Things Change. One minute the sun is shining, the next it’s raining cats and dogs. I might be really sad at noon, and then find myself happy and laughing hysterically by four o’clock. When I have a day that makes me want to shoot myself in the head, the next day I may be filled with uncontrollable excitement to get on with my life. None of us ever knows from one minute to the next what is before us. The past is done, never to return. The future hasn’t happened yet, so how can we truly plan what we will be doing next? Changes are constant. They can be large or small, altering our lives in many ways. Some are good. Others bring on excruciating pain and suffering. The one thing that never changes, is the need to let go of whatever we are clinging to, so that we can ride the waves toward new beginnings. It can be hard. So very hard. Especially when we are dealing with major loss.
Right now, there are lots of changes happening in my life, and lots of things I need to let go of. Though there is nothing terribly earth shattering, they’re bothersome and sometimes sad. For one thing, I’m aging. Nothing works quite the way it used to. I can no longer wiggle my ears or do fifty jumping jacks all in a row. It’s to be expected, of course, but I’m loving my later years for my ability to be more honest and to say what I need to say without embarrassing myself.
Just a little over three weeks ago, I decided to go gluten-free. I’m feeling absolutely terrific. All of my aches and pains are gone, food cravings are a thing of the past, my energy levels have risen to new heights, and I’m slowly losing weight … about a pound a week. It’s miraculous and I love every minute of discovering the new me. What’s to complain about?
I think of Christmas and the traditional foods we’ve always enjoyed in the past. Like the perogies, forever my favorite holiday food, since the beginning of time. Little packages of pasta, filled with a variety of fillings, like sauerkraut, mushrooms, or potato and cheese, are to die for. We smother them with caramelized onions and sour cream, and spend our time eating them in food heaven. But no more. I do take solace in their sweet memory and know I’ll probably come up with something that tastes similar but doesn’t use pasta.
Seven weeks ago we adopted an adorable little terrier. As of three days ago, he is no longer with us. We had to return him to the shelter because he began beating up our old guy, Sam. He also turned out to be destructive, shredding a new chair cover, chewing on the woodwork, and then a table. Sam was not hurt too badly the last time Terry started a fight, but everyone, including the trainer, the vet and Terry’s former foster mom, agreed that things could take a very bad turn if we didn’t do something. The amount of training he would need was something we couldn’t commit to. And my first concern was for Sam, who was already coming to us for protection, whenever Terry would get too rowdy.
We’re feeling pretty glum at this point and despite his problems, all of us, including Sam, miss the dickens out of him. He was a very sweet little guy most of the time. I’d recently discovered his love for water, when visiting with a neighbor. He’d stepped down onto the first step in her pool and spent the next ten minutes just sitting in the shallow water with a huge grin on his face. I promised myself I’d get him a small toddler’s pool for next summer, but then the last and most injurious fight took place. I spent the last day he was with us in tears, hugging him and wishing for a fairytale ending, in which he suddenly sees the error of his ways and straightens himself out. But the true fairytale will happen when he finds a new forever home, where he is the one and only kingpin, preferably with a few kids, whom he adores, and a large space to run in. There has already been some interest in him from others looking for a small dog and I’m feeling it could happen very soon.
My biggest letting go for now, will happen in a week or so when I take my mother’s ashes up to Long Island, to scatter them in the places where she was truly happy. Some of her ashes are already buried next to my Dad in New Hampshire and some are under the Smoke Tree, we planted in her honor, here in Virginia. She was not all that happy in New England, and after we, as a family, moved to Vermont, she went back to the Island often, spending her time staying in a small cottage, and visiting friends and relatives. When she died in 2007, I was not able to plan a funeral or a memorial for her. I was spent from years of being her caretaker. I was also very angry with her, unable to find a middle ground where I would be ready and able to let her go with forgiveness and love. Though it’s taken a while, I’m ready now. I do miss her terribly and often find myself wanting to call her, to let her in on any exciting news I have to share. It’s funny, but I do think she knows it all anyway and is up there, sitting on the edge of a cloud, still trying to run the show.
I don’t know how I’ll feel once I finally commit Mom to the earth and sea. Lately, I’ve felt a few second thoughts creep in, suggesting that maybe it would be better if she stayed in the closet where I’ve kept her all this time. But the thing is, I know I need to set her free, so that I can move on with my own life. Mom’s hold on me began to die this past June, when we had to put her cat, Cleo, to sleep. That calico kitty was my last living connection to Mom. With her, I learned to forgive Mom and myself for the pain we caused each other. Now it’s time to set myself free as well. I wish to go on living a glorious, rich life, and to enjoy every moment as they arise, without regret of any kind.
What kinds of changes are going on in your life? What do you need to let go of?