New Year, New Life?

It’s been months since I’ve written, but finally I find that I am ready and eager to write once more. That in itself is a joy; I’d worried that I was simply permanently blocked, unable to write.

The last months have been spent in my own personal retreat, of sorts.  I returned to Louisiana from Greece in September, and almost as though it knew that I needed yet more adjustment time, my body intervened — I broke a tooth the day after my return (September 11), and am still dealing with a replacement.  Who knew that one simple tooth implant would take 6 months?

Somehow I guess I believed that I would simply return and start my life.  No problems, no more adjustments.  Wrong, on so many counts.  But the time has been good and productive — once I realized that I was still adapting to life after Dad.

September, October and November, I now think, were holding months, time for me to renew acquaintance with my house and pets and friends.  And myself.  I spent time bouncing back between the oral surgeon in Lafayette, Egan, and Lake Charles.  I went to coffee with friends.  I slept.  A lot.  I fretted about everything — about the work I had to do on my house, about not yet finding someone to do that work, about my tooth, about my lack of energy.  You name it; I fretted.

By late November, my body continued its reminder that I was still in some kind of paradigm shift.  The usual allergy issue emerged — and after a corticosteroid shot and one round of antibiotics, I felt much better.  The fog that accompanies a bad sinus infection disappeared with the shot and the antibiotics.  Temporarily, it turned out, but at least it was gone for a while.

By then, my sister and I had taken possession of the beach house.  We’d moved enough furniture in that we could sleep there, have places to sit, and could cook.  No telephone other than our mobile phones, no television, no internet — We relied on DVDs, on our mobile phones and iPad cellular connections.

By December, I was gearing up for Christmas.  I also was running fever again; the fog was returning — and a second round of (different) antibiotics was required.  That got me through shopping and setting up for our first Christmas without Dad, one in a new place (the beach house) where we could create new family traditions.

Days at the beach house were heavenly.  I could sit on the deck, watch the Gulf just a few minutes’ walk away, enjoy music, read.  I even had friends over for a visit.

We had a few days of family time at Christmas and that time was good for us, though bittersweet.  I had bought a small artificial tree and all new ornaments, some selected for associations with family members.  Some, of course, were beach-themed.  And some were reminders of travel, of places I loved.

The tree was up but not decorated. That was done only on Christmas Eve, after my sister and niece arrived.  Over the few days, my sister and niece spent time looking at the ornaments.  The small wooden ice skate reminded Kay of our Grampa Charlie, who was from Sweden, and the ice skate he kept to remind him of skating across Karlskrona Bay from the island his family house was on.  The small paper mache deer head (with its rack of horns) obviously elicited stories about Dad and Phil, our late brother; they loved to hunt; we have two mounted heads with racks in Egan.  There was something for Mother, for our grandmother Ella (the one who always rented a cabin at Crystal Beach, who is responsible for our love of the area where our beach house is).  There were stars.  Owls (popular in our area).  Angels.  Sand dollars.  Seashells.  Santa Claus in a boat.  And then there were the ornaments of travel — a Big Ben, an Acropolis, a Coliseum, a double-decker bus.  The ornaments were new, but the memories they evoked were warm and loving.  Not painful at all.  Even funny.  Family stories flew as Kay and I  sat, drank wine, and laughed.  My niece asked questions and listened. Christmas traditions (new), family memories (old) — a bit bittersweet, perhaps, but loving and not painful.

Home again after Christmas, I found the persistent sinus infection appeared again, to be combated with a third round of antibiotics (yet another type).  Now, I think, in January, the sinus infection that has lingered for months has been conquered. (Of course, I have a back-up plan of oral steroids).  I am awake, clear, ready and eager to tackle the house, my jewelry hobby/business, my writing . . . my life.

Finally, last week, the long-neglected kitchen project began.  My new handyman (yes!  Thanks, Sarah, for the recommendation) is a gem.  The project I started two and a half years ago had simply stopped from my own lack of energy/money/time and from my needing to spend more time with Dad (oh, and with work, too).  So with bad, peeling vinyl floor tiles, walls that were not painted or finished, no trimwork around the ceiling. . . altogether a depressing place.  Now, though, progress is clear.  There’s no longer a hole in the wall above the refrigerator.  There’s a new cabinet.  Another is planned.  Then the walls will be sanded.  Trim will go up.  Painting will happen.  I’ll have new sheet vinyl laid.  It’s no longer a static, depressing room.

It’s a work in process.

Sort of like me and my life, I guess.  After months of rest, of hibernation, of necessary time to think and process and figure out what my retirement life is now, after Dad’s death, the stasis of a holding time has ended.  The clock began ticking.  I am alive, aware, and engaged again.

It’s January 2013.  A new year.  Life opens up again.

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