Back to normal

ID-10014718.SalvatoreVuonoIt has been ten months now since I first had the sad news about my mother’s illness and for the next eight months I had been flying back and forth to care for her, alternating each two weeks with my sister. Since her death, I have been playing catch-up with people I had not seen for a while, and spending more time with my children. This week, I have finally come down to earth and am at home, and will be home now for a while.

Over the ten month period, when I wasn’t caring for my mother in the world over there, I was still dealing with a lot in my world over here, so much that the ground actually moved. The business was sold, the marital property settlement contract was signed and, over the last three months, the processes of that settlement have finally taken place. All those big grey clouds weighing me down – it seems to me as if they lifted together. So there have been huge changes in my life and now I can finally breathe again. As I sit here in reflection alone at my desk I realize that I am now in a totally different space since I last took breath.

I began to think back how it was before that frantic ten months began and I realized of course that life was not ‘normal’ for me then, although I was clinging on to a sense of normality by bravely following a structured routine. I have done that quite a lot over the last three and a half years since my husband left me, propping myself up with routine to instill a sense of normality.

So I need to go back further, much further, before I was in a normal space.

By “normal”, I mean having those aspects of life that are dear to you (family, friends, work, career, hobbies, community) and you devote a certain amount of time to each whether as part of your daily, weekly or monthly routine. Then there is the annual cycle of either school or work year, interspersed with festive occasions such as Christmas and taking an annual holiday. That to me is normal.

I thought back to before my husband left me, and yes there was a kind-of stability and a sort-of annual routine but the marital split came on the back of a previously unsettling three -year period in the business … and before that my husband getting sued for standing up for Tasmania’s forests (described previously) … and before that my son’s cancer diagnosis …Β and before that the four year ‘save-the-forests’ campaign … and before that the older children moving out of home … and before that renovating properties … and before that …

In fact when I thought carefully, I realized that it has been sixteen years since I have had real normal, a steady routine, without some crisis or catastrophe or issue to deal with on the side of my life, without something beyond normal life requiring my attention.

It has been sixteen years since I have had that luxury of sitting down and doing a jigsaw puzzle. I used to do one every year. I have not done one for years. I think that is a sign for my return to real normal. That I now consider that there truly is nothing pressing for me to do, and I have the time to sit down and do a jigsaw puzzle.


Image courtesy of [SalvatoreVuono] /

25 thoughts on “Back to normal

  1. Ah yes, “normal.” And now, you will have a new normal that incorporates some of the old and some of the new. I work so very hard to financially support my family–I miss the old “normal” where just working a decent amount did it. Miss reading books, taking walks, etc. But I know I’ll get there–and so will you. Here’s to that jigsaw puzzle and a rainy day to do it:).

    • I know that feeling well – of having to work much harder than would be considered ‘normal’. I did it for many years. I admire you so much for being both financial supporter and nurturer for your children. As adults, they will look back and thank you for every sacrifice. It is now great for me that I am finally in a different place. I know that I will eventually have to go back to work as I am NOT in that place of my dreams. But for the moment, I am taking a year off to have a little bit of a break and then I will reevaluate my situation. Thanks for your wishes and it is raining today so time for that jigsaw puzzle … see how effective your wishes are!

      • It is great that you are taking a year off, Elizabeth. Enjoy it! Do the things you most like doing. I loved doing puzzles when I was younger and my eyesight was better. Luckily, I can still write. You led such an interesting life, Elizabeth. If you write down everything that made you what you are today, for sure this would make a most interesting auto-biography! πŸ™‚
        Best wishes, Uta

  2. I think after any upheaval in life, ‘normal’ just means, we finally have time for ourselves. As you have experienced, life is always changing, and when we move with it without resistance, we have so much more energy. Happy you time Elizabeth. πŸ™‚

  3. I am not sure if this will ever fully be true for me but am happy when other’s lives are settled down. I do think you need to spend time alone to get refreshed and renewed, Elizabeth.
    I feel like struggle us inevitable in most people’s lives. I don’t have any friends who haven’t had to keep plodding along through the muck of life to finally reach some peace of mind.
    Daily books, p as per and weekly visits with friends and family help me a lot. I had my semi-annual visit with my teaching asst and we exclaimed at how fast time has flown since I was married. 9 years!
    Tomorrow morning I head off for my late semi-annual breakfast half way to her house. It has been 35 years since I met her at a newcomers club (Welcome Wagon). We have been meeting usually every June (oops, a little late!) and December since I moved away in 1986. Hugs, Robin

    • Thanks for your kind words of support. Yes, I do feel that time alone will be the approach for me for a while (interspersed with time with loved ones) because that is the only way to work out what will really be best for me.

  4. The second meet up is with an old friend. I was unclear on this. Also, silly phone reconfigured my word to “us” when meant “is.” The word, “papers” got separated out, which I still seem to collect reading material and only get short amounts of time due to blogging to whittle away at the pile, Elizabeth. Enjoy your refreshing puzzle time. πŸ™‚

  5. Wow– that’s a long haul without a breather. How wonderful that you’re finally experiencing a letting up of so many demands and tensions. My condolences on losing your mom. It’s never easy. It is clear, however, that you know how to take care of yourself. Congratulations on persevering through the muck to reach this place where you can breathe, do jigsaw puzzles, and take time to do whatever you feel like doing. Have a great time!

    • It is a wonderful place to be. However, you would understand that after finally getting here I am looking over my shoulder and cannot fathom that there really is nothing there anymore. I have not actually done the jigsaw puzzle yet, as there are so many things that I had put on hold for so long that I can finally do … so no time for resting but it is nice to know I can if I want to now. thanks for your support.
      (also sorry if i have not commented on your blogs. i have been out of the blogosphere since the last months of my mother’s illness, and now am having internet troubles). I will be back soon.

      • I’ve been cutting back, too. I’m happy for the relationships I’ve made, but I’m not out there trying to make new ones, rather, am maintaining connections with the dozen or so people I feel kinship with. I surely don’t expect everyone to comment on every one of my posts (and I’m posting only 1-2 month these days). And I’m trying to stop by my friends’ blogs every 4-6 weeks. (Somewhat like my relationship with friends in my physical community).

      • I have been doing much the same.
        Yes, it is similar to the way I am with my friends. It is that similarity we have in the introvert tendency again πŸ™‚

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