The Journey Begins

I’ve been busy, mostly grieving. To an outsider, it might appear I’ve been mostly cleaning. Apparently it is part of my grieving process, to clean and clean and clean. It started as mindless work, keeping me busy, so when I thought about mum I could avoid just crawling into a dark hole for the day. Now I’m able to practice some mindfulness as I clean, but I still clean.

Lots of people at the house assessing my situation these days as well. Some say things I like to hear, most say things I don’t. Many pity me, which is so hard for me to sit with. I don’t see myself that way.

I know, no need to remind me, the government gave me benefits on the first try, they gave me a 5 to 7 year review, I can’t sit and stand easily for more than ten minutes at a time, pushing through to my doctor’s appointments. I wear braces, need regular treatments (mostly non-traditional at this point to avoid the narcotic medications) and so on, and so on. I know, I don’t feel disabled, but I am disabled.

Another part of grieving, for me, is indigestion – of all forms. I’ve spoken to several about this and it is a common symptom of grief. I had no idea. Every time I eat and do other certain things, my body lets me know it is not happy – with the loss, the new demands, my personal insanities about it all and perhaps even these people who keep saying things that disagree with me. Indigestion seems most appropriate when something disagrees with me, I suppose, yet I never saw it coming with this change in my life.

My initial reaction, as usual, was to struggle, to fight it, to force myself to try to be ‘healthier’ about it (whatever that means). This is my way, how processing begins for me. I seem so blind when I first struggle, but by some grace (which I attribute to a Power far greater than myself), I begin to see the struggle for what it is. A futile effort which exasperates my situation.

Once I have done that, I can step aside and watch what I am doing as if I am a third person observing myself. I release and let myself ‘process’ — however that takes form. Strangely, when I reached the ‘observation’ stage in my cleaning mania, I began the ‘struggling’ phase in another area. It caused me to lose sleep to the point of delirium. Another part of my grieving process for which I had to seek assistance before I could stand aside and attempt to just observe and let myself ‘process’ without piling on additional resistance.

The process is multi-layered, with me observing some aspects and struggling with others — perhaps this is always the case for me to some degree. Maybe it’s that way for everyone. Either way it brings me back to that horrible word, “balance”. Such an elusive concept,  moments of balance for me are so “momentary”.

So this is what I’ve been doing for some time; now it is time to return to more practical endeavors. For me, right now, there are two focuses. One, caring for the house. I forgot to put on the ‘disability’ list above, I’m not to vacuum or transfer things up and down stairs. Most of my home is solid floor downstairs, but upstairs and the stairs themselves are covered with carpet. I use two rails to assist in getting up the stairs, but the lack of vacuuming up there has brought my dust allergies to new heights. Some nights I can’t sleep up there at all.

The throngs of people who walked in and out of my house between December, when my long-term personal aide  was no longer able to assist me, and through January when mum was sick, created the most profound fear of having anyone in my home to assist. This is simply not feasible for me. I need help.

Recently, I found the most friendly fellow to assist with the litter boxes. He is a pet sitter, and he resolves a significant issue around hiring a cleaning service or personal aide from an agency  (most of which exclude cat care due to litter boxes). He also offered to help with most anything I might need, as I pursue my journey to move somewhere outside the United States, (somewhere I can afford and feel more assured my healthcare needs will not lead to my institutionalization).

After meeting with him and having him come to change the litter boxes (and doing a ‘great’ job), I wrote a nice review on Yelp. People really read Yelp, so it is the best thing I know to do for someone, especially if they are a small business owner. I saved the review, and gave thanks.

Now I am getting quotes for home care services. I took time to create a budget, so I know what I can afford. It felt freeing to create a budget, probably for two reasons, the first very practical. Just knowing what I can afford keeps it simpler and ensures I don’t sign on for something that will not work financially in the long run. The second freedom is it eases my fears. It puts me in more control. I know the idea is to live a faith-based life. But I got the memo, and I’m human–my faith is not yet unlimited–so some control in some areas seems to help me evoke greater faith in other areas where having any control is simply not an option.

So now I know my financial limits, which are significant, but not the worst I’ve lived under. After all, there was a time I lived in my car. Though it was brief, the financial situation was far worse back then. The memory of that time reminds me, too, I cannot live in a car today. My body is not what it was back when I was attempting my first efforts at life, trying to complete a college degree, without being properly oriented to life. I had significant mental and emotional issues back then, but physically my body could tolerate most anything I put it through.

It’s not the same today, I can still find myself mentally and emotionally challenged–but my body cannot tolerate the places such episodes might take me the way it used to. I cannot throw away what I have on a whim, no matter how strong the feeling to ‘walk away’ may be.

This brings us to the second item on my “to-do” list, move somewhere to assist both my financial and medical situation.

It’s interesting how people respond to my decision to leave the United States when I mention it to them face-to-face. They talk about how everyone says they’re going to Canada, and it’s just talk, dramatic talk. They are right, of course, especially since anyone researching the topic knows it’s not easy to hop to Canada and get medical coverage these days.

In the verbal political battle storm, from which most of us can find no completely safe respite, words about leaving the USA are said often, by both sides, until one sides wins and the other sides no longer has to threaten such things (grins). I think they reflect a desire to escape the current environment, the chaos of it, the fear of it, even in times when one could survive fairly well if they stayed put in the states. Thus, many do stay put and weather the storm.

But for me, as far as I can tell right now, my not-so-great situation in America is about to become even worse. I am one of the millions at risk of completely losing coverage under the new care act, which is to replace the less-than-sufficient prior care act. It’s a direct hit, and the only way to avoid damage is to relocate somewhere I can better afford to live and receive healthcare.

This is not a new idea for me. I have subscribed to the idea, for some time, that I must leave my country of origin if I am to be able to live independent for as long as possible. Even when Pres. Obama’s administration was at the helm, I knew the healthcare delimma was too massive to clean up before it cost me everything, including my own sovereignty as a result of institutionalization.

However, my mum’s situation was the opposite. She could not tolerate such a move, it would’ve turned her world upside down. So I knew I could not move until my journey with mum was complete. So this is not a sudden idea for me, or an idea born of anger or fear as a result of the current administration. It is part of the vision I have had for some time.


As the first steps, I went browsing for information. I have done that for years now, but never put together an organized picture of the things I found. So for this part of my journey, I have compiled a list of all the things I think I need to understand, take a stab at learning, or do in preparation for my move. As of today, there are 150 items. All of them require research of one form another to help me decide where exactly to place myself in Central or South America, and how to get myself there and settle in (with the cats, of course), how to close out my life in the states (and what doors to leave open here), and what to do if it doesn’t work out (my escape hatch plan).

My thought is to post the list, open it for comment (because I appreciate the help), and to work with it online here. I think it makes sense, as long as I keep it general, these things are worth sharing, as are the ways I come to understand and prepare for them.

I may elect to share more poetry here as well. Not sure how many fans are out there, but it is cathartic for me to write, and so much of my recent work seems so intertwined with my journey.

In the past, it was more observatory; I would see things and write poetic words about them. But recently, although they are more emotional, more strong, even angry at times (my release valve), they are so true to my personal experience. Since my personal journey is part of what this blog is about, it makes sense to create a place for them here. I’m not sure they would ever sell on the open marketplace, some are so intense, like me, at times.

I hope this posting finds you all  doing as best you can, finding the silver linings and trudging the dark clouds that come upon us from time to time. As always, I invite you to reach out, to comment, to say, “Hello”. I don’t know most of you, I probably won’t ever meet most of you, but that you come and read these pages means a whole lot to me.

It is untrue that people must meet to share a bond these days, we just need to share with each other to bond.


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