It all started about 2 years ago.
I was just emerging from the year long fog that surrounded me after my father passed away. I was physically and emotionally exhausted, being “on call” with him for about 23 hours a day, seven days a week. The one hour reprieve was from a group of care workers who would come in the morning and get him ready for the day. Even though he could get more hours without paying more he refused, saying he didn’t need help…and maybe he didn’t but I did.
Growing up my father and I weren’t close. I idolized him but put him on a pedestal. He owned a pharmacy and worked 9 – 9:00 6 days a week and 10 – 5:00 on Sundays. I ended up having my first job there and he was harder on me than any of the other young staff. I knew he didn’t want to look like he was favouring me and also, I knew he was grooming me for my future. I always say that he was my best and worst boss ever. ;-).
When he came to live with us he was suffering from several illnesses; however, I noticed that his moodiness, grumpiness and memory were getting worse. My sister and Hubby didn’t see it but they weren’t around him all the time. He became extra hard on me and that wasn’t easy considering I was dealing with my own health issues.
So, when he passed away I was relieved (for my sake, but mostly that he was no longer in pain). I also had what I have heard called care-giver syndrome, where the person who has cared for a loved one for a considerable length of time not only goes into grief for the loss of the person, they grieve for their own life. I did not know what to do with myself with all the free time. Then my health issues started beating me down because I no longer had this wall of defense up. My immune system broke down and I had cold and flu one right after the other for months. My pain levels went through the roof.
About this time I started to feel some depression trying to take over. All of the above was also taking a toll on my marriage. My Hubby had been feeling ignored when I had to pay so much attention to Dad and when it was just us again I was too tired, too sick, too down to be there for him. We almost called it quits one weekend. I had agreed to leave before he got back but realized I had nowhere to go. My dearest friend had said I could always stay with them when I needed a break but this was different. I was totally broken inside and I didn’t want her two sons (who I love dearly) to see me like that. She told me I had every right to stay in my home and Hubby had lots of family if he felt the need to go.
Neither of us did leave. For a short period of time we co-existed in the house but something happened inside me. I finally found something that was worth fighting for. At first Hubby wasn’t buying the changes in me but I kept persisting and he eventually saw a stronger, more positive me. I realized that I matter in this world and have every right to stand up and be counted with everyone else. Our marriage is stronger than ever and we are there for each other no matter what.
This was the first time in my life that I really started to take a look at who I am – not who I thought everyone wanted me to be (including my spouse). The more I focus on me, the more positive my outlook.
So, over these past two years I have gotten my creativity back in the form of writing and crafts, I am back designing cakes and loving it. I am getting my fashion sense back from when I worked downtown and even painted my fingernails yesterday! Kay did my toes because I can’t reach them. My fingernails are no way perfect, but as you can see from the picture, they are a beautiful shade of purple! I am even getting back to dying my hair.
Now, you might think that by dying hair and worrying about fingernails I am still trying to be someone else. No, I am the camp cook who went out and got an eyebrow piercing because I really liked them, not to fit in with the younger workers. I am the 10 year old who made a pair of purple corduroy pants and wore them to school when wearing purple really wasn’t cool! I was one of the first group of young women to get a second hole pierced in my ears because it was going to become popular and I wanted to beat the rush! 🙂
But once I was diagnosed with mental illness, put on medications and sent for therapy, all my creativity and uniqueness was lost. I am so glad I have found it again and this time it is in overdrive.
It goes without saying that my faith is a big part of the changes in me. However, I did not have any less faith during the bad times than the good ones. God is never-changing and always with us through thick and thin. I could not have gotten through the bad without His grace and mercy and I was able to turn things around because of His Love.
The new old Lydia is here to stay.