I have again failed to secure my own oxygen mask before assisting others.
A couple months ago after my father died, I wrote about being tapped out. Well, things did not get easier with so many family members since then needing my help, time, and support. And recently things got quite a bit harder. I've had to step up and help even more with grandkids and other help as my daughter-in-law underwent major surgery and later complications. She has finally returned to work, but is still quite frail which is worrisome.
Harder still, six weeks ago a very good old friend died suddenly in a motorcycle accident. He was a close friend of my late-ex husband's and as married couples, we all spent a lot of time together. Even after marriages broke up, he remained a good friend to me--checking on me now and then, inviting me to dinner. Not a romantic friend, a true kind and thoughtful friend who was always there for me. We got to where we mostly saw each other in chance meetings at the grocery store, promising to get together soon. When I saw him in July, I promised him dinner at my house after the grandkids went home. We had that dinner and a wonderful long and happy visit with plans for the "next time", and hugs and sweet parting words. What a terrible shock exactly a week later to read online the news of his accident. That memory remains traumatic to me. I still feel disbelief. But I also feel grateful I had a chance to say goodbye in a way.
The result of so much sorrow, fear, worry, stress and genuine physical exhaustion has been that my life feels unrecognizable. So many dependable, solid things that tied me to the earth are gone and it feels as though I'm drifting up and away. Indeed, I feel keenly aware of my own mortality. And I'm aware that at my age, loss will become a more regular occurrence than when we were younger. A group of old high school classmates have begun organizing our 50th reunion for next year, posting information, photos, reminiscences, etc., on Facebook. I read through the obituaries for the classmates already gone, and ended up feeling overwhelmingly sad. I don't know if I'll participate in the reunion. I don't know if I want to renew old friendships.
The past six weeks, I have not functioned well outside of my caretaking duties. And have failed to tend to my own physical and emotional needs. All the to-do lists are forgotten. I've had too many days sitting watching Netflix in my spare time just to escape from the reality of life. This week I have finally managed to get back outside and do some fall cleanup. I've tried to accomplish even just one thing every day. Some days are better than others. But as the title above suggests, I'm trying to find the "reset" button that will get me back on track to not only being productive, but also feeling happy again.
I cannot reach that Nirvana I desire, where no-one gets sick, no-one dies. I need to do better at coping and functioning in times of difficulty. I know there are many more such days ahead.