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As a woman who has lived through many passages and learned through my larger than life experiences (positive and negative), I’ve discovered how to take a big empowering bite out of life.

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Pilates, Perseverance, and Positive Thoughts: How I’m Embracing Change

Honey Good with Sheldon "Shelly"Good

When it comes to changes in life, I’m blessed to have my ultimate concierge at my side.

Embracing major life changes demands a woman’s resolve, her honesty with her feelings, and the courage to navigate the labyrinth of emotions until she reaches an outcome that benefits her and those she loves.

Personal aspirations may not directly improve our lives, but they can be a powerful catalyst, a driving force. Why? Because genuine thoughts can propel us to examine what we truly seek: our needs. In this journey, two guiding principles are crucial: staying true to our feelings and allowing time to be our friend.

I recently wrote a story entitled From Chivas Regal to Ensure: The Transitions of a Charmed Life that resonated with a lot of you. Now I will delve further.

AUTHENTICITY

A woman over 50 should consciously commit to remaining honest with her emotions. Never wear a mask. Authenticity validates truth. And of course, be gentle with yourself and show yourself love.

TIME

Time… ah, a complex issue. Personally, I crave immediate answers. Even though I know changes take time to process, I resist the slow burn of thoughtful, thorough reflection. Instant gratification beckons! (Sharing my truth with you, dear reader!)

My ultimate concierge constantly reminds me to “slow down and be gentle with your thoughts. Take your time and test them.” I, in turn, pass his wisdom on to you. My friend Gail also reminds me of the true meaning of quality time, you’ll enjoy her take.

LOSING THE WIND IN MY SAIL

spending time with my retired husband, Shelly Good.

My husband’s health struggles over the past months have stolen the wind from my sails. Returning home after a 60-day stint in two hospitals, we were both physically and emotionally drained, yet relieved and grateful to be reunited in our condo in the sky.

The past 60 days have been a whirlwind of emotional and medical traumas. Illness has a way of turning life upside down. Unfortunately, I know some of you have faced similar situations, or are facing them now.

My husband was hospitalized for 60 days. So was I. I never left his side. My sole focus was his comfort and survival. My personal life went on hold. No, I’m not a martyr. That’s not my style. I love my husband deeply, and he needed me.

“Personal aspirations may not directly improve our lives, but they can be a powerful catalyst, a driving force. Why? Because genuine thoughts can propel us to examine what we truly seek: our needs.” — Honey Good

Each day, I’d leave our condo in the sky at sunrise and return around 7 pm to care for America, our dog. We hired someone to spend the night guarding him.

My husband endured two surgeries and a serious complication in between, thankfully resolved after days. He traversed three hospital floors, one being intensive care. Confined to bed or a wheelchair for two months, he only saw masked nurses and doctors. For the final twelve days, he was at Shirley Ryan Ability Hospital for physical and occupational therapy, as the doctors deemed him “deconditioned” after his long hospital stay.

A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD

Shirley Ryan is an excellent institution for immediate post-surgery rehabilitation, like a hip replacement. After 50 days in a hospital, however, it’s not ideal. Three hours of various therapies fill the day, but the remaining time spent in a wheelchair further contributes to the curse of deconditioning.

Deconditioning? A new term for me. It affects every part of the body after bed rest and isolation from society for days. Curable, but time-consuming, requiring five days of reconditioning for every day spent hospitalized.

If true, my husband faces over three months of reconditioning his body and mind. He arrived home ready to tackle this next phase: three days a week, three hours each, at Shirley Ryan’s Outpatient Care, combined with two days of home therapy. I’m grateful for Shirley Ryan’s plan and his determination to recover.

EXHAUSTION’S CRUSHING EMBRACE

Despite relief, a crushing wave of exhaustion washed over me as we arrived home. Imploding, not exploding, was my initial reaction. I was ready to collapse.

Within hours, reality set in. Exhausted and overwhelmed, I realized our life would never be the same. I lay beside my darling husband, mourning our loss and fearing the unknown path ahead.

FINDING MY WAY THROUGH THE LABYRINTH

image of shelly and honey good smiling at looking at each other through life's changes

After a week of “time” and staying true to my emotions, my husband’s needs, and our needs as a couple, I navigated my personal labyrinth and felt the suffocating cloud lift. Positive thoughts began to bloom.

REALIZATIONS WITH GENTLE UNFOLDING

Here is what I have come to realize:

  • No one but me could restore the wind in my sails. I committed to doing just that… in time… while acknowledging my present grief. Adding more to my plate now would deplete me, not rejuvenate. Time and authentic feelings would be my healers.
  • My meticulously designed life, resembling Monet’s Garden in Givernay, was gone. The vibrant colors and adventure scents transformed into softer hues and subtler notes. But the lushness of our love, the essence of our garden, remained unchanged.
  • Eventually, I’d discover a new rhythm that will continue to make my heart and our hearts sing. For now, our song is that we are home together, sleeping close to each other and loving one another. And, grateful that the healing process is in its last phase.
  • That time is a great healer and I will find positive footing again.
  • I had to push myself to go to my pilates class once again and dear reader, I have!
  • That there are three things that count in this new passage that I am entering. I count, my ultimate concierge counts ,and we count as a team.
  • I have missed Honey Good and all of you.
  • That I am blessed and grateful that my husband made it through the rain.

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

As we lay in bed last night my ultimate concierge whispered to me, “ The best is yet to come.” I smiled in the darkness of the night and then replied, I believe you… because you are once again drinking Chivas Regal! Bye Bye, Ensure!!!

With those two sentences, we laugh and I think…I have no doubt that In ‘time and with authenticity’ I will refuel and renew. We will refuel and renew.

I know many of you have and are facing similar challenges. In the past, I have had my woes but none have been as emotionally difficult on me as this recent one. Why? Because I cannot stop father time.

Amen.

If you, too, have faced challenges or big changes, please share with me in the comments below. It helps us to know we are not alone.

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January 28, 2024

Passages After 50

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  1. /Sandrala says:

    You are so fortunate to have your significant other/partner/hubby! Grace be to God!! And Chivas Regal (I am an alcoholic in recovery for 43 1/2 years….. Also manic-depressive since diagnosed in 1978 … Am single; always have been; no kids; now on dialysis after 3 serious cancers, one being esophageal. So GRATEFUL for your shares! Thank you so much …. They make a difference, put good words into the universe!

  2. Jeanne says:

    Your honesty and sharing are both so refreshing to me the reader. Life is constantly changing and I am thankful you take us on your authentic journey which I find helpful as I navigate my own life.
    Love and hugs to you and your ultimate concierge.

  3. Sandi D says:

    Oh, dear girl …
    Thank you for sharing! You have navigated such trying times like a champion!
    I am finding myself in such a time in my life, as both my parents passed within 2 years of each other, and I am left caring for an emotionally challenged, alcoholic sibling, who lashes out, but cannot function alone. I am deeply sad, and feel very much alone.
    Thank God, I DO have a wonderful spouse like yours, but I hesitate to put him in the middle of my family issues. I love your content, and words of wisdom.

    • Susan Good says:

      Thank you for writing to me. Please join our private FB group, Celebrate Life where loneliness and invisibility disappears. Ask for advice from the other women. In the meantime don’t forget to care for yourself. You count. And, thank yourself for caring for your sister. Warmly, Honey

  4. Brooke Brown says:

    Dearest Honey,
    Thinking of you as you navigate these difficult times. Our best wishes for Shelly’s quick recovery. Sending hugs and good wishes.
    Dallas and Brooke

    • Susan Good says:

      You are still with me!!!! I am so glad. Thank you for your friendship and kind words. I am grateful. How are both of you? Still enjoying California???? Go Trump! xoxo Honey

  5. Bonnie says:

    Dearest Honey, You are the warrior that battles on the front lines. Your attitude is positive and your love for Shelly unwavering. I shall keep you both in my prayers.
    Hugs & Aloha

  6. Patrice Peterson says:

    Thank you for sharing. My husband & I have been going through similar experiences. Due to a severe illness followed by Covid that almost took my husband over the past 2 years we have been navigating life going from Dewers to a kidney safe protein drink. I’m happy to share with you that there is light ahead for you. After months of PT & restoring lung function we have been slowly returning to the activities we love, both together & separately. This year we have already planned a couple of fun trips. And after over 45 years together we have a new appreciation for our life together. And he is off the protein drinks; instead enjoying his Dewers in a beautiful Baccarat glass.

    • Susan Good says:

      I love Baccarat even the perfume Baccarat 540, my favorite scent. I am so happy for you. Thank you for your uplifting words. Warmly, Honey

  7. Cathie Laurenza says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Hugs to you

  8. Girl from Jersey says:

    Thank you for your story. I’ve been helping to take care of my father on and off for the past 4 years and this has been the longest stretch (it has been a year in December 2023). I am retired, but this is not how I thought retirement would be. My husband will be retired 2 years this July. We get along real well since I am at my father’s 5-days a week :-). I have been journaling so that helps (a good way to get the frustrations off my chest and clear my head) and asking for strength from God and that has helped. Needles to say, some days are better than others, but what can I do, but hang in there.

    • Susan Good says:

      Five days of caregiving is very hard on a person. Maybe the person who relieves you on the week-end can relieve you one day during the week. You have to give yourself some love. I do admire you for being a dedicated daughter. And, remember, “where there is a will, there is a way for you to find relief. I love your humor! Warmly, Honey

  9. Leslie Steinberg says:

    Thank you for your honest heartfelt posts. Thinking of you both and wishing you better days ahead.
    I have repeated to myself some of the things you have written – back with the types of personalities each of you are and I have had to take on more that my husband took care of – roles change. I have not had an easy time but realize we are in a different place.
    The last couple of years and this past month seeing my “rock” a different person is tough. As we continue to navigate doctors and facilities holding on to the fact that I can be there for him is what keeps me going. He never liked anyone taking care of things for him so it’s a pleasure although not how we envisioned.
    Thank you again for your posts. Wishing you so much love and life ahead.

    • Susan Good says:

      A new passage in our lives. Please Leslie, don’t forget to smell the flowers. Your feelings and goals are important as you travel down the road as the caregiver to your husband. It is very tough. I know. Sending love- Honey

  10. Joyce Penny says:

    Isn’t amazing how strong women can to be when needed. We stretch ourselves, we doubt, we rail, but we push through and come out winners. God bless you both.

    • Susan Good says:

      If you have not joined my new private Facebook group, please consider joining: Estranged Mothers and Grandmothers: Millions strong. God bless you and thank you for your comment. Warmly, Honey

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