I last wrote June 23rd with the intent to blog more frequently. I also share I had a swim meet the next day. As you know, I did not blog more frequently – and I also did not make it to the meet. That day was not my best day. I have been hesitant to blog since – recounting what has happened is not fun. And I may be a little superstitious. I have been searching for my “new normal” since then and writing one blog post before the end of the year is on my to do list. I have a little over 7 hours left to get it done.
While I was posting my last blog, unbeknownst to me, a small fire was forming in my house. I came home 8 hours later to a smoke filled house. My neighbor’s tree had fallen due to strong winds and took out power lines. It caused a 240 volt surge to go through my house. The surge alone was terrible – many things died right away including my furnace, garage door opener, dryer and treadmill. The surge also caused a power strip to explode into flames. I am very blessed – it burned out on its own without spreading but smoke filled the house for 8 hours. Another blessing – all of my pets survived. The dogs were in a separate room that the smoke did not reach and my cats ran upstairs and hid under beds. All I care to share now is that it took four months to restore and unpack to get my house back to normal. Recounting more is still too stressful to think of. I look at the experience as a blessing, really. I could have lost everything.
Hesitation to blog again resulted – last time I blogged I had a fire. Would something bad happen again? Good thing I didn’t write yesterday. I had a small incident in my microwave that caused some smoke. I am not going to lie – a little bit of PTSD reared its ugly head. Fortunately a very dear friend was only a text away and she helped me regain focus.
Besides mild PTSD, the event of that night impacted me deeply. The thought that my home could have easily burned to the ground had me question what really is important as far as things go. I also was in the process of sorting through my aunt’s house following her death in April. She had left me the possessions in the house. She and my uncle did not throw much away. After the fire, I started sorting things and realized it may run in the family.
Family – this has been a heartbreaking year for family as well. First my fur baby family – on April 5th my beloved dog Phoebe crossed the rainbow bridge. She was 14 and a half, blind, had heart disease, but it was cancer that got her in the end. She was a fighter for sure and my first dog ever. Saying goodbye to here was hard. Then my aunt passed on April 25th. The summer was stressful with reconstruction going on and my 96 year old father’s health continuing to decline. On August 26th, three days before his 97th birthday, my father decided he’d rather be with my mother and he died.
My blog is intended to be uplifting. I am crying as I write, so I have got to find a turning point soon.
My parents and my aunt only lived a half mile apart. Now with two estates to liquidate, I found a wonderful estate sale company who held joint sales the same weekend in October. My sister helped me a lot with our aunt’s house and we worked together on our parents’ house. One day she commented that neither threw anything out. They stored a lot in the basement. At first I did not reply to her. I realized I learned from my parents many things. Not throwing anything out was one of them.
After we had my parents’ house on the market and my home was restored, I rented a 20 yard dumpster and filled it in 4 days just cleaning out my basement, garage and shed. It was cathartic. My parents’ house sold and closed a week ago. Now I have a clean slate – and home – to figure out the next phase of my life. I have cared for my parents for 8 years. Finding the new normal will take time.
Two things I am focusing on right now are skiing and cooking. I signed up for skiing classes starting on Wednesday. I haven’t skied downhill since I was a teen. I am also going to designate one night a week to cooking a full meal from some of the wonderful cookbooks I have acquired. Look for posts on these adventures soon.
Tonight I say goodbye – and good riddance – to 2017. Many will sing Auld Lang Syne to welcome in 2018. If anything, I have learned it is the people in our lives that matter most. Not the things. I have always believed love is a verb. The friends who showed love did it with actions that left me speechless and filled with gratitude. I go into 2018 with the thought of taking their cup of kindness offered to me and paying it forward. I look at the terrible things I dealt with in 2017 and realize I am blessed beyond measure. I have lost, but I also have many wonderful people in my life to fill some of the void. My focus for 2018 – share the love in action and enjoy each moment doing things that really matter.
And with that, I will wish you a Happy New Year and head out to meet a dear friend for a few moments.