Today is the First Day...

Today is the first day...of the rest of your life?  You know, I never really understood that saying, the original of which was attributed to 60's Synanon cult guru Chuck Dederich.  But it made a great marketing slogan, didn't it? My roommate at USM in the early 70's had a poster with that saying, and I used to stare at the words and try to understand them. Over-analyzing them..something I have been accused of doing with probable cause, I would wonder: Well, of course...isn't every new day the "first" day of the rest of your life?  Silly, really.

I prefer to think of it in other terms...

Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.
~Cherokee Indian Proverb

or, possibly even...

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.
~Babatunde Olatunji, a similar version is also attributed to Alice Morse Earle


Hey, I love history...and I love a good mystery.  And what's not to like about presents??

Anyway...

Today is the first day... in a very long time that I awoke after 8 full hours of sleep.  Granted, I roamed the house until after midnight and didn't get to bed until nearly 1:30 a.m., and it took me a little while to settle down and fall asleep.  Since Mr. T was out of town, I was on my own for the first time.  He's been so good about scheduling and rescheduling...and re-rescheduling his work in order to get back home for the night, so I wouldn't be alone overnight.  Well, as alone as one can be with 3 rather large hounds in the house and on the bed.  But, last night, tag...I was it.  And I didn't particularly care for being it. So, there is work to be done in this area.  Still, work can always be done better on a good night's sleep, don't you agree?

Today is the first day... I made coffee for one.  Before June 9th, even when Mr. T was out of town, Momma and I had our morning coffee, usually made in the French Press instead of the drip-o-lator. I used to do 4 scoops to a whole carafe filled with boiling water, and it was just right...meaning it was a bit on the strong side, which is how I prefer my coffee, since I typically drown it in milk.  Ahem.  After Momma went to the Hospice Home, I just got my coffee fix in their kitchen; I even kept a "real" coffee mug there so I wouldn't have to use a Styrofoam cup.  So today I put a couple of scoops of Eight O'Clock's Columbian in the bottom of the French Press and poured it about half-full of boiling water. Hmmm..not quite right.  I still have some work to do on those measurements.

And, today is the first day... I laughed instead of cried when I forgot.  I was loading the laundry, and before I pressed the Start button, I headed into Momma's bathroom to gather her basket of dirty clothes to add to the machine.  Got all of the way from the laundry room to the bathroom door before I realized what I was doing.  Oops.  I am happy to report that no tears were shed at the time.  I just shook my head, turned on my heel, and chuckled back to where I'd started. 

Don't get me wrong...I'm quite capable of an afternoon shower or two, especially while reading the sweet and comforting cards that are still arriving in our mailbox daily.  But, even that is getting better.  Earlier this week, I received a card from a Master Gardener friend from Greensboro...a classy & sassy woman, who has nurtured me through the internship process even though she scarcely has time to breathe because she is so busy, and who had not known Momma personally.  In it, she thanked me for sharing Mom's life story in the Tribute Picture Album...and then she wrote:  "sounds like she was a helluva broad...must run in the family!"  I'm not sure whether the tears were rolling because I was laughing so hard or what!  Way to go, JA! You made my day!!

Oh yes, dear readers, my grief is still present, front and center. I'm not going to get past it in a mere two weeks.  You see, I lost both my mother and my really close companion and girlfriend to cancer at the same minute of the same hour on August 5, 2011. And, my job as caregiver ended forever with her last breath. Talk about your life-altering changes.

But, I also know that I have an opportunity to write this new chapter, too. My fingers are poised over the keyboard, and I have a blank page in a new document and an unsaved file in a folder named The Rest of My Life. [That's the 21st century version of a clean pad of paper and a newly-sharpened pencil...:)]

What will my new chapter say? How will tomorrow differ from today? I'm not sure...yet. But, given some time and guidance, I'll be able to answer those questions and more.

Guiding me as I work through my grief, I have been tapping into available resources, especially the SUNRISE articles on the Shackelford Funeral Home's website.  In the one entitled About Grief...The Rebuilding of Life, I have especially connected with Suggestion #4, Create and Build a New Life for Yourself. Here's an excerpt (the emphasis is mine):

Many find volunteer work very fulfilling. This provides one with an opportunity to invest himself/herself in others which is very therapeutic and fulfilling. Once you pass through this gate you will be well on your way toward recovery, and it will be accompanied by a feeling of deep joy. Keep in mind that you are in control of your life and that you have the constant option of reviewing and revising your plans.
As an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer (EMGV), I have an abundance of opportunities to "invest (myself) in others."  I took advantage of a couple of those yesterday: a training class to learn the newest Speakers Bureau presentations in the morning, followed by a 3-hour shift on the Infoline in the afternoon.  It was so "therapeutic and fulfilling" that I signed up to be the presenter for several programs September-November.  I also have a couple of Gardening articles to write in the next few weeks.  I'll keep you posted on all of those.

And, I even though I haven't gotten Mom's rooms cleared yet, I am following the advice in Suggestion #2,  "Building on Your Beginning." 

As you make a simple beginning in your recovery you will slowly and gradually begin to regain confidence, balance, and self-esteem, and, in time, you will once again begin to feel alive. Remember, this process takes place gradually. Take things slowly and in stride. “Easy does it,” is a wise old adage that applies here. Do not be bothered by slight regressions. Progress does not occur in a steady, upward swing, but a gradual up-and-down movement that progresses upward.
My darling daughter reminded me that there was no hurry.  I made my way through a good portion of Momma's closet, but I just had to stop. Too painful. Too soon. But, at least I began.

And so, today is the first day... that I began to feel alive again.

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