If you’ve been following me or my blog, you’ll know that I took time out of my business, and life generally, to care for my dad. Sadly, he passed away last month.
The privilege of caring
As you can imagine, it’s been a difficult time, but I take solace in the fact that I did as much as I possibly could for him since my mum passed away. I organised her funeral in the UK, and brought her ashes home to Ireland so she could be buried in the family plot. I traveled back and forth to the UK, flying into Exeter and driving my dad (and his dogs) back to Ireland to stay with us. When he decided to move close by, I helped him find a new home, helped him pack, organised the movers and helped him set up his new home. When he was settled in, I’d drop my son off at school then pop in and make him breakfast. I’d pop back later and he’d stay with us for lunch and dinner, going home later. Initially, he was able to drive him self around, but as his health deteriorated, I became his chauffeur. When his health deteriorated even more, he came to live with us. Many’s a time he’d wake up in the middle of the night, not realising the time, wanting a cup of coffee. Caring for him in his last years has been a privilege, but not without it’s down side. Like when we had to change his bedding several times a day. Or when the only food he would eat came from the chip shop, because mum always made chips with dinner.
I won’t lie, there were days when it was hard, but I have no regrets. I did my best and in doing so, taught my son how I want to be treated. Dad never wanted to go into a nursing home, and the only times he set foot in one was for respite. For that I am infinitely grateful.
A new chapter
And so I’m embarking on a new chapter in my life. Life has been very strange since dad passed away. After all the arrangement were made, and dad was buried next to mum, I now have time on my hands. It took me a while to sleep through the night, not having to listen out for dad in case he needed anything. It’s also taken a while to relax without feeling guilty.
It’s weird, not having to plan things to ensure that if I went out, there was someone in the house in case he needed anything.
It’s weird being able to eat what I want, because I’m not juggling the needs of 2 fussy eaters.
It’s even weird being able to go out. After becoming a virtual hermit, its strange getting out and meeting people.
I also have my house back. We can go though things like family photographs and get rid of the hundreds of photos of the garden that my mum proudly took, decluttering them down to treasured memories. I’m even creating an album for my nephew showing his mum growing up and the photos of him as a baby and child, before his mum passed away so suddenly. We have bought a scanner to scan in all the negatives, so they aren’t lost, but many of the photos were of someone else’s memories, and they won’t be of interest to someone else.
Project “get a life”
I’ve called this new chapter Project: Get a Life.
Part one is getting my home back, making it a home, not a nursing home. I’m going to turn dad’s room into an office/study. A place where I can build a new business and my son can have his home school. The garden room we built for my dad and his model trains will become my healing room. A place where I can practice the skills I’ve learnt as a healer, and a mediation space where my spirit can heal. (Perhaps as a reflection of my circumstances, I took courses in Reiki, Crystal and Angelic healing in the last few months.)
I’ve bought different journals, one as my sons home school journal, one for ideas, one to focus on my business ideas. This has helped my clarify what I want and don’t want in this new chapter. The goals, the adventures, the fun. It’s where my life coaching skills are coming into their own. For example, we’ve been to the local tourist information office and got all the leaflets for the area, planning my son’s home school learning with loads of field trips. I’ve even updated my vision board, knowing that there are many less obstacles to implementing them now, and the possibilities are not quite infinite, but close.
So that’s where I am now.
Assessing where I am, where I want to be and creating a road map of how to get there.
Healer, heal thyself. Coach, coach thyself.