Decided to do an update for ‘Joyous Life’ today.
It’s been more than a year – the last time I posted about this was September last year. We did what we did - Neil moving back in - because it felt like the right thing to do, and we’re glad we did it. Though, to be perfectly honest, there were times I questioned the ‘why’.
It took some time, but Neil’s condition started to improve. It took him a long time to build up his confidence, and it took him a long time to venture out on his own. He couldn’t even muster up the confidence to cross the road at a crossing light. So, everytime he went out – usually to the doctor’s – one of us would go with him. He was always vocal in his appreciation, which was nice.
I’d make an effort to take him out to different places at least once a week, just to get him out and about – change of scenery and to work on his confidence. The one place he hated going was to town. He found it too fast-paced, with people rushing around; he was scared of someone bumping into him and knocking him over.
Once he finally agreed to try out a rollator, things changed. He uses a walking stick to get around, which is ok around the house but not too helpful when he was out. The way the rollator is set up makes it easier for him to balance and that gradually increased his confidence. One day, out of the blue, he announced he was going out for a walk – by himself! I think I was more nervous than he was! He didn’t go far, just to try out the rollator, but he was happy with it.
One thing Neil definitely deserves points for – his willingness, almost stubborn willingness, to go for a daily walk. The only thing that stops him is pouring rain. He will still go out even if its drizzling, which is much better than my efforts.
Long story short, he goes for really long walks. He doesn’t walk fast, but he’s done at least a mile. He’s also been on a bus. And he’s gone to the shops. All on his own. I know none of this sounds like much, but the fact that he’s done it all on his own without needing to be cajoled is a huge improvement.
With his confidence and sense of independence on the up, and my need to get a job, we talked about him getting his own place. Another long story short, we eventually found him a flat in a retirement block. We were lucky because there are hardly any for retired people between 55 and 60; the majority of these places are for those aged 60 and over. It’s nicely situated, and he liked it enough to stake his claim on it.
Then the ‘fun and games’ started, which tested my patience to the limit and beyond. Yes, he wanted it, but he kept delaying filling in the paperwork. He knew he had to move on, but he didn’t want to move from here because this is where he felt safe and secure. I got tired of telling him that he needed to move to his own place because I couldn’t work and still care for him. To be honest, I could have, but I didn’t want to.
I don’t want to regurgitate the past, but let’s just say, after all I’d gone through, I want my life and house back. I want to get going again after hitting ‘pause’ last year and putting my life and plans on hold.
If he was still in bad shape, it would be a different story. But he’s now at the stage where he is able to look out for himself, and his mobility has improved. He’ll never be as he was, but he’s much better than he was. And he knows to look out for the signs when he’s done enough and he’s tired – that affects his mobility, and he just takes it easy.
Anyway, even though he’d started paying rent on his new place, he was showing no signs of budging. I went ahead and applied for jobs, which wasn’t easy. I haven’t worked for over 20 years as we were lucky enough that I could stay home with the boys and home-educate them. So, there aren’t many who are willing to give a 55-year-old a chance. I tried my hand at hotel housekeeping; after 10 days of almost putting my back out, I decided that wasn’t for me. I’m now training to be a care worker. Fingers crossed, that works out.
Job-hunting and dealing with Neil was stressing me out. The boys helped where they could, but they were starting to get fed up too. For them, Neil not following through with moving each time he said he would, reminded them of his many broken promises of the past.
I guess what I minded most was the effect it was having on my writing and any semblance of marketing I was considering for ‘The Spellbound Spindle’. I couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm for either. Mind you, marketing is still enough of an alien concept for me, so it really didn’t need much for it to fall by the wayside.
Just as I was getting to the end of my tether, hallelujah! He got his act together, got all positive and pro-active, and moved to his new place. And now that he’s there and settling in, I am more than happy to help him when he needs help. And the boys are too. As I kept saying, him moving out doesn’t mean he’ll never see us again. He’s only a short drive away. The boys will visit. And I’ve already popped in to see him a couple of times.
I can honestly say, since 2014, when I started the ball rolling with the divorce, life has more than surprised me with its ups and downs and veering off on tangents. I never, ever imagined it would be like this.
I’ll be honest, there were times, really low times, I regretted letting him move back in. There were times I cried so much, I was surprised I still had tears left. There were times it felt like going through the divorce all over again.
But, deep down, I knew it couldn’t have been any different. Because, despite it all, Gordon and Liam have rebuilt their relationship with their father. It’s a different relationship, obviously, to the one they had with him before it all fell apart. Because they’ve rebuilt it as adults. And I think, the way Neil is with them now, he’s more respectful of them, which can only be a good thing.
‘Life’ sure does work in strange, wondrous ways.