Friday, January 06, 2012

Where To Begin

After a long pause, I finally got around to writing a blog entry on Monday, November 14. I felt a bit adrift then. We were planning a little celebration (of our first date) with some friends. We had a trip to New York scheduled. (Which we took December 5-12. The above picture is our multiple reflections in one of the Bloomingdale Christmas windows.) I couldn't decide what, if anything to do about Christmas and the holidays. Whether to send cards, buy presents for anyone.

On November 16 my mother-in-law died. (The events of that day are somewhat interesting. See Forrest's description here.) That capped off a year and a half during which Forrest had a cancer scare and two surgeries; my dad died; his dad died; I disposed of my Dad's estate; he handled his dad's; and his mother died, leaving us parent-less. Then we begin disposing of his mother's estate.

There were three services, burials and such to arrange during what seemed like such a short time. There were fiduciary duties. There were (mercifully short) trips to MD Anderson, times in hospitals here. Three ambulance rides at the end for parents. Through it all we were very 'lucky.' Lucky FFP's cancer has apparently not spread. Lucky our parents didn't suffer too long. (My mother died in 2002 and, sadly, she did suffer a lot longer than I would have liked. My dad, of course, had his share of problems in the last few years.). But still. We were lucky. We had the money to handle things, for me to retire and take care of things for Dad after mother died. For Forrest to retire. We had time to see my dad through some trouble, to look after some things for his parents. We have the money now to not worry about money but just do what needs to be done with houses and stuff and all that.

Lucky or not, things are different. I realized after my dad died that I'd stayed young (in my own mind) and exuded confidence that I could take care of things trying to help him through his old age. Forrest did most of the things for his mom but her presence made me feel younger. Because she needed us, didn't she? Because we were young and strong and capable, right?

Now we can arrange to travel and not worry about what parental difficulties may arise at home. But, of course, we may find ourselves in difficulties. Can't really escape that.

We have kind of sleep-walked through the last six weeks. We went on with our schedule after a few days of handling my mother-in-law's services. We cleaned the valuables and mementos out of the house. We drifted through Christmas. I finally printed a few cards and sent them post-Christmas. We had a fancy dinner with friends on Christmas Eve and we were invited to a family gathering with someone else's family for Christmas Day. I didn't buy any presents except hostess gifts. FFP and I bought whatever we wanted and I sent money to my nieces and sister.

Now I wake up and it is 2012 and I'm vacillating between wanting to make some changes (blog, write my novel, exercise more, socialize with people, travel here, travel there, get rid of stuff, get new stuff) and wanting to roll down the shutters and be a recluse, changing as little as possible and buying nothing.

Where will I go with it? Will the blog record the journey or will I go back inside my head? Too early to tell. Going through old blog entries for the links in this entry make me realize that sometimes it does help just to write it down.


Louis said...

Having experienced similar life-altering events in a relatively short period of time (loss of a parent, cancer scare and treatment, downsizing and moving to a different state), I will suggest that you give yourself permission to simply do nothing and adjust to your new reality. What you will do next will come to you when you are ready for it, and only then.

Linda Ball said...

Ah, permission do nothing. I really need that today...because I have a face full of cedar pollen (or something). Would love to see you guys, Louis.