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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

I confess to being a worrier.  Most of my life I have seen that as a good thing, worrying made me cautious and a great planner.  I would plan an event for weeks before it happened and then be glad I had as I had a contingency plan for everything.  That ended when my husband Ray had strokes as it was impossible to plan anything from then on as strokes are so unpredictable and that unpredictability seemed to rule our lives.  Now I am on my own I can plan again.

What a difference a week makes, I am out of the tower and into a wonderland of red soil, broad plains and a sky overcrowded with stars at  night. I flew for three hours to visit my younger son last  Friday. I am sitting in my son's house alone as he has gone off to work.  There is very little to do here so I have been reading and crocheting. I know it is not a good idea to give myself too much leisure time as that means too much time to think.  At home I am busy, there is always something to do to fill in the day.  Here once the washing up is done and the beds made there is not a lot to do so I have to keep myself busy and my mind active.

My son lives in a semi arid area of Australia and it is very different from my home on the coast, it is hot and dusty, dry and stony, and in some ways absolutely fascinating. On Sunday we drove  80 miles to a little village on the "lake" a water catchment area with a lot of local wildlife, a real oasis in the desert.  There is currently a water crisis as in order to get a lot of rain here there has to be cyclones in the north west of Western Australia, thousands of miles away and there hasn't been for the past couple of years.

I am here to support my son who is currently going through the process of getting some access to his daughter who is two and a half. Yesterday we spent in court it seemed like a wasted day but the interim order, while it gave him less time than he wanted, was fair and he has gone off to work happily today. With the job he has as a commercial cleaning contractor he will still be able to work on the days he doesn't have his daughter so will earn enough to keep himself.  But he is so looking forward to being with her and says it is all worth it to him.

So here I am with time to think and to put those thoughts on paper.  So who am I? No longer a wife and daughter but still a mother and grandmother, church worker, community volunteer and friend to many.  I have never been a best friend person so being a friend to many is good.  I am a neighbour, still live in an area where we talk to our neighbours and I support my neighbour next door, the one who has his old Dad living with him as I know how much support you need as a caregiver. I think he is able to care because of the support he gets from me and others as I realise I did when I looked after Ray.  As the saying goes: "It takes a village".

My work in the church might change when we get a new minster as each minister who takes over a church has different ideas abut what he/she wants to be done and by whom.  That should be within the next two months or so as I believe we now have a candidate in mind. I know I can pull back from that if needed. In my involvement with other organisations I feel the same way, I can pull back if needed. There are plenty of volunteering positions as none of the Non-Government organisations can afford to pay every worker they need and I have some skills to offer.  If I can I would like to to be involved with the environment or wildlife rescue, some down to earth organisation doing work the big companies are  not involved in.

And then there is the physical aspect of my life, I need to increase my exercise, walking, swimming, doing activities that will keep me healthy as well as make me healthier.  I know my life does need some working on there. I have never been into team sports but there are a lot of Over 50s groups so I can always join one of those.

It seems as if changes are in the air, changes for my son, now seeing himself as a single father at least part-time, changes for me as I ease into what my life could be as a single woman.  I know nothing is set in concrete, that I will always have good days and bad days, days when I miss my past life, days when I think I am doing well.  As long as the good outweighs the bad, that is all I ask for now.

And I have learned another lesson from the desert, you don't have to have everything to be happy, you can be happy with a much simpler life.  I look around at the home my son is making for himself and it is much simpler than mine.  I do seriously need to declutter, to get rid of things I no longer need and things I have outgrown.  I need to look at how I want to live now and what I need now rather than at those great piles of "things" with only sentimental value.

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Comment by Mel5BradyO on February 26, 2015 at 10:10am

I like your blog. I've been going through changes as well and I realized it there for a bit and was very positive, but I had a grief moment and now am at that point where I just want to deal. Your blog was helpful and helped me realize that maybe taking a few more baby steps and living simply is the way to go.  Thank you!

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