It has been a long time - a really long time. My guess is that most, if not all my readers have moved on to other blogs - other ways to spend their time.
I can explain my absence. I can start by telling you that my Dad was stricken with liver cancer and then died just 4 months later in the early summer of 2015. Shortly before that my husband had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. By the end of that summer my 16 year old collie needed to breathe her last breath. Always a hard decision. In 2016, and almost one year after my father's death, my Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. By the end of August my youngest son was off to college and by the time the end of the year rolled around my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's Dementia. Which means apparently that he'll loose his mind long before his body succumbs to the perils of a physical calamity.
I can honestly say that the years of 2015 and 2016 were filled with the most loss I have ever experienced. And because of the diagnosis's for my husband and my mother, the loss goes on and on. Slowly and painfully the life seeps out of them. I find I keep asking, "How can I miss the very person who is standing right in front of me?"
Another truth is that I hadn't really been writing this blog for very long. Because of that, I hadn't yet really found my flow or my true on-line voice. I was pleased though that I had kept the blog almost exclusively about art, art making and teaching about the art process. I didn't really talk about my personal life too much, like my kids, my recipes, the last vacation or my dogs. Nor did I speak much about the challenges of my non-artist self. So when the events of my personal life loomed so large that I found I could no longer keep art making separate from my day to day struggles with life and with my volatile emotions, I stopped knowing how to blog about my life as an artist. So I stopped blogging/writing altogether.
"So what has brought me back?" you might ask. The simple truth that I know I have to make art and I know I have to write - about it all. Bear with me if you can. I will try to keep them separate. I will write two blogs. Is that crazy?? Maybe. But I am going to try just the same. Neither my husband nor my Mother are on-line, so I can't hurt them with my truth. "But why blog instead of journal?" The answer to that question is that I'm not really sure. I am such a private person - so journaling makes more sense. And yet I haven't done that. I haven't started a private, hand written journal. It may be because I feel alone and isolated. A sense of reality that is distorted and actually totally wrong. Although I now understand that that is a common misconception of caregivers. Perhaps it is because I feel (or hope) that my experiences might be helpful to someone else. And that perhaps this is what I really have to offer. In any event, my need to reach out seems paramount.
The new caregiving blog will be caregivingxs3.blogspot.com. Truthfully, I am not sure if I’ll be all that successful at keeping things separate. Some days the cloud of sadness that follows me around is so heavy, it feels that I can barely breathe - but still I make art. I know the caregiving blog will have only entries about caregiving, but as I write this now for you I realize that I will be copying and pasting those entries here as well. Because my creative self is now so inextricably connected to my new self as caregiver, and because my caregiver self is a bundle of emotions that are constantly changing - I feel I have no other choice but to give you both.