Did I mention life stepped in?
On 4 July 2014 I flew to Massachusetts to begin my summer with the family. My mom/mema was in a rehabilitation hospital recovering from a fall. I had seen her in May at a different hospital and I have to admit I was worried about her. Well when I got to the hospital on 5 July to visit the doctor very bluntly said to my dad/papa that mom would not be coming home. She needed 24/7 care because of mobility issues and she was in full blown Alzheimer’s. This doctor cares for both my parents. He said to my dad - she needs more care than you can give her at home. He had my dad complete care and DNR paperwork right then and there. I have to admit I was kind of shocked and grateful that the doctor was so honest. I held back tears as I wanted to be strong for both of them.
Right then and there my plans for retirement changed. I just kept thinking things happen for a reason - retirement happened at the right time.
After the summer passed, which gave me time to keep an eye on my dad, I made the decision to spend one month in Massachusetts and one month at home. This would enable me to keep an eye on my parents and still live my own life. My father very sternly told me that I was not to change my life and he did not want me to live with him. So we call it extended visits.
I don't mean to sound maudlin and I don't want anyone to feel sad for me. I actually had a good year. I completely broke away from work. I did spend more time with my family. I met many new people. I took a fabulous road trip for three weeks in January with my friend Mary. I drive a new car that my father insisted on leasing for me to chauffeur him. I have a good life and I am so blessed in many ways.
What have I learned in the last year? I learned how truly valuable life is and how important family and friends are to life! I learned that although I was never a mother I do have maternal protective instincts...especially when it comes to my mother's care. I learned patience as I spend time with my father and how his OCD tendencies actually help him in daily life. I learned how I truly am like my parents in many ways - imagine that! I learned to share my bed with a dog for a month at a time - Lady might be little but she likes to sleep in the middle of the bed. I learned to be professional (sometimes) in tough situations when I wanted to rip someone's head off. I learned that I miss my colleagues and the stimulating discussions/disagreements we often had. I learned that I miss the sense of accomplishment I felt when a project was moving along or finished. My father recently said to me, "I'm not used to anyone questioning why I want to do something?" My response was I did that all the time at work I guess it's a habit! I learned that happiness can be found in the smallest of things. I have learned to create memories almost daily. I learned that I can share moments both funny and serious via this blog or on FB and people are supportive either way. I also hope the stories resonate with them.
I have not gotten a job yet. I did submit one resume and participated in one phone interview last month so perhaps I'm starting down the path. I have looked into a couple of volunteer opportunities, but have found the right fit yet. I have not expanded my coaching business yet although I have some ideas and need to reach out to a few people. I did create a FB page for the business and have noticed a few new followers. I let my other business trickle down to almost nothing, but it's difficult to run that business when I'm not in town all the time. I tried to network as much as possible when I'm Virginia. Just thinking I might want to try networking when I'm in Massachusetts...hmmm something to think about.
Retirement may not be what I planned and/or expected, but as a friend would say: it is what it is!
I want to publicly thank all of you who have read my blogs and followed my ups and downs over the years. I appreciate your support and hopefully will continue to provide you with stories you can relate to; as well as inspiration and encouragement for the future. Blessings to all of you.
I will leave it here for today. I am headed to the airport with my niece who will be spending a couple of weeks with me in Virginia. Take care. Chat soon. Marie
Clouds come floating into my life,
no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky.
- Rabindranath Tagore
Referrals are always appreciated.