Hi friends I am really happy to be able to join the ‘Word Of The Week’ link up today. The reason why I am blogging on the weekend is that I have time! So my word of the week is…..
I wasn’t used to having spare time and it has taken a lot of adjusting. Up until March last year, I cared for my elderly mum. And I wouldn’t ever change the time I was able to do that for the whole world. When she passed she not only left a huge hole in my heart. She also left me feeling lost with endless chunks of time and I hated it!
When she was alive I used to wish for more hours in the day so that I wasn’t always rushing around. Trying to squeeze in full-time work, household stuff and care for her. I don’t think that I did everything successfully as I was always frazzled, and not as patient as I wish I could have been.
In the weeks after her passing and life returned to ‘normal’ I would get home from work and I would just sit there wishing for my usual afternoon routine that involved caring for my mumma. I used to joke with my colleagues when I said goodbye after work and say “see you tomorrow, I’m off to do the night shift now”. Oh, how I longed for those days and I still do!
Up until about a month ago, I think that I was masking my grief by being extremely busy. I did everything I could just to stay busy so that I wouldn’t have to think or feel. Then I would fall into bed and sleep….isn’t sleep a wonderful temporary relief from sadness?
In May last year, about a month after my mum had passed I redid her bedroom and changed it completely. Seeing it the way she left it just hurt too much. So I emptied it and painted it all white. While I was busy working on her room I found that I didn’t have time to think. I made sure of this by listening to audiobooks or playing music very loudly.
And I didn’t stop there I went on to paint my bedroom the hallway and the dining room. All while I was off from preschool and on term breaks. I did everything possible to stop myself from thinking. And I was determined to fill up any spare time that I had by doing something that required me to stay very very busy.
I thought I was doing great by being so productive. Go me!! So when I had my phone consultation with the grief counsellor and she asked me what I had been up to. I rattled off a very long list of all the things that I had been doing. I expected her to congratulate me and tell me how amazing I was and how well I was coping. Maybe I thought, just maybe she would even say that I was all cured of grief and good to go. But no…..she was very quiet. Then she gently said, “don’t you think that you might not be giving yourself time to grieve?”.
Initially for me having any spare time equalled feelings of guilt. I know that this probably doesn’t make much sense. But all I could think of was how could I enjoy any spare time when that meant that my mum was gone. It’s crazy what grief does to your thinking, isn’t it?
Everyone always says that time heals. I agree, time does heal but I’m not sure that you can ever be completely healed after you lose someone you love very much. I had pretty much exhausted myself over about six months and then I got sick with Covid. And that pretty much stopped me in my tracks. I was so sick I could hardly move and I had all the time in the world to think. I recovered from covid and then I had to face my grief. Dang!
I have spent a lot of time thinking and feeling lately. And I have spoken to many close friends who have helped me immensely by sharing their own experiences dealing with grief. I have prayed, I have cried……a lot. And now I am starting to find that I am not so afraid of spare time anymore.
This past week is probably the first week where I have done things because I wanted to and not because I was desperate to fill up time. I have taken my time cooking meals and I actually enjoyed the process. I have done decluttering and organizing. Not because I felt scared that I had nothing to do but because I actually felt like doing these things. I have even wasted time and not felt guilty! Truly a first.
Some Final Thoughts
I’m naturally a happy person and I don’t like being sad. But I never fake my feelings. If I’m sad you’ll know about it that’s for sure. Now as I reflect back on the past few months I know that I have come a long way. While I was going through my ‘busy’ season I still found satisfaction in doing what I was doing. I mean I’m glad that I did paint most of the house. I did enjoy the fun times with my family and I was happy when I went on all the special outings.
But I think that the whole time I was doing all the things. I had a yucky feeling of guilt in the pit of my stomach. I felt guilty about having time to enjoy life. It’s taken a lot for me to stop thinking like this. And slowly with a whole lot of reassurance, I am starting to believe that it’s ok to have time and it’s ok for me to take this time to do things that I enjoy. Yes, now I am sure that my mum would want that for me too.