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It is nearly six months since my Mom passed away and it is only now that I am starting to see changes in myself. At first the onslaught of grief paralyzed my thoughts and feelings, then the feeling of loss and of being lost, then that of deep loneliness and of being bereft and finally attempts at trying to cope with all that. The triggers that set off my grief are varied and sometimes quite surprising. When I saw some corn planted in the kitchen garden I burst into tears remembering that this was one of her favorites. When looking through my wallet and her club membership card with her photo fell out, I found tears running down my face. My grief seems to have taken a step back, but is still too near the surface for comfort.
And yet, in six months I have changed. I have stopped using food as a crutch and being alone now set my own eating times. The result is that I am shedding all the weight I had accumulated over the years of the past decade. I am feeling better physically and definitely looking better.
It seems that over the past decade I have been going very gradually into a self destructive mode. I was not even aware of it. It is only now that the symptoms, one by one, are stopping that I am becoming aware of how deeply I was on that path of self destruction. I really don’t think I had a choice. Circumstances being what they were, I had to live the way I did. But had I been more aware of the extent this was affecting me, I might have been more vigilant in combatting its damaging effects.
My Mom’s Alzheimer’s disease was not acute, but was felt, and although I was deeply saddened by losing her by inches, I was still grateful that I did still have her for a few glimpses every so often. What I did not realize was how much this slow, tortuous loss was affecting me, that it was a continuous, nagging pressure that never let up. Awake or asleep, the pressure was there. I never realized that actually sleeping an average of three to four hours every night was very slowly eroding my health and killing me by inches.
The realization that the 3-4 hours of sleep was not my norm came only a few days ago when I started sleeping 6-7 hours. The difference this has done to my health and my energy is indescribable. I have even started to dream. I cannot remember my dreams but they ARE dreams, not nightmares. I don’t think that I had slept that deeply or for that long for over ten years. All health articles say that this is one of the worst things to affect your health, lack of enough sleep.
What at first felt like loss, being at a loose end, has now become a strange, exhilarating feeling of freedom. No longer am I frustrated at every turn and constrained from doing a lot of things I would have liked to do. My only constraints are now time and how I feel about it. No obligation, no duty. Now I really understand and fully appreciate my Mom’s advice, less than a month before she passed away, that I should be more selfish. Yes now I come first with me. I am starting to recover from a very difficult period when I was looking after my Mom and had sole responsibility for her physical, mental and emotional well-being, followed by another difficult period, that of her loss. Now my sole responsibility is to myself, and now that I am recovering, I am also discovering how far I had gone down the road of self destruction.
My health is improving, my eating and sleeping habits are getting better. I am now looking at life more clearly, from a different angle. I am seeing it from my perspective, without constraints or obligations. I am living the way I want to, I am doing what I want, when I want to. Nothing drastic, I haven’t gone overboard in anything, except doing exactly what I feel like doing, which was not a luxury that I had had for a very long time. I wake up and sleep when I want, I eat what and when I want, I stay in or go out when I feel like it, and I am surrounded by a great deal of undemanding love from all my pets. My animal family are giving me the emotional sustenance like my human family and friends are giving me the mental challenges and verbal exchanges. My books are my companions and my writings my outlet.
God has blessed me with the ability to see and appreciate all that I have and I am deeply grateful.
20 August 2014