Life bucked me off for a couple of weeks.
I’d been going along checking my strides, regrouping, but basically knowing the course and the distances I had to hit to get over the arena jumps: kids packed off to school, house de-shambled, new work goals. Farther off, another distance to be sorted out: aging parents. That was more in the next field, to be dealt with later, at some imaginary point when – what – I didn’t need them? Shaun is back on the other side of the country living with and taking care of both of her parents. My dad, who has been in-patient for nearly a month, has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the liver. My parents just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. I can’t wrap my mind around what this must be like for my mom. My dad doesn’t know he’s dying. I’m not sure he’d remember (he has Alzheimer’s) if my mom decided to tell him.
I have no judgement on her decision.
The trauma of telling someone you love that they are dying would be crushing. The trauma of having to repeat it the next day, or the next hour, and deal afresh with the waves of shock, fear, and disbelief staring back at you, would be horrific. Doing this every day for who knows how long? Unthinkable.
Finding out today that my dad is failing quickly, has skewed my depth perception. I feel as if someone picked the world up, turned it, and set it down 6 inches to the left. Everything looks familiar, but somehow wrong. Just wrong enough that I trip over, bump into, stumble and jerk across the surfaces of my life.
In contrast, my perspective on what is important has shifted and clicked into it’s real place. What was I thinking?
All that other stress is little cross poles at which even I can scoff. This is foreign. I have to figure how to take a jump I don’t understand. A jump so large I can’t see over the top, even mounted, with an engine beneath me. I don’t know how many strides I need, I don’t know where the distance is or what point to sight on the other side to help me clear and jump beyond. Worse, I can’t see the jumps that will follow this big one. Will it be to the right or left? What if it’s an In and Out? Or a triple?
I have no body memory for this. I feel blind.
In real life, I don’t jump, so this metaphor fits. I have no idea how I’m going to take this leap, how I should measure my strides, how to adjust for the unknowable. Where do I contain the energy and keep a pace, and where is it necessary to go flat out for the jump?
I don’t know.
I still have my daily arena jumps to cover. My ‘real’ life (meaning the life in which the man who taught me to ride a bike, admit I was wrong, drive a car, do chores that aren’t mine, is not dying) keeps moving along, being funny, silly, warm, aggravating.
Here on the blog, I may be sharing the life I should be living, instead of the one I am, or some mixture of both. I expect it will be a bit spotty in the posting, and I will definitely be seeking out the humor, fun, and goofiness around me. I’m still not sure if I will post this or not. I don’t want to infect my blog, to borrow a great phrase from Marissa (of Tucker the Wunderkind).
I want a place I can still be silly and goofy and curious about things without worrying that the act of wanting that now is wrong. It may just be one of the more right things to do.