Goodbye to Bliss

What?  She’s back to just to say good bye?  Kind of looks that way.  But let me explain…

…Yes, I left you hanging months ago, I know.  And more than likely, you have gotten along just fine without my posts popping up randomly in your life.  But it wasn’t my conscious intention to leave the blog world.  Life…and almost death…decided it for me.

I mentioned in one of my last posts that hubs and I have made some big, life changing decisions.  Big enough that I knew it could curtail my online life.  Well, before we could really even get any of those plans underway, we had a huge health crisis with my dad.  Early/Mid May he was diagnosed with several blockages to his heart.  Two days later he was in the hospital for stents.  Prior to doing the stents, a heart cath was done which determined it was too dangerous to do stents…a five by-pass was needed.  Life came to a grinding halt for all of us.  The next 3 weeks was a waiting game to find the “perfect” doctor (his prior doctor does not perform open heart).  Once he was found, dad’s appointment coincided with the doc’s already scheduled vacation starting the next day.  So, it was another week and a half before he could have surgery.  All of this waiting was scary because one of dad’s more serious blockages was at 95% in the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery–also known as the “widow maker’s spot”.  Lovely.  We made sure he took it very easy, put him on major rest restrictions and waited.  Surgery day came without incident and surgery happened without it too.  He came through it swimmingly.  I was able to spend time with my parents, both prior to and after the surgery, which was a major blessing.  I am so thankful to still have my dad around.  And even though he is still recovering (takes a good three months or longer), he looks and feels great.  I am sure many of you can relate to how a serious health crisis can really impact how we view our loved ones and the time we have them.  Blogging–the blogging world– became very unimportant  for many months as you might imagine.

There is one more thing I would like to share before I jump topic…consider this my own personal public health service announcement.  It was truly a blessing that my dad’s heart condition was diagnosed before he had a heart attack.  His only symptom that he complained of was shortness of breath/slight tightness in the chest after walking or exertion.  He started noticing this back in February while on vacation.  When walking the beach he thought he was getting winded rather quickly but chalked it up to being out of shape from living in a Northern winter climate.  When Spring hit, he realized it was a little worse when doing yard work, Spring clean up, etc.  This is what prompted him to seek medical advice.  He passed the initial tests–chest X-ray, blood work and EKG.  Once a stress test was ordered (and failed) and angioplasty was done, the blockages were discovered.  The man had no other symptoms, on no medications, and prior to this surgery, had never been hospitalized.  LISTEN to your body.  BE your own advocate.  DON’T let the fear of feeling foolish (oh, it’s probably just heartburn) stop you from seeking professional help when something doesn’t feel right.  If dad hadn’t noticed his shortness of breath and followed up (which probably should have happened sooner), he wouldn’t be here now.  Seriously, take heed!

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OK.  Off the soap box.  Moving on to my other big topic.  Literally, moving on.  Back in the Spring, hubs and I did some major soul-searching about our life/lives.  With the Kiddos living upstairs, we realized we can live in a smaller space.  We were pretty much just living in our downstairs anyway before they moved in.  Well, in the Spring they gave us news that they were moving on.  That gave us pause to think about what we wanted to do.  Frankly,  we decided we want to live smaller, minimize our possessions and open up opportunities to travel more.  Easy peasy, right?  Wrong.  Simplifying and minimizing are a lot of work.  Plus, we had to figure out where to go if we sold our house.  My 86-year-old mother-in-law was also a huge consideration.  While in good health now, that literally could change overnight.  We decided to be proactive about her future care now…and not wait for a crisis that would only allow for knee-jerk decisions to be made later.  After discussing our idea with her first, the decision was made to finish off her basement for us to live there with her.

Yikes.

Yes, I know this is huge.  I have endured many raised eyebrows and blank stares since announcing our decision to friends.  The only people who really “get” it are ones who have been in care-giving situations with their own parents.  Here are some of the facts that helped us to make the decision:

Truth:  we could live where we are and still provide care if/when needed because we live in the same town.  BUT should she need 24 hour care or maybe someone to stay nights with her, that would still mean separation and stress for us.

Truth:  she is currently in good health, do we need to do this NOW?  Yes, we feel now is best because it creates an easier transition for all of us.

Truth:  bunking up with MIL will free us of many financial burdens–namely a mortgage–and provide us an opportunity to travel while MIL is still enjoying a measure of good health.

Truth:  we had already decided (and essentially had been doing it) to live smaller.  Her basement has daylight windows, was already plumbed for a bathroom and will provide just enough living space for two people and a dog.

Truth:  when my MIL dies (not to be morbid just factual), we will already have a place set up to care for my parents should they agree to it.

My husband works in management at an assisted living facility.  He has taken classes on caring for the elderly, especially for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s (either direction is where we see MIL headed with age).  One thing that is emphasized by the professionals, is to keep individuals suffering from those maladies in familiar/routine scenarios as long as possible.  We did think about moving MIL in with us, but her home is what is familiar to her and, in all honesty, should she be wheel chair bound or have to use a walker, her floor plan is more forgiving than ours.  Obviously, lots of thinking has gone into this plan of action.

After things calmed with my dad, we got more serious about getting the wheels churning.  We met with MIL’s lawyer.  We found a contractor.  We helped move the Kiddos out.  We cleared out the entire upstairs (except of a bed and dresser).  We had a HUGE garage sale.  We hauled stuff to Goodwill.  I closed my Etsy store (haha!  not that it was a big thing).  We’ve met with tradesmen.  We have shopped for a kitchen and bathroom.  We’ve had a realtor come and assess the house.  Oh, and we had about three weeks of back to back family visiting from late July into August (which was lovely–not complaining at all.  it was a great respite!)  And that brings me to now.

Now.  We are almost ready to list the house, my house…my dream home.  My Bliss House (built in 1838!) will soon be on the market.  In a matter of weeks (if we are fortunate) or months (if we are not)  there will be different souls bringing life to its rooms.  Amazingly, I am OK with it…all of it.  I am looking forward to starting again.  I am excited about how this change will enrich our lives–not only with the promise of traveling but also the eventual care-giving too.  Bliss isn’t just a house.  It’s a state of being.

Bliss is whatever and wherever you want it to be.

For now, au revoir.   We may just meet again.  Thank you, as always, for taking time to read “Chez Bliss”.

~~Heather~~

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7 thoughts on “Goodbye to Bliss

  1. Dearest Heather,
    What a whirlwind! And so much stress… but you seem to be putting it all into the best possible perspective, and handling it like the wonderful woman I know you to be. And I must confess, I envy your move to the basement at your mother-in-law’s; being that close is going to be such a blessing if she ever needs care. Even being just an hour away from someone can be nightmarish on those evenings when they don’t answer the phone, or say that they’re not feeling well…
    Stay in touch, and visit us all at our blogs or emails. You will be missed, but your choices sounds perfect for you, and that’s what’s most important!
    much love,
    and big hugs,
    Janice

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  2. Congratulations! I am in the planning stages of such a move. It’s a win/win for all involved. Transition to new living is hard for a lot of people on the outside to grasp but it is so true that you make and take your bliss with you wherever you are.

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  3. 🙂 Dear Heather,
    I had been wondering what was happening in your life, as you had been blogging less and less. It is good to see the occasional Instagram picture and I hope you will continue this.
    Glad to hear your dad is doing better!
    I understand your situation to the fullest. We’ve had a very close encounter with death in June and our lives have changed quite a bit. Other things have become a lot more important and we realized that we have way too much “stuff” we don’t need. You’re right about the part that downsizing is a lot of work. It’s very time consuming as well and somehow I can’t really get started. I de-clutter a little bit here and a little bit there, but it’s still not enough. Looks like it’s a big project for my next holiday. However, I know that once I get started a lot will be going and lead to some further changes. Fine by me.
    Good luck with your future plans and I hope to hear or read from you every now and then.
    Should your travel plans include Germany or Austria, let me know – maybe we can arrange something.
    Take care and a big hug,
    C. xo 🙂

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  4. I’m happy to hear that these things are coming together for you … a big change, but I’m really hoping it means you can travel more and live more simply. This is a wonderfully written post and while I’ll miss the news from Chez Bliss, I’ll see you on Instagram and (hopefully) email. I’d love to follow your adventures as you downsize and create a new space. Chez Bliss will be wherever you make it. : ) xoxo

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  5. While I totally understand everything you’ve said here I will miss your blog and your presence on the block. You two have been great neighbors and Peter and I wish you all the best with this new change in your lives.
    I know you’re not moving to Kucamonga (yes, I made that up) so I’d like it if we could meet for coffee every now and then to “stay current.”

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  6. Gosh, that sounds like a really big decision to make – and not one a lot of folks would consider, but well done you going on a different road. My parents have been gone for 25 years or more and Bill’s mom died 6 yrs ago, so we have no one to consider but ourselves. Were my parents still living I would do this in a heartbeat, but for my MIL? She was a bit of a dragon, so I’m thinking it would be unlikely, particularly as I paid off my mortgage several years before Bill and I married. I’ve not blogged much lately either; I have plenty to share/say, but other things are a higher priority just now. Comments have dwindled to nothing so that I feel I’m talking to myself. I don’t mind that, but other things seem more important at the moment. Best of luck to you!

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  7. I have missed you Heather and kept checking to see if you had posted. What a stressful and busy time you have had. Your decision is understandable and admirable. I wish you all the best and please maybe give us a little update occasionally, if only once or twice a year. Good luck and big hugs to Rockefeller. xx

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