20 April 2009

thank you, my jerry

oh, where to start? where to start? lessee...

over the weekend, i received yet another jury summons. last time, my GP wrote an affidavit for the circuit clerk's office and the receptionist at the county court house assured me that i would be removed from the pool, permanently. obviously, that was not the case.

so, this morning, i went by the circuit clerk's office and they told me the same thing, with the same instructions, and i did the same thing (visited my gp's office, got the affidavit, returned immediately to the clerk's office), and yet again, she assured me that i would be removed from the jury selection pool. permanently. til next summons, i'm sure.

mom and i stopped by walmart and picked up a few cleaning/painting things and some bagels and such. we had a nice visit while making lunch (egg salad on wonderful wheat bread, fresh and moist, mmmmm). the day was warm without being too hot, and we sat on the front porch and chatted; neither of us really wanting to get started for the day, resuming our tasks indoors.

then, my brother called to say that the daughter of an old friend of my mom's faxed a very odd message to mom; and oh, yeah, no phone number, but here's the email address. long story, a tad shorter; a flurry of phone calls later, mom had some sobering news. this lady, who worked with mom for years; visited with her often, going on long rambling walks about town when we all still lived in pennsylvania...and came to visit mom in tennessee...is dying. her health was never good, arthritis and diabetes, but within the last year, she'd had several heart attacks and suffered a few strokes, and was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. she's currently medicated very heavily and is receiving morphine. hospice visits twice per week, and so the prognosis is that there are only a few months at best left. mom will be making arrangements to return to pennsylvania if possible in june so that she can visit with her friend.

so this afternoon was solemn in many ways, as friends dying is never pleasant, but it tends to remind you of your own age, your own mortality. and i was reminded that mom is in actuality a bit older than i usually think of her. in my mind, i see mom as a mid-40s kinda gal, but that'd be a real trick as i am 38 myself. in reality, mom will be 62 this year. she's very active in lots of ways, but i've watched her age more in the past couple of years than i'd noticed her getting older ever.

mom and i decided to go to lowe's and pick up kilZ since it seals and acts as a primer for paint. on the drive home, we turned to other, more life affirming topics of conversation and we both began to clean, scrub, etc. after jert arrived home (monday was monday, allllllllllllll day), he carried in the 5 gallon bucket of kilZ (a gallon of water weighs about eight pounds, kilZ is much heavier than water; so that 5 gallon bucket? way more than i wanted to be toting into the house). and mom began to kilZ the ceiling and the walls in the room she'd been working in yesterday and today (after bleaching the walls). i got side-tracked and started to go thru the kitchen cupboards. so when jert came in from fixing his motorcylce, i was grimey and outta sorts.

ya know, i've been making the best i can of this entire situation. and most days, most times, the best means that i stay focused on why i'm doing this. cuz this? not exactly a joyously fun task. there is no point in being morose and miserable, so it may seem to others that i'm being callous as i go about the difficult job of sorting, deciding, packing, moving, etc. others' belongings. it's not fun. i don't wail and carry on, being miserable and beating my chest and oh poor pitiful me, sniff.sniff. but neither am i singing a joyful song as i flit about clearing and cleaning. my mother is helping me, cuz i need it and she cares...not because she is taking a huge delight in scrubbing, cleaning, painting, packing, moving, etc.

and all that? not my stuff. we have not even begun to consider my belongings and transferring my things...no, the packing and moving is mostly jert's late wife's and some of the things that his adult children have left here over the years (most of which, they've no interest in anymore; some of which, i'm saving for them, as i'd rather they have the option of owning/destroying letters and other personal memorabilia rather than me making that judgment call for them). it's difficult to go thru someone else's stuff for them, either cuz they are not able to do so, or because they choose not to. it's not easy to take on a task this large, and yet, i've kept in mind the reason i'm doing so.

jert and i want to make this into our home. and we are. to a large extent that means obvious changes for him, as this is his place. this is an old theme, by now, but one that surfaces from time to time and is worth restating...reaffirming for myself (and quite possibly others)...so here goes, yet again.

today, i was reminded that being mindful of others and being understanding of their situations and feelings does not and should not mean that i ought to ignore my own self. it's a bit tedious to be doing this, altho it can be exciting on one hand to create a new home, it can be exhausting to constantly be considering the changes for the other people. so this evening, the enormity of this settled on me and i longed for the tranquil comfort of my own home, on the farm. i miss not being constantly aware of what essentially is several lifetimes of stuff/events for many folks, those who used to live here and those who continue to do so.

i'm having difficulties expressing exactly what i mean, but i was thinking of my mother and her friend. i was thinking of my mom and her mom. and i was thinking of me and my mom. i feel like going thru all these belongings, sorting, packing, moving, etc all of these things, these things that are not mine, these things which are mostly jert's late wife's...well, i feel odd to be performing the same tasks my mother performed when her mother died. going thru a deceased woman's life is draining.

on one hand, there is so much to be gained...you learn so much about a person by the things that person leaves behind. there is an excitement about starting and building this new life with this new person, this man with whom i am spending the rest of my life. there is a great amount of compassion for this man as he copes with so many different emotions, so many changes, some are wonderful, some are sad, some are exciting, some are thrilling, some are regretful, some are ...well, a mixed bag at the very least.

even the most positive changes can still be stressful. stressful for everyone. not just for the man whose place is. not just for the adult children who view this as their last childhood home, and by extension, a home for them still. not just for those who called this and continue to call this home.

but for me too. and not just cuz i'm making a change from my home to our home here. not just cuz i'm moving from "me" to "us". but also cuz i'm adjusting to a presence of someone i'd never known in life, yet will always know in death. and just as anyone you get to know inspires laughter, tears, compassion, and a whole plethora of feelings...no one is entirely one thing or another, we are all multifacetted...so too, am i experiencing a range of emotions and thoughts that span pleasant and joyous to troubling and sorrowful.

so, yes, this is exhausting. it's not horrible. it's not wonderful. it's not any one thing all the time. it's all things, at various times.

and today, it was almost too much.


and then, my jerry's here for me. and it was ok, i can go on. and on. and tomorrow will see me continuing in the same vein as i've been, engaged in the same activities; sorting, wading, immersing myself in yet more. again. still.

sometimes, i need to be able to just be with me, and to not be so outwardly focused. to be just as loving and caring for my own self as i am for others, including people i've never known, including people who've expressed their loathing, hatred, and fear of me. and i think, it's only healthy to care for myself at least as much as for those; don't you think?

and i've needed that love and understanding, and my jerry's taken some time out tonight to be loving and take care of my own need to be cared for instead of caring for everyone else. so thanks for reading this jumbled mass of thoughts, hope it all makes sense. i feel better having expressed not only how exciting this is, but also how very exhausting it is. i feel better having sought and received the loving nurturing care that i wanted and needed to continue to take on this entire task.

and i'll get by with a lil help from my friends and loved ones. to you, my heartfelt gratitude. you make all the difference. thanks so very much.


  1. Hang in there, darlin'... it will be worth it in the long run. Lauren was reading along with me this morning... she poked me when we got to the part about caring for oneself. I tend to put everyone else before me, too. We could both stand to be kinder to ourselves, don't you think?

  2. Debra & her mom deserve a lot, if not all, the credit as to how GREAT the house is looking. I know it can be draining physically & emotionally. It gets to me sometimes too. All I can do is to continue to offer love & support.


Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!