Catapulted into a life suddenly filled with illness, things in my world came to a schreeching halt recently which forced a new and unexpected chapter to unfold. I went from a 12 hour a day commuting executive to a housewife in an instant, and it has been quite a process. What I have discovered during my year of being at home has been enlightening, to say the least.
During my thirty years or so of being in the work force, keeping my home together was always done on the run. I shopped, I cooked, I cleaned and paid bills, but I can tell you that until this past year I never saw the little crocuses peeping out of the ground in front of my house, never heard the birds chirping in the trees, never sat for a moment to pet my dog in the sunshine. So focused on keeping everything running semi-smoothly, I had missed so much.
My husband had become ill with prostate cancer, and surgery was scheduled. So, at that moment my own body finally broke down and an emergency hysterectomy was my Valentine gift. We were a complete collective mess. We both had surgeries within a month of each other and were both in recovery mode, and I was in dire need of a rest. I resigned from my job, packed my boxes and moved home. Home. Home was where I needed to be.
In my mind all I could think of for awhile was getting from one day to the next, caring for my husband as he was healing slowly. I should have paid more attention to myself, though, as my recovery took a lot longer than I thought it would, as I basically never sat down. But, as time went on and occasional naps were taken, I began to feel better as did he. I cooked and washed clothes and thank goodness had a wonderful housekeeper to do the other cleaning, but what I found was that I enjoyed the little tasks of running a house without watching the clock. What a concept. I no longer dreaded Sunday nights as Mondays always followed them.
I cleaned out my file cabinets, emptied a portion of one of our attics, purged closets, emptied drawers, dusted cherished mementos and relished in it. I rearranged cabinets, filled boxes for charity and washed my own car. I taught two little dogs how to do tricks and sit with me on the couch, and met with a delightful color consultant to recommend new paint for the interiors of the house. I took hikes and smelled the fresh salt air, and I relished in it. I saw that people are actually out and about- that not everyone is wedded to their offices the way I was.
The little thing that matter presented themselves- the text from a granddaughter asking me if I could meet her at the bus stop and walk up the hill with her, the moments sitting in my dining room reading the paper and watching the bald eagle in the tree eating a salmon, the opportunity to actually see the sunrise and sunset not from a ferry or from an office. I began to breathe for the first time in years. The illnesses that forced me home became my gift.
Now it is possible that I may return to work, but if and when I do I will return a different person. I will not allow commerce to get in the way of peace and happiness and I have now a profound understanding of the importance of being home. So now, if you will excuse me, I have some aprons to iron and a dog to pet. May God bless you, my dearest of the dear. Amen and goodnight.