Saturday, February 3, 2018

Emerging From Hibernation

I tend to experience seasonal affective disorder when the time changes and dark falls upon us in late afternoon. As a person born in the midst of summer I crave the sun. Sunlight infuses my being with joy, positivity, energy, optimism, and general well-being. The time between Thanksgiving and Groundhog Day is dark, cold, depressing, and causes me to hibernate, to avoid socializing, to stay home, and withdraw. Perhaps the reason is associated with the weather or challenges that I've experienced during this period. 

This year was particularly challenging. Mom passed away at the end of 2016. This was my family's first holiday season without her delightful home made funny Christmas cards, a house decorated with multiple Christmas trees and 15 nativity scenes, her smell, the sound of her voice, the warmth and humor that I've relied upon. I was worried about how my dad would deal with this first holiday season. Although he had his moments of sadness, he has exhibited a resilience that amazes me, an attitude of gratitude for the decades he was able to share with my mom, and a realization that his role now is to celebrate every moment of life to the fullest with friends and family. I admire his ability to embrace life more than I can articulate. And I treasure the time that we've been able to spend together in a new way.

We've also lost two of our favorite feline companions. Sweet Nicholas, the elder statesman who appeared miraculously on our porch last Christmas, the day I learned that Mom was failing, spent just a bit more than a year providing us with love, comfort, and joy as he deteriorated from squamous cell carcinoma that eroded an ear and his nose. The vet opined he was in his 15th year when he came to us, asking for nothing but love, food and a place to feel safe. Within a week of his passing across the Rainbow Bridge we lost another sweet cat that was young with no discernible health problems. We don't know the cause. We know only that we felt sadness at another loss.

My wonderful father-in-law was also hospitalized in Michigan with pulmonary problems, MRSA, and bronchial problems. As a stoic midwesterner he resisted seeking medical treatment, fully expecting he would recover on his own. But I feel grateful that my mother-in-law was able to convince him to go to the hospital. He lost weight, lost energy, and worried us terribly. But he is recovering slowly and will hopefully be able to get back to the golf course in the spring.

Fortunately, I've learned that it is necessary to move forward, keep a focus on today, and accept what is. We celebrated a lovely Christmas with my dad and then drove him back to Indiana to see his newly painted bedroom and cozy enclosed back porch. When we lost our beloved pet, I researched breeders and plan to welcome a beautiful ragdoll kitten into our home in the next few weeks. She already has a name - Mindy!

There have been changes at work; I will now be working for a woman that I love as a friend and a colleague and feel blessed for the opportunity. I've also come to realize that I do not want to walk into the jungle with a target on my chest and my back in my professional life. At this juncture I want a work - life balance. 

And I continue to try new things. This morning I had my first Pilates reformer training session and I loved it! Wow! Still learning new things and embracing opportunities to focus on wellness. I do hope to integrate this new core strengthening workout into my repertoire!

Apparently I am still my father's daughter - embracing change with resiliency, optimism and joy.
Thank you, Dad!

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