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Finding Balance

The events of the past six months have tested my balancing skills. I’m not walking a tightrope or a gymnastics beam, even though at times it has felt that way. I’m a creature of habit. My happy place is having a predictable daily routine - especially in the mornings. When something happens to upset my normal schedule, it throws me for a loop. I find myself floundering and my self-care goes out the window. My mood, and subsequently my creativity, is greatly affected. 

In late November my husband Houston suffered a minor stroke. I was out of town when he awoke to a feeling of being off balance on his right side. Because his grip strength was great and he wasn’t slurring his words, we mistakenly ruled out a stroke. Instead, we thought maybe it was an issue  with his neck or back, since he has some degenerative and herniated discs. Scheduling an appointment with a neurologist in December was challenging, so it was January before we had a firm diagnosis. Physical therapy began soon after, and I’m grateful to say he is recovering. While he’ll never be completely back to where he was, his balance and fine motor skills are greatly improved. 

My mom’s fall and hip fracture in March began a long journey that continues today. She endured three surgeries, three stints in rehab and treatment for a staph infection. This week we moved her back into her cute little apartment in her assisted living community. She couldn’t be happier. And her joy has brought a lightness to my own heart. But for the past two and a half months I’ve been in an almost constant state of fear that something else would happen. I’ve also experienced a general sense of uncertainty that I was doing all I could to help give her the best chance of recovery. 

I hate for my loved ones to suffer. I also hate how their suffering impacts my daily life. I’m just being honest. Some of you may have a true servant heart and love nothing better than caregiving. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I find myself adding their needs to the list of tasks I must accomplish in a given day. Keeping up my responsibilities at the farm and now at our new building in downtown Corsicana has seemed overwhelming, even on the best of days. I’ve been learning that I need to lean into our friends and community, as well as the caregivers who are helping with my mom’s recovery, to help create a healthy balance. What that looks like I am still discovering on a daily basis. True relaxation still seems a way off, but I’m experiencing moments, and sometimes hours, filled with a lightheartedness that hasn’t been present for quite some time. I am grateful.

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the June 8, 2024 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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