Poof!

Poof! All my hard work and writing gone. Nothing, nada, zilch. Neither my web host nor WordPress can recover my documents. All but a few posts gone. (Why oh why didn’t I create them in a separate word document and then just upload them to the blog?)  So the “Adventure” blog came to a halt. BUT, I have continued to practice all the lessons I learned from the book “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, And It’s All Small Stuff” by author, Richard Carlson, PhD. And you know what? It has made a difference. While not a perfect student, I have managed to take it down a notch, breath deeper, judge less, listen more and incorporate the strategies that make life more enjoyable! Isn’t that what it’s all about?

So now what? Where do I go from here? Before moving forward, I need to recap three major life altering events that detoured me from continuing to blog.

First, my husband was diagnosed with Stage IV, metastatic melanoma. A deadly, devastating blow for us both. Luckily for him (and for us) advances in medicine, immunotherapy drugs, prayers, prayers, prayers, faith, faith, faith, an amazing medical team, combined with the love and support from family and friends, the cancer is GONE!  POOF! One year after the completion of treatments, all clean scan, and according to the oncologist, the word CURE is now a reality. God is good!

About one year prior to the time of my husband’s cancer diagnosis, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. She has been a widow for twenty years and resided in her home next to ours, and though she required some supervision, she was able to manage in her home setting…for a while. During the time we were in a life-saving battle with cancer, we were also juggling her ever-increasing needs. Keeping up with my husband’s medical treatments, doctor visits, scans, etc., while managing our day to day duties at the restaurant and catering businesses, keeping tabs on our rental units, and coordinating ours and the caregiver’s schedule, began to take its toll. Rapid changes in her ability to care for herself, combined with major personality and behavior changes, her inability to sleep or be alone, increased the amount of caregiving that she required. Making her meals, doing laundry and household chores, and keeping her “busy”, began to wear on us both. Finally, after much agony, and after the holidays had passed, we realized that her needs would best be met in a personal care home setting; offering round the clock care, activities and meals. We could visit and take her out without worrying about the times we could not be with her. We needed that peace of mind. However, the transition for her did not go well, and she was miserable most of the time. Her behaviors, agitation and wandering worsened, and we were asked to seek new accommodations for her. Thankfully, there are several facilities nearby that provide specialized care for the Alzheimer and dementia population. I am happy to report that the transition to her new home went very well and she says, “I’m happy”. Poof! Gone is the worry and guilt.

Then my best friend, Nancy, who has been my sidekick, partner in crime, part-time employee, part time care-giver, dog sitter, and the shoulder that I leaned on more than anyone, ever, just up a died. She just up and died doing what she loved best, and that was working in her yard and tending to her beautiful flower beds. I had been with her in the morning, prior to her passing. She was helping us with a few tasks at the restaurant, while my husband and I went on an overnight mini vacation, to fish, dine, relax and take a breather from all we’d been through. After a beautiful day in the outdoors, and while on our way to our hotel, I received a call on my cell phone from her neighbor, that Nancy had died late that afternoon. The shock was unbearable, as I had received several texts from her that day to tell me to relax and have a good time. She had been at our home to walk and feed the dogs. She had been at the restaurant to take a bite home to eat. She had even made our bank deposit!  I just couldn’t imagine that she was gone and that I was never going to laugh or cry with her ever again. I couldn’t imagine that she would be missing from our praise band at church, I couldn’t believe that she would be missing  from our annual Kentucky Derby party.

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Nancy and Erin Kentucky Derby Party

I would never sit at her kitchen table and talk over a cup of coffee to unload my problems, catch up on her activities, or just pass time with friendly chit chat. As I write this, my heart is aching for my friend. I eulogized my best friend at her memorial service, as did her niece and son. Nancy packed the church with those people whose lives she had touched. She was a huge OU fan and we filed out of the church chanting, “Boomer – Sooner”, to the OU fight song. Later that evening, with close family and friends gathered in her back yard, we planted Nancy’s ashes with her flowers. We didn’t care if that type of burial is legal or not, because she would have liked that and that’s all that matters. Poof! Another chapter in life closed.

As they safe, life can change on a dime, in a heartbeat, or in a New York minute, and it does. Life IS short. Priorities change. Loved ones pass. Children become adults (hopefully), and finding peace and contentment while juggling a thousand things seems almost impossible, but it’s not. Inner peace and Joie De Vivre (joy of life!) resides within us all. Pursue it, grab it and make it your own….

I’m sure another adventure is around the corner. Life will gone on, and eventually I will adjust to my new reality. In the meantime, I’ll give myself some latitude, start writing again, keeping it simple and not sweating the small stuff!

 

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CHANGING COURSE

If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.

~ Ancient Chinese Proverb

Well that certainly struck a chord of truth for me, as I ask myself, “Where are you headed?”  I started this blog almost two years ago, connected with a few women here and abroad, but never really plotted my course, or challenged myself to do more, be more, interact more. I didn’t connect with my readers to come on board. The Quest has been drifting for a year without a post, a thought, or her ship’s captain. She has no mates, no ports of call, nor vision. But that, my friends, is about to change. Without direction we may never arrive where we intend, without a course to follow we just drift with the tides and currents.

I’ve been thinking that it’s time to change direction and energize the blog with a fresh new idea. I’ve been educating myself on the uses of social media, re-examining my vision and looking deep into my desires to determine what I actually want for an outcome.

In the next few blogs, I will reveal the new course; the Quest’s new destination and the challenge ahead for myself and my readers. I will boldly step out and seek your input, your triumphs, joys and struggles. My goal is to engage your brain and actions in living a life less stressed, more thoughtful and more present.

I’m back and I hope you’re with me!

Barb Roberts, AKA Dreama

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