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.