April 20, 2016

digging deep

Hello friends! It's been a long time since I've had a chance to sit down and write in this space. Over the stressful period of the past 8 weeks, between dad's lengthy hospital stay, courses, work, being a mom to a preschooler, I felt like I hit my emotional bottom, like I had completely emptied the well. I felt like there wasn't a moment of my day where I wasn't needed. There were so many challenges along the way, from being called into the hospital repeatedly to try and help dad with particularly bad bouts of delirium, to being called in the middle of the night to say he's been put on life support, to having him look me right in the eyes and then speak jibberish. But last week,  when dad was home with 24 hour care, I remember going to his home, meeting with a nurse to get the low down on his care, running up to the colostomy clinic to get his supplies, and while I was there, his care aid's boss called with an earful of complaints, then while I was trying to leave the supply store, I was getting more calls from Dad with grocery requests, then I was trying to go pick up supplies for him from the red cross, and this was just one day off. I remember standing on the sidewalk outside, tears rolling down my cheeks, thinking, I am going to get sick. And then something clicked in me, I had to make space for myself again. I had re-fuel. And as soon as I made that decision, life didn't feel overwhelming anymore. This past weekend, I went swimming with my family, did laps for half an hour, sat in a steam room and felt like I was on vacation....it felt like the biggest treat I had (who knew $3.50 at a public pool could be my oasis?).....I went to a bbq later that evening with friends and kept catching myself looking around thinking, I am having the best time......I went to the beach with one of my friends and her daughter a few days later and while we sat in the sun, watching our girls play, I thought, I am so lucky to be experiencing this.....It's funny how just taking a bit of time for yourself can shift your perspective. Instead of setting up my tent in Camp Feel Sorry For Myself, I began to realize, everyone has tough things they are going through, but if you balance it out with whatever brings you joy, not only will you get through it, you won't lose your spark in the process. The photos on this post are all within the first three weeks of losing my mom. It was the single hardest time of my life, but I kept carving out space for joy, and it is what got me though it all. Looking at the photos you would never know that my heart was in a million pieces at that time. My mom passed away at 9 pm on a Monday night, and I remember the very next morning taking my daughter to her sports class. I sat there in a daze watching her, and sure enough, before long, I was smiling. Watching her abundant joy in that class always brought me happiness and I knew it was worth a shot to see if it could lift me. Always keep close tabs on what makes you happiest and make sure you carve out time for it. Think of it as essential as eating and sleeping. For myself, my happy place looks like: walking in beautiful parks with my family, taking photos, dinner parties with friends, setting up our home, feeling the sun on my face, it's the adrenaline rush of exercise, pushing myself in dance classes, hiking, camping, travelling, putting my feet in the sand, exploring farms, swimming in the ocean, staying in a cabin, it's being woken up by my daughter jumping into bed, it's late night cups of tea with Craig, it's hearing a song you love performed live, outdoor concerts, watching an inspiring documentary, a book you can't put down, a brilliant comedian, laughing so hard you pee (a little), but most of all its a full house of friends/family. If you feel like life is out of balance and that you are run ragged in your days, turn off your phone for a bit, you know, like in the olden days (the 90s) when we didn't have to be available 24/7......pick something from your list of what brings you joy, and invest back in yourself. Namaste. xoxo

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