Besides the huge change in my life due to the loss of my Mom, I am now experiencing some very small, continuous changes that are turning my life into something different. I cannot say if they are to the better or to the worse, but just different, and as such still quite uncomfortable.
The first change I felt was the silence. Although I have a houseful of pets, yet no human voices. Before there were always voices around. My Mom talking to her nurse, or the nurse talking on her mobile or to the houseboy. The noises made by the pets receded into the background. But now, no voices, just pet noises. So automatically I find that I turn the TV on just so that I have voices in the background again. An illusion of human company.
The second change is when I am about to leave the house. I always told my Mom that I was leaving, always told her where I’ll be and approximately when I’ll be back. Now there is nobody to tell. I don’t have to account to anyone. But strangely enough it feels like something is missing. I need to let someone know if I am going out, if I am having lunch out, if I am going to be late. Yet nobody needs to know that and I can be as early or as late as I want to without anybody being worried about me or reproaching me. This I really miss. It is so strange, because quite often it used to irk me to have to hurry back home because I did not want to worry my Mom by being later than the time I had told her I would be back. Now I feel lost. This “freedom” to come and go as I please is very worrisome. I feel that I am missing the accountability, but it is really missing the knowledge that there was someone who cared what happened to me. Though I have family and friends who call, some even on a daily basis, yet it is still not the same. Living alone needs a bit of getting used to.
The third change is in my eating habits. Now there is no set time for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I eat when I am hungry, and don’t eat if I don’t feel like it. More often than not, when I am alone at home, I don’t even bother to eat a proper meal, I either have a sandwich or a snack of some sort. But now, more often than not I find myself eating out, and that is wreaking havoc with my digestion, and is not very good for my health either. The food in the fridge is piling up, and if I don’t start giving it away, I shall be throwing it out pretty soon. This was never a problem before. I seemed to attract nurses who were forever hungry or who used yo take large amounts of food with them when they took their time off every fortnight.
This change in my eating habits is now affecting another habit and changing it. For the first time in my life I no longer go shopping as often as I used to, or even buying the same amount of stuff I used to. This is a very difficult habit to break. I have to deliberately downsize the amounts. No longer a large carton of eggs, just a small one as I don’t eat that many eggs anymore. No more buying 2 or 3 kilos of vegetables, now just a small, prepackaged foam plate, of maximum two kinds of vegetables, if I want to eat them, and not throw them out for aging in my fridge. Even the fruit I buy now has to be in pretty small amounts. A very difficult adjustment to someone who used to shop by the cart, maybe twice a week.
Although I am trying to reinstate some of my previous habits that might ground me a bit and give me a sense of continuity, such as starting to go for my walking exercise with my walking partner again, yet it still feels strange, because now I can do it every day and do not have the constraints that limited me to certain days of the week. Before, when the nurse went off for her fortnightly weekend, I could not go for my exercise as I could not leave my Mom alone. Now that I could go whenever I want, it does not feel right.
Another far more basic change is in my sleeping habit. I always leave my bedroom door open, ostensibly so that the pets would come and go without disturbing me. But the truth is, I always slept with half my mind and the other half was always on alert, listening for my Mom if she needed anything, or for any movements in the house by the nurse, during the night. For years now I have not slept deeply and completely relaxed, except when I was traveling away from home. Now that I am back home I cannot seem able to break the habit of this half sleep. I can hear every move the cats make throughout the night, and they seem to become hyper during those hours. I am sure if a clumsy burglar stumbled into the house, I would take it in stride as the shenanigans of the cats, as usual.
Another change is that now I can be impulsive. A couple of friends dropped in and though I was planning to give them lunch, the power was out so we could not heat it up. They suggested we go out to lunch. At first I could not adjust to the idea, in the back of my mind I was sure there was something that would make this course of action not feasible. But I could find no objection that made sense. So off I went. I could never have done that before. I could never be that impulsive, that free. It is this freedom that is making me feel a bit lost. Like I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that I can now travel whenever I want to. It still feels very strange.
I am not sure what other changes I shall be experiencing, but just these few are causing me a great deal of discomfort. They are not good or bad, they are just strange, unfamiliar things that I guess I will have to get used to eventually.
29 March 2014