Well, February 15, 2013 is rapidly approaching and, with it, my own 'year of firsts' is almost over. I've made it through Mother's Day, my own birthday, Father's Day, Dad's birthday, Mom's birthday, Thanksgiving, Channukah, Christmas and New Year's with a lot of support from my very loving friends. I've wallowed briefly in the grief that invariably occurs but I've also learned a lot about myself and life in general.
The year has been, at times, trying, but it has also spotlighted just how well my parents prepared me for life in general. I've certainly missed Mom (and Dad) and have had some low times but I've also had some wonderful times as my friends and I continue to laugh at her and Dad's antics. Neither parent is far from my thoughts and, as we approach the 1 year anniversary of Mom's death, the grief comes back in smaller waves these days. The sense of 'a new normal' is occurring and it's not a bad normal at all.
I've spent a lot of time this past year reflecting on exactly how lucky I am to be sharing my life with the best man on earth and the best friends on earth. They've been there right when I've needed them - always. And, they've given me space when I've need it - always.
I've also made some amazing contacts this past year on the internet - people who have found me through my internet writings on senior caregiving and have reached out for advice or help. I've come to understand that I was a pretty good caregiver, even though I learned by the seat of my pants. I've found that, by helping those who reach out, my own grief is lessened. I've also written another eBook which will be published on Kindle shortly. The working title at the moment is "Senior caregiving 101 - things I wish I had known'. It will be the first in a series of caregiving books I hope to write.
And so, as I turn another corner and head off into the rest of my life, I can't look back on 'the year of firsts' as a bad year at all. In fact, if possible, I've grown even closer to my parents as I listen to the lessons they taught me. Lessons I cherish and heed.
Here's an article I wrote on Squidoo about Surviving a year of firsts.
And, for those of you in the same boat, here's a FaceBook page I just started: Support page for those losing or who have lost a parent