If I try to sum up the last four months of my life, it needs to be done in bullet points. Oddly enough, 11 years ago I was enmeshed in a similar set of life-changing events that forced a move from Michigan to Florida. Between the years of 2007 and 2009 I lost my dad-my champion; I lost my little yarn shop to the big box Hobby Lobby; I lost my 30-year marriage, and I ultimately lost my home; life-changing events that nearly plunged me down the rabbit hole that is so difficult to climb out of. And now I find myself, 11 years later, in a similar situation.
My 95-year-old mother had been living with us over the past year and loving Florida. When January came around, we discovered we had major water damage to our home that involved a complete tear out of the master bathroom and laundry room. We were without hot water for four weeks. And then the insurance company pulled the plug (no pun intended) on our claim.
In less than four months:
- With the water damage came a critical mold issue that seriously affected my health and my mother’s to the point where we were forced to very reluctantly move her back to Michigan the first week of February.
- A month later I was at her bedside when she died.
- While my mother lay dying, my husband never once asked how I was doing; he never even went to the funeral. I filed for divorce.
- In April, while I helped my daughter move to New Mexico, he moved out and left me to deal with all the bills, the emptying and the sale of the house.
- Mid-May my son’s family relocated from four miles away from me back to Michigan taking my two young granddaughters with them.
- After finding a new place to live, the never-ending process of emptying the house began. Countless items were donated, tossed, or stored with the help of some incredible friends.
- With the help of these same friends, I moved into a little rental, a wonderfully sweet bungalow on a canal where I am attempting, on my better days, to begin again at 67 years old.
I feel so extremely fragile right now. It takes very little to send me to the precipice of that darkness. I know I need to avoid any more stress; an online stress test revealed a 476 score. Anything over 300 raises my likelihood of illness in the near future to about 80%. So I know I need to surround myself with positivity, joyfulness, and gratitude. But I’m not sleeping. My stomach is constantly in knots. I dread phone calls because I’m tired of my own voice.
But I also know I’m my mother’s daughter. I am made of pretty sturdy stuff. I’ve been through a similar period before, albeit at 56 and not 67. I need to constantly remind myself to give it over to God, offer it up as a prayer and keep telling myself that with His help – and Mom’s – I can do anything. That rabbit hole will just have to wait.