I read some of my blogs and it is obvious that I am not coping, sometimes I am a l little down, perhaps a bit sad and fragile. Well not this week. I have a six day visit from my younger son and his daughter, my youngest grand daughter and the place was noisy, sometimes joyful, sometimes full of the drama five year olds generate. Never a dull moment. Plenty of activity, we visited four beaches in five days ( one day off because of rain) and as she lives in a dry town on the edge of the Outback she was delighted with the waves, the seagulls, the sand, everything about the beach. And her delight was infectious and her father and I enjoyed ourselves too.
On Tuesday for the first time since Christmas 2016 I had all of my grandchildren together, in fact I had thirteen people to lunch. It was the first time in five years I had hosted a lunch for so many and as an impromptu party it was a great success. It was unplanned, just happened that a nephew called in, a friend of Shirley's came over etc. I was pushing to provide enough chairs, glasses, plates etc. In the end we were a little squashed together but no-one seemed to mind. This kind of party was common in our 40s when groups formed naturally from friends to cousins and neighbours but since Ray got seriously ill all that ended so it was like old times. Looking around the table at everyone talking and laughing brought tears to my eyes as I thought how much Ray would have enjoyed it.
I guess that is the thing I still miss Ray at every family gathering. It is never the same without him being there. I wait for his voice to join in the conversation, to tell the old stories. It is not ever going to be the same without him. Of course our older son and his new partner were also missing but they haven't been here for a few years now. It was so good to have Trevor and Alice here and to go out with them. I do miss them as they live so far away. The dinner out last night was special too as my three grandchildren from Adelaide were there with their mother. Alice has become attached to them and was quite funny interacting with the two younger boys.
I have finally been discharged by the community nurses as no longer needing wound dressings. It is great to know that I am no longer in need of their services. So now I will be able to resume some of my old life. I am still not completely back to full strength and still have to take things easy but a few activities are back on the agenda. It feels so good to be able to do some light housework, do some of the easier tasks in the garden, no heavy lifting of course. Today I walked across sand and up and down the steep steps onto the beach and it felt wonderful.
My next challenge is to go back into the nursing homes. One of the people I used to visit died two weeks ago and I was unable to get to the funeral so I am down to four people to visit. I am sure that number will go up again. We have an older congregation and there are always home visits to do. I am thankful for all the visitors I have had during the four weeks I wasn't allowed to drive, they saved my sanity. Since then of course I have been driving but waiting in for the community nurses has made meeting up with friends an occasional happening rather than the norm.
Now I can somewhat rewrite the schedule, of course I do have a lot of future appointments but there are enough blank spaces on my calendar to "do my own thing". And that is real freedom, to be able to choose how to use my time. I used to be tied down as a caregiver, now after five years as a widow I am beginning to see that while being alone is hard, freedom is also part of the package. And I need to appreciate that and build a life that embraces it.