Saturday, October 5, 2013

Grieving Needs Balance with Self-Care Measures

In recent months my family has celebrated the life of my mom and dad with a memorial service in the Sierra (see photo of my sister and son, Jeff), a dear friend Mary died unexpectedly of a heart attack, Alex, one of my favorite caregivers has stepped down and I am getting used to Shira, Alex's replacement.  The seasons are again changing, and my vision makes it unsafe for me to drive much at night for 6-8 months of the year.  My companion for several years, Curtis, has multiple health issues and feels unsafe driving out of Chico, so I phone him just to chat, and send him e-mails with a few i-photos he might enjoy.
    With aging comes loss, some expected, some sudden, with little time to adapt to the necessary changes.  It helps me to celebrate simple pleasures, like preparing an interesting potluck dish when my energy is at its best, or saying yes to a chance to dance, or attend a special concert with a neighbor.  Sunshine and simple exercises always help me, and I've just begun a class on Stillness Midst the Chaos, where we're learning mindful meditations to help us be more relaxed, present, and okay with whatever arises in our day.
    The driftwood photo above evokes the memory of walking the beach, listening to the waves, and the sound of young children making forts and laughing, oblivious to the fact it is windy and cold.  I have always loved arranging driftwood, and as a child, I'd make gifts for family out of driftwood and manzanita and pinecones. Yesterday I delighted in making a collage to hang of  the fun time in the mountains and a Davis park with my sons, Adrienne, and granddaughters, Taryn and Eliza.  Even midst the waves of grief or focus on loss, it sure helps to pay attention to what is working, what still gives joy.
    Self-care means honoring routines that nurture me on my own, and it means being with others in ways that don't drain me.  Tonight I'll be part of eight women sharing a potluck dinner, and soon I shall get outside to enjoy a warm and sunny autumn day.  This is enough for now!
    Carol  October 5, 2013

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