Firstly my deepest gratitude goes to those of you that left messages and condolences after my last blog post. It means a lot to me. I hope you’ll forgive me for not replying to each of you personally.
It’s now 5 days since I put my life on hold and returned to the UK.
My Dad has lost someone who was in his life for 7 decades. Someone who was a lover, a wife and a friend. Most of those twenty five thousand days would have been spent together.
I was going to say I’m here to help him deal with that loss. But I can’t. Nobody can. All we can do is stay close and wait for time’s tranquilliser to slowly ease the pain.
I know I’ve been blessed more than most. I’ve reached later life without once having to deal with the death of a close family member. Only now am I finding out just how much needs doing in the aftermath.
It’s a good thing I’ve got some project management skills in my armoury. I’ve needed all of them to keep track of everything. I’ve used my mobile phone more in the last few days than I have in the last 3 years.
My brother is doing what he can. But his life is as different from mine as it’s possible to be. It makes demands that can’t be disregarded. His time and his energy are extremely limited. Much as he wants to give more, he just can’t.
That’s OK. We can only work with what we have.
I’ve written many times about freedom. It’s been my goal for a long long time. Perhaps the most important goal in life.
The freedom I’m talking about is the freedom to choose. Freedom to choose what you do, where you go and when you go. Freedom to choose how you use your limited time on this planet.
I worked long and hard to achieve that goal and I’m grateful for it always. But this week that gratitude is stronger. Because most people, my brother included, don’t have it. They can’t do what I can do.
How many times have you heard someone say ‘I have no choice’? They’re the default words to use when life decides to dump on us aren’t they? I could have said ‘I had no choice but to drop everything and get on a plane’. I could say ‘I have no choice but to stay and help Dad’.
But to do that would be a cop out. It would be a spineless attempt to shift responsibility for my actions onto others. Others who could be blamed. Others who could become targets for resentment and anger.
I have choice, and I choose not to do that.
I know it’s not as straightforward as that for everybody. Physical, mental and financial issues are but three that could make some choices impossible. But we’re all programmed to focus on the negatives aren’t we? Our blinkers leave us staring down the no choice road like a rabbit in the headlights. But take the blinkers off and look around. There are loads more choices all around you. There are always other choices. Sometimes just knowing that is enough.
So today I chose to make and take calls. I chose to be patient, I chose to listen.
This afternoon I was able to snatch an hour to myself during a lull in the rain. I drove down to Castle Beach, parked the car, then walked around Pendennis Point. The photo below shows the view across Falmouth Bay. (Artistically edited by me)
The air was tinged with the smell of kelp and sea spray. I breathed it deep. It restored me. I thank the Universe that I’m close to the sea during these dark days. I need it.
I’m not a machine. I’ve lost my Mom and it hurts. There were some tears on my walk today, but I’ll get my chance to grieve properly somewhere down the track. For now, just like my life, it has to wait.
Until then I’ll be a mule for the loads, a sponge for the tears and an ear for the words.