What’s my problem with this year? You name it…Someone I loved dearly passed away, I got reorganized out of my job, and changed my living arrangements. Just ALL of the main sources of stress we humans experience. It came down like this: February 16 I learned my job was going away, two days later my grandmother passes away, precipitating the need for my mother to sell her house and move from Michigan and in with me, NOW.
Oddly, it was as if The Universe had conspired to time these events, in such a way, that they dove-tailed at the just the right moment; my job ended just as my mom closed on her house and needed help packing, as well as the actual move and transition that followed. Good news, Branham! You don’t have to worry about vacation time!
So, needless to say, 2017 was an emotionally charged year, top to bottom. I was very close with my grandmother. I got the call standing in the middle of Home Goods…nothing like bursting into uncontrollable tears in public. (Thank goodness my best friend was with me.) It wasn’t a total shock. She was 96 years-old, and had transitioned to a nursing home six weeks prior, as her condition had deteriorated to the point of my mom no longer being able to care for her. Yet, it was a shock. I had spoken with her earlier that afternoon. It was unseasonably warm that day—70 degrees in Michigan on February 18!—and my mom had taken her out to stroll (or rather wheel) the grounds of the home. They called me after their walk, and she sounded so good, happy even! I had no inkling that she only had a few hours left. It was time though. I think she “chose” that pleasant day to join my grandfather, her beloved, in heaven. We got to say “I love you” that day, an opportunity many people don’t have.
The Job. I was generously given months’ notice, but that created its own issues. If an employee is leaving, you aren’t going to get her involved in new projects, right? So she ends up walking around like a ghost… there, but unseen… ignored. You can see how this situation could compound the inadequacy and insecurity brought on by being told your skills are no longer needed. I wasn’t really happy there anymore, and hadn’t been for a while. So, I took the opportunity to berate myself for not having left on my own, a long time ago. But wallowing and second-guessing doesn’t get you anywhere, right? You have to move forward…even if that’s easier said than done.
The Move. Lots of “feels” wrapped up in this, for both me and Mom. Imagine reducing your home of 43 years into a 7’ x7’ container. That’s called getting rid of almost everything you own. Going through everything in the house was certainly a trip down memory lane, from “Yes! I still have this!” to “Really? Why on Earth did I save this?” Between those memories and the stress of the deadline and bickering, it was an emotional rollercoaster. Thank goodness for my brother! He was a godsend, helping get the job done and keeping our spirits up. (Also, a well-deserved shout out to my sister-in-law Rina, and Ruth and Bob, our Framily!)
Finally, the house was empty.
I didn’t think I would be sad, I’d already cut most of my ties to the house when I moved to Boston five and a half years ago. But making that last walk-through at 1 a.m. … I mean, after 43 years the house was empty! I remembered trying to “help” move in when I was five years-old, dragging my doll bed in the front door, and getting yelled at for being in the way. At that point the stress of getting out was probably a blessing because we just had to go.
When I would tell people my mom was moving in with me, they tended to go bug-eyed and wish me luck. I wasn’t worried though. I knew we had lived well together before, and I knew that we would again. The biggest adjustment was is the cats.
I have two, mom one. They’re all sweet girls so we figured after a brief transition, all would be well…tick tock…
My Trixie, who is the meekest of the three, seems to be fairing the best. But Clooney and my sister-cat Mimi…ugh! Clooney has turned into Gangster Cat, and poor Mimi, she was Hostess with the Mostest Cat but is now afraid of her own shadow. Seriously, Mimi even got a comment from a Realtor who brought clients to my mom’s open house: “…and Kitty was a great host!” It seems she loves people, but doesn’t know what to do about other cats. So, I’m reading Jackson Galaxy and trying to figure out what steps to take to make our girls happy again.
Yes, a lot of painful things happened in 2017. I miss my grandma, I lost my confidence and had to literally rearrange my life.
But challenges make us stronger. I believe, in retrospect, I will see 2017 as a major turning point in my life. Forced change has made me reevaluate everything that’s important to me.
And there’s a bonus: I got my mom back. Not that I had lost her, but being far away was so different for us. No one knows me like she does. She’s been a comfort and a help on so many levels during this time of change. She always has my back.
So after a crazy 2017, I’m definitely looking forward to a FANTASTIC 2018, full of positive change and peace!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!