Mind Cleanup 2021

My 2020 plan to bring some structure and continuity in my blogging seems to have backfired on me. Instead of posting one blog a week as I had in mind, I ended up not posting anything for a year. Woopsie!

At first I thought I was just struggling with finding a topic that coincided with the letter G, in accordance with my own personal A-to-Z challenge. But then again, I had set aside my alphabet theme before when more interesting topics came by, just to pick it up again at a later point. So the letter G is off the hook.

For a while I thought it was just the fact that it was winter. My inner couch potato does always seem to be a bit more dominant when temperatures drop and the sun makes itself scarce. Then I thought it had to do with my desk, or my internet, or some deadline at work.

I think it was only recently that I realized I was simply exhausted. Not physically per se, all though my stamina had definitely seen better days. Not even mentally either, I was functioning perfectly fine in every sense. If I would have to describe it I would say I was worn out on a deeply spiritual level, or as a certain hobbit once put it: sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.

If writing would have been my profession or if someone (other than myself) was actually awaiting my next blogpost, I’m sure I would have been able to produce something. But, as I mention on my blog’s homepage, first and foremost blogging is something I do for myself.

In hindsight I realize that I probably would have benefited from a ‘mind cleanup’ or two along the way. However, the idea of sitting at my desk after a long day at work, just wasn’t appealing to me. So I didn’t. At all.

But what DID I do?

January 2021

My mom’s chemos and immunotherapy, that started in October 2020, continued well into 2021. The treatment weakened her to the brink of her existence. There was very little I could do. I prepared her food that she didn’t want and brought her newspapers and magazines that she couldn’t read.

Also, I worked. My employer was amazingly accommodating and I was given a lot of flexibility to fill in my own time. The more freedom they gave me, the more I felt obligated to put in the hours. I’m weird that way, I guess.

February 2021

In February I started an online course on vegetable gardening and permaculture. It was inspiring and fun and I fully intend to submerse myself in more of that. I do admit that if the pandemic had not forced the course to offer an online version, I would not have had the time or headspace to see it through.

A memorable moment during my mother’s illness, was when her eyes (or rather her eyelids) starting to bleed. Her eyes had been irritated ever since she lost her eyelashes, causing a rash. Of course, the crying didn’t help either. The fact that she looked liked something out of a horror movie is something we can laugh about now… but… no… wasn’t actually funny at the time…

To complicate things further, my father in law was admitted to the hospital (on the other side of the country) a day after my mother was. He had suffered a perforated gut aside from the chronic case of stubbornness. My boyfriend and I did our best to be there for each other and show honest interest in the unique situations our parents were facing. Luckily, our foundations are strong and we don’t always need a lot of words.

March 2021

March was the month in which my mom underwent surgery to remove the tumor from her breast. It went well. Also, the fact that it meant the chemo phase of her treatment was over, was an enormous relief. I have never hated a cure for a disease more. That stuff is horrible.

March was also the month that our country held parlementary elections. As we are speaking, that is nine months later, we still do not have a new government. Don’t ask me why. I guess its complicated.

April 2021

In April one of my best friends was suddenly abandoned by her husband. All though the administrative process surrounding the divorce went relatively smoothly, she was left in absolute shambles emotionally. We spoke about it a lot. We also went for long walks without really speaking much about it at all. She’s not there yet, but she is starting to regain some belief in her ability to survive…

This was also the month that I officially quit my job. That is, I put in my three month notice and announced I would be leaving the company. It made me sad, without ever doubting it was what I needed to do.

May 2021

In May I was vaccinated. Pfizer. Sore arm, but that was it.

June 2021

June was my last month with my employer of six years. It’s the longest I have ever worked for any company. I did my best to document everything I knew and did, even though I knew my method of working was a thing of the past and the company would be moving on quickly after my departure.

July 2021

July was my first month of unemployment.

Also, it was the month that my mother finally got her invitation for the hip replacement surgery she had been craving for for years. Her painful hip was actually the reason she went to the doctor in the first place, more so than the lump she felt in her breast.

August 2021

This summer month felt like a necessary breather. My mother was healing well and I gradually learned to let go as well and let her do things on her own again.

September 2021

The death of a friend’s mother gave September a strange mixture of feelings (gratitude, grief, guilt, joy, love). Her mother was diagnosed with cancer a few months before mine. While my mother was making plans to travel and cook again, her mother was deciding how she wanted her funeral to go.

It was also this month that my father stepped into the spotlight during a week long exhibition of his paintings in a local art gallery. I have never seen him prouder. He sold several paintings and received more compliments than he had imagined he would. He needed that! And for my sweet short haired mother, it was her first time out in public without her wig.

October 2021

In October I started to feel restless. Even though I had not exactly put my heart into the job hunting process (can you ever really?), I really began to miss feeling useful. I did participate in a 5km race and did OK.

My brother let me know that he was ready to seek help for his alcohol addiction. He changed his mind about this at least a hundred times after that, but the wheels had been set in motion…

November 2021

My brother finally went to the rehab clinic in the second week of November and is still there now. I hope to see him in February, after the program is finished. I’m tremendously proud of him!

December 2021

And now it is December. I can’t quite summarize this month just yet, but I can tell you that I got a new job that I will be starting in January. Exciting!

I once again have plans and aspirations for my blog for 2022 and am looking forward to getting started on those in the upcoming weeks. I hope all of you in the WP community have a wonderful last few weeks. Whatever you do, stay gentle.

Crying

This is Blog 3 in my A-Z Blogseries:
Crying

My great aunt passed away last August and my mother still calls me every Sunday (the day they would always chat for hours on the phone) to tell me how much she misses her. I miss her too.

My dear aunt D was a tough cookie who battled cancer like a champ, until there was no more fight left in her.

Needless to say, I cried like a baby at her funeral. All though this is pretty normal behavior for me in funeral-settings it is something people do not expect of me, as I am usually very reserved with my feelings.

As I was one of the people that had volunteered to speak at my aunt’s funeral, I could feel my mother’s slight panic when she saw me go into a full shoulder shaking sob. I felt her (clumsily) trying to comfort me and I heard her whispering a confused “do something!” at my boyfriend.

In hindsight, it was all actually quite funny.

At the time though, it annoyed the hell out of me. I was feeling deep pain for the loss of a wonderfully loving human being. She is gone from this earth and atheist as I am, I do not believe we will ever see each other again.

That shit’s heart breaking!

She deserves my tears and it was a wonderfully appropriate place to do so. One might argue that is precisely what the whole get together was about. She was worthy of the ache in my (hypothetical) soul and if I could do it again, I would cry more, not less.

Last weekend, when visiting my parents my mom put on some music and told me this was a song she wanted to be played at her funeral. We spoke about this for a bit and enjoyed the music.

She then put on a French chanson that, according to her accounts, used to soothe me as a baby.

She then said: “Oh, you might as well play this one as well, so it stops you from crying too hard”.

We laughed, but I was fascinated once more at how uncomfortable my tears apparently make her. I asked her if she would prefer me not to cry when she dies and she said she would consider it an honor…

Isn’t that odd…?