This is that time of year when we look back over the year we just survived and either cringe or smile. Perhaps we do a little of both. There have been so many years that ran into each other with nothing devastating or new and inspiring happening. Those years that rambled by I barely remember details. Each one so similar, with working endless hours at thankless jobs to vacations each and every 6 months at my Mom and Aunt’s house doing the same no-thing, eating the same foods, dealing with the same stresses of a dysfunctional family year after year.
Over the past year one of the major dysfunctions passed suddenly. My alcoholic big brother went to the great beyond one evening in mid March after our entire little family had spent the afternoon together sharing a meal and for once not fighting or generally disagreeing about anything. I find I do miss him and his sense of humor, but absolutely do not miss his major pot stirring of emotions and negativity, his ridiculing of the family, his drinking to the point of needing to throw up food that his Mom or others made specifically for him, and his use of kitchen chairs for his personal potty. He had actually been on his best behavior that day unlike any other in the previous 30 some odd years he’d been an active pain in the ass. As the next oldest sibling, taking care of him and being certain he was alright became my job when I was in town. It was unwanted as a skunk in a campground. Was it any wonder that I had moved out of state when I was in my early 20’s?
One of the other things that became suddenly evident this past year is that my 96 year old Mom could no longer remain the endlessly energized Ever Ready Energizer Bunny she had always been. This dismayed her. In late August she acknowledged some weight gain to her lower legs and the resulting slowness and pain that that caused. A diagnosis of congestive heart failure within a couple of weeks took her confidence in driving away and she handed the keys of her tiny little one owner old lady car to me. That got my niece and nephew into my face when they thought their Grandma had lost her driving privileges rather than the reality that she relinquished them.
Then and there life had to change….for all of us. Mom needed someone to stay with her. Doctor’s orders. Despite everyone’s loud, verbal input that Grandma was to stay in her home, no one wanted to give up their lives in order to provide that. What was worse was that Grandma was guilted into staying in her home by being told she couldn’t leave her granddaughter by her granddaughter. This made my Mom feel really torn and me not very happy. I decided that whatever Mom wants to do, I’ll accommodate.
After a couple of months of doctors visits and Mom becoming somewhat stable she decided to come to join my partner and me at our home in New England. She advised she’d come north for a visit to test the waters, so to speak. She insisted we be back for Thanksgiving and stay through the New Year. And so it was.
Next week starts the New Year. Guess we are staying a little longer. My partner will need to go back home for doctor appointments and such. But Mom has a need for all her ducks to be in a row and wants to have her income tax done for 2019 before leaving. She is not too keen on the temperature differences either. Can’t say I blame her, really. It is around 15 to 20 degrees colder up north. With all due respect, though, Mom does not go out except to church and to doctor appointments, so it is not like there would be a great negative impact. She had advised we should sell her house before we leave to save some money. I agree, but do not want her to not have her home to come back to if she feels the need. So, I have told her not to worry about that at this time.
That brings us to the here and now. We sit. We breath. We eat and wash up and take the dog out when he needs to go. We smile. He brings us more smiles in a day than any other single thing….TV included! He is a seven and a half year old puppy mill survivor that I got from a small breed rescue in Ohio August 7th of this year. I first saw his face on my computer screen when an add from WolfSpiritRescue popped up on my screen back in April. What a haunting little face! What adorable chubby front legs he had dangling from a rescue workers’ arm. What a timid boy he was when he first arrived home. My Mom said that she’d never seen an animal in such need of being spoiled. And so the spoiling began. Yes, he does deserve it. To me he is a prince among dogs. He is gentle with a sweet spirit and has the deepest brown eyes that stare right into yours. He has my Mom wrapped around his little paws. No matter what the day has brought in terms of frustrations or cares, he is there to look you in the face and remind you that nothing…..absolutely nothing matters except love and food. Not always in that order, but you get the idea.
So yes, there have been losses and there has been joy. There has been a lot of change and things are not done changing yet, but in each day there is a little slice of heaven if you look to see it. We are in a world of many beautiful things. The sunrise over the ocean; the sunset over the backs of the houses and trees on our block; the look you and your sweetie share that no other two people can; the look in your dogs’ eyes as he looks into your soul to be sure you are ok; your mothers’ fussing at you to do something different or better; your very breath. The list is very varied and could fill a library full of books and still not be complete. Our blessings are many because our trials are many, but we are all ok. We are never forsaken despite appearances. Learn to look beyond and really see. SEE.
For the New Year…the new decade…my focus will be continuing to take a day at a time and keeping the dog and the Momma happy. Making them smile makes me smile. I am blessed with a partner who lives with the same understanding. Joy can happen despite circumstances when there is love to wrap the hurts and disappointments of life in. This writing is not done, not complete, but is in flux as the days are cold and cloudy this time of year. The story continues…….