Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


Tired Out

I had surgery on my feet last week so I’ve been on crutches. Mostly, there isn’t much pain. The thing that has surprised me is how much I am sleeping. I can sleep for hours. As I slowly increase my activity, I find after an hour or two I need another nap. Someone pointed out that once I stopped, the last few months may have just caught up with me. I’ve been crashing hard.

My first time driving again, I went to a building complex for folks 62 and over. I have two jobs there I will be starting where I am helping the resident clean the built-up clutter in their homes. Both apartments are going to be quite a challenge. The conversations with the two women in their mid to late 70’s were amazingly similar.

“I’m tired.” Both ladies repeated that again and again. Tired with a capital T. Tired of taking care of themselves. Tired of taking care of other people, which is definitely what most women do for most of their lives. Tired of all of it.

One woman made it clear that she was not referring to “giving up” because there’s a big difference. It brought back floods of feelings and memories of Dad. I spent the last year or so trying to explain to others that exact sentiment. Dad was tired. He was done. But I saw that as completely courageous. There was no giving up, it was an acceptance. Done here. Ready for the next.

I don’t think the women I saw today were necessarily referencing the end of their lives. They are just ready for a change. Needing to simplify. Needing to stop and slow down. Wanting to be taken care of a bit which is the biggest change of all. “I’m tired.”

Later I spoke with one of the managers who asked if I had an initial assessment. I said it was too early to know for sure, but my gut feeling is that neither of them had a mental health issue of concern. They are both just tired. Tired with a capital T.

I’m aware that this week held one of those realizations that once again, God, the universe has brought my life experiences to dovetail beautifully with my work. I was able to understand and relate to them in a much deeper way more quickly than I would have a few months ago. Thanks Dad. It felt really soul-satisfying to hug one of them at the end and hear her say, “You are the only one that is listening. I could kiss you right now.”

My approach to these organizing jobs will have a slightly different slant. I will be emphasizing that peace is coming their way. They can sit in their chairs and direct me and I will do my best to give them rest. The soul kind of rest they desperately need.

My sleep has been more physical, just recovering from surgery and lots of stress. That kind of fatigue is important to respond to, but these women are tired in a much deeper, wide-reaching way. Send prayers for us as we begin our work together that the outcome will be much more significant than a clean apartment. This feels more like a ministry. I’m so glad for the opportunity!

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Mother Teresa

Once a week, I try to post a quote on Facebook. It’s just something to keep things active on my business page and I hope it will generate some thinking. I really loved this week’s quote. It came out of a book I was reading called “Hope Conquers All” which is full of CaringBridge stories.

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.” Mother Teresa

Love, love, love that. We need to love without getting tired.

I am the first to admit that I get tired. Often. I remember once at a spiritual direction session when Tim was still alive and I was dealing with a host of blended family problems, I was asked to move seats for a technique she was using. I don’t remember the actual intervention, but I do remember her saying afterward that she had an aha moment when she realized I was just completely exhausted. A simple thing like moving my seat became a burden because I was so emotionally tapped out. Tired.

I try not to complain, but when I do, I know I hear myself saying I’m tired. Tired of being alone. Tired of being the strong one. Tired of being the one people depend on. Tired of being responsible. Tired of being alone. Tired of being alone.

I was in a session yesterday with a lovely woman who has had a lifetime of burdens to bear. Family and significant others in her life have had hosts of issues like mental illness, severe addictions, etc.. She is tired. She just longs for someone to take care of her for a change. My heart ached for her. She is so worthy of being rescued, but there is no genuine promise to offer her that someone will eventually do just that.

Mother Teresa’s quote is profound. We need to love without tiring.  We don’t need miracles, we just need to stay the course. No fanfare, nothing fancy. Just keep at it. Keep going, keep trying.

And I don’t think it’s wrong to also hope to find someone in life who will love us without tiring as well. It’s ok to want it back in return.

I talked with my client yesterday about how she probably would identify with my fantasy for a significant other. My ideal isn’t being swept off my feet, or some fabulous vacation. The vision is in my kitchen, with someone who just says, “I’m here.” And then they stay. They love without tiring.

Thanks for your amazing life and example, Mother Teresa. And thanks for that profound statement. When I feel my fatigue, I’m going to remember that statement and let it inspire me to keep loving.


Eleventh Hour

Back in November, my siblings and I started a conversation with my dad about the possibility of downsizing into a smaller place. We were meeting with him once a month and cleaning things out a little at a time. Things kept progressively increasing in effort until the last two months which have been in full-court press.

Now it’s time. He is moving tomorrow. All these months of preparation and there is less than 24 hours to go. The weird thing is, it has been an especially long, long week. If you have ever quit a job and had a hard time finishing out those last few days of work, you know what I mean.

No matter how much I sleep or nap, I don’t feel refreshed. Tuesday was the last real packing day I was going to spend with him, and on Monday afternoon my feet started feeling like lead. I swear it hurt to lift them and walk. Yesterday I got weepy. We went to a neurologist appointment for Dad in the morning which led to a couple of follow-up phone calls I had to make and that did it. I started crying on the way home. There was no way I could make two phone calls that required my brain to be sharp. So I napped. That didn’t help, but I did manage to get the phone calls done. Of course I did. It’s me. But I was in desperate need of cheerleaders to tell me to just keep going. I had five sessions that night as well.

Today is the last day before the big move. Cry number one was at 8:30 am. I had to call Dad and tell him that I broke his favorite fireman statue. I had loaded my car on Tuesday (which didn’t make sense to him to begin with) and I couldn’t pack it full because Frankie has hockey camp all week and he has a very large equipment bag. Things shifted and a box fell on the statue and broke off both of the poor guy’s arms. Now Dad can sometimes be a typical dad of his generation and not great when it comes to emotions. But he was stellar today. He told me not to cry. It was an accident and he knew I didn’t do it on purpose. He just didn’t want me to cry anymore.

I went home and started on some neglected yard work. I know most people think my yard is always fine, but I can’t help seeing what I see. I know what it is SUPPOSED to look like in order to maintain it properly. I also know it wasn’t important in comparison which is why I was behind. I started to prioritize it this morning and started to feel good about the potential progress I could make.

That is until I realized I had forgotten my psychiatrist’s appointment. I mean, I just don’t do things like that. And of all docs, you never stand up a psychiatrist. Only God knows how much that fine will be. I called and left a message and got there as fast as I could but I was 24 minutes late. She said nope. Can’t get in now until September. Sob session number two with the receptionist. Now I know there is no one to blame but myself but I was pissed off anyway. I’m scattered and not on my game because I am helping a thousand other people, not because I’m sunbathing at the beach. The appointments are only five to ten minutes. She COULD have fit me in, she CHOSE not to. Yep, my fault but I allowed myself to be angry with them anyway.

At any rate, I just had some ice cream with a friend and I’m feeling like all is right with the world again. If I can manage not to have any more crying jags, I may be able to finish my list for today. I may even be able to write up the list for tomorrow of all the things I don’t want to forget to do while I am directing the movers. Empty the fridge, disconnect the TV and all the parts, pack up the DISH for return, remember the little rocking chair that Dad has decided is REALLY important to him so we’re going to try to fit it, finish marking the items for sale over the weekend, blah, blah, blah.

It’s the eleventh hour. Overall, I have to say we have all done a pretty fine job. This might just be the most organized move in history. Most importantly, I feel closer to Dad than I have in years. He comforted me today. I felt his compassion for me. I will savor that for a long time.

If you are bored this weekend, come check out the moving sale. The more you guys buy, the less that has to be dragged into boxes. By this time next week, maybe we will be signing the papers to sell the house. Wish us luck!



Yep, I’m a day late writing. I know it really doesn’t matter, but writing has been my Thursday thing for most of the past three years. It’s easy to write when I have a topic. It’s terrible when I don’t have a topic. Now it is actually Friday night and I’ve still been staring at a blank screen.

Sometimes I have a topic, I just can’t write about it. Especially in my later anger/menopause years, there’s a ton of things I could rattle off with my eyes closed but it just wouldn’t be appropriate to do so. Those moments, I’m tempted to start a new anonymous blog so I can write without any regard for anything. But you know I’m all hot air. It’s just not in me.

Lately, there is only one topic that comes to mind and I’m sure all my friends are tired of it too. (No pun intended, but the topic is being tired.) Exhaustion. Sleepy. Hitting the brick wall. The thing is, my dad seems to be too. We are both in the same place. Just want all this moving stuff to be over. I know it’s not true, but right now I feel like I will never feel rested again for as long as I live. I will just never recover. Whine, whine, whine.

In some ways though, it’s kind of cool that I don’t really feel depressed. I mean I get so tired that I literally feel like I could cry at any second, but it’s not because of sadness. It’s just because I don’t want to move.

Around here, things are running behind. My client notes are backed up. My house is a bit of a mess. I haven’t kept up with the yard work. Laundry, groceries, and just plain eating are all in a sad state of affairs. Every two to three days, I drive to Dad’s, which is about 50 minutes away. We clean, pack, argue, laugh, box, tape, load into vehicles, etc., etc.. Then I drive the 50 minutes home, knowing that when I pull in I have another two hours of work. Unloading everything. Then there is separating it. There is almost always a bag on papers to burn. There are boxes of garage sale stuff to pack up. Things to take photos of to sell on-line which means posting them on three sites. Usually there are a few papers to file in Dad’s new filing box. Some things are actually for our house, which usually means replacing something else.

And this just repeats itself over and over. We absolutely make progress every time. There is absolutely still so much to do it makes my head spin. I think my dad’s head spins at times too. Legal stuff. Stuff for his new apartment. Stuff for his brief stay here with us. And the usual medical appointments and banking stuff that has to get set up or kept up with.

Mom has been gone for nine years now. But lately, it feels more and more like I am losing her all over again. So much of the house has her hand print. I just found some of her writing again that I read part of at her funeral. Dad and I have had some emotional moments together where we just have to stop and cry for a bit.

There is probably only a month left of this pace. At least I hope so. Have you ever been so tired that your eyelids hurt from keeping them open? Or your feet feel like they have lead in them so every step you take is like an effort? Believe it or not, I’m actually not complaining. I feel good about doing this stuff with my dad. I think in spite of the occasional disagreements, we have gotten closer through it. I’m just tired. That’s it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I still wish it was over. Exhausted. Just pure and simple.

Tonight I think I’m going to try to forget about all the things I’ve left undone and sit in front of a fire. I love fires. I will also then be able to burn a whole bunch of stuff that Dad needs burned. I can take a trip down memory lane while I sit in the lawn chair and watch the flames. I’m hoping a few friends will join me. Maybe drink a beverage or two. Who knows? Maybe I will wake up with new energy tomorrow. But if not, I will just keep going. I will see this all through to the end no matter what it takes. I won’t stop til Dad is sitting on his new couch in his new apartment. I just need to have friends who pretend not to get tired of hearing me say I’m tired. 🙂