Most of you that read this blog know by now that my mother passed away in the first week of 2010. It was sudden, but not unexpected. She had been ill for a very long time and the last year had brought a steady decline that had forced us to relocate her to a nursing center. She required more care than we were able to provide at home.
Adjustments were required all around. I was only recently getting used to the idea that I could impulsively stop somewhere on the way home from work and that it was no longer necessary to schedule a sitter when a special event came along. Before the move, my lunch hours were the spots in my schedule where I ran errands and made brief shopping trips and took care of my personal needs. After the move, I could run errands after my work day was over, so lunch hours became the time I would drop by the nursing home to sit with Mother while she ate.
Now we have passed into another period of adjustment. There is the shock of loss, the sense of having lost your reference point, the whiplash of exhaustion following a period of stress. And there are the little odd things that suddenly pull you up short.
Like this afternoon when I made a brief stop at a crafts store that was next door to the Petsmart where I stopped to pick up a fresh supply of dog treats. I found myself strolling down the aisle where they stock artificial flower arrangements and thinking that the red geraniums would be a bright touch at Mother's bedside. A mental shake as I realized that I would not be changing out the bedside flowers any longer. Five minutes later I was reaching into the bin of soft sleep socks and pulling back my hand when I realized I no longer needed to replace her worn out socks.
A similar mental jolt occurred over the weekend when I stopped at Beall's to look for a blouse to wear at an event on Sunday (more on that in a later post). I had automatically drifted around to the loungewear to check for cotton gowns. It had become a habit to keep an eye out for cotton gowns and for bright patio dresses that Mother might enjoy wearing. When I stood at the rack, I realized there was no longer a reason for me to be there. It felt weird.
So begins a time of transition as I recalibrate my life. When I stepped outside the office this afternoon and looked up at the sky, I felt an immediate emotional response to the rolls of fluffy clouds that stretched to the horizon.