Welcome Back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Tomorrow, March 1, 2018, marks a first anniversary I never dreamed I would be “celebrating” – my divorce. Am I celebrating? In some ways, yes. Honestly, it still does not seem real. How could I be divorced? Me. I married for life – “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; till death us do part.” Not just for 36 years. But here I am, divorced. SOLO. Life has radically changed for me over the last 2 years, but I can now say that truly, it has been for the better. Me, who hates change, has actually embraced the changes in my new SOLO life, and find it to be … well, FUN!
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates
Friends ask if I am lonely. I don’t have time to be lonely. I stay very busy and keep my life full with working, traveling, movies, dancing, wineries, football games, lunches and dinners with friends, working out, and anything that includes my kids. I was on the phone with a friend talking about the “SOLO life” and in the background, her husband said, “Les, please don’t make the single life sound so great! Remember some of your friends are married.” I would NEVER want a married friend to find herself in my position, but if she does, I want her to know it is not that bad! Life is what you make of it.
“Don’t be afraid of CHANGE. You may lose something good, but you may gain something better.”
This past year my sisters and I have seen a change, a decline, in our mother’s memory health. Yes, she knows who we all are and is always so glad to see us, and is still as sweet as ever, but her needs are a bit more than they were last year. She has a hard time remembering that my children are grown and out of college. In her mind, they are still “children”. She doesn’t remember the last meal she had. And of course she does not believe she is 88 or that I am 60. “How could that be?” she asks. Rarely does she remember that I am divorced. She will ask where my “ex” is and I just say he is traveling or I don’t know. That sometimes prompts her to ask if we are together and when I say no, she does remember, though she can not believe it. However, last weekend she asked me if I was dating anyone! I about fell over as it was the first time she actually remembered I am now SOLO!
We moved Mom from Assisted Living to the Memory Care unit at a different, and what we believe to be a better facility for her, last weekend. My sweet son came up from Charlotte and my nephew from High Point, to help us. (Gave me another opportunity to see my “out-of-town child” per my New Year’s resolution!) I ran into an “old” friend visiting her mom who lives there. My college roommate’s mom is also there so I am excited to know that when I go visit mom, I may see them as well, and will always go by and say hello to their mothers. Also, my cousin and several friends live nearby to Mom’s new digs and I am hoping Mom will have more visitors. How did Mom react to her new beautiful room (it is beautiful thanks to my older sister – the decorator!)? She said we shouldn’t worry about putting her “somewhere”, but not to tell her momma, my grandmother, because she would not like it. We assured her we will not tell Grandma Isabel. Oh boy…
“To care for those who once cared for us is the highest honor.”
Has anything changed for the worse for me in the past year? Honestly, I cannot think of anything. As friends and family tell me all the time, I am doing things I never would have if my situation had not changed. Some things have not changed at all – I have lunch or dinner with my “old” cul-de-sac neighbors often and am so thankful for these ladies! Not to mention meeting other friends for dinner. Met one last night for dinner to catch up.
One really fun change is my addiction to movies. Remember Movie Pass? My younger daughter and I saw 2 movies last week – Phantom Thread, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Three Billboards was wonderful! Phantom Thread was different – though I am very glad I saw both. I still want to see Lady Bird and I, Tonya.
I have some other friends who are facing the anniversary of tomorrow in a much different way. Their loved one is celebrating her first year in heaven. Their lives have seen many changes over this past year as well. There is no time limit for grieving. They will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow.
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
Tomorrow is also my nephew’s (the one who made me a Great Aunt) birthday. I am so proud of the husband and father he has become. And if you need something to brighten your day, just watch the following video he sent me of my great nephew. I have watched it a million times and laughed or smiled each time.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell
Embrace the changes that occur in your life. Look for, and make the best in every situation. Stay positive and do whatever makes you happy, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.