This month, as with past months, has had its challenges. To catch you up, Ron and I own a house in Courtenay. This was the year that we were going to take on the refresh challenge. This is also the house where, for several years, I raised Stewart and Meghan. It is the house I lived in when Ron and I started dating. It is the house Ron and I refreshed 13 years ago. You get the picture… this house is teeming with memories
To state the obvious, I bit off more than I could chew in the time constraints I placed on the project… again you get the picture.
The tenants were asked to vacate for the renovations. Renovations include but are not limited to: new floors, new countertops, new heaters, new doors, new faucets, fresh paint and yard work.
To say that I have missed Ron is and understatement to the nth degree. The first few days were agonizing and miserable. I felt I was tearing our past out of the house. Making decisions caused immense distress. You see, Ron and I would have been discussing all aspects of this project. Now it was on me. When others made comments or suggestions I became extremely defensive. My defensiveness brought on tears and sadness. This in turn caused me to shut down. I became very selective about the topics I would raise. This, in turn, caused me to be confident in my decisions. I learned to be positive, committed, and comfortable. As I write, the project proceeds on schedule.
Thanksgiving was particularly difficult for me. Of three invites I was emotionally able to fulfill one. My sister invited me for a Saturday evening dinner. My initial reaction was to decline. My inside voice told me I should go – go I did. I went late, maybe on purpose. I remember sitting at the table and felt like I was removed from the party of eight. I could see their mouths moving; I could hear voices but not comprehending the conversation. I sat and ate in silence. I got the sense that my behavior made some uncomfortable. I did not care. Although I have lots to be thankful for however, I was not feeling thankful. Between courses I became aware of the conversation – death, funerals, and preparation for death. I just wanted it to stop. I wanted to scream. Instead I stood and proceeded to the door. As I put on my shoes, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I told my sister I could not handle the conversation. I left.
Sunday night I was invited to my son’s house. This was much more comfortable for me – a small number of family. The little ones made me laugh with their many means of entertainment; dancing, stories, pictures and just being four and six. I have said it before and I will say it again – it is the kids who bring snippets of joy to my heart. I am thankful for healthy kids and healthy grand daughters.
Thanksgiving Day. On this morning you could find me in Leanne and Bill’s gourmet kitchen. I baked a pumpkin cheesecake and stuffed a pumpkin with savoury bread stuffing to accompany the barbequed turkey. Gracie and I also made Halloween Rice Crispie Squares for the visiting kids. Bill and Leanne set about with their chores preparing for company to arrive at one PM. As time grew near, I became very anxious. By eleven thirty I herded Winston into the Volvo and we left. I could not bear what was to come: more people and giving thanks. Once away from the house I texted Leanne with apologies and to let her know I would not be back until much later. She understood. I then called Meghan and sobbed into the phone that I just could not ‘do it’. Meg joined me for the afternoon. I was appreciative for her company.
The very next day, I felt a profound and physical sense of relief that Thanksgiving was over. It was the proverbial weight lifted off my shoulders. Next is Christmas.
I have decided, based on Thanksgiving, that I will take Winston to Tofino for Christmas. I have made reservations for a beachfront cabin. My counselor asked if isolating myself will make it easier. Quite confidently I stated no. No, it will not be easier. I have chosen an environment where I am completely comfortable to work through my heartache and pain, my anguish and sorrow. I have talked to the kids and they understand. I will also have Christmas with the kids prior to Christmas.
Mid October I was feeling the best I have felt in months; optimistic, confident and energized. How timely as November 1 was my return to work date. I was looking forward to taking my seat again but this time I felt much stronger mentally, physically and emotionally. I was looking forward to returning to a very supportive team of colleagues. One unexpected communication changed my outlook. I learned, just a few days after Thanksgiving, that a major change had taken place within my team; my comfort, my support.
As sad and shocked as I was with the news of the change in the office, I knew that I had to and could work past the negative effects. I coached myself to embrace the change and return to work with a positive approach. It worked. I noticed a marked difference between returning last May (with futile results) and returning November 1. I could feel it in my bones. Unlike in May, this time I was more focused, I was interested in the tasks and conversations and, I genuinely participated. This is good!
This past weekend was busy with house renovation work and my dad’s 80th birthday. We, my sisters and I, hosted an open house for the “Mayor of Royston”. Dad had a very good time reminiscing with his old cronies who dropped in to roast and toast the Mayor.