The 10K I ran in May was the last time I ran 6 miles . . . or 5 or 4 for that matter. Running 3 miles two or three days a week is about it, and even that has become difficult. Ugh! How can I lose 3 miles in one month?! The short answer? Stress. During my recent visit to Minneapolis that included moving my mom into her new Assisted Living home — I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t take care of myself and I didn’t run. I was a wreck and lost 5lbs in 10 days. I’m pretty sure those pounds were my newly acquired 10K muscles.
When I arrived back home in Virgina, I was sick for a week and felt like I’d been run over by a truck. And I’ve pretty much been under a rock ever since. Recovering. Keeping to myself in prime reclusive form. Avoiding people. Some might call this depression. But I like to think of my solitude as more of an adjustment period.
Adjusting is not new to me. As a mother, and even as a daughter of aging parents, the adjustments are aplenty. Putting my children on the kindergarten bus comes to mind, as well as watching my newly licensed children drive away for the first time. And of course there’s the adjustment period I’m currently in — letting go of my children as they learn to fly on their own, and letting go of my mom who is in her 7th year with Alzheimer’s.
The dictionary defines adjustment as “adaptation; harmony achieved by modification or change of a position.”
In the above definition, LETTING GO is my modification.
Letting go is saying YES TO WHAT IS. It’s saying yes to what is true right now. While we may not like what is true, if we are to live in harmony, we have no other choice than to let go and accept. The opposite of letting go is grasping, and with grasping comes wishing, wanting, clenching and suffering — not a harmonious place to be.
So I am working on letting go of my children and letting go of my mom. I am adjusting. I’m changing my position from being the center of my children’s lives to being silently by their side, readily available with a hug or advice, while they take the wheel and navigate the trajectory of their lives.
Letting go of my mom is different. I’m saying the real good bye as I let go of my mom. She is still with us, but because of Alzheimer’s, I’m saying good bye to the mom who sang in the church choir, hung clothes on the line and called my children by name. I’m saying good bye to the mom who sent birthday cards, visited me in Virginia and who called on the phone just to say hello. Since using the words “mom” and “daughter” are confusing, I’m saying good bye to them as well. I’ll be her friend. I’m changing my position from being a daughter she knew and loved to that of a being a really nice woman with a friendly smile who likes to hug. I’ll be her loving friend who calls her Ruth instead of mom . . . who will do anything for her.
Adjusting and letting go. Changing my position.
Soon, in a few years I would imagine, Alzheimer’s will complete it’s grip on my mom. Then I’ll be saying good bye to mom’s physical form. I’d like to think this won’t be too difficult as I’ll have said all my good byes by then. But I’m probably mistaken. And then I might be adjusting again.
Under my rock.