It has almost been 9 months since my mother passed away, and we are 3 weeks away from what would have been her 67th birthday. When reflecting on what it means to have this space away from caregiving and my mother's illness, I am struck by the difference between the two. I feel like I have had to let go of two huge forces in my life - caregiving, and separately, my mother.
I am continuing to unwind and calm down after 10 years of dealing with her illness, and 5 years of direct caregiving. My therapist says I am doing well. My chiropractor says I have a lot of huge stress knots in my back. I have time to go to both!! My dad and I can get together on the weekends just lounging about - and we enjoy it! We no longer feel like something huge is pulling at us, keeping us from true rest and relaxation. I have more energy. I don't feel as guilty doing things I used to enjoy. I am learning how to enjoy these things again. It's definitely weird.
Simultaneously, I am learning how to live without my mother. I am reminded of her so often. Cognizant of the many future moments I so wish she could be a part of. I feel closer to her as she used to be, before her personality disappeared. I've been making her recipes, looking at pictures of us together. Remembering things that my brain had no room for when she was sick, and avoiding memories of her illness and death.
Grief ebbs and flows. It takes a long time! I am allowing myself moments of reconstruction, taking care of things I put off for so many years, giving myself a break from writing about these things.
I still think about you other caregivers out there all the time. What are you experiencing now? What do you wish you had known when you started your journey? I would love to read and share your thoughts and experiences.
Thanks for reading!