Transitions

17 03 2017

rxs

17 March 2017

Many of you know that my daughter was diagnosed with a serious health issue in April. Since then, there have been multiple hospital stays during which someone, mostly me, has remained with her. Recently, it was a nine-day visit which included the ICU. During that time, I was 150% focused on her, managing the multitude of medications, tests, and decisions that occurred while working with a multi-disciplinary team.

I was ever so thankful when she was discharged, but still I provided a wide range of tasks while she regained her strength at home. As each day passed, I was needed less and less, a miraculous event. I was honored to have helped in the process, grateful my schedule was flexible, and just thrilled that it all had made a difference. But I found myself struggling with the transition from being “Kay’s Mom” to “Beth” again. I felt a bit like a yo-yo, focusing on her and her only, and then flipping back to my life – what was it that I used to do with my time? And there also was the question: how to return to my life, especially knowing that I might have to drop it again at a moment’s notice?

I share this with my partner, a therapist with forty-plus years of experience working with people. “I tell my clients that transitions are hard,” he says. I wait for more from him, more insight, perhaps some gently prodding questions or a  hug. But that’s it.

beth-on-the-fence-at-bluff-point

And it’s exactly that type of communication/lack of response (among a slew of more serious things) that led me to decide to make a break from this three-and-a-half year partnership. And it’s yet another transition, this time from being in a relationship to being single. What happens with the space that has been devoted to Relationship and Other when they are gone? What flows in to fill up the time, the mind, and the heart?

Well, I definitely am writing more. I put these ideas out there, into cyberspace. Sometimes I get heartfelt responses, sometimes not too much. Either way, that feels better than what I was getting when I was coupled. I’ve returned to my part-time, short-term position with the city’s Arts and Culture Office. I’ve reconnected with a writing partner. I am trying to resume my meditation practice. I am spending more time outside. I am playing less solitaire and eating less chocolate, both of which were indicators of my stress level.

I’ve also noticed that it’s amazing what comes when there is space. Even unaware of my relationship change, one friend volunteers to shovel my driveway after a significant storm. Another sends me an interesting article about forest bathing, the process of experiencing the healing atmosphere of a woodland environment. A third brings a full-course meal to my back porch. Someone suggests a book that provides a significant boost to my creativity and courage. In fact, life is rich and fills my spaces with meaning.

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16 responses

17 03 2017
Ruth Speed

My thoughts are with you Beth. You are a remarkable lady with whom I connected quite by accident. Life sometimes throws us a curve here and there. How we handle these situations gives those around us a view into the heart.

17 03 2017
Beth Lapin

Marty, wise words, thank you. A view into the heart.

17 03 2017
anngrasso

We are new acquaintances – and yet, connected. Your words let me know you better and I see it as an act of bravery and strength that you share. Now that you know what “space” looks like, my encouragement to you is to keep each week filled with some space. I have just started to place this “spacer bead” on my own calendar. Looking forward to our next intersection.

17 03 2017
Beth Lapin

Ann,

A challenging idea! My friend Cherry has a No Plan Day each week to allow whatever comes up to flow in — I guess you would call that her “spacer bead.” We have laughed for years at my efforts to find time to have a No Plan Day even once a month. However, awhile back, I wrote that on my calendar for today. Thank you for the synchronicity. 🙂

17 03 2017
anngrasso

I calendar Fridays as “catch-up” day but try very hard not to have no biz or studio work that is dead-line oriented. It took me a very long time to know the importance of this. Today, I am able to accept a social offer from a friend who lives at a distance. Thankful for the spacer-bead.

20 03 2017
Beth Lapin

Ann, I just learned that Thich Nhat Hanh calls this LAZY DAY! At Plum Village, every Monday is Lazy Day.

17 03 2017
silveraschgmailcom

Beth, such a brave and inspiring article. I have taken on a similar role for my mom and often wonder if I will work again, how do I go back … trying to keep it all in perspective, including my relationships and how others react , support, etc.
Thanks for sharing.

17 03 2017
Beth Lapin

Susie, I wish there were some instruction manual on how to do this. I don’t feel brave. xoxo

18 03 2017
silveraschgmailcom

But you are brave to put it out there and share with others who gain insight into themselves through your wisdom, words… experience. Hang in there and give yourself the moment. Transition means growth. xo

20 03 2017
Beth Lapin

I like that: Transition = growth. Thanks.

17 03 2017
cherylczuba@comcast.net

Hi Beth…This is wonderful..You have really blossomed !I just feel this fresh, creative, energy with you..YEH YOU!!!

I am forwarding a sermon written by Rev. Jim Bradley. Jim is a character.. has a W.V twang, where’s sandals all year, dresses just a little better than a bum, is warm and funny and caring, etc.He is a free spirit..

xoxo Cherry

17 03 2017
Beth Lapin

Cherry, thanks for sharing more ideas with me. You’ve got a never ending supply!

17 03 2017
Dawn

Big step to write and post this…a culmination of many little steps forward, back, sideways, and forward again. 2 thumbs up, Beth! No, make that 4. We’ll pretend Havana has opposable thumbs. xoxo

17 03 2017
Beth Lapin

Glad Havana agrees; it’s always important to have the cats on your side. Thanks for the support!

22 03 2017
Susan Scott

Lovely post Beth thank you – lovely as in heart-felt and beautifully written. It will take time to change from one ‘identity’ towards another … a skin being shed and a new one fashioned. Your therapist/partner is right, transitions are hard. May the weaving of the tapestry that is you bring you joy and may Kay continue to be well.

23 03 2017
Beth Lapin

Ah, like the snake you posted about recently… I loved that discussion.

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