My brother and I returned from Florida on Tuesday evening. This is my third day home. We had a safe trip down to Florida, a safe stay and a safe return and I am grateful for all of that. We were supposed to get my father's ashes and spread them at the Unitarian Universalist church in Fort Myers, but found when we were at the funeral home that we could not do it because the church office was closed on Monday and we had to give them some kind of document before we could spread the ashes on their property. A very nice man at the funeral home said he would spread the ashes the next day for us. It was not what I wanted, but we had no choice. It was my father's wish that his remains be spread in the same place as my mother's were spread and we had to leave the following morning. It would have helped me to have a sense of closure to spread the ashes myself, a sense of the reality of my father's death, but instead I had to let go and move on.
It was bittersweet staying on Sanibel Island for three days and four nights. The condo I chose was very nice, had lots of room so that my brother and I could have some privacy from each other when we chose to. Being August in southern Florida it was very humid outside, like hanging out in a sauna when I would go outside on the lanai to smoke cigarettes. I went over to the beach three times. The last two times I couldn't stay for very long because there were many tiny biting insects flying around me as I sat on a chair near the water. It was still pleasant to be by the water, to walk in the sand and to put my feet in the water, pick up a few shells, but it was just not the same as when my parents were alive and living there. My brother felt the same way, maybe more so, because he only went over to the beach once and did not go and look for shells on the beach, something he normally loves to do.
On Saturday morning we went over to my parents' retirement community in Fort Myers to clear out my father's room in the nursing home and to be there when Goodwill Industries came to take most of what was there. We only took some framed photos and my father's iPad and charger. My brother and I got a couple of very nice hugs from two of the nurses and it was sad, but relatively simple and painless. I didn't feel my father's presence there much. It would have been different if he had died in his apartment and we then had to clear out all of his and my mother's belongings. That might have been very upsetting, but we had already done that months before while my father was still alive and I'm grateful for that, too.
I am proud of myself for arranging for this trip, for taking on the responsibility, but I'm still left with a feeling of depression. It's a natural response, but obviously not a pleasant one. And so my parents are gone and my brother, uncle and I remain. This evening I go back to my Al-Anon meeting and that should help me to get a better perspective and lift my mood. I will continue to take it one day at a time focusing on staying in recovery by having contact with people in recovery, reading support literature and studying, writing, staying creative.
A Recovery Blog
This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.