Saturday, 2 July 2011

Reluctant Freedom

I moved back to my home city four and half years ago to help care for and support my parents. This wasn't the selfless act it perhaps seems, I was simply exhausted and time poor from travelling back and forwards between two cities too often. My organisation had an office here, and a transfer was possible without impacting my job.

Since I came home, my entire routine has been defined by hospital visiting or caring. With one parent still needing support, those circumstances are still partly true. But, with one now gone, the load has lifted significantly.

Suddenly, I have time. I am not bound by visiting hours. My mother is well and able enough for my sister and I both to be away at the same time without having to coordinate our every move.

I miss Dad, but I'm also finding a freedom. Freedom to chose how I spend my time. I'm also finding that I'm not very good at just stopping. Until a month ago, a duty-less evening or a day of nothing was a rare treat. And one spent just catching up with the basics and resting. Now, I have time.

I have to redefine my existence here. I have to find a routine and life of my own. I'm taking small steps towards just 'hanging out' and have aimless days or evenings. These things still are tinged by a nagging sense that I should be doing something, be somewhere else. There is a lingering guilt. A sadness that I'm enjoying some space only because my Dad has gone.

I'm still grieving, but beginning to allow myself to be a little excited about anticipating a future that belongs to me.

The biggest thing I need to do is learn to relax, and learn that I no longer need to plan every movement.

PS there are words emerging in my head about the impact these last years have had on my relationships and friendships. I'm writing this to remind myself that it's a post I need to write.

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