From the beginning of this blog, the emphasis on embracing the journey, each and every little moment and event on the journey, has been clear. It is something Todd believed in and our family embraces. It is something that shapes you, makes you stronger, and can bring to the surface strong emotion, especially when it involves challenges along the way and sweet surprises.
Challenges Along the Way
For those with aging parents, you know this section of the journey involves a lot of time, effort, and emotion. Currently, my dad is under the care of hospice and is able to rest at his home. About the same time he began his month long hospital stay, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and has undergone surgery, with radiation beginning in the next week. This is where the strength building comes into play as siblings work together to make sure everything is covered, from groceries, coordination of nurses, communication with the hospice team, and much more. In addition to strengthening our relationships as siblings, sons, and daughters, there are strong emotions that take hold as you watch your father, the one that taught such great independence, struggle with the simplest of tasks. In these difficult times though, it is the journey itself that carries you through as you reminisce. My brother, sister, mom and I have shared some fond stories while gathering at the home in which we spent many years together. My dad's brother and sister visited this past week and we heard stories about my dad we had never heard before, which brought lots of laughter. Thanks Aunt Judy and Uncle David!
For my own daughters, I know it is hard to watch and support me through this time of loss for my own father, to them "Grandpan,"because just two years ago they lost their father. I have no other words to say in regards to this connection other than to acknowledge the fact that I cannot imagine what they have to carry on their own journey.
Another difficult thing for me is to recognize and accept when sweet surprises are presented to me along the journey. For those that know me well, you know that I am perfectly happy camping with my dog and tagging along with my good friends and neighbors as the widow, single lady from across the street.
That is why it surprised ,not only those close to me, but me as well, when I met someone that I thoroughly enjoy getting to know and spend time with on a regular basis.
Once just a "Brick Oven Buddy," an acquaintance my good friend and I would see each Wednesday at the local pizza and music event, has become much more. The hard part for me is to accept that happiness in a new relationship at 53 is ok! It feels weird ( for my girls and those close to me) because this path on my journey didn't include anything normal or expected since July 2019. However, isn't that what a journey is...unexpected twists and turns, ups and downs? (No need to worry about my special person reading this post, I tell him it feels weird all the time.) This becomes a challenge for me because I have to work hard to stay in the moment and just ask myself if I am happy. I try not to look too far behind and compare this new relationship to what Todd and I shared for 32 years. I try not to look too far forward and wonder where this relationship will be in 1, 5, or even 20 years. I work to embrace the here and now of the journey and realize, yes, I am happy!
So, my journey continues and I am thankful to those that walk along with me as well as the new people I meet along the way. With my full time job coming to a close in May, I hope to have more time to travel and write!