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 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.


Amy said...

I am so glad to see you post.

I am very sorry about the loss of your grandmother & the discontinuation of your job, even if it was your choice.

Change is hard. Leaving the known for the unknown is hard. I have no doubt you will be just fine (as it sounds like you are).

AND - congrats on the sub 5 marathon! That is awesome! :) said...

That makes my heart hurt for you, remember I always love you.

Tyger Lily said...

I am so glad to see you are still here in the blogosphere!

I'm sorry for your loss! It's never easy losing someone we love.

As for the job and perfect timing.....I agree. When one door closes another always opens. We just need to be open and aware :) Best of luck to you in your new "chapter" and congrats on your sub-5 marathon!

Carolina John said...

I cry most of the way through marathons thanks to my grandfather whom I still miss very much even though he died 12 years ago. Wish I could say that gets easier for you. But that's why I run.

Good luck with the new job. Sometimes it can be hard to move on, but it always works out in the end.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Hey, lil sis, sorry it took so long for me to notice this post. I didn't realize you were posting anymore. I hope you continue to.

I am sorry for your loss. I've lost more people in my life than I care to recount, and when I think about them it still hurts. But I have never asked for it to stop hurting because it should hurt: It's a constant reminder to me that it matters that these people are gone; there's a void that will never be filled by anything or anyone else.

You learn to manage this pain with time, but I don't think it ever lessens that much. Nor should it. Because you're right: People are not "heads in beds"; that is a callous and inhuman "philosophy" and you were right to get yourself as far away from its toxicity as you could, as quickly as you could.

Good luck with the new job and congratulations on the sub-5 marry!

Stay happy; but never be afraid to feel your sadness, also.

SteveQ said...

I've been to some okay, some terrible and no good "places for the elderly" and thought yours sounded like a good one - but it's probably because all I knew of it was you and your stories of mismatched socks. Hope all works out well.

I can sort of empathize with your marathon. I finished my first 24 hour run in 2008 after two months of "stiff upper lip" dealing with some personal losses. After the race, I walked to my car and bawled like a baby.

Hope you post a bit more often through the transition!

Marna said...

Thinking of you

Angeline Rose Larimer said...

Didn't know about your grandmother. Very sorry to hear it, as I know she meant so much to you.
A very well written piece, though. Really made me feel.
(The "heads in beds" is horrifying!)

JenericFN said...

Glad to see you back. Change is almost always tough, but can be very positive-- that's where my year has left me. I hope your big changes are positive for you too.

Diana said...

So sorry for the loss of hour Grammie, also for the loss of your "other" 52 relatives. I can totally see what the reason for you leaving was, I would have done the same. It's amazing to me how I see patient's being treated. Definitely NOT the way they deserve to be.