Transitions. All sorts of transitions have been taking place all around me…and within me. I think I’ve mentioned a few times how difficult change can be for me. My daughter’s high school graduation & her move away from home to attend college afforded me the opportunity to view change differently. Change doesn’t have to mean an ending – how did that get in my head anyway? I’ve started to think of change in terms of transition instead – a new phase, a new opportunity to experience a new season of life. I think it’s been working – my daughter and I have both handled her transition surprisingly well (i.e., minimal tears & that’s a BIG deal for both of us!).
I began working part-time in July as a homemaker – going to people’s homes and helping with light cleaning and running errands. Normally, these are elderly people who just need a little assistance to remain independent in their homes. I absolutely fell in love with Bob (not his real name) the moment I met him. And I fell further when he asked me an hour after meeting him if I’d ever seen a screw that had been taken out of a person’s body. I see the humor in a lot of things & the fact that we recognized that quality in each other straight away was gratifying & hilarious. This set the stage for my time with Bob – I would clean as fast as I could so we would have time to chat about life. He lead an amazing life – deep sea diver off the shore of Japan shortly after Hiroshima was bombed, the life-long medical issues as a result of those dives, the death of his wife of 50+ years, finding his new wife on eHarmony, and on & on – always with a smile & humor. I cannot remember the last time someone has entered my life and impacted me in the way Bob has – I loved the contrast of what could have looked like a hard life due to medical issues and the way he talked about it all & took it in stride & did not let those times dictate his life or change his disposition. My time with Bob was energizing – he taught me how I want to live the rest of my life. My weekly services are no longer needed as Bob has moved & even though his transition was not a death, it left me feeling empty for days. Ugh – transition. *sigh*
My grandmother has had a rough year – so many times close to her own transition…or so we thought. She was afraid of death – of the sins she’d be judged for, the unknown & what it was going to feel like. Grandma Fran journeyed home Sunday afternoon – her big transition! As much as you expect the passing of a person you’ve seen decline, it’s a bit of a shock. You get knocked off center a bit. I’ve only known life WITH her in it…now, I transition & recalibrate to life WITHOUT her. Granted, our time together in the last year wasn’t plentiful or of a quality ideal to either of us. And while I think a part of me had already said goodbye she was still a constant in my life. A rock for me in my early life – a source of strength and protection that I clung to as a child. My sassy & stubborn confidant during my teen years – a “slave driver” when I wanted to earn some cash…and someone I could always laugh at & call on her ridiculousness. We appreciated each other’s attitudes & stubbornness…but she always knew I would bend to her wishes. And I loved that about us. I love that I loved the qualities in her that were challenging & that I learned so much about life through our interactions. I learned how to love the tough off of someone & not take offense at harsh words hiding all the love in a person’s heart. I learned that what is said is often not what is meant & that sometimes you just have to know the heart of the speaker to know the meaning. These unexpected gifts, that I had reserved for our relationship alone, are meant to be carried forward as I transition into life without her.
So, yea, change disguised as transition can still suck. But, I am beginning to appreciate the aspects of self I become aware of & learn about when in this phase of life. I’ve been wondering if change/transition happens more as you get older or if my extreme fear of change blinded me from seeing it happening in front of me? How much did I miss by not honoring and appreciating endings as new beginnings & the opportunity for growth?