As I was riding my bike at sunset today, I looked up and noticed the jet streams against the Carolina blue sky. It was a particularly clear sky with fluffy puffs of white clouds and streaks left behind by the planes headed north and south. I couldn’t help but wonder what journey those people were on. There were many sunsets when Jerry and I sat on the deck watching planes. White jetstreams mark the sky at different altitudes each morning and evening along the east coast corridor. Planes full of people headed to New York to settle a business contract or take in their first Broadway show or to the Carribean on their honeymoon, to Miami to catch their cruise, or children going to see their grandparents. The journey that we are on was unplanned and unexpected. Jerry was a handsome, 52 year old business man, father of three who loved Alabama football, his momma, and his church. He took his roll as provider with great seriousness and never saw it as a burden. He loved to succeed yet was not interested in accolades. He loved to debate politics and give his children advice on business, but mostly he loved the comforts of home with his wife by his side. His family was his total commitment. He would always be there.
I find myself, riding my tangerine beach bike by myself these days. It’s the easiest way to “walk” the dog as she runs along side. Like most couples, they eventually must cross the bridge where one becomes sick and the vow “til death do us part” becomes a reality. That show stopping day happened when the doctor announced in his rather matter of fact voice, “You have early onset Alzheimer’s disease.” That was the day our world ended ...or so I thought.
These thirteen years have been a training ground. I’ve learned to love. I mean truly love. Love in a way that is not glamorous but is beautiful. I’ve learned to endure. I’ve learned to accept. I’ve learned to change and give..or is it give and change. Because it is in the giving that I have changed. The duration of this journey is so uncertain. Each individual declines in their own way. There is no timeline. Can just take one day at a time and be grateful for it.
For years, I have contemplated selling my house and moving to a less isolated area but never felt the “go ahead” in my spirit. There is no one to bounce these thoughts off of. I know of no one who is in my shoes or that has walked in them before me. All I know is that my spirits are lifted when I am in sunshine, see smiling faces and engage in meaningful conversations. These things fill my tank when I am running on empty.
Being an artist keeps me isolated a bit too much. But I am thankful for that gift and it is what keeps my mind occupied and productive. Still, my favorite thing to do is to visit Jerry. He is still the one I’d rather be with. It doesn’t take long, however, to realize that his attention span doesn’t last long. But, I’ll take what I can get.
WIth all this said, I am announcing a 2013 decision. My house is now on the market. It’s as if a still small voice said, “It’s time.” I’m looking forward to what the new years brings and where it takes me. The journey continues.