Hello, it's me. Where I've been and why.


Hello, it's me.
I've thought about writing this for a long, long time. I've written it time and again in my head. Every version comes out different. Of course, all the words, however  strung together, were poignant and profound.

Right.

I'm simply spewing words today in this post. I feel as though I need to explain a few things, even though  no one has likely pondered where I've been or what I've been doing. We've all been buried in our lives, our own businesses, our own issues for far too long. I'm just another cog in the wheel. But today, I need to write this, and perhaps once I am finished, it will be time to move to the next thing on my list.

I love lists. Don't you?

Anyway....

Where I've been and why. 

If you look closely at this blog, you'll see exactly 12 posts for 2021. Honestly, I've not burned rubber on blogging for quite some time although my intentions are always good. But about where I've been... I've been home. Since the start of Covid, I've pretty much been isolated. Oh, I see The Boyfriend, and occassionally my sister, and my Dad. 

Dad was the reason I began isolating myself at the start of Covid in early 2020. With his interstitial lung disease, he wouldn't have survived a bout with Covid, so I kept my circle very tight. I didn't shop, go out to eat, had everything delivered, yada yada yada...  Not much different from the rest of us, right? 

Back then, I still lived at my home, and would spend time with Dad during the day. I had retired from my day job in April 2020, so I was excited about writing full-time again. Dad could nuke a meal for himself and get around without aid. At the end of 2020, I spent a lot of time planning what 2021 would like in my writing world. I created an elaborate release plan, marketing plan, and more. I tweaked this and that, updated files and websites, and the like. I was ready to take 2021 by storm and get more writing done than ever.

I felt super-organized and ready.

Then came New Year's weekend. Dad had a heart attack. All hell broke loose and my writing plans suddenly were null and void. Ditched. Vamoose. Forgotten.

In January he got three stents and was hospitalized for a week. In February, he developed congestive heart failure and pulmonary fibrosis. He went back in the hospital for another week. When he left there, he went to a rehabilitation center for another three weeks.

By now it's March. He comes home, and my sister and I realize he can't stay home alone any longer. We created a plan, and stayed with him around the clock. She would stay 4 days. I would stay 4 days. That way we each had some time at home.

That lasted until June. My sister got her second Covid shot and her compromised immune system (due to some other health issues) went wacko. Suddenly, she couldn't stay with dad any longer and now it's me, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Now, I did have some relief. Family members helped when they could by staying with Dad while I ran out to pick up prescriptions or a grocery order. That happened about once every two weeks. But if you've ever been a caregiver for someone, you know that's not really a break. I truly needed more, but it never came.

It. Was. Hard. 

In August, Dad started with Hospice care. Such a blessing. He passed away in late November.

As much as I loved my father, and as much as I didn't want him in a nursing home, I am here to admit that caregiving is hard. Very hard. Emotionally, mentally, socially, and physcially. In fact, I could say it's one of the most difficult things I've done in my life. My sister summed it up nicely, it's like all of your choices have been taken away. To give 100% of your time to another person, is like that. 

And yet, I would do it all again. No question. In a heartbeat.

I miss him tremendously.

What I'm doing now.

As I write this, it's mid-February, 2022. Dad passed November 29, 2021. Two-and-a-half months have passed. I think I slept most of December. In January, I felt a bit more like "normal" whatever that means. And this month, I'm feeling better.

I've found it difficult to leave the house. I'd basically been "in the house" for two years, and I guess I've become a bit of a hermit. Thank goodness for The Boyfriend, who loves to eat out. I do get out a few times a week with him. (Yes, he's a gem!). At first, whenever I would venture out, the feeling that I had to hurry up and do whatever I needed to do, and get back home, would haunt me. It was difficult to shake that and I still haven't quite done so.

My sister and I are still settling Dad's estate, which will take a while, especially because it's winter. There are properties to make decisions about—sell or keep? One decision made—I am keeping my parents' home, my childhood home, so I am in the very slow process of moving, while simultaneously pondering what updates and repairs need to happen in the house, and figuring out the financial end of things.

(I hope to post more later about the home remodeling adventure. It's a great house. Just dated and needs a bit of TLC. Mom has been gone five years and dad was not in the mood to do anything with the house. All this? More blog posts down the road...).

And the writing? In December, I piddled with writing "stuff." In January, I started refreshing my writing business model and marketing plan. In February, I actually started writing again. It's been a slow go, but honestly, my brain and my body needed the rest. Looking back, I can see that more now, than I could three months ago.

So, I am writing. That's a positive. 

Where I'm heading.

I've dubbed this year "The Year of the Pause" or perhaps, "The Year of Gathering Ducks." Either is appropriate for my current mindset. I'm writing but I cannot write toward deadlines this year. Last year, I set strict deadlines for myself so that I would force myself to write. I had committed to a Christmas multi-author project and I would not back out of it. So I set the preorders and wrote when dad slept, or whenever I could find a minute. I burned myself out making those three deadlines (I had one book to revise and two new ones to write in the series.)

Not this year. No preorders. No deadlines for me. Well, there is one. I do have a set deadline on another Christmas story in the same series as above. There is that.

But otherwise, I'm pausing on deadlines. I'm also pausing on social media. My primary focus for engaging with you, dear readers, will be this blog and my newsletter (so check both often and make sure you are subscribed!) I've not felt "social media" social for some time. (Hermit mode, still?) Oh, I pop in to Facebook daily, just to see what's going on, but I rarely post. I'll likely be in that mode for a while—until I get some ducks in a row. 

Yeah. Gathering ducks. That's the other part of my mindset right now. I have some updating to do on older books. I have an unfinished project to finish. I've already spent some time updating my websites. I'm going to focus largely on automating my newsletter system a bit more, and refreshing the automation sequences currently in place. I've revised the business model and now need to execute, which means other "things" have to be done before launching can begin. Ducks. Lots of ducks to gather.

Get. In. Line. Ducks!

I think pausing and duck gathering is all a part of control. I need the control right now. I need to pause, so that I can feel stronger. I need to gather ducks, so I don't feel scattered. I need to make choices, my own decisions.

So, that's what I'm doing. Pausing and gathering. Yup. Feels about right.

Why I'm telling you.

I'm not, really. I feel like I'm writing a letter to myself and publishing it to the world. Maybe putting all these words together on a virtual page are helping me feel more connected, helping pull the pieces together so I don't feel like I'm picking lint out of the air (or my belly button). 

Maybe I'm telling you because you've read my books, and maybe you're expecting that next cowboy to release soon and you're wondering where he is? Maybe I feel like I owe it to readers to explain a little. Maybe I need to write it for myself. And maybe the words just need to be put out into the universe.

Maybe someone will read this and think... "Geez, I'm going through the same thing." Or something similar. And reading it helps a little.

That wasn't really my goal here. I'm selfishly writing these words for me. But if they do help someone else, that's a good thing too.

Struggles are real. Every day. We all have them. We all push through them. They hurt. And they linger. But perhaps we go through them for a reason. Perhaps not. Still, they become a part of us. It's how we take the next steps that matter.

I'm writing on. I'm getting out of the house a couple of times a week. I'm planning the house remodel. I'm looking forward to warmth and sunshine in a few weeks. And come summer, I'm putting a pool in the back yard. (Stake in the ground!)

That thought makes me happy. We all need things to look forward to. Right? 


Comments

  1. Sending warm and caring hugs. I think you need them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gin. I feel the warmth. Much appreciated.

      Delete
  2. One day at a time. Sometimes, one minute at a time.

    ReplyDelete

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