“As you read this, my Hubby and I are taking a few days away to reconnect with each other.”
That was my opening sentence of my last newsletter to subscribers back on October 18. Life has a habit of throwing curve balls and we never know what each day brings and when our strength will be tested.
I wanted to write this post because, you, my readers mean a great deal to me and although I don’t really have to explain, I wanted to fill you all in on what is happening at the moment.
Instead of leaving for a few nights away at beautiful Ballina Manor, on Sunday morning at 5am we were called to the hospital as my 94 year old, mother-in-law, Luisa had had a stroke and was not expected to survive. After 11 days, (longer than was expected) she passed peacefully on 29th October.
You might say, ‘she had a good innings’ but to us it was totally unexpected. My husband had spent a lovely couple of hours with her on the Thursday. On Saturday, I visited a normal and our ‘project’ for the day was to transfer her winter clothes out of her wardrobe and bring in her summer clothes. She even had selected her outfit for Mass the following morning.
There was no hint, that anything was wrong.
The funeral is next Thursday, so I wanted to write a quick post to explain my absence and also that I may not be as regular with my emails or blog posts for the next month, or even until the rest of the year. I’ve cancelled all my interviews for the podcast, haven’t written any blog posts and my mindset isn’t in the right place to do this at the moment.
For those of you who have experienced the loss of a loved one, you can understand that we all grieve and cope in our own way. I’ve had to draw on inner strength to support my husband and his family during this difficult and unexpected time. Part of my ‘job’ was to send daily morning and evening text updates to the family as well as spending hours with my husband and MIL. The staff at her aged care home were so loving and caring to her and to us. We were also pleased that she could return to her own room in familiar surroundings to spend her last few days.
How am I coping?
Not that great to be honest. I have days where I just can’t function and have to push to get through them. Everyone says that is normal and to be kind to myself. If you know me, you will know that I would also be giving that advice to others but I’ve come to realise that we all have to find our own way to get through.
What is helping?
After sitting for long hours with my MIL I realised that I wasn’t looking after myself and my needs. My husband and I were sitting most of the day, grabbing a quick coffee and not eating well. I knew I had to change this as we needed to keep healthy and strong. Since her passing we have been busy organising her funeral. Life goes on.
What is helping at the moment?
- I’ve continued to do my Strong Healthy Women Workouts three mornings per week. I’ve not always felt like doing it but I have felt so much better mentally and physically after the session.
- I’ve taken long mindful walks along the beach where I live
- I’ve been surrounded by love and support from my children and friends. I have a weekly chat with a small group of friends who are scattered across Australia and the world and this has helped me tremendously.
- Yesterday I went for a long run with my Saturday Sisters and had breakfast with them. It was good for my mind, body and spirit as I pushed my body to run and then enjoy some time with my dearest friends.
- I’m reading more – mainly books that I can get lost in and not have to think too hard about the content
- I’ve stepped out of the blogging world for a time
- I’m doing what I need to do that I feel is right for me and today that was writing this post to you all to explain.
- I revisited two of my podcast interviews that were pertinent to me at this time. Grief and Loss with Karen Chaston from Live, Love by Design, and one about Creative Memorial Planning with Jenny Leigh Hodgins. This experience has reinforced my belief that we need to make arrangements for what we want to happen when we die.
I had a few podcasts already scheduled so here are the last few for your listening (or viewing on YouTube).
- Keep Moving, Keep Doing, Keep Living through On with the Butter
- Learning to Say ‘No’ – an important lesson in retirement
- When Life Knocks You Down – Finding Strength, Courage and Resilience
What have I learned about coping?
- I’ve learned that we all deal with situations in our own way and for me that might be taking time out when I need to, but also reaching out and writing to you all to stay connected. For me, it is also tying up loose ends and responsibilities so I don’t feel like I’m letting people down.
- I’ve learned it is okay to just ‘be’ and not do anything
- I’ve learned that some days you feel churned up inside and you just need to get through the day
- I’ve learned that sometimes it is okay to not feel okay.
- I’ve learned that given time, life will get back to some sort of ‘normality’ but…
I’ve also learned that when major events happen in life, it can be the perfect opportunity to make changes in your life going forward, that perhaps you have been to afraid to make in the past.
So that has been life for the last two weeks and thank you to all who have sent loving messages of support. Until next time….