I’ve been taking stock of my life lately. Well, to be strictly accurate, my life has been taking stock of me. I am not purposely putting my past into perspective, it’s just that I see the horrible things that happen to people, the terrible physical and mental problems that plague them, the struggles they deal with on a regular basis, and I realize my life hasn’t been so bad. And of course, the request for my resume got me to thinking about what I’ve done (and haven’t done) with my life.
I didn’t have an easy time of it. Money was hard to come by no matter how hard we tried (“we” meaning my life mate/soul mate and I). We often lived hand to mouth; turned the thermostat down in the winter to almost unlivable conditions; didn’t have an air conditioner, which made the summers just as unlivable; bought food only on sale or at the lowest price available; never bought new cars; seldom bought new clothes or shoes.
And yet . . . I didn’t have a hard life, either.
We always managed to get through the winters and summers, had enough to eat (and it was all delicious and healthy since we cooked everything from scratch). We kept our vehicles running, always had plenty of library books around, planted dozens of trees and bushes and watched them grow. And we had each other. Although his dying about killed me, I got to be there with him through it all, and even was privileged to feel profound grief for him after he was gone.
I’ve been healthy more often than I’ve been ill. I’ve suffered bouts of depression at various times in my life, but my happy days outnumbered the sad/depressed ones. I laughed more than I cried, smiled more than I frowned. My mind works. (At least I think I it does. Since it’s my mind telling me that it works, would I know if it wasn’t?) My immune system is chugging along — even my allergy problems are a sign that my immune system is doing what it’s supposed to do. My body mostly does what I ask of it, and seems to have as much — or rather, as little — balance, elasticity, and endurance it always had.
Even my current situation — looking after my 97-year-old father and doing what I can for my dysfunctional brother — is a blessing. I have free time to indulge in blogs such as this, live in a nice area, enjoy being with friends, have the ability to participate in activities such as walking and exercise classes that help keep my body and mind in working order.
At the moment, I have no regrets, feel guilty about nothing, am angry about nothing. I haven’t even had a grief upsurge in a while. (As a matter of fact, the 27th of the month — the day of his death — passed with but the briefest acknowledgment of the date.)
I’m not sure why I’ve been taking stock — maybe getting ready for the next part of my life when I have to start dealing with the negative aspects of aging, when I have to deal with being on my own with no one to love or care for, when all that stretches before me is unchartered territory. Meantime, I’m enjoying the peace that comes with knowing I am blessed.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.