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Time to think some new thoughts


swilkinson

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I am a born nurturer. I had thirteen years looking after my dear Ray before he died, I thought that was the end of my caregiving days but somehow I just go on caring for people, not in my home, not every day but as the need arises. I do this partly as the pastoral worker for my church and partly out in the community with the friends I have made in the dementia and stroke groups. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind doing it, but I do get tired, sometimes very tired. So a few days out in desert country with my son cooking the meals and not being expected to do much was a real break. I love Broken Hill, it may be really hot, hot, hot and it may be a dustylittle city with those winds blowing out of the desert but it is serene and uncomplicated and I know I am in the country not the suburbs.

 

I had Trevor here for a few days before Christmas and enjoyed his company. We did some shopping, he did some odd jobs that needed doing and we bought a dresser to replace one I hoped he could fix but he couldn't. Mind you I had had it since the 70s so I guess it didn't owe me anything.He also had his access visits from his little daughter Alice while he was here, her first time sleeping overnight at Granny Sue's place and we had a lot of fun with her. I enjoyed cooking for two or three instead of just for one. We had some meals out too which was nice, no slaving over the stove in our summer heat. And we also enjoyed meals out with my other former daughter-in-law and my other three grandchildren who are with their Mum for the summer holidays so that was great too.

 

I hadn't been looking forward to Christmas, the being on your own thing somehow gets in the way of total enjoyment, to me there is always a place that should have had Ray in it. I know after four years maybe people are right when they say "you should be over it" and on the whole I am but special days like Christmas Day, Father's Day, birthdays and holidays still get to me and I want to be a part of that original couple Sue'n'Ray.There are so many memories attached to that name, so many past experiences, it is hard to shake off the feeling that on my own I am incomplete. So I sat at my daughter's table,enjoyed the massive Christmas dinner her husband Craig cooked, watched the six grandchildren enjoying themselves getting to know each other again, smiled, chatted, laughed but had that empty feeling inside. Craig's mother who is also a widow had a sad look on her face too so I guess she was feeling the same.

 

But the after Christmas days flew by and then Trevor and I were off to Broken Hill. Before we left we did have a nephew and his family call in to see us and to catch up with Trevor and Alice, his teenage girls took an interest in Alice and with an older step-brother she is comfortable around teenagers so it was a lovely visit. Although we arrived at Broken Hill on New Year's Eve in time for our evening meal I didn't see New Year's Day in, after a fourteen hour drive and having left home at 4am I let the world celebrate on it's own. I don't think Trevor stayed up either. But it is good to feel I was not apart from family even if I was away from home, I have had so many visits to Broken Hill it just seems like an extension of home to me now. I love my caravan, it is too hot in summer to have an afternoon nap in it but just to have a place to retreat to is good. Out in my caravan I feel independent and always get a good night's sleep with the exception of a couple of really humid nights when I tossed and turned a bit.

 

Trevor did work a few hours while I was there but I always have books to read with me so I can do that anywhere. It is part of my life now, the capability to sit down and read whenever I have nothing else I need to do. How I longed for that time to come when I was so busy being a caregiver 24/7 but really I do often feel at times as if my life is empty of purpose now. At my age I doubt that is going to change, all I can really do is try to fill up the time with worthwhile pursuits. I never really trained for retirement. I left work to look after Ray and Mum and Dad, Dad died and eventually Mum went into care and then I just looked after Ray. I looked after him at home and visited him daily in the nursing home when he went into care so retirement came to me with his death, no pre-training, no golden handshake, just the realisation that time without a particular purpose stretched ahead of me. For a while I was very lost and lonely but recently have felt that I am okay now, okay with filling up my time and ending the day satisfied I have done something with my time. I am hoping to build on that this year, to do a few things differently.

 

So my word for this year is: ENJOY. I had JOY as my word for 2016 and I did find some joy in each day but sometimes it took a bit of effort to find it. This year I am going to try to enjoy the day as it goes along. I know it will not be possible every day as we all have our ups and downs but it will be in the back of my mind that I mean to enjoy the day. None of us know how much life we have left, especially at my age but I realise now that what life will bring it will bring and somehow we have to get used to the idea that life is not within our power to control. I see people struggling with that thought here and in the real world I live in. We all want to think we can control our own destiny. I too want to have some control over my life but know now with the wisdom born of pain that it is not going to be more than a little control. And in 2017 I need to learn to be happy with that.

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Securing summer wear in winter little bit of that warmth send my way would be nice I'm glad you had a chance to get away for a couple days being a caretaker of others whether they could give the community or through pastoral care of your church is a blessing and I'm sure everyone is blessed to have you there supporting them but it's also exhausting we need to take time to recharge your own batteries that is not selfish at all if you use up all your resources helping others then you won't be able to help me anymore spending time with family is always a blessing I'm glad you had the opportunity be well my friend and enjoy 2017

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Sue :

 

I can  see you are relaxing now & letting it go & started going with flow of life instead of resisting it. big change I see in you since I have been reading your blogs.  I think that's best way to enjoy life do your best every day without any expectation & have fun. Happy New year to you.

 

Asha

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Sue you are complete in yur incompleteness. You are true love story. Ray is your soul mate and you feel him always there. Is it imaginings and if so why would you ever want to move away from it? I see you lucky to have love always around with enough to spill over oto everyone else. But you have sense to recharge gather more marbles in the jar to play again and leftovers to share. love is recyclable only. we need some to give some. remember then.

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Pam, giving love out in whatever form you can helps, you are a giver like me so you always look for someone to help.  I have little old ladies I visit and  when they sit and talk and smile that helps me as much as it helps them.  Family and friends, in the end it is all we need.

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