There’s nothing like getting away. Far away. A river cruise to France helped me relax. It was hard to come home and find that Mom had worsened, had become less “with it,” was more confused. I need to shift my thinking now, need to figure out how to deal with this shift in her thinking. Alzheimer’s is a horrible illness. On one had it’s predictable. On the other, it’s devastating in its path to a complete break with reality. I keep fooling myself, thinking I can do something or fix her. But it’s coming. It’s coming.
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum
We are in the last third of our lives. That sounds a little scary, a little limiting, slightly stressful. But not really.
Retirement is allowing us to do exactly what we want. Whether it’s traveling with friends or spending time walking the beach in Rhode Island, David and I find these slower moments help us know how we want to spend this time.
Soon we will head to France, meeting friends from North Carolina that we happened to meet on our first trip three years ago. What a joy to travel with them, sharing our experiences, and making memories.
Mom is in a good place, truly living in the moment, not worrying about the past or the future. Alzheimer’s does that. But we could all learn from this. All we really have is the present.
Enough by David Whyte
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
Austin Kleon shared this video today that made me take a deep breath and appreciate my summer. Play through….
I’m taking Maurice Sendak’s words to heart today:
I wish you all good things. Live your life, live your life, live your life.
This scene never changes.
I am spending time in Rhode Island as I have done my entire life– a summer of rest, of memories, of gratitude.
It’s a little more difficult as I can’t bring Mom. So we don’t tell her we are coming– it would be too difficult for her to understand why she can’t be here. But she is doing well, and I needed some time off.
So we sleep, read, take walks, and enjoy family and friends.