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Right now my grief management is about going slower and doing things I like and skipping things I don't.

Enjoyed attending drum circle class. My garden is also bringing me a lot of pleasure. Picked some peas, planted some tomato. Work is fine. Volunteering -- starting to think about summer break and mixing up where I spend my volunteer energy. Kinda wanting something NEW.

All the elders are in a state of holding. FIL continues in hospice. My dad continues to be in good dementia space for a given value of good. He forgets things but otherwise that good space before it gets hard again as the body begins to fall apart. Sleeping more. Flora? Had to keep her out of the desserts because she wanted to make off with too many donuts. Nothing horrible, but kinda like dealing with a small child greedy for sweets.

I think a lot of my friends are pandemic blues. I had gotten together with Rose and Babs and it was like Babs and I were working uphill to converse because Rose was like dead weight. She wanted to be there and she was trying but she was NOT her normal self.

Was finally going to go to 1:1 lunch with Rose... and then my car decided to get weird so I had to cancel and deal with it being in the shop. Sigh. Will try again. But trying to catch Rose is wearying at times. She's so workaholic and then admits to going hermit and loses social skills when out of balance.

I hermit too, but I'm trying to reach out and circulate to get back IN balance. My problem is finding out which friends are ok enough to do it with!

Have tentative plans for coffee with EarthMama. Been seeing her more lately and it's nice to pick up where we left off. She and I get along well, conversation is a two way street, it's fun, etc. The difficulties is schedules.

I did get to go to lunch with Daisy and catch up. I was pleasantly surprised that Daisy was able to 1:1 right off the bat. I'd gotten used to Daisy-pandemic-cabin-fever. Where I had to wait for the first hour for her to talk a mile a minute because she wasn't socializing enough before it could become a two way street. She's been getting out more and her return to better social wellness shows.

I heard Spark went to hospital. I replied with everyone else on her Facebook with the general "Hope you are feeling better!" but it's pro forma. Really I thought "OMG, again. This time actually USE it and get the help you need for your depression funk already." But I know there's a certain type of patient who refuses help.

There's been zero real interaction on that front. None in person since the big lunch blow up. I've been matching the energy level. She does some social media likes and sent a Xmas card. I try to find something on occassion amid her social media doom train to say something equally non-committal. Anyone who knows can totally recognize I'm doing medium chill. But after 8 mos of this I'm ready to power that down even further like I did with Leaf. Holiday cards only. Cuz I cannot hang around unmanaged patients.

Have more thoughts on all that but I need to work.
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My fav ex Max told me he might be in town for work and if it comes to pass he'll let me know. When I told DH, he cheerfully "Oh, that would be fun for you! Whatever you need, hon." Like ready to do whatever -- come along, stay home and deal with elders, etc. Pleasant, easy conversation with both.

Kathy Labriola came out with a new polyamory book in Dec 2022 called "Polyamorous Elders: Aging in Open Relationships (Diverse Sexualities, Genders, and Relationships)."

This book explores the unique group of elders, ages fifty-five and older, who practice some form of consensual nonmonogamy. It covers both the joys and challenges of multiple relationships for elders and explores how their relationships develop and evolve. Polyamorous elders have the complexities of juggling multiple relationships, as well as navigating all the issues of aging: managing medical conditions and disabilities (their own and/or their partners’); assuming caregiving responsibilities for aging relatives; grieving the deaths of parents, siblings, and partners; retiring from careers and starting new lives; and potentially moving into some form of senior living."

Def needed resource to help cover the poly life span. But I started to laugh even as I bookmarked it so I can eventually read it. That elder thing really becomes a big feature in midlife. And the best thing I can do is to deal with myself and DH so the kids get more SPACE to just be their own adult selves without having so much time in the "sandwich years" like I have been. Finishing raising kids with one hand while dealing with elders with the others. I'm like at half nest here -- living with a college roomie who largely deals with themselves.

I took Earth Mama to dinner for almost 3 hours this week so she could air out with all the stuff going on with her. She thanked me several times already. Nothing fancy -- 24 hour diner so we could squish it in with the wacky schedules wherever. It wasn't about the food. It was about making space.

EarthMama and I caught up on the elders, work, the college kids, hobbies, the news -- also pleasant conversation. Some cousin was calling her to complain about choices with eldercare. While I didn't know the cousin, I said "Ok, cousin. Come over here then and do this eldercare work yourself. Is that where you are at?"

EarthMama started to laugh and exclaims "OMG, YES!"

Everyone wants to tell you from the side how you are doing it wrong, aren't doing enough, would do it different. Rarely do people ask how the caregiver is, airs THEM out, what they might need for support.

During the visit she told me she feels bad but she's feeling like "OMG, how long can these elders go? What about these young adults?"

One moved out. So she was at half nest. Then back to full nest because they came back. Now about to go half nest again only with a different one of them moving out. I left for college and never came back. I suspect with today's economy it's gonna be different. Young adults might have to ping pong a bit before REALLY getting out on their own. The price of renting a flat is nuts.

I told her not to feel bad for having honest feelings. It's a normal stage to get to both with the parenting and the elders.

I'm there myself with mine. Not wishing anyone ill, but really hoping death comes soon for the remaining elders on the brink of it so they can have release/peace. And so can the relatives. Not like a dragging out thing.

And for these young people? Love ya, but move out! I am very, very, very ready to be just be me and DH again and not providing care somewhere. DH and I were chatting about retirement and it's like... what would we DO? It would be so weird to have all this time again. It's exciting to think about!

EarthMama wants to get together next week to air out. She's got a lot going on and I don't share other people's stories. But for some minimal context -- she was at a funeral where one person in a poly V passed.

The last time one of our poly friends had something like that going on was 20 years ago. It was from a car accident. That? It can happen to anyone any time any age.

Now? We are all into middle age and here it comes. Not from accidents, but from health things. And eventually... just from age and being old. Nobody is immortal.

Our parents are going, one by one. From health things or age. Only natural that death will start appear on our generation level too. But sigh. These first ones. It is rough.

I see younger poly people fretting about problems like break ups. And they get so upset about breaking up over text when it's like... what else do you want? Did you actually talk it out ahead of time for preferences on how to end things end or are you expecting some mind reader-ing here? And getting all in a humph because your feelings are hurt?

If it was a respectful text? Isn't that enough? People do not do hand written letters any more. Or email even. And the breaker upper? Sometimes is struggling not to cry, not to drag out, trying to be decent. So they might not have the bandwidth for in person, video call, or phone call because they are trying to just get through it and not be a blubbering mess.

I'd take a polite text break up. It's respectful enough and I do not think people "owe me" more.

It's nice when break ups can be mutual, if people want to and can have in person conversations to process.

But am I OWED that? No. I am not. I'd like basic polite. And polite text? That's good enough to me.

I can process a parting alone or with other people. The ex is NOT obligated to be that processing helper person for me any more. They have their own processing to do. And sometimes trying to process together actually HINDERS healing, tempts people into dragging out a break up thing, etc.

When you get to partings like these -- dying from car accidents, health issues, old age? Person might not even GET the time to text you because they did not expect to die in their sleep.

The remaining people just... get to deal with the death parting however it happened.

Puts that text thing into perspective.

I'm feeling my age today, man.

Anyway... yeah. Will go support EarthMama since she's back from supporting others and needs to decompress herself now. I could use the airing out myself.

And strangely, I want to shop for new summer clothes. Or maybe not so strange. I want bright colors, comfortable things to wear. I'll ask her what she wants to do and if she wants to take in some shopping as part of it.
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Visit with EarthMama was largely me centering her, making tea and having snack, doing crafts, letting it be whatever she wanted it to be. She shared more about speaking at the funeral (Poly funeral for one of the V arm people who passed. The hinge and the other V arm person remain.) We talked about our own families, things in the news, books we're reading. I've been updating my clothes so she rummaged in my give away box and came out with some pieces she wanted. It was the low key visit she was hoping for.

But yah. Poly funerals. Sigh.

So feeling my age, man.
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EarthMama and I met up last night at "our diner" where she shared that they got an Alzheimer dx on one of the parents. So she wanted to ask me what my experience with all that has been like.

I was like "Hoo, boy."

Then I shared what it was like over the last 10+ years of it. How every patient is different but some things are gonna be expected in their progression. How it impacts the family system. You. The spouse. Kids. Other relatives.

How it changes some things. Typical places the relatives may argue about -- when to give up care at home and seek a home. What end of life planning could be like. What final arrangements could be like. Just lots of stuff. I sent her links later on and told her I'm around if she needs to vent.

She's just going through so much -- her grief for her friend, other stuff and now THIS too?


I was home later than I thought and I expect DH to be asleep. But he was still awake so we caught up on the day and he suggested some TV. He kept peeking at me sideways and giving me that shit eating grin he does and rubbed my feet some while we watched an episode because he knows my ankle has been bothering me. It was sweet and affections but weird. I enjoyed the attention but I think I was too in my head still about the big dementia talk to be able to be as present as I otherwise might be.

But this wasn't like an in house date or anything -- just hanging out unexpectedly.

And I'm worried about EarthMama taking on too many things and burning out. I told him some of my concerns and he listened.

I told him we could offer take EarthMama and EarthPapa out to lunch like a double date. It's been a while since we did that or did board games or anything. Those two need a brain break form all this. He said he was game so I'll get back with her and arrange something.

Sigh. My FIL is not doing well at all. Not sure he will make it the week. I feel tense. I know DH is struggling too.

Called up EarthMama that it might be my turn so we're trying to make plans to get coffee or something this coming week. And bump the double date later down.
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My FIL passed away. I cry. I sleep. I get the daily things done. Look after the family. Work on stuff. So now my barmy Dad is the last of the dads left. Which brings up complex feelings.

I actually liked my FIL more than I like my Dad so there's some "Why him and not mine? I'm ready to let go of that one."

Grief is weird like that. I accept it. Just let the waves come and go as they do and not fight it.

I read a good article on forgiveness. It describes how I've long felt about forgiveness but in more eloquent terms.

I have to read it again and think about grief and release together.
I’m so sorry. (And I do get the FIL somewhat closer than real father… )

Saw Spark -- after a year of not really talking. And... still not really talking. I'm basically matching the energy. She was polite and made small talk. I kept it same. But I am not going out of my way to hang out together since her weird blow up. I just don't have the bandwidth for that friendship like I used to.

Poor EarthMama is overwhelmed with things in her life with the elders. I so sympathize. We have a tentative dinner out penciled on the calendar but I know she might have to cancel with all the stuff she has going on over there.

Grief is strange but predictable. There's a stage where you think about the past and present which is the microsteps to thinking about this new future without the deceased. We are all doing it.

For me it was thinking about my own parents, dealing with current concerns in the household, really missing my MIL who I was close to, and regrets I never got to know my FIL better since he wasn't local. The bits I did get to know -- there's a lot of the father in the son I married. The better parts.

Youngest DD is a combo of a feeling bad she didn't feel more bad since she also didn't get to know FIL as close as the other local grandparents, a rough PMS/period thing, then school stress, then grief stress coming out in a surprise. And after the tears calmed, she was all "Wow. That was a surprise."

DH is coming out of his grief in patches and slowly returning to his old self. Takes naps and doing things slower on purpose. Appetite coming back. Less stressy as he and his siblings wrap up the estate. Sex after a death phase -- which was intense and fun and welcome, but yes. Sometimes a step in the grief process. He went to the movies with the local siblings. Invited me but I stayed home. I needed time alone to myself.

I had a lunch date with him on the weekend. Some games, and then hours of conversation just going down memory lane. DH is in this "I love you" mood which is sweet and certainly welcome. But I know he's reconciling past and present. Much like we all are. He's thanked me many times for being supportive in this grief thing and being there for him.

Interesting conversations with him as we think about the fathers that have passed and the one still left.

Both fathers were super jealous men. My FIL was quieter about it but definitely had it. From the stories he sounded like and odd mix of super generous with his family but also super protective/jealous of his wife. My dad was loud, overt, and weird about it. But then my father had/has so many mental health conditions it's not an even comparison. We don't talk as much about stepfather-in-law. But still. Our parents fell into gender stereotyping and gender roles and other generational weird that I think fueled some of the jealousy.

More on that thought later - cultural jealousy/generational jealousy.

Meanwhile I wished my parents would just divorce. DH reminded me of a period of time I had forgotten -- where I would just give him the phone and walk away. And he remembers telling my mother to leave me be for a week and then try again. Strange and NOT strange that I don't remember that at all. While my parents didn't do digs at each other, they were in this strange codependent circle weird of poor boundaries. And then snipe about each other to OTHER PEOPLE. Usually me. And I did not love both parents info dumping AT me about the other one.

Like one set of parents parting horrible and then not just PARTING. Still at it hammer and tongs even divorced! Like let it be DONE already. And the other set of parents NOT parting. Round and round and round.

DH told me out of the sky that he likes to think if we had to part ways, we could do a better job than his parents. He didn't want to be like them -- because they were weird and while they loved each other, they also would totally take digs at each other. And in the divorce that really came into play.

I agree with him. I'm pretty sure we could do better than THAT.

But that's another component to jealousy management -- emotional immaturity.

Not that feeling jealous makes you emotionally immature. It doesn't. It's just a feeling.

But how you choose to behave when you are experiencing the less fun feelings like anger, sadness, fear, jealousy, etc? I think emotionally mature people are going to find appropriate ways to express what's going on with them and healthy ways to cope. I think emotionally immature people are going to struggle more with it. Maybe suppress or repress or act out or ticking all the boxes ever in the scramble to get a handle on their emotions.

Saw the friend group for lunch. Spark was all prickly and annoying. And even seemed to recognize it at one point... but no apology about it. I was sitting far away from her. I'm starting to wonder how much longer before NOBODY wants to sit next to her at these gatherings?

I get struggling with depression, and I get how people save their "raw" side for loved ones they feel safe around so they drop the mask. When we saw each other 1:1, I was simply matching the energy. Had she wanted to go get a coffee and talk about what's bothering her, I would have listened, but I wasn't gonna "fish" either. She has to ask. She made nice. So I made nice. We went on with our days. All surface small talk, nothing deep.

In the group lunch setting, she was all chip on her shoulder and raining doom on people. She complained about not knowing what is going on. And we stared. Like this lunch IS when we share what's been going on. During lunch? Basically everything sucks, and we suck for wanting to do it. Like people who wanted to catch a movie later? That sucks. People who wanted to get lunch again next month sorting out the time/place? All the places suck, even though she's not suggesting places she might like better. When we all said our goodbyes, she did one of those "I guess I was all prickly today."

Well, YEAH. But what do you want us to do? Rush in and say how we love you anyway even when you behave poorly? I think she was fishing for that sort of thing. I said nothing. Other friends were nonplussed and were like "It's ok if you don't want to go to the movies right now. You can say no." Like stating the obvious, but not fishing.

Later one of the friends told me she thinks Spark goes around mad like that because she wants the group to "fish it out of her." And since the big blow up last year, nobody wants to and hasn't been so she's uncomfortable. And even though she's included if she wanted to go to the movies? She's taking on this recalcitrant manner because we won't "play right."

So she sits around at home thinking we are having fun without her and comes to group lunch with a chip on her shoulder from working her own self up with her imaginings.

I suspect friend is right about some of that. But I don't want to deal in any of that.

I know some people in depression try to sleep it away, curl up in a ball, etc. Like going inwards. Some get angry and lash outwards.

I'm in grief mode. Standing lunch big group was a lot for me. All people-y. I'm not looking for extra.

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I went the other way.

I got compliments with work stuff from several people on a recent thing I did. That was nice.

I decided to get out to do a small tabling for an event with one of my volunteer things. Two days mingling with OTHER people. It was a nice breath of fresh air. A few who hadn't seen me in a while since FIL's death were very welcoming, asking how I was holding up, one told me I looked great being all out and about again, etc.

We did the volunteer work well, everyone came in with this "let's all pitch in" and "let's be kind and respectful" kind of attitude and set up, did the tabling, broke down and went home. I was present but since others could cover the table, I could walk away for breaks as needed. People were super kind to me about letting me "ease back in."

Took DH out to a Fancy Restaurant dinner date to reconnect with him. We got dressed up. He's been a lot of fun lately. Like we're still in mourning and dinner out was a lot for us after hermit-ing up for a month. He was struggling with the noise but didn't want to say anything. I'm not shy. I asked the waitress to move us to quieter seating in the other section. We were both happier.

I mean, it was PEOPLE-Y in there. Loud music, restaurant clinking noises and people chatting, etc. Even though it was LESS people than at a "more normal" dinner time? It was still pretty busy during our reservation time even though I tried to book it NOT at peak hours.

Fancy restaurant has 4 glass section "rooms" and 2 "private party" rooms. Then the outdoor balcony and the bar areas. But at least 75 were in Section 1 where we were first in. We were happier in the second section with more like 25-30.

But the food was great and once we were seated at the new table it was easier to deal with the environment noises. Normally we like it in whatever section, but I think next time I need to book in a smaller scale place. Or if in a big space, with "real wall" sectioned off spaces so the sections feel cozier. And not "glass wall" sections where you still SEE everything across the whole space. We're not ready for that "open floor plan" vibe.

Later for fun we were looking up what's happening in town in the fall -- small venue concerts, burlesque shows, art events, day spa, etc. It may or may not happen, because of the environments maybe being too people-y still?

I'm seeking low to mid range on the people-y because we're still figuring out the "right size."

Not mega-people like you'd find in a stadium concert or theme park or "big" event things like that. We know it's too soon into mourning to take that size on. But one doesn't need to be cooped up forever either. It's like... sticking our heads back out there again to see what's going on for smaller stuff. So that felt good.

Took an hour long bike ride Sunday. Just for myself. That felt good.

I know every summer I re-evaluate where I want to spend my time, if I want to change where I volunteer, what I need to do for the home, and so on.

I think grief mode coupled with Spark just dragging on and on has me wanting more than the normal summer "I need fresh air!" feeling.

I think I'll talk to EarthMama about it. She's had times where she's just full on Spark too so I'll know she'll get it. Just need more space away from all that negative stuff. I need NEW stimulus in a good way. Earth Mama said she'd go with me to a few events we were talking about last time we got together. I'll see what we can pick out that works for our calendar when I see her this week.

I just remembered a couple of wine tasting events/classes at some of the local winery/farms that we did from past dates that were "more right size." Like 10-30 other people around because you have to register. Not huge crowds. I'll go poke around for more date ideas in that size.
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Youngest DD is back at college and needed some help. She didn't want me to do it for her. She needed guidance on what to do/where to go. Like listing the steps. But she wanted to be the one actually dealing with office of disabilities. "It's my condition. It's my responsibility to manage it and tell my teachers I have accommodations."

I was so proud of her saying that. Cuz way too many adults do not own their shit. People can't help having things, but manage your thing, whatever it is. (Lookin' at you, Spark.)

So as this birdie continues to leave the nest on baby steps, it's one of the endings I love best. The bittersweet/sweet ones. Like "aw, birdie grew up." And at the same time, "You go, birdie!" We are both ready to change to the next chapter of our relationship -- DD in her 20s and me turning into a baby crone.

Proud of DH -- he's managing his stress, grief, cholesterol, heart disease. He had a pharmacy error thing and while I offered to help? He said thanks but no, and sorted the weird himself. And picked up my meds for me while there. I've noticed him being more direct and more strict with people. He told me last night before bed that he's just guarding his mental health a lot more. So good for him! He's too much of a softie at times. I'm pleased to see him exercising some stronger personal boundaries.

Proud of me -- I'm managing my stress and my health things. I was thinking back to Oak asking me "What's been bringing you joy?" at the volunteer tabling event. He was telling me about his band that he does. I told him I was in grief mode, and figuring out what brings me joy. But looking forward to doing a life priority wheel and enjoying my gardening as a quiet grounding thing. I'm potting up some give aways and getting ready to put in new plants. He said that was cool.

Joy (another volunteer) told me she'd been thinking of me in this grief time because she remembered going through it when her parents passed. She also thanked me for showing her how to do something. Joy said she had every confidence in me that I could do the other things I said I'd try to help her with. Like even if I didn't know how, she had every confidence that I'd give it a good try and she appreciated it.

Random kindness/support from volunteer pals I'm not super tight with was an unexpected gift. So I went home and printed a free life priority wheel and did it. Given everything going on in grief mode AND another Spark freak out, I'm actually in pretty good shape. I do need to change up my volunteer time. Those are showing dips and that's expected. By summer I want to mix things up. I'd been feeling like I want new stuff, but actually doing a wheel clarified what areas for me.

So to address weak spots and bring some better balance to my life right now...

I'm quitting some meh volunteer gigs. They are ok, but no longer hold my interest or I don't have the bandwidth for it in grief mode. Just time for me to step down and let someone else take a turn. I want to mix it up.
  • I DECLINED the meal packing gig that came out over the volunteer list to help homeless veterans. It sounds loud, long, hot, and too people-y for me right now. I'm not doing assembly lines.
  • I signed up for 2 easier volunteer gigs cleaning some closets. One is done, one more to go. I like those because I can go when I feel like it during open hours, get the space organized and tidy again, and then bow out and leave people to enjoy using the clean closet. It always gets crazy after a semester or so, and it's easy enough to donate 2 hours of my time to "reboot" the closet. THAT is the speed I'm at right now. Useful, low brain work, without too many PEOPLE in there with me. Have at it folks! The forks bucket is all forks, the spoons bucket is all spoons, etc again. Pack away! Call me next term when the closets are crazy again.
  • I've signed up for an online meditation series of 4 and called up a friend who leads a group in town to see if I can sit in at one of his once that is done. I want to spend some time cultivating calm and mindfulness. It starts next month.
  • I joined a new online book group to think about new things while reading a new book. It doesn't start til later in fall.
  • I looked up some hobby classes for drum and dance because I need more creative practices. Apart from the garden, that fell by the wayside during this FIL hospice/death last couple of months.
  • My pots came! So I can pot up my give aways this weekend.
  • All of it is me slowly emerging out of grief mode in "right size, right time" people amounts.
  • All of it is "if I change my mind on the day? I can just not do it and try again next time."
I'm hoping along the way I can renew old connections and make some NEW friends.

It's not like I don't know how to do it or find out what is being offered in town when I feel like it.

I want that breath of "fresh air."

DH and I continue to go out to eat and various restaurants to figure out our current "grief stimulus threshold."

Turkish place was tables and booths in a small venue with clear sections. That went fine.

German multistory location? The upstairs bar and bar menu was ok. If we hadn't met with friends we would have been happy to stay upstairs. The main hall downstairs with the open floor plan and live music and crowd was just too many people and too much stimulus. Got through it, but DH sat near a wall and then had to go take a break to sit in the car in silence while the friends wrapped up.

We have another lunch date this weekend I'm looking forward to. I had suggested some new places/things but I got the vibe he'd do better with familiar so we're going with that. Save new things for next month. It doesn't all have to be RIGHT NOW. I can get out on my own if I want to.

He's been doing regular massage and trying to notice when he's starting to "get full" better. And have planned time off/regular rest isntead of being so workaholic and then having to take unplanned time off because he's crashing. He has a check up coming up and I need to remind him about following up with grief counseling. So proud of him on his efforts. I'm not sure what first holiday season without FIL will be like, but thinking ahead on how to best navigate all that.

Me? Still doing my bike rides. Did meditation and drum class. Belly dance did not work with my schedule and I'm too tired/full from volunteer work to go hang with Babs tonight. I sent my apologies. A work thing went well WITHOUT me. Which tells me I'm doing well in helping my coleads function whether I'm there or not. A volunteer thing went REALLY well. Which tells me when I decide to do something, it gets done. It's a little harder to help volunteers grow as leaders. Some are stretching and finding talents/developing skills. Some are kind of in a rut.

I did hang out with Daisy. That was fun. Earthmama and I had to cancel dinner plans due to COVID on her side. And then she had a death in the family. So that's still hit or miss.

I heard from some other old friends which was nice. But it included sad news. A HS friend -- he lost his wife to illness and is now a widower.

Spark is still all over the place. And as predicted, Leaf reached out on holiday trigger. Those two I still just "match" the energy they put out and don't do extra.

I finished reading the "When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous: Understanding Poly People and Relationships" 48 page booklet. It's thin and small -- just 5x7 inches.

For the most part it's neutral, honest info. But I wished the last section had been first since it's meant to educate friends and family.
Until people can calm, I don't think they can really LISTEN. So you have to address their worries and fears first. They may not even be able to articulate what they are actually worried about well. So a FAQ thing would be helpful.

And if it's parents, they want to know and be reassured that they raised you well, that you carry good values even if you choose to live your life different than mom and dad, you are not being hurt, etc.

Some of them worry about how this reflects on THEM and that can open up stuff that isn't really poly but more family dynamics weird and poor family boundaries.

The booklet doesn't list a table of contents but it goes like this:

Introduction -author explains who she is and how the booklet came about
What is polyamory?
  • Do people choose to be poly?
  • Traits of polyamorous people
  • Why are people polyamorous?
  • Types of polyamorous relationships
  • Emotional intimacy with multiple partners
  • Do polyamorous relationships work?
Advantages of polyamorous relationships
Polyamory specific challenges
  • Jealousy
  • Mono/poly relationships
  • Legal Problems
Children and Polyamory
  • Advantages for children in poly families
  • Talking about polyamory
  • Protecting the kids
  • Forming family ties
Polyamory and Sexual health
Living polyamorously in a monogamous world
Supporting polyamorous loved ones
Talking to other people about your loved one's poly relationships
I'm really struggling with this. What can I do?

And that's the one I wish was first. The struggle.

I think this article addresses some concerns a bit better. So I'd suggest reading that first then the general info booklet.

The topics in the article are

  • Aren’t You Being Exploited? / Aren’t You Exploiting Your Partner?
  • Isn’t This Immoral and Wrong?
  • But What About Our Grandchildren?
  • Do We Have to Meet Your Other Partners?
  • Is This Just About Sex and Perversion?
  • When Will You Grow Out of It?
  • How Will I Explain This to [Extended Family, Co-Workers, Whoever Else]?
Both are short and can be read in an hour. After that if the relative or friend wants to read more they can do so, but I think bite size is better to start with.

4 months of mourning. Went to one Halloween party but bowed out of a second. Even though several days apart, the first one just took it out of me.

Went to drumming class, still riding my bike, put some mulch down in the garden. Got the word about book group and ordered the book so looking forward to that new thing. Trying out some new recipes. Changed up my volunteering and I like my new mix. Did some good work and had a great meeting with a colleague. Hired new person. Hung out with Daisy but not EarthMama yet. Still only email because her household is upside down with eldercare problems. Thanked some friends for inviting me to things and checking in. People are being very kind.

Still not dealing in Spark. On the lookout for "holiday trigger" from Leaf.

Had some dates with DH -- still experimenting on what is "doable" and what is "triggery." We are going to try the museum next. I will suggest farmer's market also. His anxiety leading to sleep/stomach issues is a concern but he has a doc appointment coming up. He says grief isn't bothering him as much as stress bothers him. I think it might be grief lowering his tolerance for stress so it is interconnected but not going to split hairs. He was making pasta last night so I kept him company. He's so much fun to spend time with -- conversations, sex, interesting thoughts, humor, etc. I hope he can get his health sorted soon.

Not sure DH has thought about it but the rest of us have been -- navigating the first holiday seasons without FIL.

One of my grand aunts passed away. So Mom is grieving. So am I, but I'm also already in grief mode and its been decades since I saw this aunt. So sad about it, but not unexpected. And I have more pressing things in front of me.

Like the first Thanksgiving without FIL. Youngest DD keeps going on at me about her Dad making her nuts. In her grief she's just extra sensitive about all the things. But doesn't see it. DH is a little bit anxious. He won't say he is. But in his grief behaviors he's... doing things. Also sensitive. And also doesn't see it. Those two are so similar they bump heads.

It basically boils down to both of them wanting more of my time and attention and me trying to balance that. In various ways, both are very anxious about this gathering and dealing with extended relatives.

I think on some level DH is also anxious about the SPACE. Just like restaurant spaces and things lately. Dealing with being in hosting relatives' home, the football game on, the noises, the children boing boing, etc. I already put ear plugs in my purse for him. The floor plan of this home is very "open floor" and right now he doesn't do well in "open floor" layouts.

Today I just want to do my house things and cook my dishes I'm bringing and get a bike ride in to center myself. And then I'll take things as it comes.
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So that was a little weird. The in-laws Thanksgiving meal was fine. The company was ok-ish and what I expected. I was prepared to go for however long but DH surprised me when he was done in about 3 hours. He asked me if that was ok and both DD and I were cool with it. In fact, more than cool. Because about 3 hours is all I really wanted to do and I expressed it before we went. I interacted with each person at least once. And then spent the rest of the time sitting around trying to be open and receptive. Helpful guest with the kitchen tasks, etc.

Know what's weird? Not one relative really asked me about myself and how I've been doing. And then when I was leaving the relative I'd been sitting next to for 2 hours told me "Aw, we didn't get to catch up!" And I was like "Dude, I'm RIGHT THERE trying to engage with you and you wanted pick at cookies."

So... weird. I chalk it up to grief weirdness for some of them. DD was def sensitive to it and told me she overheard a lot of nostalgia FIL this and that.

And then younger 20s set of newly marrieds? I chalk that up to being in the 20s. My nieces seem happy and all into their new husbands. The new husbands? Didn't know my FIL, and they are all figuring out how to take a turn being the host for these family things. Youngest DD is not that much younger than this group and she was all "OMG. The frat boy energy in
the room!" She was not wrong. Def. a different vibe.

Things are going to keep changing as the last of the young adults in her group finish college, move out, get married, move away, etc. About what I expected.

I don't mind my in-laws. Some I like a lot, some are ok and nice enough. I do miss my MIL, my SFIL and now my FIL. I liked them best.

But I went largely to be there for DH. I'm getting older and these long drives to and fro take a toll on me though. I asked him if he wanted to go down early for Christmas and hotel it one night so at least broken up. One long drive on one day and then another long drive a different day. Not like two long drives on the same day. DH doesn't like that because it changes his routine and he likes being home in his own bed. Which I get. But I think after Thanksgiving being so stressful for him, he might reconsider taking a new approach to these visits. DD was in favor of it. So am I.

Later he told me he was super anxious about Thanksgiving and took an extra half pill of his anxiety meds. I was not surprised because I could TELL he was having anxiety things. He had a death grip on the steering wheel on the drive. Not eating great. Just jittery and doing his "I'm ok!" thing which really means "I am anxious! I hope to make it thru ok!"

Youngest DD held it together but then fell to pieces before Thanksgiving brunch with my parents. She's super worried about the remaining grandfather. I told her to stay home and sleep it off. College exams stress, family stress -- she wasn't going to miss much skipping a brunch. We see them again next week anyway.

"But how many more brunches do we have left?" was her other worry.

Sigh. I feel for her, and I sympathize. But at my age? I've grieved many. To me it's more like "We just get however many are left." And then when he actually dies? I will grieve some more and keep on living.

What else is there to do?
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