Once Again, I'm Ba-ack!
If you've read this blog any length of time at all, you know that as much as my desire to be consistent is, my life doesn't allow for much consistency. I'm not saying this as an excuse... it's just the way it is.
When you deal with (summarized)...
- multiple physical and mental health issues,
- getting married at 54 years old to someone who was never married... and only being a little over a year into that marriage,
- a grown daughter with multiple physical and mental health issues,
- a struggling freelance business that, though it makes money, never seems to allow me to get ahead, and
- living with my elderly parents and helping them out...
... you don't have much left for things that aren't necessary.
This time it was almost a three-month-long illness (complications from surgery) that ended with my dad's death. I was at the hospital the vast majority of the days, often getting there around 7am.
At first, I tried to work while I was there. In fact, anything posted from September 2023 until the first part of December 2023, was written while I was there. Some were written early on during that time, but due to being interrupted by a doctor or nurse, I didn't finish them until further into the hospital stay.
The stress, exhaustion, and roller-coaster ride that was my dad's illness, as he would get better and we thought he'd go home, only to have a setback, really took a toll. As would be expected, it wore me out emotionally, but it also wore me out physically - so much so, that I got very sick the week before he died and didn't fully recover for over a month.
Until this time I had never dealt with the death of a close family member. Of course, being my age, my grandparents have already passed away, but when they all died, I lived in another state. It was sad but it didn't affect my day-to-day life.
This was completely different. As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I live with my parents. We have always been there to help them out as needed, but there was the underlying knowledge that it was also to be there for the survivor when one of them died.
I had no idea what all happens when a person dies. I don't mean the funeral, burial, etc (though those are more extensive than I realized), but everything else. I've thought about it before because I was a single mom for 15 years and wanted to have as much as possible ready in case I died before my daughter, but there's no way to anticipate everything when it's basically just a thought experiment.
Add to this that in the past few years, my dad has been showing signs of dementia. He was mostly able to stay independent, but his organizational skills went very downhill. He put paperwork wherever he felt like it. So, one of my first tasks after the funeral was over was to scour the house for anywhere paperwork that we needed to move forward could be.
Then I took all of those documents and sorted... and sorted... and sorted. I would think I was done and happen to think of somewhere else to look - and would find more. Remember that I was still sick during this time - and very, very exhausted. For a while, if I sat down without anything urgent that needed to be done, I fell asleep. That's not my norm.
It seemed that there were roadblocks with every step, in addition. For example, my dad's death certificate - which is necessary to do almost anything financially for my mom - had the wrong name on it. We had to wait to get it fixed before we could, as another example, apply for his pension benefits to be switched to my mom's name.
Then when we got all that done, we got the official application for a survivor's pension, the name was wrong on it too! We again had to wait to get it fixed before I could take my mom to get it notarized and sent in to the pension board.
There was also a lot of family drama concerning all this that I won't go into. Just let me say that it's been a major deal and was the cause for me to drop to the lowest low I've had in a few years.
But now, almost two months after my dad's death and close to five since all this started, I'm finally doing more than trying to get "back to normal" (whatever that is). I'm somewhat succeeding.
For the vast majority of these past five months, I've been at home when I wasn't at the hospital or at a photography shoot. My husband and I did get to go on a long-planned and already paid-for vacation when we thought he was getting better, but had to come home early when he took a turn for the worse.
Church, friends, shooting for fun, and even something as small as going out to eat didn't happen. Being able to work was sporadic, at best. Much of what I did regularly before, like my pool workouts, had to be put on the back burner.
I still am spending a lot of time getting everything straight for my mom. I'm trying to streamline things that will make our lives easier, like getting her accounts on auto-pay, rearranging kitchen items so she can get them without help, and moving her prescriptions to a pharmacy much closer to our house.
Hours and hours and hours have been spent on all this... and there are still some things I'm trying to get worked out for her, so it's not over. Knowing it will technically never be "all over," (at least not until she's gone, and I'm trying my best to keep that from happening for a long time), I'm working to adjust to the "new normal."
This new normal will mean getting used to being interrupted when I'm working because she can't reach something (there are never enough low cabinets). The new normal will mean I have to communicate a lot more about my upcoming schedule to make sure she'll be okay while I'm gone. The new normal will mean taking her to doctor's appointments, making sure her bills are paid, and staying on top of car and home maintenance.
But I'm hopeful I can back to doing this... consistently. (Like THAT ever actually happened - LOL!)
You never know, though. After all, doesn't everyone say that anything is possible?