Reflections on 2012

So here we are at the end of another year. Thanks to Castorgirl for hosting this month’s Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, and for suggesting the theme of reflections on the year. Like many, I sometimes struggle to see the positives (perhaps this year more than most), so it’s been nice to have a reminder. Thanks CG!

The biggest, baddest, and hardest part of my year has been the death of my mother. It’s been two and a half months now, and I still can’t believe I’m writing those words. Death. Mother. In the same sentence. Yet it was inevitable, really. Her passing, and my grief, overshadow everything; are sometimes overwhelming, yet somehow I manage to get up everyday and keep moving.

I don’t want to reflect on 2012, or look ahead to 2013. The more time moves forward, the more distant my mother seems. But, here goes…

My biggest hope for this year was that I would get to spend more time with Mum.Yep, I did get to do that. 🙂 I’m so glad that I did. We became a lot closer and I grew to understand her more. Of course we snipped and snapped at each other sometimes. And sometimes she drove me completely nuts, but I’m told that’s normal. It’s what made our relationship real. I would give almost anything to have her back, but at the same time I’m incredibly grateful we had the time we did. I’m glad I could be there with her until the end. Grateful, too, that her passing was quick and painless and peaceful. After all she’d been through she deserved those things at the very least.

I learned a lot this year. About life, and death, and the world. I learned that caring for someone with a terminal illness is hard, hard work. Much harder than I’d ever imagined. I still can’t believe how exhausted I was; how little time I had for anything. I think I’m still recovering. Though, of course, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I learned that grief SUX. Big time.

Perhaps the most important things I learned were about myself. Thanks to a truckload of therapy. I had some moments of mindfulness. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I’ve had glimpses of what being mindful is like and I think I like it.

I learned how disconnected I was (am) from my body, and how difficult it is for me to establish that connection. Sadly I can’t share any wisdom on this one with you – I still get caught off guard when I notice something in my body.

I learned a lot more about my anxiety and how it manifests itself: in my breathing, in the tension in my shoulders, in my “ADD”, my worry about being late, etc etc etc. In learning about my anxiety, I also started to learn about what I want, or think I want, in work and in life, without the pressure of anyone’s expectations. And I started to learn about the kinds of things that stress me, especially at work, and how I want to manage or eliminate that stress.

I knitted. A lot. And I loved it. I loved discovering all the stitches and patterns and beautiful yarns out there and discovering some fellow knitting friends. 😉

One of my biggest achievements, I think, is that I built a relationship with Mum’s cat. An old, cantankerous cat who has hated me for much of her life. Who broke my heart when, after Mum passed, she’d come looking at Mum’s chair and ask me where Mum was. She trusts me now. Even lets me brush her and purrs while I do. I never thought it would happen, but it did and I’m proud of myself for having the patience and love to sit with her through all this, as she sits with me.

That’s it, folks. I’m going to save my “hopes” for 2013 for another time. I will leave you with one of the songs that’s moved me this year. A lovely little piece by Missy Higgins. It’s a song about losing her grandmother to dementia, and to death. It struck a chord with me.

PS. Actually I may have undersold myself. I think by far my BIGGEST achievement was allowing myself to feel my feelings in the wake of my mother’s death. Ordinarily my approach would have been to eat, drink, shop or otherwise bury my feelings, but experience has taught me that doesn’t work. No, it doesn’t. The feelings just get bigger and come back to haunt you later on. So, instead, I allowed myself to feel. I think it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it’s still bl00dy awful, but I’m doing it. There’s been a little bit of numbing, but really nothing compared to what I’d usually do. So while it feels like the most unnatural thing to say – go me!!

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11 thoughts on “Reflections on 2012

  1. Dear Kerro,

    Yes you undersold yourself, but you caught it, and tried to do a more accurate assessment. Feeling your feelings, that is huge, especially when it comes to the tough emotions, like grief. Becoming aware of how emotions are in different parts of your body and how that feels, that is huge too. Being aware of your disconnection from your body and working on that is huge as well. Being connected to your emotions is one way of working on connecting to your body, emotions come from our body, so feeling your emotions through a grief process is a huge step in connecting to your body and being present.

    So proud of you. Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  2. Pingback: Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: December edition | Scattered pieces

  3. Wow, thank you for sharing. A lot has been accomplished for you dear one. I think of my year and I do not feel I moved much. But, am told that I have. I just cannot see it all. Still learning and discovering new areas as I heal. Safe hugs to you dear one.

  4. Merry Christmas Kerro. This must be a difficult time for you, and my thoughts are with you. I hope 2013 is a good year for you, and for all of us.

  5. Hi Kerro,

    You should be proud of yourself! You’ve had several rough years, one after the other, and you’ve come through them all having learned so much… it’s really good to see.

    Not burying those emotions is indeed a huge achievement… You’ve not only done that, but you’re emerging with your head held high… kudos 🙂

    I hope you can go gently as you reconnect with your body… you deserve it!

    Please take care,
    CG

  6. Hi CG, thanks for commenting. It is amazing the toll a few tough years can take. Cutting myself some slack for that is harder than I thought, but I’ll keep working on it. 😉

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. But I’m glad you got to have that extra time with your mom.

    Knitting is such a calming and centering craft. I don’t do it nearly enough.

    Allowing yourself to feel is a HUGE thing. You deserve all sorts of cheers for that! Go you!

  8. Hi Kerro, I came looking for you, when I noticed you weren’t tweeting. Beautiful post this one. I hope you’re okay and taking good care of yourself and your mum’s cantankerous cat. ~ rl

  9. Thanks RL, that’s so kind of you. I’m away at the moment and Internet access is a bit patchy. All is well, thank you again. I was just thinking how no one would notice if I went AWOL, and you have proved me wrong, thank you 🙂

  10. So sorry to hear about your loss. I know this has been a difficult time for you. This is “Lothlorien” by the way—posting under my new blog). I am glad that you had such a healing experience in your relationship with your mom. I experienced the same when my mother passed away 2 years ago. You are right in that you have grown tremendously! I have witnessed so much growth in you over the time I have followed your blog. You are amazing!
    God bless.

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