My last blog post was about our wonderful Thanksgiving with 64 family and friends. They all left Friday and Saturday. Sunday was a quiet day. Mike and I went to church, and our pastor’s sermon was on Mary and Martha. I felt like Martha, yet hoped I showed some of Mary to those who graced our home and tables for the holiday. Monday and Tuesday, I was clearly Martha, home alone.
Monday and Tuesday consisted of loads of laundry, and dishes from freezing the leftovers. I also made turkey stock which became soup. It was hard to stay productive. I almost crumbled more than once from my loneliness after having so many loved ones around for almost a week. As the hours wore on and it was just me, I thought of my mother and a few others who spent and/or spend so much time alone. I felt the loneliness they must have felt or feel, and the sadness I felt for them about overtook me. So, I did what I do when I am upset; I sat down and wrote.
I do not mind the work; I mind being alone doing the work. For days before everyone arrived, I was alone preparing for their arrival and the meals and functions to come. That did not bother me, for I had much to look forward to. After everyone left all I felt that I had to look forward to was more laundry and dishes. I do not recall feeling this way after the holiday other years, and I cannot account for the difference.
The message in this is not the amount of work I had to do or even the amount of work I was doing alone. The message is loneliness, which is felt by some we all know many more days than I experienced it.
My mother passed away in 1998 at the age of 64. She was alone most of the time. She was not very social, and in her later years, I do not remember her having any friends other than her sister. We lived three hours apart, and emotionally, we were many more miles apart. While we repaired some of the emotional distance a few years before she passed, how I wish I had done more to be there for her. I feel some guilt, yet guilt is not the dominant emotion that I feel about that. What I feel the most, and especially these past two days, is sadness. While I was alone these two days, my mother spent most of her time alone. No, I was not expected to be my mother’s keeper, but ‘oh how I wish I had been there more for her. It is too late for that now, but perhaps this example will help me be there more for others who are still around. And maybe the example is needed by someone reading this.
After sitting down and putting my sadness into words, I got up and got busy again, committed to finishing the work that needed to be done. The soup was made, and other things that needed to be done were done. The Thanksgiving turkey dishes and decorations were put back in storage for another year. In a few days, Christmas decorations and dishes will come out, although we have a much smaller number of family who will share Christmas meals with us.
The main message of this post will remain with me. My heart can now heal, and I can consider how to continue the work at hand. And, “the work” is more than laundry and dishes.