Monday, July 12, 2010

Life is Good and I'm Taking Control

For the past several years Grams has felt like my life has been out of control. There were a number of things that contributed to that feeling. Here's just a brief recap of the major events of the past few years.

With the assistance of Adult Protective Services, my siblings and I removed our mentally-challenged sister from my mother's home against my mother's wishes. I left a job that I loved after 32 years because the new management and I didn't see eye-to-eye. My mother had to be moved to a nursing home which was followed by a series of falls and several surgeries. My husband got sick, had heart surgery and still didn't improve. Mom slipped into a coma then her kidneys failed and we had to make the decision not to start dialysis. Then the same day I found out my husband had to have lung surgery, my mother died. My husband hat lung surgery the same day we buried Mom, so I didn't even go to the funeral. We spent the next three years searching for a medical solution to my husband's declining health with an endless amount of frustration.

I went from being a working woman who never lifted a finger at home, didn't cook, and had a manicure every two weeks to being responsible for everything, and I mean everything, at home. It would have been so easy to just surrender and fall into a deep depression. But somebody had to keep everything going, so I got out of bed every single day and just kept putting one foot in front of the other and doing what had to be done. Honestly, some days that's all I could do, just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. But it's not in my nature to surrender or quit, so that's what I did. I just kept going as best I could.

I'm happy to report that, once again, life is good! Grandad is finally on the road to wellness. He actually feels good for the first time in years and he's back to his old self which means he's pitching in and helping around the house, marking things off my "honey-do" list, and even joking around. We made it through this dark time with the support of our wonderful kids, a great group of friends, and prayers and support from our extended family and friends.

And some great things have come out of all of this. Grandad and I are closer than we've ever been. We've always been each other's best friends, but we've learned a deeper trust and reliance on each other. My kids have shown me what wonderfully responsible adults they are. I've always known they were great kids, but they and their spouses have been there for us in ways that I never even imagined they would be. When we needed something, I had only to ask and sometimes I didn't even have to ask. They knew what we needed and they just did it. I could not ask for better kids ... they are amazing!

But this tumultuous period has had at least one casualty ... my house. We've always struggled with clutter. Both of us come from a long line of hoarders. When my father-in-law died it took three men and more than one industrial-sized dumpster to clean out his junk. Grandad has inherited that need to hold on to stuff in case you ever need it. And five of us spent three days going through my mother's two-room apartment. Then we ended up just selling almost everything to a junk dealer who hauled it away for us. I too struggle with wanting to "collect" stuff like my mother did.

This means that every closet, drawer and storage area in the house and garage is packed to the fullest. I'm afraid to open some of the doors because I know stuff is going to come tumbling out. Now that our kids are grown and gone, shouldn't we have more closet space? Not so! I've learned that, while they don't want to take all their stuff with them, they don't want me to get rid of it either. The clutter has taken over. I almost feel like I could be on an episode of The Hoarders. Seriously, it's not as bad as all that, but now that I'm feeling more in control of my life in general, I feel the need to take control of the clutter. And, I'm determined that cleaning out my stuff will not be such a huge job for my kids in the future.

Bottom file drawer - before de-cluttering
Starting today, I'm going to de-clutter my house one small space at a time. I'm starting with one drawer of our file cabinet. The bottom drawer is full of old computer software and hardware. Some of it is as old as our very first PC which would make ridiculously old and out of date. For years, we've just tossed old software, cables, and small hardware into this drawer in case we ever need it again. Well, enough is enough, it's time for it to go. I bought a new package of 33 gallon trash bags. I have my recycle bins on standby, I've got my Freecycle account ready to list the stuff that someone else might be able to use, and I've dusted off the shredder and moved it into the area where I'll be working.

My new byline will be "if we haven't needed it in the past year, we don't need it." It's going to be tough, but I think the hardest part will be just getting started. Updates will follow ... stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. When doing the second attempt and subscribing via email I happened across this post. I am so happy that 'life is good' again and your dear husband is feeling better...what a terrible period you all went through.

    All I can say is what my great-grandma use to say, "What doesn't kill you, will make you stronger." and that certainly sounds like it is true in your situation.