Today was a good day in most respects.  Mary Ann got up, ate, took pills and got dressed in anticipation of Volunteer Jan’s arrival.  Jan did her hair and nails, a real treat.  Mary Ann had eaten a good breakfast with some help.  Around noon she ate a half sandwich, chips, Pepsi, and large and tasty chocolate chip cookie that Jan had brought.

Mary Ann was up all day, watching football — her choice.  The Chief’s won!!! She was awake and mobile enough for us to go to the Evening Service at 6pm.  She ate a little supper before church and headed to bed shortly after church.

This was pretty much a normal day even by pre-hospital standards.  So far it appears that our new normal will include a little less mobility.  Eating by herself was a challenge before the hospital stay.  She now needs help much more often than before.  Walking unaided seems to be less of an option now.  It seems as if in most other areas, we are back to pre-hospital stay levels.  That is pretty encouraging.  I won’t deny that the last couple of weeks have been scary and stressful, with lots of fears about the possibility of not regaining any of what had been lost.

Maybe it was the barometer change today, but my time away this morning was not so refreshing as usual.  The rain did not allow the long walk that releases the mood-lifting endorphins.  I sat in the car enjoying the peacefulness of the rain at the lake, listening to a CD.  The Taizé Music seemed to open a certain vulnerability to thoughts and feelings that usually don’t have the time or space for attention with the moment by moment demands of the caregiving.

I am embarrassed at the self-centeredness of the thinking, but I have never pretended to be perfect — far from it.  I began thinking of who I am as an individual, separate from my role.  I thought of all sorts of things I have not yet experienced in life, things that most likely will never come to be.  I am not absolutely sure that I would really do some of them even if I had the chance.  That is why I titled this post “imagined Possibilities.”

Imagined Possibilities:

  • Singing with an Early Music vocal ensemble.
  • Spending a week of study and reflection at Holden Village.
  • Hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail.
  • Birding in New Zealand, hiking to see some of the waterfalls.
  • Seeing the Snowy Mountain region of Australia, visiting each part of that huge country.
  • Visiting Cornwall England and searching out my Father’s ancestral home there.
  • Visiting County Cork Ireland, from which my Paternal Grandmother came.
  • Heading off to Poland and Germany to see where my Mother was born (a German settlement in what is now Poland).
  • Spending time at the Taizé Community in France and singing the music, having a chance to serve as a Cantor.
  • Seeing some of the National Parks with my own eyes.
  • Going on Spiritual Formation retreats at various places in the US.
  • Probing with great minds the intersection of theology and Quantum Physics (at least listening and questioning).
  • Attending organ recitals and hearing great choirs and orchestras.

What is so selfish about all this, is that Mary Ann has lost the freedom to do so much more than have I.  This morning just opened a bit of sadness about what I might have imagined for myself.  I don’t know all the things that Mary Ann would like to have done.  Once I was asked where I would like to go if I could, and when I mentioned Australia, Mary Ann said she would like to do that too.  We have both talked about never having seen even the Grand Canyon.  We talked about going across Canada on a train, traveling to see the fall colors in New England.  We got to visit England and Northern Europe forty three years ago, and had talked about wanting to go back, especially to England.

I know intellectually, and most often viscerally, that life is lived wherever each of us is.  There is no need to be in some special, exotic place to live life to the full.  The grass certainly is not greener on the other side of the fence, as they say.  It was just a moment of imagined possibilities and some sadness at what will not be.  No matter what any of our circumstances are, all of us have things that are beyond our reach, things we cannot have or experience.  We can either face the loss of those imagined possibilities, grieve their loss and get on with life, or spend our precious moments stuck in self-pity.

I have the privilege of caring for someone I love.  There are so very many who would give anything to have that privilege.  I guess part of living this life to the full is allowing a moment of sadness into it.

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