I got a chance to be mom for a little while today, and I have to admit I still like being asked for my advice and my opinions. But it is also good not to be needed 24/7. The last few years have been pretty hard work, and I have been needed more than I have ever been needed before. First with Bill's artery disease and amputation, and then my mom, then Bill again. I'd become a pretty decent nurse for someone unschooled in medicine, but the hours were terrible and the incentive program really sucked.
It's such a change to only have myself and the dogs and the house to take care of. I'm eating differently: smaller "meals" four or five times a day. It's making a difference in my weight (down about 10 lbs from a month ago) and in my energy levels, which stay more level. I'm also eating much less red meat, perhaps three times a week now.
The biggest lifestyle change is in the way I can allow myself to take time. With no one relying on me to cook, clean, transport, medicate, etc., I am able go through my day with calm. There is no rush, there is no chore remaining undone that will cause anyone discomfort. I can ease into the day and ease through the day and end the day in the same state of serenity I started it in. This is such a gift, and I do not take it for granted! I know how tired I am and I know it is going to take a while before that fatigue lifts completely. But I also know I can give myself that time and not feel the least bit guilty about it. (OK. That's the part I am actually having a little bit of a problem with. The taking it easy and not feeling guilty about it. Old habits are so hard to break! )
Addendum (090510): I have become aware that right now and for the immediate future and maybe in fact for the rest of my life, I need me to be around for me. I need to look at my needs, wants, and heart's desires and -- in the spirit of a responsible caretaker -- ensure that the needs are taken care of, the wants are monitored for excess and danger, and the heart's desires are encouraged and supported. It is a loving thing to do for someone you care about.
You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. The Buddha