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how will I know when it is time to make changes?



I have just been chatting to a friend on a different site. We have been cyber friends since 2006. She and I both had husbands diagnosed with Dementia about the same time so joined a Dementia site which is no longer operating. Her husband is still alive, in his third year in a nursing home and of course my good man has gone. We are both bad sleepers so sometimes chat in the middle of the night, she is in Western Australia so two hours behind me time wise.


I know it is silly to ask how will I know when it is time to make changes, it is like asking how long is a piece of string. It is individual and makes no sense to pre-empt it or make decisions until your heart is right with the change itself. My friend has moved out of her rented house and into a granny flat in her daughter's back yard. She would like to go out on her own again but finances do not allow for that while she is also supporting her husband. She gets holidays by pet sitting, she likes houses near a beach as she lives inland.


I seem to be still in transition. It would help if the cabin was completed, if I had all the under house cleaned out and knew if it would be possible to live in a two bedroom villa or if I would feel claustrophobic. I visited a friend in one last week and it did seem very small. I have high ceilings here so never feel closed in. I need a lot of cupboard space too. I would still like to keep some of my momentos from the past and of course a lot of photo albums and other bits and pieces I brought from my parents' place. That means a bigger unit than my friend has but I don't want it to be hard to upkeep.


Just the process of selling would be a burden to me. I know some people are ruthless and out it all goes but I have already had regrets about a lot of what I gave away or threw out from under the house. I've needed a couple of the tools I gave to the men from the Men's Shed and no longer have that rich supply of nuts and bolts and saws and hammers and... all that other interesting junk. What would I be like if I downsized the kitchen and then found I did need a garlic crusher or a meat cleaver or any of the rest of the clutter I have in the drawers and cupboards. I know I could replace them but very rarely with the same quality tools.


I didn't blog on my birthday as it was mainly a non-event. I had some phone calls, some nice emails and some birthday wishes on Facebook. I had phone calls the day after too as people looked at the calendar and said: "oops, missed Sue's birthday again." I do that too. The calendar on Facebook is a good reminder as the date leaps up at me, but still forget to wish some people a happy birthday. It is partly the times we live in where it seems acceptable to forget because "we are all busy people". I did have dinner out with my DIL Pam and her three, at a place that has a very nice buffet so that was a good close to the day. And of course the girls in chat helped me celebrate too.


This is the first year without having Trev and Edie and family close by and that was my sea anchor, so now I feel as if I am drifting a bit. I know Shirley would have made a fuss had she been here but she is so busy where she is and a quick phone call has to be enough. Not satisfactory really and that loneliness still hangs over the special days when it should be "family time". Yesterday was Alice's second birthday so I rang three times, in the morning she talked her baby talk to me, at lunchtime she was busy running around and was too wound up to talk and at night she said "sank oo" for her present, and she did like the rag doll I sent so that was fine. I can manage one long distant relationship, not sure I can manage three.


Should I give up the visits back to the organisations I belonged to? Another question I ask myself. I don't feel as attached to them as I used to though I still have friends I would like to continue to support. It is a dilemma, I don't know how to resolve it at the moment, the WAGS stroke recovery group is less important now but Strokenet is still very important and I am happy to be known as a volunteer. I don't go to one of the Dementia groups now and don't go to the meetings at the nursing home either. But I do keep in touch with individuals from the groups. So I am gradually weaning myself away from the groups. Not easy as they were an essential part of who I was a caregiver to Mum and to Ray. But although that is gone forever I still have a caregiver's heart.


Still contemplating some changes in my role at Church, I've almost decided I don't want a role with a title. I have always been a behind-the-scenes person. Partly because that has made it easier to get alongside of people. And partly because I can swim against the tide and help hurting people without everyone knowing what I am doing. Thus doesn't quite fit into our present "teams" so I might just have to say "no" to the job that our minister wants me to do. Hate to do that but hopefully we will discuss it and see if he has a problem with that.


Changes, changes, all around I see. i'd sing that chorus but that is all the words I can remember. Big storms here last night, it was rainy and cold the last couple of nights. Warm May has gone and cold old June is with us. No snow on the Snowy Mountains which is a disaster for the tourist operators here and left a lot of people with a long weekend and nowhere to go. If it fines up they can go to the beach maybe...lol.


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Sue: I do know, for me, I would have a very difficult time leaving our home and how much this home means to Bruce, but I am also realistic and at some time would be forced to do it. I look to my neighbor who has stayed in the family home 15 years now since Brian left us. She has totally redone it, finished out her retirement. Loves her yard but she is tired of New England winters and her family is pressuring her to relocate closer to them. It is such a hard decision.


If I go first, I am thrilled that Bruce will be able to stay in this home with some solid help.


But, for me anyway, when cleaning out if I am hesitant, sorrowful or overwhelmed, I just stop. That is not the time to decide. Plus I only have Brittany to consider. All the good stuff: lawn mower, trimmer, oil, etc. has already gone to my BIL. Britt is not going to want two chain saws - LOL.


Just keep your options open. Consider, investigate and don't rush into anything. But that is not your nature anyway. I know you love your family home-yours and Rays home. Brian planted a pink dogwood for Gloria for their 30th wedding anniversary several years before he passed. It flourished but the blizzard several years back took out half of it - still the Arborist tried to save it. This winter was just too much and it had to come down. Somehow, for her, that was the closure she was looking for. I pray every day to be given that sign. Debbie

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Sue -- you are answering your own questions ….. don't rush , but do what feels right for YOU - for a change, you have lived your entire past life taking care of everyone else, it is now your turn…no wrong decisions here…just more , "life"

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Sue I can understand your not wanting to leave your home just yet. I have thought about the same thing here. I have friends who have moved into condos or villas and they are happy. I know I would not want to be here by myself as the maintenance and yard are a lot to deal with. I seem to panic when things break or need updating.


Changes can be good. After all, you will still have your friends and family and Stroke Net.



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"I still seem to be in transition." It seems to me that as long as that statement is true, it is probably not time to make a decision to move. I also noticed that as you spoke about the downsizing you are considering, you mostly described the losses that would come with that move. When you spoke of your current home, it was the things that bless you in your home: spaciousness, room for the occasional use items. Of course, there is also the distance from family and that simply hurts. I'm just noticing these things. Only you can know whether they tell you to stay or go.


Just the comments on your post indicate how each of us are so different in the way we respond! The most important thing is to pay attention to what brings each of us comfort and joy. For me, I have no intention of leaving our home even if I am eventually alone, which I am essentially now anyway. It is maintenance provided so I don't have to worry about mowing or snow shoveling. And it is now accessible so I can age in it. My family is close so that is not an issue, but it would have a major factor in my decision if they weren't nearby. I love our home and it has been a real solace for me in the midst of the struggles of recent years. It pains me that Lauren can't benefit from it anymore. That, however, is out of my control.


I continue to think of you as you make your way into this new world that has been, once again, thrust upon you. When we are in charge of major life changes, we adjust to them much more easily, I think. It's when they come at us and gut-punch us that we are left reeling. But, strong people that we are, we make our way through and that is what you are doing. Blessings, ~~Donna

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Hi Sue, please do not rush about selling your home. It will come to you. My aunty out of the blue, called me to tell me she has moved out of her beatiful home, and moved into a villa, and loves it. She haded always lived in a five bed-room sometimes three bathroom. With the kids grown up and grandkids she wants to be closer too them. My Uncle is still living, but he is very busy, while Aunty have two knee operations can not drive, and can not keep the house clean like she used to do. So Sue, do what suites Sue!


Understand about what you feel is a good fit foryou at church. Again, do you!


God bless Sue



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