And So, We Turn the Page

Years gather as links in a chain, some unremarkable, some adorned with jewels, and some bearing the marks of hardship. 2018, for me, would have an arrow shaped charm, pointing upwards, as this year heralded many firsts – a rebirth of sorts.

For 2019, I pray to keep the momentum rolling – that I will continue to create and discover, and that as a writer, I will grow. I look forward to much of what lies ahead, my heart full of gratitude.

The responses to this week’s challenge have brought me much inspiration and comfort this week – words, like elixirs, soothing my soul. I’d like to share some of them here, and ask that you click on the blog name to read the full passage.

From parallax: “There is no point,/ at which to turn,/ though, to be fair,/ there’s always a moment to savour…”

Proscenium reaffirms how much this blogging community means.

Stuff and what if… reminds that “Passions still alive / As the winds of change / Flux and flow”

Willow Poetry offers: “counting quality“.

one letter UP captures the ups and downs of aging: “oozing with wisdom.

Sgeoil recommends “All Things Consoled” by Elizabeth Hay, a book that resonates with my current life circumstance.

The Bee Writes reiterates the importance of setting “concrete” steps towards achieving a goal, and that “perception is everything.”

Culture Shocks considers the symbolism of fog as representative of how we transition into the new year.

Thank you to all who have participated. Sharing this journey with others makes it all that much more valid.

See you tomorrow for another challenge.

Plans Change

‘Transition’ is the focus of my challenge this week. At the time of composing, I thought I would be reviewing last year’s lessons and gifts and preparing myself to greet the new. Life, of course, seldom fits into our neatly packaged plans.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a hotel room, with my alarm set for 4:20 a.m. I’ll be catching a flight early tomorrow, returning home, dealing with a different kind of transition.

Ric and I were out shopping when the text from our youngest son came in: Grandma’s going to the hospital.  She wanted me to let you know.

A few weeks ago, it was her kidneys – one has completely shut down and there is partial blockage in the other. Now it is her bowels.

“I’m scared,” she told me when I reached her by phone.

“I know Mom. I’m on my way.”

In one breath, she doesn’t want the fuss; in another, she tells me her heart has been acting up. She is days away from turning 92.

“At the very least, we’ll celebrate your birthday together,” I tell her.

She doesn’t argue.

Good thing the New Year kicks off without my input.

(Photo is one of Mom’s last outings. I am linking this up with my weekly challenge: transition.)

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #29: Transition

Setting New Year’s resolutions is not my thing. I do, however, honour the passage of one year to another by reviewing what the passing year has entailed and consciously deciding where I would like to focus for the next.

For example, as a young mother of three, having returned to work, I learned to prioritize and be more organized. What I needed in my life for the upcoming year was more fun, and so I opened myself to more opportunities to dance.

The year that I lost my career, my health, and the ability to carry out most mundane tasks, I recognized that life had enrolled me in some very important lessons. Moving into the New Year, I knew I needed to embrace surrender and acceptance.

2018 has been a very full year for me – lots to mull over. It’s time to contemplate, acknowledge, offer gratitude, and transition into a new year.

How do you approach the New Year? Do you set resolutions? Or is the flip of the calendar just another day?

I look forward to your posts.

To participate: Create a post, tag it VJWC, and link back or leave a link in the comments. Read and comment on all posts.

Have a safe and happy New Year all!

Home: A Wrap

We arrived Wednesday, our vehicle stuffed full, including a blow-up mattress for me, who would be camping out the remainder of the week.  Ric would travel back and forth, staying at the RV, and I would manage deliveries, and oversee the laying of new floors.

I set up in the living room (bedroom carpets were to be torn out) – a single bed, a sleeping bag, my computer and a flashlight.

“It doubles as a weapon,” Ric reassured me with a smile on his face.

Finding the bathroom the first night felt like going on safari, the space being so much larger than our current home.  I shut the doors to extraneous rooms, so as not to feel overwhelmed. Then there was the silence.  It is quiet here, beyond words.

“We’re an eight to six community,” a passing neighbour told me.  “Nothing happens before or afterwards.”

As promised, deliveries started – we’ve bought everything new as we’re starting over – and I turned my focus to what goes where, and what else do we need.  It’s a bit like being a newlywed, I thought, building our first nest.  So exciting.

Friday, the flooring team arrived bright and early, and later on our new appliances.  By mid-afternoon, I was exhausted, and lay down in the midst of it and napped.  At six, as the last of the workers left, I collapsed in a chair and considered the tracks of dust and dirt.

Ric went for groceries without me and then headed back.  In the morning, he would pick up a moving van and gather the boys to move the rest of the stuff.

At 4:00 a.m., having slept for five hours, I was wide awake.  I put on the kettle and found the broom and mop.  Silly, I suppose, but it was weighing on me.  The first deliveries came at 8:30 – all needing to be assembled.

Friends arrived, like angels descending, and immediately set to work.  By the time Ric and the boys arrived, we had a bed together, a dining room table, and a chair to sit in.  (I use the royal ‘we’ here – not much effort was exerted on my part.)

Soon the house was filled with more boxes and bodies, and the bustle of activity.  By five, I whisked them away,  muscles refusing to hold me upright any longer.  One last ring of the front bell was a neighbour delivering fresh cherry tomatoes from his garden.

Ric and I sat at our dining room table, eating take out and fresh lettuce with tomatoes, bursting with gratitude for those who took the time to help us, and the contentment of knowing we’re home.

***

This week’s challenge focused on the concept of home.  Olga at Stuff and What If talks about home being a place within, first missing, and then evolving to a place of contentment.   Proscenium, caught in a deluge of constant rain, describes home as a place to get comfy, and “enjoy guilty free living” when the storms come.  Sgeoil’s description of home involves roots, people, and connections, and reminds us that it isn’t always just one setting.

I loved the posts this week, and am extremely grateful for all the comments and encouragement during the transition.  This online community is a home unto itself.

Be well all, and see you tomorrow for a new challenge,

V.J.

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Stumbling Start

“How do you feel about everything that is happening?”  my therapist asked me, last visit. 

“Good,”  I responded, without hesitation.  “I feel as if I’m breaking down barriers:  embracing life and possibility, despite my illness.”

Yesterday, I promised to rest, but there were boxes in the way, and nowhere to sit, so I unpacked one, then decided to clean the bathroom, and then my sister called to say they were dropping by, so I unpacked another and stacked the rest out of the way to make room to sit.  Then I tackled the outside, tidying up as best I could and dragging out the lawn furniture.

“Illness doesn’t go away,” she reminded me gently; “but you are choosing not to let it define you.  Do you think you’ll be able to handle it?”

“I am looking forward to the autonomy – not having to depend on help all the time.”

I ignored dizziness, racing heart, a mounting headache, and pushed on.  This venture is about independence, after all, I told myself.  I need to be able to do it all.

“It will not be without challenges,” she added.  “You will need to establish a new rhythm, not just for yourself but for your marriage.”

Later, when Ric asked if I wanted to go for ice cream, I ignored the mounting fatigue and said yes.  The need to celebrate our transition outweighed physical health.

“Yes,” I agreed, “and my experience of life is that nothing changes unless you are willing to shake it up.  I feel like we are grabbing hold of the helm and charting new waters.  It will be good for us.”

This morning, the fight is gone out of me.  It is nearing noon, and still my body clings to sleep.  I managed to stumble to the counter and make a tea, but am back in bed.  That short journey caused me to sweat.

She hadn’t said it, but I saw it in her eyes as we bade our farewells:  “Take care of yourself.  Enjoy the adventure, but remember to do so with a modicum of restraint; ME/CFS is a real disease, and like many issues that plague us, will not be outrun.”

(Image is another from Ric’s collection of sunset shots:  Lake Huron, Ontario)

 

Letting Go

“I’ll cover the lying down!” I tell the two strangers, who have just entered my bedroom assessing what needs to be moved.

“Good idea!” the tall, lanky one named Josh answers.

The outside air is heavy with the threat of a downpour.  Inside I pull a blanket over my prone body.

th-6I hear the grunts of men hauling my china cabinet, the living room couch, the multitude of boxes, contents unmarked.  How do you define years of accumulation?  Silly really to still be holding on.  They will go to storage and be swallowed up by the black hole of Thingdom, never to be thought of again.

Afterwards, the sour smell of sweat lingering in the air, I wander into the main living area drawn by the echo of my husband’s voice.  He is now the only furnishing in the room.  The dining table stands stark, alone in its space, the kitchen counters glare emptily.

Layers of our lives have been stripped away in a mere hours.  There is more to go, but as this shell is vacated I feel a sudden pull of emotion.  Is it sorrow?  Doubt?  More a philosophical shrug:  What was it all about anyway?

The excitement has tired me and I return to my current profession:  warming my side of the bed.

th-5Tomorrow more strangers will come, set the house up so that it is no longer recognizable as ours.  Having loaded the last essential goods into our truck, we’ll pull away, point the nose of the truck forward, and move on.