I’ve been absent. I like to think that I have just been doing a lot of behind the scenes work. I’ve been called upon for some other thing–hard things and feeling like I have made a difference in places other than here, on the website.
When I started blogging 12 years ago, I used this space as an online diary. A place to collect my thoughts, share what I was experiencing at the time and connect with so many of you. I miss that, but somehow life changes. Blogging seems to be a thing of the past. But here I am, with an update of highs and lows and sharing from the heart.
I know that some of you know, but others may not, but even while doing “Tilly’s Nest” things, I still work as a nurse practitioner. I am proud to share that during the pandemic, I felt a calling to be there for those that were sick. I jumped into providing care for others the best I could. When folks were afraid to leave the house, I was putting on my scrubs, donning my hair cover, mask, gloves and gown and doing all that I could to help those that were suffering on one of our floors, including Covid patients.
I saw many things. Some things I cannot unsee or remove from my brain. Its like a bad movie replaying over and over again visiting me when I least expect it. I guess like me, we are all processing our experiences on the frontlines. Thankfully the virus is no longer what it was in the first place. As expected, it has mutated into a completely “different animal” but it has left behind people in its wake. I’ve been trying to do a lot of self-healing and self-care, but it seems nurses aren’t very good at that. Most of the time, we have been taught to push through and just keep going. To counter that, my brain usually finds its way to art and creating.
So, over the past year, I have enjoyed working on the 2023 How to Speak Chicken calendar. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that opportunity. It has been a blast figuring out just what we all wanted to share and highlight each month. I also, had the opportunity to write and design My Chicken Family which will release in January 2023.
I wanted to create a scrapbook for all of you who have been along on the journey since 2012 with me. I know how so many of you love your chickens and enjoy sharing memories and stories with me on a regular basis and I love to hear them. The best part, is that you are the actual author of this book. I simply give you prompts and inspiration and you do the rest! You get to write your story. I dedicated the book to my step-father who passed away now. 4 years ago. He was my biggest cheerleader.
I’ve also had to say goodbye to many of my chickens. Old age it seemed as though they passed one right after the other- months apart. I am left now with just 5 hens.
Sadly, my health suffered. I ended up having to have two wrist surgeries. The first was to repair a tendon that tore in my hand. The next was to recreate the groove along my ulna and repair and suture in place a tendon that slipped during that injury as well. The first surgery was in 2020, the following surgery was in Fall of 2021 when my wrist was strong enough to endure reconstruction. Shingles, followed by almost a full year in hand therapy, my wrist is finally functioning normally. That was a lot. I lost the ability to type for a long time, but I still worked with my cast and brace at the hospital seeing patients. What was I thinking? Okay, probably a little too dedicated. Haha!
And, when I was dealing with all of this, our dog Sara became deathly ill in 2021. We watched as she was slipping away, vomiting and not being able to eat. It took months to get her into seeing a veterinary specialist in Boston after working with our local vets who could not figure out what was going on. We joke that Sara is our $10,000 dog. Finally, we had answers. She is still not out of the woods yet. She suffers from quite a few autoimmune issues. She has had to have a large tumor removed and then this past spring was on 8 weeks of bedrest for a doggie ACL repair when she slipped on ice during a winter walk. She is still not complelely well but she is happy and pain-free. We savor our moments with her. She turns 10 next week .
So where do we go from here? Where do we go to recover from the mental toll that life has presented? I know many of you have had struggles too. I guess, the answer is forward and through. We can’t replace things, people and times that we have lost, but we need to continue to create bright spots, happy times and we are indeed responsible for our own joy. We need to be gentler with ourselves and we need to rebuild our flock. There are plenty of people who need love, companionship, friendship and who are hurting from the aftermath of the past few years.
The gift we can give as we enter this season of thanks, is one that comes from the heart. Kindness. Giving without expecting something in return–given freely and openly and abudantly. Because, like it or not, we are left with what is still floating on our ocean. It’s time we find those that have just been drifting through life. Its time to start healing and being present. It’s time to write down our stories, fears, and take a look in the mirror. Its time to begin to collect those eggs, still warm with potential. This season, its time to begin again.