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Top 10 Things I Miss Since Life Got Complicated

Starting in spring 2009, life around here got increasingly complicated with medical / health worries and looming grief on several fronts. The changes to my daily reality often feel beyond grim. I wade through life with a conscious bubble of gratitude around me. Yet, while tossing and turning the other night, I compiled a list of things I miss.

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  1. I miss being able to share undivided attention with Tom and the dogs for more than 30 minutes at once.
  2. I miss the time to take Lilly on long walks or hikes more days than not.
  3. I miss real free time, where I do only what I want and nothing I don’t … once in a while.
  4. I miss the scheduling space to attend dog training classes with Lilly 1-2 times per week. (We literally have not gone to class with dog trainer Gigi Moss once this year, and our last herding lesson was in February.)
  5. I miss the mental bandwidth to think clearly, rather than feeling like there is a thunderstorm in my head.
  6. I miss the time needed to keep an efficient, functioning home, including well-planned meals.
  7. I miss real weekends.
  8. I miss 8-hour (or less) work days.
  9. I miss not feeling a sense of panic as soon as I awake.
  10. I miss the sense that everything is going to be OK for the people in my life.

If you’ve already gone through a stretch in life where lots and lots of people get sick and/or die, I’d love to know how you coped long term.

I think I did really well the first full year. I continued to workout and eat well and take Lilly to class and see friends. The second year got more complicated as financial pressures mounted because these realities affect our ability to earn a living. Job one? Pay the bills. Now that we’re 7 months into year three … I feel like I’m made of cement.

That’s why there weren’t any blog posts last week. I had so much going on (mostly numerous and incredible work deadlines) that something had to give, and that something was the blog for a few days.

I suppose what I miss most is the person I used to be … because this new girl is kind of crabby, not very much fun. She has gained weight. She is aging by the minute. She looks and feels exhausted all the time.

Oh, she fakes is really, really well most days, but she is tuckered out on a cosmic level. Taking small breaks helps some … but it isn’t like these things are going away or getting better … any time soon.

While visiting a friend in hospice the other day, however, something dawned on me:

We owe it to our friends to “witness” their tough times. I’m learning so much from the people in my life who are suffering and struggling. These aren’t lessons one would hope for, but there you go.

I’ll do my best not to ask all of you to witness every doggone thing that looms, but thanks for playing along as Lilly and I try to figure out real life.

 

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Kris @ Attainable Sustainable - November 18, 2011

This is hard to read about; I can only imagine how tough it is to go through. I hope you manage to find some peace in your day to day life!

Living Large - November 15, 2011

These time started in 2001 for me, Roxanne, with a health crisis of my own and the loss of my brother. At the same time, my mother was aging and declining rapidly, in part, due to the loss of her only son. I’ll never forget getting out of the hospital after a major surgery and exactly one week later, watching them load my mother into an ambulance when she had a major heart attack. It was one thing after another from there for us, with her on going care, death and then the recession that left both of us fighting to make enough just to pay the mortgage. I’ve come to the conclusion after a decade of this that this is simply part of life. Some of us have it less stressful than others, for some of us, it is spread out and sometimes it comes in clumps. We each have to find our own way to make our way through the particularly rough patches in order to fully enjoy the good times. For me, that’s always meant taking care of myself and I’ve always found power in positive thought. While I have days with terrible lows, I try to remember that my feeling crappy about the situation will not change it.

sheryl K. - November 11, 2011

I’m so so sorry, Roxanne, you are facing such challenges. And I truly hope you will be able to regain what is lost as time passes. Please give yourself permission to indulge in just one of those things that you miss – if only occasionally. You deserve to take a break and escape every once in a while! And if you don’t take care of yourself, it will be very tough to take care of others.

Pup Fan - November 10, 2011

Unfortunately, it does seem to be true that when it rains it pours. I’ve been through some stretches like this myself – sometimes I think I’ve got the coping thing under control, and others I just feel like I’m drowning under the grief and weight of it all. I think it helps me to look at it as a process, and to remind myself that it’s okay to feel that way sometimes.

I feel like I’m always pushing this series of posts lately, but it really helped me when my mom passed away and I was dealing with a lot of other things in my life – it’s a series on grief by Meghan O’Rourke: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/grieving/features/2011/the_long_goodbye/the_long_goodbye.html

Grief is such a complex and ugly beast to deal with sometimes… I think that for me, trying to find little moments of happiness and knowing that I wasn’t alone was very helpful. So… I just want you to know that you are not alone. If you ever need anything, I’m here to witness for you, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Jen - November 10, 2011

Pretending can take a lot out of you. Not pretending can as well; it’s a hard balance to strike.

Thank you for sharing, and I do hope that there is improvement for you.

Pamela - November 10, 2011

You’ve gotten some wise advice here. I’m afraid I don’t have any of that. But I know the suffering people in your life are benefiting from your care and “witness.”

Peace to you.

Betsy - November 10, 2011

A few years ago when I went through some relentless life trials, the thing that helped me the most was to maintain my routine and try to take care of myself. It always seems that it has no end when you’re in the midst of it, but there will be and end, and it will bring peace. I can’t say that it didn’t change me forever, because it did. But I’m thankful that I now know what is truly important in life and what little things are simply not worth fretting about.

Leland - November 10, 2011

Witnessing… that’s a powerful word… Supporting is another powerful word. I’ve ‘seen’ from a distance that you do both well…. I’m sure the exhaustion takes its toll, but I’ve only known you in this mode, and I can say I have huge amounts of admiration for you. Even in the midst of all this, you take time to be encouraging to others, including me.

One thing I’ll tell you about is a stretch of time where I felt pulled in nine thousand directions, and where the obligations were overwhelming to me… A friend told me to examine WHY I was doing all the things I was doing… was it because I HAD to, or because I CHOSE to. One by one, I went through the list of things I felt responsible for, and most of them were because I chose them. They were a part of who I was… doing what I promised… helping… nurturing… It didn’t get much off my plate, but it did take me out of “why is the world doing this to me” and on to understanding “I am choosing to do this because…” Godspeed to you, dear lady…

Brette Sember - November 10, 2011

Three years is a long time to deal with ongoing crises. I’ve got some ongoing health situations in my house that I am also dealing with (thankfully not life threatening) but still hard to manage, especially since they affect kids. I try to enjoy the good moments when they come. No advice, just sympathy.

Cathy - November 10, 2011

It’s got to be so hard, Roxanne, and I don’t really have much advice either. When my dad was dying, my beloved champ of my heart, my 15-year-old Jack Russell, Roxie, was also on her way out (she died within a month of my dad), but I took a lot of comfort in still having her with me while Dad was sick. I felt like–as you so aptly put it–cement for a good while after losing both of them, but Dad wasn’t sick for long. We were fortunate that way. Three years of your life being virtually on hold has got to seem like a lifetime. I wish you strength and endurance through however much longer you have to go through this. In the meantime, hug Lilly lots and try to make playtime with her a priority when you can. She, and your love for her, will pull you through.

Sam - November 10, 2011

It makes me really sad to read this, especially since I know you as such a life-loving and happy person who deals with stress incredibly well, from our time chatting and our meetup earlier this year. I hate seeing you continue to go through these family struggles because even from all the way over here, they seem amazingly never-ending.

I have no real suggestions for you, just that I’m thinking of you and hope that you can find some time to relax and just not think about anything at all. Please, make sure you find some time to yourself (& don’t you hesitate to shoot me an e-mail if you just need to vent or type everything out).

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