Accountability: No one left to blame but you

I have been restless lately. My gardens are growing, the yard doesn’t take as much time and I have no major trips to look forward to. I am struggling to stand still. I took a bit of a break from everything for the last month. Stopped my yoga practices, my positive eating habits, exercising and I have noticed some old habits starting to creep back in. Uggh!

The challenge is that now I am more present than I have ever been in my life. I can’t blame anyone else for my current state. In the past I could say that my actions are justifiable and a coping mechanism for my life. It’s my husband’s fault, it’s my kids fault, it’s the ashrams fault hmmm. I know better. I know that I am the one who decides ultimately what I am going to think, create, action or …quit doing.

One habit I have kept is reading books. I opened one recently around Shamanism and spirit animals. Since I was taking a break from the yoga practices I decided to dust off the shaman literature. 

Put yourself first…there’s that quote again. I thought I was pretty independent and started to count the ways in which I was waiting for someone else to complete something before I could do “my thing”. I expected my husband to help me find a van. I realized I also expected him to drop his projects and help me to “camperize” a van to some extent. The “check lights’ ‘ warning came on in the car. I expected him to either fix it or take it somewhere. The list is long but when should the accountability to take care of things that are important to me start?

I have a new adventure for June. Stop waiting for someone else to do the things I can do myself.

I spent my day fixing our pond in the backyard. I researched pumps, purchased the one I thought worked best for our scenario and arranged it. I waded into the muck and cleaned out the debris. Planted my water plants and spent my afternoon listening to the blissful sound of the waterfall. I can do these things! I can do more. I can be accountable for what I want to do and how I want to be. Blaming anyone else doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Clearly I need to get back positive habits that keep me on track and productive.  It’s one thing to get sidetracked. Before you know it weeks if not months have gone by and good intentions have resulted in time being lost.

I saw a tan and black butterfly today. It fluttered by me and then circled me several times. My first instinct was to grab my camera. I knew if I did I would lose the moment to dance with the butterfly. I chose to stay present and as the butterfly the size of a graceful hand floated around me several times I smiled.

It was a good day to dance and get moving.

Work Aparent

I listen to my grown kids talk about their professions these days and wonder… will they ever find a profession they are passionate about? Is that even a thing anymore? You hear lots of stats that say we will change professions at least 4-5 times or more. I chatted a-bit with my daughter. She is thinking about making a change. After so much education involved in professions are we brave enough to walk away from the money and security to pursue something different? Do we owe it to ourselves to try? She said she is thinking about stopping renting her “self” out for labour. Hah, what a great way to put it. We all got to make a living but do we all get to make the most out of life? Someone mentioned universal income to me the other day. Should we have a society that pays us not to work when we chose not too? The world is such a different place these days. Maybe this is part of the shift and trend in thought? Time will tell.

As a parent, I have changed my views of traditional work theories for my kids. I have changed. Don’t just put your head down and do what pays your bills. Find something that gives you a sense of moving forward. Be brave and able to pivot even if you feel that you owe your profession something of yourself. You don’t, in fact the more the shift and change the more valuable you become to any company worth exploring.

Just me and my dog

Keo as a junior puppy at a dog show, wondering why we are up so early.

I have been part of the dog fancy for over 30 years. My first husband bought me a dog to ‘keep me company’ (in hindsight, that was the beginning of the end). I bought a golden retriever. She was wonderful. I decided to obedience train her and had an instructor who said, “You have a great working dog. Have you considered competing with her?”

Well…that’s all it took. I started obedience, tracking, and rally obedience with her. I then got another golden who was show quality and got into conformation. After goldens, I got into flat-coated retrievers for 22 years. I love that breed, and bred three litters under my own kennel name. I had the #1 flat-coat in Canada in 1999. I think of that dog everyday. He was amazing. I only wish I’d known then what I know now – he and I would have gone even farther.

Fast forward 20 years, and a couple of breeds later, and here I am with Keo. He is my fourth rottweiler. I got into rotties because a very good friend had one I absolutely loved. I told her, “If Ben ever sires a litter, I want a son.” Well, Ben only had one litter and it was all daughters. I was fortunate to get a Ben grandson, Kona.

After having flat-coats, who are an active, inquisitive, extremely intelligent breed – I had a dog whose entire life attitude could be summed up as “meh”. Kona never got too excited about anything. He was a wonderful dog. He helped a few friends get over their fear of rotties because he was so easy-going. He wasn’t the greatest show dog because he just didn’t care. He did it because he loved me, not because he loved showing. He became obsessed with staring at shadows, and would sit through entire movies if animals were involved. Any time anyone pulled out an iPhone or iPad, he’d bump their arms because he wanted YouTube videos of puppies and/or babies.

Makani and Quinn were two other rotties who have shared a life with me. Now, I have Keo.

Keo has a flat-coat intelligence in a rottie body. He is smart, inquisitive, self-amusing, and absolutely loves everyone he meets, especially children. He’s not always an easy dog to live with because he likes to entertain himself, but I love that in a dog. He keeps me entertained.

Keo loves to show. He gets in the show ring and he demands the judge look at him. He’s got “presence”. When I bought him, I knew he’d be my last show dog. I started my show career with a great dog in Riker, and I wanted to end it with Keo.

Imagine my disappointment when, at the age of 2, I get his health clearances done and find he has degenerative joint disease in his elbows. He shouldn’t be used for breeding. So, I had him neutered.

COVID put an end to his show career in 2020. He only needed 3 more points to become a Canadian champion. There was no reason to get the title if he can’t be bred.

I was SO worried he would not adapt to condo living. I’d contacted his breeders and asked them to start finding a home for him. Then, I found this place that allows large dogs. My unit has a walking path behind it. I was concerned he’d bark at everyone and everything on the path. I’d bought a special training collar to use in case it was needed.

Nope. He has adjusted just fine. Sure, he barks at a few – maybe one out of every dozen. There is something about some dogs he just doesn’t like. Fair enough. For the most part, he likes to sit on the backyard deck and watch the world go by.

I’m so happy he’s doing well. I love this dog. It’d break my heart to rehome him, but I’d do what was best for him. Turns out, staying with me is best. He and I have been, and will always be, “Team Keo”. He may no longer be a conformation dog, but we can still compete in obedience, tracking, scent trials, and so much more. With COVID still rampant in my area, we will start with Trick Dog titles we can work on at home.

Just as Riker and I ended up on our own so many years ago, here I am with Keo. It’s just him and me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Living the Dream

I’ve had a week on my own, and I love it. There is so much gratitude in me.

My son and I have a wonderful relationship. We are adjusting to not seeing each other every day. He’s learning independence and I’m learning to let him have it. He comes over to visit (and eat) every second day. I expect this frequency will diminish over time, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts. I get a heartfelt hug every time he leaves.

I have a fantastic network of friends who have, and continue, to support me. Sometimes, it’s by lending a shoulder to cry on. Other times, it’s giving me a kick in the a** and making me look at things differently. I’m thankful for all of them.

I have an encouraging, loving partner. This relationship is like no other I’ve had. For the first several months I believed it was too good to be true. I kept waiting for the “other shoe to drop”. It hasn’t, and I don’t think it will. It’s still relatively new – only 18 months – and we take it day by day. No expectations for the future; simply enjoying what we have, supporting each other, and defining who we are as individuals and as a couple. Martin, if you’re reading this, I adore you (but you already know that).

I have financial independence. I know many women are stuck in unfulfilling marriages because they can’t afford to leave. Or, if they leave, they suffer financial loss. I don’t have that. I have a great job. I have savings and investments. I may not be able to retire as early as I’d thought, but given how much I enjoy my work, it’s not a hardship.

I have my health. Sure, I have allergies and a couple of autoimmune conditions, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s good. Since my CrossFit gym permanently closed, I’ve started a “10 weeks to 5K” running program. I’m not a runner. I don’t enjoy running. Well, I didn’t enjoy it. That’s starting to change. I look forward to seeing how much longer or faster I get week by week.

For the first time ever – I was able to choose a place to live based on only my wants and needs. I wasn’t convinced I’d enjoy a condo as I love gardening. However, knowing I don’t have to spend free time mowing the lawn, weeding, or shovelling snow is appealing. I can fill my home and outdoor spaces with plants and satisfy my green thumb.

I’m having great fun choosing things for the condo. I can buy what appeals to me, decorate the way I want, and not have to consider anyone else’s likes.

Now that most things are put away, I’m bringing my dog home in a few days. I’m not sure how my 120 pound Rottweiler will adjust to condo life, but we’ll give it our best. He will be my walking/running partner, and my son will take him back to the house so he can play time in the big yard with his favourite purple ball. Keo and I have a strong bond and I’m looking forward to having him spend even more time with me.

I’m sitting here with a smile on my face. Life is good. I’m living the dream.

The Next Chapter

I like the analogy of life as a book with chapters. Some chapters are long, others are short, some are exciting, some you can’t wait to end. Every day is an opportunity to add to your current chapter or start a new one.

I’ve started a new one. I moved into my new home a week ago. I have dreamed of this day for at least five years. If you’ve read my blogs, you know I wasn’t in a good marriage. I didn’t want to disrupt my son’s life as he has a great relationship with his step-dad, so I wanted to wait until he graduated from high school. I couldn’t leave then because my dad still lived with us. When Dad moved into assisted living, there was nothing to stop me.

This new chapter is a time of adjustment. I didn’t think I’d “leave the nest” before my son, but it happened. He’s decided to stay at the house with his step-dad. I get it. All his stuff is there, it’s where he’s comfortable, it’s his home. He visits nearly every second day because, as he’s learning, my ex isn’t much for grocery shopping. The first thing he does when he arrives is go to the fridge, and then the pantry. I don’t mind. Before he leaves, I always get a hug. I commented that he’s hugging me more. “It’s because I don’t get to see you everyday.”

He and I are very close. I think me moving out is a good for him. It helps give him independence from me. He and his step-dad live as roommates. He has a great relationship with his step-dad, but even my son acknowledges I’ve always been the parent. When the time comes for him to move out of the house, he will be better prepared emotionally. Truth be told, as much as I love and miss my son, I’m enjoying the quiet and having a space completely my own.

In this new chapter, I get to put myself first. Maybe it’s something I should have done years ago, but as a wife, mother, and caregiver, it was difficult. Now, there’s nothing to stop me.

I chose a home that suited me and my dog. I’m decorating it in a way that makes ME happy. I love that, eventually, everything will have a place and will be in it. My place will always be clean and tidy. It will be filled with plants. I will do things as they suit me and not have someone telling me I’m doing it wrong or how I could be doing it differently. The people I invite into my home will be those who add to my life, not detract from it. It will be filled with happiness and contentment.

As with any new chapter, I’ve reflected and “reread” previous ones. Those are lived and written; there’s nothing I can do to change them. I’m still processing some thoughts and feelings I have about those chapters, and I’m excited to see where this new one takes me. It’s an emotional time. I’m fortunate to have a supportive partner and wonderful friends.

New job, new home, new exercise program – there’s a huge shift in the energy around me.

It feels good.

Emotional Opposites

How many times have you said “I don’t want to know?”

As my ongoing practice develops, I have started to explore the connections between what I am feeling in my body, my state of mind and current energy level. I work on my illusions and what to do about their existence within me.  I have learned a ton about myself through dream yoga. I learn even more through the exploration of the relationship of my subconscious messages being manifested through a feeling of anxiety, gut health and awareness of intentions. 

That’s a lot Vanessa, how do you expect us to understand all that? Lol, well let me try and explain what I mean. I have attachment to certain emotions. I am acutely aware of them entering my realm of feelings. I also observed the effect they are having on me at any given moment. Something happens or someone contacts me with a request or message, it triggers a  feeling and I find myself reverting back to a conditioned response. That response is based on the past and if examined it more closely it has no bearing on the present or future. It’s not logical nor probably true. The old me would have stayed on the concrete stairs (my dream where I just plod up and down the stairs) in a state of mindless self pity, depression, martyrdom or blissful avoidance. 

The new me? I have skills and tools that can help me to navigate the response to the request or message (“red slide response”see my dream post on taking the red path of working with obstacles to push forward). 

In the book, Kundalini-Yoga For The West by Swami Sivananda Radha, there is an exercise in chapter 6. The chapter is working through the Third Cakra-Manipura. This Cakra deals with the root of emotions( among other things). I am sure you have heard of “gut instinct” or “ I have a bad feeling about this”? Have you ever considered that your emotions are getting in the way of seeing situations for what they really are? The saying “I don’t want to know” has become a way for me to cope or coast through many obstacles in life. I can genuinely avoid accountability by saying “I didn’t know”. 

The chapter talks about how to examine your emotions that “cloud” your judgement on what is real or what is imagined. What you are afraid of versus what you choose not to see clearly or validate that which frightens you. Sometimes fear is good. It can keep you alive in certain situations and yet, sometimes it keeps you in a state of emotional paralysis without moving forward.

The exercise in chapter six talks about making a list of your common emotional responses to experiences. Once you have a list, think about the opposite emotion to each.

Here is an example- critical with the opposite being acceptance or frustration with the opposite of satisfied. 

Now you have a couple of examples: how would you change the negative narrative into something positive?

Critical and acceptance- Feedback is neither good nor bad. The source of truth about myself comes from within. All life is precious and deserves compassion. 

Frustration and satisfied- Understanding comes from reflection and a sense of knowing. Knowing leads to satisfaction.

The above is only one of the many exercises in the chapter and the book. It has helped me work through my conditioned responses. Once you open the window to this kind of sight all of the sudden all sorts of doors appear that previously were invisible options. It has taken years to build up these walls. I know they won’t come down just because I can see they exist. I do know, however, that nothing is permanent. Desire, awareness, determination and persistence are part of my being. My emotions that once clouded my judgement or view of what is real versus what is imagined don’t need to define how I move forward now. I have caught on to this scam that was created in my mind and now I have a choice to say “ I don’t know” or to take action based on a desire to understand.

Namaste

Food For Thought

For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly grateful…

One of the habits that was practiced at the ashram was to eat your food in silence. When you are not distracted by talking, it’s an opportunity to concentrate on what and how you are feeding your body. Along with silence, the regular times of eating three meals a day, less meat more vegetables, fruit and alternate sources of protein were followed. My body responded well to the routines and I have tried to keep them up now that I am home. I have noticed that when I don’t eat on time, my stomache lets me know. I consider that great progress for me.

Another ritual I, and others, noticed is how individuals approach the act of eating or better yet, what you do before you eat. We were all pretty curious in regards to this and asked each other at one group gathering if they had a ritual or practice they followed before they ate? Some responded that they pray over their food, some say a mantra or chant, some make a sign over the food like a blessing and others, like me, just start eating. I didn’t want to change my habits, in this regard, while I was there as I felt it wouldn’t be genuine. I was, however, curious as to those that had a ritual or prayer what did it entail?

I remember, as a kid, my dad having a prayer he said “for what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly grateful. May it nourish and strenghthen our bodies. Amen”. I know there are numerous versions of this traditional prayer on the internet. This is the version I heard as a child. It was said in a monotone voice and I never considered it to be anything more than habit that lacked any true sincerity. I think that’s the key in the having this kind of ritual. The belief behind the act. I think I understand the mechanics. It’s an opportunity to focus in, become aware that you are about to intake a substance into your body. To your body you want it to pay attention to the offering and make the most of it. Set an intention as to what to do with the resource. How best to distribute it to the various areas of the human system. I know this all happens automatically without any intervention and yet, does it make a difference if our conscious takes part in what our subconscious does? Verbal communication from the sound of your voice, brain and body has been studied in depth with remarkable connections. Since this ritual would happen at least, three times a day, it has the opportunity to be impactful to changes in habit and consumption.

Those that had a pre-consumption practice at the ashram varied. When they shared the details I was intrigued. One had a prayer they had created. It recognized the source of the food, it asked that the food help the person to use the energy in the best possible way to honor it’s sacrifice. It blessed those that had prepared the food and set the intention that the person eating the contribution would pay it forward in their actions. I like that. Someone else meditated with the food a few minutes before consuming. They manifested how it would help them, how it would serve their body, mind and spirit.

I didn’t choose a ritual to adapt while I was there. I am, though, more aware what is going into my system and my intended use of that energy. If you are like me, in the past I ate while watching TV, reading a book or text, scrolling social media, working, bathing ( yep even the tub had no boundaries). Mindless consumption of anything I put before me. I am aware of the behavior now and can see it trying to needle its way back into my efforts to change. To help me combat that I eat my breakfast and lunch in a quiet room with no distractions. I do, silently, give thanks for the nourishment. I ask my body to make the most of the offering. I am more aware of the chatter inside my head that goes on while I eat. “To do” lists for the day, things I want to explore and other distractions. I treat eating like a meditation and call back the attention to the task as I would call back my attention to my breath. The intention to help make me stronger, healthier and bring a sense of gratitude helps me to focus. Gratitude, that for me and my family, food is plentiful and available. We are privileged to choose from a wide variety and even grow much of our own vegetables if we desire.

Do you have any rituals related to food? Comment If you do as I would love to know what others think of this topic.

Namaste

Doesn’t “Calm” Come First?

I haven’t been very active in this blog for the past couple of months. My life has taken some unexpected, sudden turns and I feel like I’ve missed the “calm” and have landed firmly into the “storm”.

Some of the storm is physical – my dad moving into long-term care, my roommate deciding to buy me out of our home, finding a new home, getting ready to move, and work projects coming fast and furious.

Some of it is emotional – feeling as though I’ve let Dad down (even though he’s the one who asked to move), angry at my roommate (soon to be ex-husband), frustrated from dealing with him, excited about my new place, sad that my CrossFit gym is permanently closing (thank you Covid), and happy with how things are going in my current relationship.

Some of it is mental – I find myself paralyzed by indecision. I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase and set up a home just for *me*. What do I like? How do I want to set it up? What works for *me*?

I alternate between feeling as though I have everything in order and, like today, feeling as though everything is out of control. It’s uncomfortable.

I try to get comfortable through “to do” lists. I love the sense of completion I get when I can cross something off the list. Thing is, the closer I get to the closing date, the longer the “to do” list seems to grow. It feels like a hurricane increasing strength as it moves towards land.

Will the storm’s strength decrease before it reaches land, or will it hit land and wreak havoc?

I need to stay on top of my self-talk and reflect on what I’m feeling.

Yes, I feel overwhelmed. I need to focus on what needs to be done *right now* and not think too far into the future. What do I need to get done today?…tomorrow?

I need to focus on creating a new home and filling it with things that sustain my physical, emotional, and mental well-being and rather than dwelling on what I’m leaving behind.

I need to remember that – yes – as I pack and realize I have a lot of “stuff”, I don’t have to unpack it all in one day. It’ll be OK to move things and decide it doesn’t serve me anymore. Reduce, reuse, and recycle – I can do that anywhere.

I can peruse Pinterest to get ideas for setting up my new home. Or, I can set up the rooms next week and feel free to change my mind as I live in the space.

I may not have experienced a calm before the storm, but I feel there’s a tremendous calm waiting for me after it.

Take The Red Path Home

One of the interesting things about living in an ashram for a couple of months is when you stop living in an ashram. Everything around you is up for review, observance, reflection and most importantly awareness. I started to panic a bit and imagine all sorts of reasons why I would lose what I had gained. All the work I had done on staying present and building an arsenal of tools I can use to help me in my everyday life as well as my interactions with others. Once the panic tempered, it took a while and a lot of repeating “I am functioning from my centre” (chant for clarity in Kundalini system-3rd Cakra Manipura), mantras such as Om Nama Sivaya(remover of obstacles) and staying connected to the ashram through classes (started my first Zoom class on dreams last Sunday).

I am confident, now, that I can do this. Stay with my practices for me, stay aware for me and stay connected to the community. By doing all of this, I can be there and hold space for others. I look around me, listen to how those in my life are fairing right now. New COVID restrictions just came into place that make it almost impossible to be with family and friends. I have observed that most are very tired. The desire to induce a coma state is appealing. Take something (choose your drug) to help you sleep, wake up, go to work, spend a good portion of your day doing something that sucks your energy up like a sponge. Come home, eat whatever is available or order something, at a distance of course, sit in front of your favorite medium of choice-TV, On-line video or series, take something and go to sleep again. On your days off? Take something to ease the realization that you can’t go anywhere or do anything outside of your living space.

Do I have it right? This could very well be our lives for the foreseeable future. What if we choose a different path?

I am working with a dream I had a couple of weeks before I left the ashram. I won’t go into the details ( if you want to look at it,it’s the blog called “ Can you read the signs?”).  I have been working with one symbol from it. The red slide that the little girl and I enter to try and find a way out of the stairwell. 

Here is an excerpt from the dream…

The tube- It’s red and goes down for a bit then raises up. That’s where we get stuck. 

Trying to go up. I can see the stairwell at that point as there is a window in the tube which shows that we are by the stairwell. I am in front of the girl in the tube and it’s me that gets stuck and decides to turn back. She has to scootch backward for us to get out of the tube.

I was curious about the color of the tube. It’s bright red, like the ones that I used to see on the playground when my kids were little. It’s inviting and playful if you want it to be. It can also be hard to navigate if you build up friction or don’t have enough momentum to push yourself forward.

The fact that the tube goes down for a bit and then has a connector that veers upward is telling. 

When I choose a path like this one, at first, all seems fine. It’s an easy down hill slide. I gather some speed and get to work doing whatever it is I want to accomplish. Somewhere in the middle though the obstacles or challenges start to appear. In the dream it’s the upward “kink”. At the junction I noticed a window that opens up to the adjacent stairwell. The same stairwell that I know is familiar and easy to navigate. It’s appealing to just revert back in the tube and walk the stairwell instead. That’s what we do in the dream. We retrace our steps until we find the solid cement ground of the stairwell. Head down, feet firmly planted we begin to go up and down the stairs once again. Nothing changes, no one comes, no one goes and we are unaware of time passing.

Does life feel like this for you? A stairwell you can’t seem to get out off? The challenge is that it’s comfortable and easy. The child, in the dream, seems ok with our progress or lack of progress of finding a way out or coming across her parents. It’s safe and secure.

I am curious what would have happened if we kept going in the red tunnel? What was beyond the connection going up? I know I can use this analogy in my life. I react too quickly to changes. Too willing to abandon the progress and revert back to the stairwell of comfort. I can walk without thought or exertion. The red tube is potential that I am not exploring. Red means creativity, life source, motion, pumping blood to the heart. The tube is more narrow than the stairwell, less ways to escape if it doesn’t work out for me. Yet, what it connects too could open up into a world I have yet to explore. 

I am working on creating the scenarios in my life that encourage red tube options. I have started some Karma Yoga for the ashram from home. My musical background has come in handy with doing some mixing of some of the Bhajans (devotional music) to share back with others in the ashram. I continue to contribute through videos and editing and stay connected with the residence. This path doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It can be both here in my home and there in spirit. It’s a relief to know that I can navigate the red paths while still keeping my sight on the stairwell that runs alongside them.

Find a way to stay awake, stay connected and feed your heart and soul. I have gained so much and I am determined to keep learning. To build on it and explore how to maintain my divine inner light.

Namaste

Change is Tough

“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”- Heraclitus

This quote, along with “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” have been running through my mind a great deal the past while. Do you ever think, “Enough! I’m strong enough! Stop testing me!”?

For the past four years, I’ve been the primary caregiver to my parents. We lost Mom two years ago, and today, I moved my dad into long-term care. I had no idea how difficult the day would be for me. On one hand – he and I are both ready for it. He asked to move. I’m burning out. I know, deep in my heart, it’s the best move for both of us. With his vision loss, he was getting more easily disoriented in the house and it was scaring him. I was responsible for getting his meals, medication, doctor appointments, transportation, and keeping an ear open to make sure he was safe at all times. I couldn’t leave the house for more than an hour or two at a time. We were thrilled when a spot opened at one of the homes we had chosen.

Today was moving day. I thought I’d feel relieved. It’s the last thing I feel. I’m sad because Dad won’t be in the house anymore. As much of a toll as it was taking on me, I feel sad that he won’t be cared for by his family. I feel sad that Dad can’t see what a lovely place he’s at now. He’s got a room that faces the mountains and the airport runway. I know he’s love to sit and watch the planes take off and land. The home has pool tables, plenty of couches for cozy conversation areas, raised gardens outdoors – all things he’d enjoy if he was more able bodied and had his vision.

I’m concerned that he’s going to get disoriented in his new room, despite setting it up much the way he had it at the house. I spent 30 minutes having him walk to/from the bathroom so he felt confident he could find his way on his own. I had to teach him how to “see” with his hands in his new environment – a bit of a challenge for an 83 year old man who is also in cognitive decline.

I worry that he won’t get the care he deserves. I have no reason to believe he won’t, but this is brand new and it’s not me anymore. I need to put faith and trust in others. The people I’ve spoken with the past week, and met today, are lovely people. I’m sure he’ll be well cared for, but I’ll need to hear from him that he’s content.

Dad has to quarantine in his room for 14 days. My niece and I are the only two people who can visit him. His meals and activity workers will spend time with him – but will it be enough stimulation? Will he be bored? How scared is he?

Once quarantine is over, he can leave his room and socialize with others. He will require assistance to get out of his room and into the social areas. Will the staff remember he can’t see? Will they get him out and about? It’s all so new for both of us.

After getting Dad settled and hearing him say, for now, he is happy, we left. I cried all the way home. I feel that I’ve let him down. I know he’d say I haven’t.

It’s tough. Even though it’s a change we were both ready for, and wanted, we’re not prepared for it. Within an hour of getting home, I fell asleep. I can’t remember when I’ve felt this tired. It’s weird not having Dad here. Dinner time came and went. I didn’t have to get him to the table, get his meal ready, and his medication out for him. I don’t hear the TV blasting from his bedroom. There’s an emptiness in the house.

Dad’s move marks the start of more changes. There’s no reason for my roommate and I to live together anymore. I’m free to move. Our mortgage is due and it’s the perfect time for him to buy me out. I’m looking at being a home owner on my own for the first time in my life.

None of this was in the 5 or 10 year plan. Will there ever be a time when my life feels settled, when change isn’t the constant it’s been the past few years? Or, has it always been like this and, as I age, am I simply more aware of it?

So much of how we react to change has to do with mindset and resiliency. Tomorrow, I’ll go back to being a strong, dependable, optimistic woman who can handle whatever life throws at me.

Tonight, I want to be the little girl who misses her dad.