Remember to take care of yourself

As promised yesterday, I will be posting a snippet today. However, before I get to that, I wanted to talk some more about yesterday’s update. This time, it isn’t so much about me as it is hoping that you don’t fall into some of the traps I did if you ever find yourself in similar circumstances.

Recently, I’ve been reading a mystery series that features a female lead (former Army who served in the Sandbox, was injured and discharged). She lost her fiancé there and now she and the fiancé’s “working” dog are trying to find their footing in a civilian world. Each book has a mystery, and usually a body or two, that the two help solve. Over time, romance has built between the woman and a member of law enforcement. While it is a fun series, it isn’t groundbreaking. It doesn’t have to be. Not when it keeps me entertained.

But one thing the MC stresses over and over again is that anyone with a dog, especially a trained “working” dog (think police dog or military dog) is that you should trust your dog. In one of the books, she likens it to being akin to trusting your gut but that your dog is often better than your gut.

So that’s my advice to you. If you find yourself in a point in your lives where you are worried about a loved one, especially an elderly parent, it’s okay to be concerned about taking away their independence. But don’t let that concern keep you from taking steps to make their living conditions safer for them. That was one of the traps I let myself fall into. Our house was built at a time when sunken dens were a thing. Mom loved it from the first time she saw it. Of course, she was almost 50 years younger than she is now. For a couple of years before she fell, I’d tried convincing her it was time to build the floor up. She had all sorts of reasons not to: it would make the ceiling seem too low (nope. The ceiling is almost 9 feet high–before the floor was raised. Now it’s 8.5 feet); it would make the hearth too low (okay, I’ll give her this one. It could be one brick higher but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker); it would be too difficult to do and too costly (nope, especially since I knew better than to have someone come in and simply fill it with concrete. Putting in a wooden frame, sub-floor and then relaying the carpet was less than $2k and done in less than 2 days). She was adamant and I let her have her way until she fell and broke her leg.

If I’d followed my gut and put my foot down, she wouldn’t have fallen as she did (she fell trying to step up into the kitchen).

There were other things as well, a couple of which I’m still working on.

But it all comes down to one simple thing: is it more important to keep an aging parent happy or to keep them safe and in a position to continue living a somewhat independent life as long as possible?

That’s not the only consideration to keep in mind when you find yourself in this situation. If you’re like me, you tend to focus on how the other person feels and how the actions you feel necessary will impact them emotionally and psychologically. What I don’t think about is how the lack of action will impact me. I don’t think of the mental or physical toll the action, or lack thereof, will take on me. Which, when you think about it, is beyond foolish. What happens to the parent you are trying to protect if you let the situation get to a point where you can’t deal emotionally or physically? What happens when you find yourself resentful because you knew the fall, the accident, the whatever was going to happen if action wasn’t taken but you let the other person say no?

It all boils down to this: don’t be afraid to have difficult discussions with your loved ones. Tell them your concerns and listen to their responses. Once you have, then you can calmly explain how taking a certain action isn’t going to take away their independence. In fact, it is aimed at keeping them that way longer. I wish I’d done my research on raising the floor before Mom fell. If I had, I could have explained how what we wound up doing would meet both our concerns. By using the substructure method, it could be removed if we found it wasn’t what was needed or if she simply couldn’t not agree. Also, I should have done one other thing before she fell, something I did when she was ready to leave rehab and before I could get the floor done.

It was so simple and yet something I didn’t think of until it was too late: I bought a removable ramp and put in in the den so I could wheel her in from her room in her wheelchair. She hated it. She hated that I had to wheel her in and out because, at that time, she didn’t have the strength to handle the wheelchair on the lift. She hated the way it looked. She hated the fact the dog was scared of it. Suddenly, the prospect of raising the floor didn’t look so bad.

All this is a long-winded way of saying you have to look out for your loved ones but also for yourself. It is easy to lose sight of what you need for your own emotional well-being when caring for an elderly parent, a child, a sick spouse, etc. The key is finding a balance. It won’t work all the time, but it will much of it. That certainly beats running into that proverbial wall and realizing you just have nothing more to give and that recharging will take weeks, maybe even months.

I came to that realization.

I have spent the time recharging all my batteries.

I’m not back to normal yet–but I am getting there. Part of that is getting back to a regular blogging schedule, writing fiction at least five days a week, and setting a publication schedule that is workable considering the demands on my time right now.

What does that mean going forward?

It means I am going to commit to three books this year. It very well might be more, considering what I have been working on recently. But three books is my goal. I’m still deciding what they will be. Designation: Frejya will be one, but quite possibly the last one. Why? Because much of it was written when I wasn’t at my best. It has been through alpha and beta readers but I am learning they were giving me too much slack because of my situation. So it’s gone back to some of them with detailed questions I want answered and instructions on what I’m looking for.

Surtr’s Fury will probably come out as well. It is as closed to publishable as anything I have completed right now.

Warborn Legacy will be one of the books.

But there are others that might come into play as well. I plan to spend time over the next few days figuring out exactly what the timing for publication will be and what titles I want to put out there. So keep an eye out for that post next week.

As for the promised snippet, it will go live in a couple of hours. I hope you enjoy it.

For now, remember to give yourselves a break and remember sometimes loving someone and caring for them means having to make them face uncomfortable decisions they’d prefer not dealing with.

By the way, unless otherwise noted, all images used on this blog going forward are created by me using Midjourney AI.

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