Hello 2024!

January 17, 2024

Hello everyone and Hello to 2024!

Welcome back to Write of the Middle and #WWWhimsy after a 4 week break over the Christmas and New Year period.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and managed to have a bit of a holiday or at least some rest and recreation! Some of you may still be on holidays or may have just gone on holidays!

It only seems like the other day I was saying Hello 2023 and here I am now saying Hello 2024. The years are flying by far too quickly! 

I’ll fill you in briefly on my Christmas and New Year and then I’d love to hear about yours in the comments and hopefully I’ll read more about what you’ve been up to in your posts. I was focussed on being present and didn’t take many photos of interest so apart from the photo at the top of this post, this will be a rather imageless post!

CHRISTMAS

I hosted Christmas lunch here again this year for my family. My sister and her husband picked up Mum and brought her so it was the first time Mum had been taken out from the aged care home. I think she enjoyed it very much! It was such a hot day here Brisbane that day but thankfully I have ducted aircon so we were quite comfortable indoors. Most of us chose to spend the majority of the time inside in the aircon but some sat outside and took advantage of the pool and had a swim. All five of us siblings were together on Christmas day which was nice, particularly for Mum!

We had an early Christmas with The Tennis Player’s family a few weeks prior to Christmas day.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

We had The Tennis Player’s family over for NYE  – a swim in the pool, drinks, nibblies, pizza, desserts, coffee and cake!  I tell you what I have ‘rolled’ into the new year and I need to get back on the straight and narrow with regards to my eating routine asap!

JANUARY SO FAR

I’m not going to lie, January has been, and will continue to be, a tough month for me. Me, the one who has the ‘Gems of Zen‘ series, the zen seeker, is far from zen at the moment. I am stressed, rather emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed, and I am grieving. I start to kinda feel like I’m getting a grip – acceptance and fortitude – but one step inside our family home of 60 years and all of that seems to melt away and Mum is not doing so great lately, so I need say no more. There’s been a lot of major change and more to come, and still there is worry.

Let’s talk first ‘briefly’ about why I’m grieving.

I’m grieving the loss of the Mum we used to have. Mum has alzheimers and it is absolutely heartbreaking watching her slowly fade away from us. Actually it’s not so slowly lately which has been very confronting and upsetting. 

I’m grieving the impending loss of our family home. Every time I walk into it I’m hit with waves of grief that takes the breath out of my lungs. Times I’ve been there alone I have sobbed like a baby. Times when I’m there with others I often have to leave the room to get a grip of myself. This is a huge two storey house within which a family of seven resided and have lived for 60 years (not all 7 for all those years of course). My grief includes 1) knowing that our family home of 60 years one day soon will no longer be ours and we will no longer have access to the home that has been the holder of our childhood memories and our haven for all our lives, and 2) the deconstruction of the home from how it’s always been to how the real estate agent now wants it to look for sale. Last time I was there with the agent I didn’t enjoy the ooohing and ahhhing over the gorgeous mid-century features of the house and the contemplation over what to leave and what to take out for styling and photographing and selling. I felt protective and possessive which is not at all helpful.

I’m grieving the horrible fact that we have to go through all of Mum and Dad’s things and decide who wants what and what happens to the rest. I can’t explain how awful it all feels.

The house is full of happy family memories. We were blessed with a wonderful childhood and wonderful parents who were totally devoted to their five children. Mum and Dad built our home and moved in 60 years ago in 1963. There was an extension done around 1976. Mum was very house proud. Her home meant the world to her. Everything in the house is Mum. Dad too! It feels wrong being in the house with neither of them there. My heart lurches everytime I walk through the kitchen and Mum isn’t in her corner there cooking up something fabulous. The front slate stairs and lots of the external tiling and paving was done by Dad and I still see him in my minds eye outside raking up all the leaves or sitting in his chair reading or watching TV. Dad’s chair has sat empty for six years and now Mum’s is sitting there empty. We didn’t expect all this so soon after Dad. It’s very, very hard. Listen to me talking about Mum in past tense when she is still here and very much alive, but yet she’s not here – the cruelty of Alzheimer’s. We are very grateful though that she still knows who we all are and seems to understand what we are saying to her. If only she would pick up and be better than she currently is.

I’m stressed because aged care arrangements are full on – Government forms to be filled in, lots of finance stuff to sort (not my forte) and we have to sell the family home. There are loads of decisions to be made and the second guessing you do in your head about whether you’ve made the right decisions and choices can be torturous and keep you awake at night. There’s always more stuff to be done. It honestly never stops, but I won’t be boring and list it all. This month is supposedly all about clearing out the house and preparing it for sale, but my head and heart is more with being sure that Mum is happy & well and I’m not feeling that right now. 

I’ll stop there because I truly don’t want this to be a ‘downer’ kind of post when it’s a fresh start to a beautiful new year. It sucks sometimes to be so sentimental and an INFJ empath to boot, however I think that how I’m feeling would be how anyone would feel in the same position regardless of their personality type, and I think that you will all understand how hard this is for me (and my family) right now.

THE YEAR AHEAD

I’m hoping that by March or April I might be through the worst of what has to be done and maybe I’ll have found acceptance and more inner peace. Maybe even enough peace of mind to do some art again. I think though that this might be wishful thinking, because Mum’s condition will most likely continue to progress but I do hope she picks up from how she currently is because that is making me very sad at present.

In May this year I will be turning 60. That is so hard for me to believe. It only seems a short while ago Mum turned 60. I remember the night we all went out to dinner to celebrate so vividly. We had a ball. We were all laughing and half sizzled. The photo’s are the evidence of a wonderful night out. We all have our heads thrown back in unabashed laughter in every photo. I remember the little sparkly 60’s scattered all over the table. For my 60th this year, we have booked a one week holiday in Fiji which is at least something on the horizon to look forward to. I might do a family celebration either before or after we go as well but will wait and see what is happening in my world before any plans are made.

The first two or three months of this year though are going to be tough ones for me, so please have patience with me if I’m slow to reply to comments or to read and comment on your blog posts. I will do my best though. There may be points of time where I might call on some assistance with hosting the linky if I’m too snowed under or dealing with emotional/tough stuff to get posts ready. I know some of you have volunteered to help if I need it and thank you so much for that. I might call on you over the next couple of months. I’ll see how I go.

NEW YEAR’S INTENTIONS

Love. Acceptance. Fortitude. Resilience. Self Care. Self Love. Trust my intuition. Look after the inner child who is struggling. One day at a time. 


It’s unfortunate that my first post of 2024 is not a happier one … but I have always promised myself that I’ll be authentic and real on the blog and anyway, this is life! This is what I’m currently going through and I can’t pretend otherwise. Hopefully your authentic state of mind is totally blissed and chilled out after a lovely Christmas and New Year Break? If so, please do tell me what you’ve been up to and hopefully some of that bliss and peace will rub off on me too! If not, then at least my post will let you know that you are not alone in your struggles. We can do this!

Ciao for now,

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22 Comments

  • Reply Christie Hawkes January 17, 2024 at 5:22 am

    Sending lots of love your way, Min. My mother also had Alzheimer’s in her final days. While each experience is different, I understand the feeling of grieving someone who is still alive, but no longer the person you knew. I also can relate to the stress of clearing out the home and making arrangements for the care center. Be kind to yourself and patient. Here’s to happier times to come!

    • Reply Min January 18, 2024 at 7:20 am

      Hi Christie – thanks so much. I’m sorry to hear your Mother had Alzheimer’s too. Each case presents differently but I know you understand what I’m going through. It helps knowing there are people that truly ‘get’ what this is like. Thank you! xo

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 January 17, 2024 at 5:31 am

    Hi Min, it certainly is a difficult time for you and you are brave to share your feelings so thank you. The whole process of aged care is not easy and I know Mike and I had similar experiences to you when trying to find the right place for his Mum, going through the application process and clearing out and selling the family home. It is a lot for you to cope with so just go with what you can and take time for yourself as often as you can. I’m glad you have Fiji to look forward to. Sending love to you and it’s lovely to have you back. xx

    • Reply Min January 18, 2024 at 7:27 am

      Hi Sue, I think aside from when we lost Dad this is the hardest thing I’ve ever faced in my life. The aged care process is complicated, frustrating and exhausting. So many decisions to make and hoping they are the right ones. So many expenses!! It’s so hard for Mum to no longer be in her home – her haven, and so it’s so very hard for us too. Writing this post was a difficult choice. I wanted to be open and transparent about what I’m currently going through but yet I didn’t want to kick off the year with a depressing post or come across as whiney! In the end I couldn’t write anything else but truth. I’m hoping Fiji will still happen. I’m hoping I’m in a better place by then, feeling a bit more settled and at peace. Thanks for your kind comment Sue. xo

  • Reply Jennifer Jones January 17, 2024 at 7:09 am

    I’m very sorry Min to hear how sad life has been for you. I can understand how the changes would be confronting. Sending you my love and the strength to cope. It’s great that you have Fiji to look forward to. A great way to celebrate your 60th birthday

    • Reply Min January 18, 2024 at 7:28 am

      Thanks so much Jennifer. Fiji will be lovely after such a hard start to the year! xo

  • Reply Denyse J Whelan January 17, 2024 at 9:19 am

    Dear Min, what a time it is for you now and I so understand and hear (and feel) you.

    I am ‘glad’ you are recognising it’s GRIEF behind all of this ….and yes, anticipatory grief too.

    I offer the following Min because I did identify with much of this from my last decade….

    May I gently suggest you find someone professionally to help you through?

    It’s YOUR life right now, and you CAN come first to be able to share your fears and concerns with a health professional who understands grief and life’s transitions. And it’s even more valuable to you now as I sense the heartache is multiplying…I so hope you do find someone to help you find your path moving forward.

    And real estate agents are there for ONE reason..to sell…to bring you and your family what is needed for Mum NOW….it becomes the house for another family once they do what they do. I had to come to terms with that in 2014 for our house to sell. You are not alone here!

    Thank you for sharing with your honesty and vulnerability.

    Denyse xx

    • Reply Min January 18, 2024 at 7:36 am

      Hi Denyse, thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comment. I do think having someone ‘professional’ to talk to is a good idea but I couldn’t at this time. I don’t have the time or energy. Any free time I have I just want some time out in my own home to take care of myself and recharge. I honestly have zero energy left to ‘talk’ about it. Perhaps down the track though. At the moment I’m barely ever home. I’m either visiting Mum or over at her house. Today I’m hoping for a whole day at home and I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m drained to about 0.5%. My plan is to attend to my blog commitments, do some yoga & pilates, have a shower and wash my hair, rest, potter, recharge. Tomorrow I’m visiting Mum again. THanks for acknowledging my honesty and vulnerability. I sometimes worry that I share too much of myself, but not to would be dishonest. A lot of us blog about ‘mid-life’. This is a reality of mid-life! xo

      • Reply Denyse J Whelan January 18, 2024 at 10:48 am

        You are doing all you can to stay as well as you can right now. I appreciate that what you are going through is consuming so much of you. Take care and you have many in your on-line world who are with you in this stage of life.

        Denyse x

        • Reply Min January 19, 2024 at 1:43 pm

          Thanks so much Denyse xo

  • Reply Debbie Harris January 17, 2024 at 3:57 pm

    Dear Min,I can feel the anguish through your words and send positive thoughts to you as you navigate this difficult time. Having something like a trip Fiji to look forward to is a good way to get through the hard times. I wish you well and always be your true and authentic self here, it’s what we all need to do more of. take care and thanks for the linkup – hope it’s not too much for you but if so give me a yell and I’ll try to help out. xx

    • Reply Min January 18, 2024 at 7:45 am

      Hi Debbie, you feel right! Lots of anguish. Apart from when we lost Dad this is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in life. It’s different than the experience with Dad though. With Dad it was 6 weeks and then he was gone. It was short, very sharp and very intense. With Mum it’s been 2.5 years now and at the moment we’re transitioning to a new phase of it. I guess eventually I will recognise growth and lessons from the experience but right now it is all-consuming and our lives feel on hold as we try to navigate our way through it all. Hopefully Fiji will still happen and be a nice little reviver for me and a bit of joy amongst the anguish. Thanks for your understanding and for offering to help with the blog. I’ll reach out if I need help. It would be as easy as just including the linky code that I would give you at the end of your post so people could link up with you rather than me if I’m out of action but I might be ok. We shall see. Thank you! xo

  • Reply Joanne January 18, 2024 at 12:53 am

    Aw, I am so sorry to hear that this year is starting off rather tough for you and your family. My husband and I just got home from vacation (which I shared about our 3 day in the link up) and yet I still wouldn’t say 2024 has been off to a great start for me either.. it’s been a real mixed bag around here these past couple of months and I’m just trying to focus on taking in the good wherever I can. I hope your year does improve and that your trip to Fiji helps!

    • Reply Min January 18, 2024 at 7:48 am

      Thanks so much Joanne. I’ll be over to read about your holiday in your post at some point today! Sorry to hear 2024 hasn’t started off great for you! Focussing on the good is a good thing to do. Gratitude is what I’m trying to do – focus on things I’m grateful for to distract from all the sad and hard things. xo

  • Reply Natalie January 18, 2024 at 2:57 am

    Dear Min, I’m sorry the new year starts with stress for you. I can relate to what you’re going through. My suggestion is to take pictures and videos of your parents’ and your childhood home and perhaps create a photo book for you and your family members who want one (you may have thought of this already). I hope the year brings you many joyful moments, too. Fiji sounds wonderful. If you need help hosting, feel free to let me know and I’ll try to help out. Have a great week!

    • Reply Min January 18, 2024 at 7:50 am

      Hi Natalie, thank you! The photo book idea is a lovely one! I have been snapping photos of various rooms in the house before they get changed so putting them into a photo book is a great idea that I hadn’t thought of so thank you! Thanks also for offering to help out with hosting if I find I need some help. That’s so kind of you. I’ll reach out if I need to. Thanks Natalie. Hope you have a great week! xo

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee January 18, 2024 at 7:09 am

    Firstly don’t apologise and don’t feel you need to hold back. Did writing it down help a little? I find it does. You need to process it somehow. While it feels about the house, you will find it’s really your brain latching on to that bacause the other feeling about what is going on with your mum are just to hard to bear.
    You will get through this and you will know you gave your mum everything you could – your time shared with her in these hard moments is the greatest gift of all.
    It is a very exhausting time for you, but there will be moments when you look back when you fondly remeber one day or a shared joke or something you did together. Even if at the time it seems so stressful and distressing.
    We are happy to listen ifyou need to get things out of your system. It is a lovely post, albeit difficult for you to write.

    • Reply Min January 18, 2024 at 7:57 am

      Hi Lydia, thankyou! As a blogger you might understand how it can be hard to know whether you are sharing too much of yourself. After writing this post I was worried I shared too much. The thing with me is that I’m an open book. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I can only be me, and me wanted to be honest and share what I’m going through (without all the private and personal details). This is part of life and so it should be shared and talked about I believe. What we are going through is VERY exhausting. It is relentless. There’s the house and the real estate agent to deal with (we are WAY behind on the house because Mum has needed more attention). There’s the bank and finances associated with the aged care facility. THere’s all the govt forms that have to be completed. There’s visiting Mum regularly and advocating for her and her wellbeing and trying to help her transition to this new phase of her life, and there is more. With all this on our plates we start to neglect ourselves. Our exercise and eating plans are not what they should be. Our sleep is terrible. We start being very tired and irritable. So yes – it’s exhausting and it’s been very distressing at times. Thanks for accepting my post for what it is. I will share more now and then but try to not have the blog dominated by it all. xo

  • Reply sherry January 18, 2024 at 2:56 pm

    these are tough times Min. I remember it well when hubby’s mum went into aged care and we all had to sell her house, and get rid of her things and so on! Very heartbreaking. Wishing you all the best for this year.
    cheers
    sherry

    • Reply Min January 19, 2024 at 1:43 pm

      Thanks Sherry. Best wishes to you too for the year ahead! xo

  • Reply Patricia Doyle January 23, 2024 at 1:46 am

    Min, While everyone’s personal experience is different, I can very much relate to the loss of the women you knew as Mum. My mother had dementia for a number of years before she passed. Like you I mourned the loss of her mentally before I mourned the loss of her physically. And yes, I did a lot of second guessing, worrying I made wrong decisions, and feeling I failed her towards the end. But time does heal. All I can advise is do the best you can, and that will be good enough. I know your heart will be in the right place when you are doing the best you can.

    I found comfort in talking with a grief counselor when she passed. I had been looking into support groups for families dealing with cognitive decline, but my mom passed before I found my way into that. I know – another thing to deal with, but even reading some of the material I found in the search for a group was helpful.

    My heart goes out to you. This is not an easy time.

    • Reply Min January 25, 2024 at 6:30 am

      Hi Pat, thanks so much. I’m sorry you travelled this path too with your Mum. It’s just heartbreaking isn’t it? It’s kind of comforting to hear you went through the same second guessing/thought process and it’s not just me and my crazy mind.I know that I love Mum and I know that I’m doing the very best I can for her. This most certainly is not an easy time. xo

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