My current life feels like an easier replica of my former life as Jack’s caregiver.
The setting is the same. The rest of my family is the same. The people around us are the same (minus the rotating army of respite helpers, therapists, doctors, and teachers). But now I do 90% less work and my stress and anxiety has sunk to subterranean levels.
I’m not complaining. I do feel rather adrift. And maybe a little bit lazy. I’m telling myself that it’s not lazing around, it’s normal life, which mine has not been for a long, long time.
I sit on the porch now frequently, writing or reading while the little boys play outside. I get back in bed for a while after feeding everyone breakfast, because it feels nice, and I’m always tired, and I can. I run errands at any old random time of day, and with all the guys. I don’t have to wait until Jack is at day camp or has respite care.
All of these things are good and refreshing.
But still, I grieve.
Jack is settling in. He seems basically happy. He is making progress. Jeff and I feel peace regarding his new home and his new life. But when one of your family members is essentially lopped off from your home and daily life, you don’t just bounce back right away, I’m finding. Grief is grief, apparently, and it takes its own sweet time.
I make no pretense about knowing HOW to cope with the grief process, but I am aware enough to know that no good will come of trying to shortcut anything. I’m experiencing all of it. I’m letting it pass through me and over me, in whatever time frame it requires. I’m accepting the bleariness, the exhaustion, the fact that my mind is rendered stupid by the fallout of mourning the old life, as well as the current and future family life I thought we would have.
I wonder if I’m doing enough with myself, because I’m unused to the relative ease of my new days. I’m also still devoid of energy, so any big projects are going to be tabled. I’m not there yet.
It’s not that my hopes and dreams are dead. They are dormant. There is a future ahead of us, and I’m convinced it is better than what we’ve lived these dozen years.