Monday, December 31, 2018

Goodbye 2018

I turned 50 at the end of March. I was very reflective around that time, starting to think about a future that might include retirement and pondering if I was currently where I wanted to be.

Adjusting to my new employer starting in April hasn't always been easy, as I continue to struggle with different ideas about where priorities should be when time is limited.  Over the years at Canadiana several projects were started without clear plans for completion or ongoing maintenance, and technological debt has built up.

Early in April my mother had a heart attack. Her birthday was April 14'th, and we didn't know if family was getting together for a birthday or a funeral.  When she managed to survive she was told she only had weeks or months to live - that it was unlikely she would see another Christmas.

My mother's health has been declining for years, and life became harder for her after my father's death in 2009.  Decembers had already been particularly hard for her since my sister died in 1989.

Relationships with parents have different stages, if you are lucky enough to experience all of them.  In the early years after you are born your parents take care of you, then there is a stage when everyone is adult and you care for each other, and in later years the roles reverse as the child takes care of the parent until their death.

While I have been doing my best to help my mother since my father's death, the relationship became much stronger since April.  While I wasn't able to travel to Sudbury in April, I was with her for 2 weeks in May and a week each month after.

As emotional as it was to become closer to someone I knew was near death, I am thankful I allocated the time.  I considered all the time since the heart attack to be extra visiting time, and extra time to help her get her affairs in order and be as ready for the next stage as one could become.

My mother died on August 19.

This December has been different.  For obviously reasons I have been doing a lot of reminiscing -- and the memories are fond memories.  I've been posting pictures from various Decembers on Facebook, including some from before I was born as I now have all the photographs my mother kept.

Over the summer I became closer to my mother's 4 sisters.  My mother has two sisters living near Sudbury who had already been helping her, and who continued to help me help my mother over the summer.  We continue to have family conversations with a closeness that I didn't have with them before this year.

I also had many other friends of mine and Rina's helping, including bringing me to their cottages for "canoe therapy" several times over the summer and into the fall. When times are hard you really appreciate these friendships.

The CRKN offices close between Christmas and New Years. This is different from past jobs and when I was self employed, and I realised that it hasn't been since university that I had this time completely off.  My management helped me through the summer by looking for ways to enable me to be with my mother for many weeks over the summer without having to buy vacation days.

I don't know what 2019 will bring, but as the stress of the last year winds down I'm hopeful.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.