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 …¬†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.

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