Jym reflects on a disruption of an otherwise ok holiday season and its meaning and benefit.
I’ve been ruminating for over a month, now, adjusting to the first inklings of a new, harsh political order. And I have adjusted. This post is not about the election or its consequences. It’s a story about one of the many challenges of senior life; a reflection about struggle and strength.
Readers of this blog may recall that this has not been the easiest year so far. Stephen is very slowly recovering from a hip replacement and bad drug reaction. He is still limping on a cane, and can walk maybe a quarter of a mile, slowly. I thought our vacationing this year would consist of our trips to Tower Grove Park. But a couple of weeks ago, Stephen—in his typical bold and courageous fashion—asked to go to Michigan for a couple of weeks of vacation. I had my doubts about being able to pull this off. But I figured out a way to do it. We would visit our friends in La Crosse for the weekend, and then explore Door County for the following week. At any point, should we need to return home early, it would be relatively easy to terminate the trip.
A week and a half ago I wrote my first blogsay (= blog essay) on caregiving. I talked about my several month commitment to maintaining this household while my partner recovers from surgery and complications, and some of my own limitations that I have had to overcome or deal with.
I’ve noticed that in the 10 days since that last post, I haven’t felt that I had a thing more to say to (my miniscule corner of) the blogosphere. It’s like whatever little bit of creativity or expression I have is all used up just in the day-to-day operation of the house. And it’s not like there haven’t been things worthy of commentary: the election, protests and repression in Iran, more seamy dirty laundry from the politicians, continued economic crisis. It’s just that it’s possible to be so totally absorbed by supporting another’s healing, that there is just not enough left to share elsewhere.
For the last few months, I have more and more been drawn into a situation of caregiving for my life partner. First his hip deteriorated, then there was the hip-replacement surgery, and then an additional recovery from a severe drug reaction. For a long time, I thought I couldn’t write about this on a blog, because it’s just too personal and private for Stephen, and also at times the experience has been an emotional roller coaster for me. Now here I am writing about it. I think it is okay to do so for several reasons. For one thing, my experience is not all that different in challenging character from that of millions nationwide and perhaps even billions worldwide. For another, I have found my way to composure and dignity in doing this service, and perhaps that may be helpful and comforting to others. And finally, this has been an incredible journey of self- AND other-discovery, and I want to talk about it.
In my old blog, I had a much used category, Riding the Bicycle. I decided when I started this new wordpress blog that I would invent new categories with new names. (Because, after all, I may have grown enough to not be polluting the world with the exact same ideas over and over again.) But today, I couldn’t help it, I just needed the category Riding the Bicycle, because to me—after 4 previous years of blogging—that category means the struggle to live a full life. A friend, John, told me that his metaphorical image for this struggle is juggling many balls in the air. It seemed perfect for him. But for me, keeping MY balance is the issue, rather than juggling objects external to me.