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Next week is Easter, and this year I am looking at it with some trepidation. Every year we celebrated it by having my cousin and her family, and any other cousins who were not traveling out of Cairo, join us for the day. As Easter usually comes around the same time of year, it usually falls on a beautiful day, lovely weather, and therefore we can spend it in the garden. The following day, invariably is a national holiday, an ancient Egyptian traditional feast celebrating Spring, called Sham el Nessim, meaning breathing in the breeze. Usually on that day my friends and neighbors gather here at my house for both breakfast and lunch. A full day of enjoyment of the gorgeous weather, and we all eat all the traditional foods of that day, and are mostly sick over the following few days. But it’s fun.
This year it is different. I really cannot conceive of the idea of filling my house with people celebrating a happy occasion. Not yet. So, at the urging of my cousin, have decided to move to the apartment in town for the duration of the “festivities”. On Good Friday, traditionally, we meet at another cousin’s house, then this year I shall be with my cousin and her family on Easter Sunday. A first for me, celebrating it away from home. Another first is Sham el Nessim, no home gathering, but alternately I am trying to get some friends to gather at the Club for the day. Again another first.
The name of the game now is “change”. I have so many changes in my life. Some very painful, some so very new I cannot yet judge if I like them or not. My new-found “freedom” is still very disturbing. I have to consciously curb my stock reply to any invitation, of having to check first. There is nothing to check except how I feel about the invitation. This is still so new, I have difficulties handling it. Whenever I am invited I always hesitate, not for lack of wanting to agree, but because I am still not used to making decisions on the spot, consulting nothing but the way I feel.
Another change is in my eating habits. I still cannot get used to the amounts of food I should be buying, even with the help of freezing, I seem to be still buying too much. My fridges are overflowing and I try to eat as much as possible but don’t seem to be making much of a dent.
Sometimes other situations arise that strongly highlight my new status. I just had a neighbor come over. This man I had met before while walking his dogs. A pair of beautiful Pedigree German Shepherds. We got to talking and I asked him to let me know if they ever had puppies, I would be interested. He came over today to tell me that he has a young female that he is giving me first dibs on. Dilemma! What do I do? My life is changing so much, I really don’t know how much as yet. Will I still want the added responsibility of a new puppy? I take my responsibility for my pets very, very seriously. Will I have the time, and will I even be staying at the house most of the time, to give her the needed attention, love and care? I really don’t know. I cannot make such a decision now. I really cannot visualize what my life will be like and where I shall be over the next few years. Shall I be traveling more than I did? Shall I be staying more in town than I did before? Shall I be taking more weekends elsewhere more than I did over the past few years? I really don’t know. Another first for me. I cannot really visualize my life over the coming years.
Although I am working on getting some maintenance done to the house, this is a continuous process, an ongoing thing. But a large basic change is something else. I shall be doing some maintenance work bit by bit, but this will not force me into a long term commitment like getting a puppy.
Another first will be this summer. I am trying to visualize going to our chalet at the coast alone. So many changes I have to prepare myself for. But I find I am doing much better than I expected. Although I still suffer very sharp pangs of grief, at the most unexpected times, yet I am functioning much better than anticipated. I no longer dread every morning or every evening. Even with the power cuts and the total blackouts, I don’t feel scared or alone. Except for the one time Pixie nearly gave me a heart attack by ringing Mom’s bell during a blackout, now I feel pretty comfortable, even during blackouts.
I am glad to know that I was right. You force yourself to do something, which after a bit becomes habitual, which then becomes true. I have forced myself to accept living alone, it is now becoming a habit, in a while it will be the norm. I have gone back to some of the activities which I used to do before, like now I am going for our walking exercise with my walking partner every morning. I have gone back to my weekly Ladies’ meeting for lunch. I shall start setting up certain new habits in the hope of having a full life again. Determination, an imagination and a deliberate will to live as good a life as I could manage, will get me there.
What this life will look like? I still don’t know, I cannot visualize it. But I will do my best to make it as full, meaningful and enjoyable as possible. For as long as I am on this earth and still breathing, I shall do my best to enjoy every moment and appreciate every breath.
10 April 2014

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