Loss, Grief, and Joy

Crazy August

It’s been almost three weeks since my last post. Between a busy schedule, losses within the family, the changing weather, and allergy season, it’s been a crazy few weeks. With so many appointments since I came home from the hospital, we finally tried to schedule a week off so I could relax a little more. I couldn’t do a full week because of all the appointments, so we split it, doing appointments Monday through Wednesday one week, and Thursday and Friday the following week, so I would have Thursday to Wednesday off in between. We planned to visit Ben’s cousin and her store, wanted to do some birdwatching and hoped to relax at home some as well.

Instead, I ended up getting sick. It started as allergies, and then the congestion got worse. I never ran a fever, never lost my sense of taste or smell or anything that would indicate Covid, but we stayed home just to be safe. It lasted a few days, just long enough for us to have to cancel any plans we’d made. I have pretty severe allergies and sometimes when the weather changes a lot, they get really bad and can turn into an infection. After resting for a couple of days, I felt much better.

The changing weather hasn’t been easy on my body. August was a very rainy month, and while September hasn’t had as much rain so far, we’ve had a cold front and then a warm front move in. For both Ben and I, this impacts our bodies with the changes in Barometric Pressure. My right ankle has been swollen and sore, and my left wrist aches a lot. It’s a new normal for me. Ben’s feet tend to swell up, and his pain level increases a lot when the weather changes.

On Loss and Living

We’ve also had several other deaths in the family. I was closer to some of those who passed away than others, but it is still a loss either way, and my heart hurts for family members who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Loss seems to be so much a part of life.

Most of the time, I’m doing pretty well and don’t think much about what has happened. I do have moments though when it hits me, and the magnitude of the loss we’ve had can be overwhelming. It is something I have to work through, have to give myself time to grieve and acknowledge the losses. It’s not only the loss of loved ones, but the loss of this past year, the loss of the normal use of my left side, and the loss of our normal that I grieve. I know that life will never be the same again. How can it be, when so much bad has happened?

Yet I think of the Lord of the Rings, and Samwise. He gave a speech to Frodo that has stood out to me so many times.

I know there is still good in this world. I know that good things can and will still happen, despite the bad. And that is what I hold on to. On difficult days, I pull myself out of nightmares that will never fully go away, but I look for the good, and it helps. The little cards and notes people send, the gifts, someone opening a door for me, a beautiful sunrise or a butterfly gently landing on a flower. There is still good, even on the darkest of days. Finding joy isn’t just about being happy when things are good. It’s about finding good, even in when it’s really tough.

Adventures Outdoors:

I’ve continued to go to Nature Places for walks between appointments, as part of physical therapy. Northwest Lower Michigan is such a beautiful place! I was able to hike about 1/2 mile at one of the nature places before I found a place where I could actually sit down. It was challenging, and really pushing it, but I made it. One of the biggest challenges about nature places is that once I get in, I have to walk back out. There’s no one to rescue me, no way to get picked back up, no one to carry me out. Even when people are with me, it would be very difficult for anyone else to try to carry me, so I have to walk it. It’s challenging, but in a good way.

I also made it up a rather steep hill for the first time, and then back down. It was a very good challenge, and again pushed my limits a little, but in a good way.

Harvest Time

We’re moving into fall, and Harvest Season. I love all of the food that is ready to harvest, and the color that comes with the leaves changing into fall.

Pets

I don’t always share our animals, but I snapped a picture of the dogs on the only trip I’ve been able to take them out birdwatching so far since the accident. We didn’t go far, but they were excited to travel. We got new seat covers and rugs for the vehicle, as well as a dog seat cover to help keep the dogs where they are supposed to be and safe. We are also working on converting a chicken coop into a rabbit cage for some of our bunnies to live in.

Until next time

-Cindy

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