who know me in real life probably already know the reason for that! It’s not because I’m not finding things to be thankful for but because my life has been absolutely full of change. Massive changes that required my full attention and presence. In early January I learned my parents sold their home. It blindsided all of us because the house wasn’t listed for sale. They never told us they planned to do this. They just did it. Now I’m not going to go into a lot of personal detail here but know my parents are both heading towards 80 and we knew right away the best case scenario was for them was to move in with us. It would make things “easier” for us to be able to provide them care as required with them in our home. Things have been tough since covid hit. We found ourselves trying to maintain helping them as needed but also trying to maintain the required distance as required by local laws a d for safety sake of all involved. It was a lot and often didn’t work as well as we needed to.
It was a few months of organizing, purging, cleaning, packing, but mostly reassuring, talking, explaining, and trying to process my own feelings while trying to support my parents as their entire world changed.
It’s been 3 months now and it’s safe to say the honeymoon is over and real life slapped me in the face like a barn door in a wind storm. I’m doing my best to try to achieve that balance of keeping my little core families needs met by prioritizing time with just the three of us. Sometimes it’s easier than others but we did get in a trip up to Hundred mile for a week on the lake! We also got to escape to the island for a week to visit with Kevin’s family. Both were much needed. I’m also trying to maintain my own small space for my needs while being hugely responsible for the needs of my parents.
I find myself waffling between wanting to use this as my space to write about the trials and tribulations of caring for my aging parents, a place to scream about the horrors and hurt caused by dementia and memory loss. A place to word vomit it all out! At the same time I find myself a bit fearful and confused. I guess I’m torn between knowing what I need for my brain to process all this and also knowing that some family members read this and being very aware that reading about some of this on a public internet blog might not sit well. Well… I guess this is my official content warning…. I might blog about things you don’t agree with. You don’t have to be here. I hope you stay and can be supportive but nothing is forcing you to continue reading.
It’s interesting to me that I find myself posting any sort of warning to someone who really only follows along for information. To a person(s) who doesn’t actually offer any support or advice or even any genuine care. So before you pass your unwelcome, unneeded, unrequested judgement on my posts, my life, or how I choose to process this part of my journey please ask yourself this, are you actually part of my life? Like really part of my life or just a “Facebook friend” ? Please know my heart is not closed to any of you but also know I won’t wait by the front gate for any of you to maybe drop by. I will however always answer my phone and my door to respectful relationships with all of you!
Not everyone is going to like this…. but here it is…. Your mental health and well-being are more important than your job, than your career. More important than your deadlines, your to do list. Bigger than that event you said you’d attend. More important than your size. Bigger than money. More important than other people’s moods. If taking care of your mental health means letting someone else down than let them down. You’re mental health is more important than other people’s opinions of you. Its more important than status. You cannot be successful unless you take care of your own needs. Expressing your emotions and feelings is not a sign of weakness. Doing your best doesn’t mean pleasing all the people all the time. Do the things you need to do for your own well-being. You’re more of an asset to your family when you treat yourself with the love and respect you need and deserve. Fill your own cup and love yourself ❤️
Ten weeks of 2021 have come and gone. As I age I really realize how quickly time moves and somedays it’s really hard to swallow.
Speaking of time, Yesterday was a busy day!! The first half was all about hurry up and wait! I had to wait for the sourdough bread to do its thing so I could get it baked and out the door to 2 friends! It’s kinda neat to know something I create is being used to create a meal for another family to have dinner tonight! Covid may mean we can’t be together but we can stay connected!
The rest of the day was errands and groceries! I really enjoyed getting out of the house, even if was just for groceries. Kevin took me to my favourite local market (Ralph’s) and to Homesense! We went to Costco and he stopped and got me some Apple AirPods because the noise canceling function was recommended to me to help my mental health! I desperately need quiet to function and feel whole.
I’m very thankful I’ve got a husband who makes me take advice that may help me despite the cost.
Muffin would like you to know she’s extremely thankful for guacamole 🤣 This pup begged for guacamole and chips for an hour last night! She made me laugh!