Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just Like Old Times

I'm at the New Place and just had the opportunity to meet a new resident who will be moving in after Thanksgiving.  I greeted her and introduced myself, to which she responded:  "My GOD you have big eyes!"   I love it.

 (Do I ???)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Life Changes Like the Weather

Change is hard. Feeling feelings is hard.  I am tuned into such a damned happy frequency at like 110% of the time, that I hardly know what to do with myself when I'm sad. Or mad. Or anything besides happy. I've discovered, though, that happy can be a state of living...instead of a feeling...and it can most certainly co-exist with sad or mad or anything else. It's possible to be sad but at the same time know you have a very happy life, right?

Yeah, it was a tough summer.

I never mentioned on the blog that my Grammie lived at Rock Ridge for five of the years I worked there. Every morning, I walked straight into the dining room where she was eating breakfast and gave her a hug and a kiss and had a quick good morning chat. Not to start her day...but to start mine.  I popped into her apartment throughout the day to see how she was, make sure she didn't need anything, have her listen to my troubles. Sometimes she would even tell me how to solve work related issues without even knowing it. There isn't a grand enough word to describe this graceful, beautiful lady.

Grammie died on August 10, just 2 months and six days shy of turning 96. 

On August 20, I worked my last day at Rock Ridge after eight years.

The two events, in reality, were unrelated. But in the big the-universe-always-aligns-things-perfectly picture, it is divine.  Rock Ridge was bought on June 1.  By June 3, I knew it wasn't going to be a good value match. There are a lot of people with different philosphies on caring for our elders, and while I won't claim that other people are wrong and I am right, I simply can't work for a company who doesn't have the same philosophy as me.  I put a lot of love and energy and life into being an administrator of an assisted living. I am not a robot or a clone, and neither are the 52 people who live there. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, aunts, friends, people. They have had heartache and joys. They have lived full and valuable lives.  They are not "heads in beds." (I heard this term used by the new company as my heart simultaneously decided that I no longer belonged there.)  They are PEOPLE.

While my heart knew that I no longer could work at Rock Ridge and endorse what it was now representing, it also knew that as long as Grammie was there I could never leave.  The details are arduous, but suffice it to say the timing of everything was so impeccable, that in my eyes at least, it cannot be disputed that life works out just the way it's supposed to.

This in no way means that it wasn't hard or that it didn't hurt. That it STILL doesn't hurt.  Not just losing Grammie--which hurts even more than I could have imagined--but I also lost my daily interaction with all the folks at Rock Ridge. No more daily doses of overheard conversations from my office, the shared wisdom, the dining room drama, and no more daily doses of...Gladys.  (Gladys is still there and I visit her every week. She is doing great, though she broke her front tooth and looks like a 92-year-old hillbilly with red hair. It's adorable, but she is terribly self-conscious and is getting it fixed next week.) The anguish that has hung over me since Rock Ridge was sold and Grammie died is starting to lessen. I finally felt like writing about it. This is progress, but I still miss them so much.

I started a new job at a humongous continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in a neighboring town on September 7th.  On September 25, I finally ran my sub-5 marathon at the Roadrunner Marathon in Akron, Ohio. I talked to Grammie for the last four miles... and cried my eyes out at the finish.

Change is hard. No matter how much you think you are open to change or try to embrace it...it is still hard, because with all change you experience a loss. Maybe it's the loss of a comfortable routine or maybe it's a person or maybe it's 52 people.  Doesn't matter. A loss is a loss, and it's OK to be sad about that...but we must also remember there is always so much to be happy about, too.