Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Waiting. And Thinking. And Waiting

I posted this not long before I went to bed last night, and when I woke at 3, it seemed a mistake, as so many things do at 3 a.m. I groggily found my way to the kitchen counter where my MacBook Air was charging, and I took the post down. But I've realised, from looking at the feeds, etc., this morning, that enough readers have seen it that it might as well be up for all. It just feels like so much blather, honestly. Or honest blather? Whistling in the dark? And it's not even that dark, truly Except at 3 a.m.

So here it is, again. You'll soon see you didn't miss much.

What an odd waiting state we find ourselves in these days, a janglingly busy kind of stasis, if you will.  Tomorrow (depending when I post this) I'll baby-sit while Pater accompanies Patient and Patient's Spouse for their visit with the specialist, which should, we hope, give us an idea of the treatment plan and our schedule for the next couple of months. Meanwhile, he was back on the island the last couple of days cleaning up and transporting culled goods off the island for recycling and disposal. He also did some signing, and I'll do the same later this week. And then a bit later, there will be a sign. . .  I suspect most of you will be guessing what those are all about, but I'll wait before I confirm your suspicions. What I will say, though, is that we're stepping into months, at least, of the insecurity and the potential of the in-between. . .

I can feel it already, in little ways. In the way living in our little urban apartment changes the rhythm of my days. The way it offers me so many more routes to run each morning, but also denies me the solace of an expansive view, one that tells a different compelling story every day. Here, restored heritage homes sit stolidly, shoulder to shoulder, across the street from us, sandwiched between busy traffic in front and looming apartment buildings behind. Neither soothing nor particularly engaging.

On the other hand, I can be up the road ordering takeout sushi in less than five minutes if the traffic light's in my favour, or Thai if I go in the other direction. We pop up the hill for the best grilled calamari and a glass of wine at the Greek place (probably eight minutes, that walk) or Moules Frites with a glass of bubbles or artisan beer at the brasserie across the road. If I forget to pick up the milk, no one needs to ride their bike down to the dock for a 10-minute ride, each way, to the grocery store in town (honestly, on the island, we just make do if we forget, unless we're desperate enough to knock on a neighbour's door with a begging bowl).

Back on our tiny island, though, one of the neighbours was just diagnosed with one of the heavy-duty cancers, and to send her into her surgery in the best possible spirits,  the community held a disco party, costumes, dancing, frivolity, and so much love! We weren't able to be there, except in spirit, but we've attended fundraisers and celebrations of life and baby showers and 60th birthday parties and so many demonstrations of community in the past. I'm guessing there are versions of that in the city as well. I hope we'll find them. Heck, I'm hoping someday I'll have a friend or two here. Meanwhile, I do like to know that we can walk to a cinema for a movie, if the mood strikes, in 20 minutes. Bike over to a daughter's place in 30. Pick a granddaughter up from preschool in 40.

At the moment, we're waiting, fingers ready to press one button, and watching while other fingers than ours hover over other buttons, ones that also affect our future plans, if less directly.  And I've been thinking about how privileged we've been, all our married lives, to live in the various houses we've made into homes.  And about the privilege of letting go, of having choices. . .

Yes, the cryptic will end soon. Hope it won't be followed by too much frant-ic (haven't any objections to a bit of ant-ic, though) before it ends up, if we're really lucky, at idyll-ic. And perhaps we can move away from that silly bit of wordplay before the Ick manifests itself... 

42 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this post Frances ...I don't feel it's just blather. I read it first thing but haven't had time to comment fully as I'm out at the moment...I will comment in detail later but just wanted to say I'm glad you didn't delete it! This may duplicate as I'm commenting from my phone!
    Rosie

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    1. Thanks Rosie -- and no, it didn't duplicate.

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  2. Interesting times-exciting, nostalgic, unsettling, unpredictably predictable- a little like balancing on a wobble board. But as you know from all those past houses- all will be well-eventually. On the medical front I send positive energy for thoughtful plans and healing.

    I am considering different options myself and wobbling around in my head querying when/if to actually retire, where to live, I have been offered clinical lead in the company where I work part time- a role I would love, but would have wished this to have happened when I was wanting full time work rather than wanting to scale down- the joys of waylaying career to raise my brood (which I don't regret for a minute) and then ending up single with the financial ramifications that alter many life decisions- and then I remember that all will be well and I will play out the scenes till the plot becomes clear. Isn't life interesting? The wonderful restaurants and activities so close to your town house sound so inviting! Jennifer

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    1. We are very lucky to have these choices, yes, even if they keep us working to get the wobble board balanced. Exciting to be offered a great position now -- and flattering, I'd imagine -- but then tough to sort out what it is you really want most. For me, the struggle is not to let fear and anxiety make decisions for me -- and wow! lots to be anxious of with the market we're moving into... ;-)

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  3. You always write from the heart and that always resonates. The waiting is probably worse than anything as there is no clear path yet to follow, and 3am is always the very worst time - I am often still awake then, worrying fruitlessly about things that recede during the busy day (mostly my children although they are all healthy at the moment. Happy is another thing).

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    1. Exactly! once things get launched and there's a program to follow, I know I'll rally. Waiting, and 3.am. -- not such a good combo. Trying to find a balance of keeping my eye on the horizon, knowing we'll get to the next point and rebuilding, and meanwhile, trying to live in the moment, being careful not to wish these days away so quickly..

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  4. Hi Mater, I saw this earlier on my feed, but you had already taken the post down. I have to say I don't find this cryptic at all - but I'll refrain from saying what I think you are saying, just in case I'm wrong after all!

    Sending good thoughts and wishes for the appointment with the specialist.

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    1. No, I'm sure you're right, although I may have confused readers as to the stage ewe're at. Soon I'll be more straightforward. And thanks for the good wishes for the appointment -- it went well, and now just some waiting before the next bit...

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  5. It sounds as if you are well prepared for the uncertainty of everything except change. I'm rooting for the idyll-ic end of the cryptic (and I assure you that you stopped well before any Ick factor entered the scene).

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    1. Yes, change is always going to be just round the corner, and it's well to be prepared to deal with it. Thanks for the smile with the wordplay. ;-)

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  6. Hang in there my friend. Might it be better to have the nearby distractions while waiting? I'd find it hard to wait.. and be watching that heart rending view on the island at the same time. Or at least if it can't be helped, might as well look for that positive side, as difficult as it is to find sometimes...said she who always tries to flip that coin and can be very annoying to people who see things differently. At least that's what I'm told. Lovey post. And I love the "ic" word play.

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    1. You've put your finger on it, Sue. The waiting in place, a place we have loved for so long, is tough, although while we're there, once the weather is great again (someday?), I'll want to eke out as much as I can from the time there. But I'm ready to move into the positive and get building for the future, rather than saying long regretful good-byes...Patience, not my strength.

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  7. What a lot of change! I like change but find myself struggling to work out what it should be. You sound as if you are making choices and having choices made for you. I am not sure I could live in a city now. I wonder if I am wrong, after all so much of my life was city based. I am sure it will take some time for life to feel like your life again. But it will. Hang on for the ride! I am thinking of you and your family, odd I know when I don't know you but you have touched me with your writing and I care about you and yours.

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    1. Elizabeth says it so much better than I could, do excuse me piggy backing on her post, but yes, please know that although we shall never meet I feel that I know you and yours from the small stories (and the large ones) that you share with us here. Bon courage with what is happening around you

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    2. So kind, Elizabeth -- and Ceri!
      I do wonder about living in the city, but we've straddled both lives for over a decade now, and that's been a privilege which is now becoming wearing. The kids are in the city, and we love urban life on holidays, at least. We're leaping with fingers crossed.....I'll be writing more about the decision-making, as you might imagine. (And to both of you, isn't it interesting how well we can get to know each other, just through words on a screen -- I'm so touched that somehow you can care about me via this medium)

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  8. So many changes and issues at once can be powerfully unsettling. Even anticipated and prepared for change can be hard -- I'm nine months away from giving away/selling the contents of my parent's house and it still brings up feelings. I hope the specialist appointment brought some more information and the beginning of a plan..., This is definitely not blather, and we will all continue to hope for some good news for you and your family.
    Lynn

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    1. I know that sorting through a parent's house (in fact, just sorting through emotions after a parent's illness and death) continues to evoke strong feelings for years afterward, never mind nine months! Much of our decision-making about our next move has to do with watching how our parents spent their last years, hoping we can make ours as rich as possible for as long as possible while perhaps minimising the burden of those years on our kids.

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  9. Not blather. Not at all. You've got such a lot going on - more than enough for a year or two, but it is all so immediate.
    So odd to read Elizabeth's comment, as I have met both of you and consider you friends - like Elizabeth, I think about and care about you and yours.

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    1. Yes, if only we could parcel out life's challenges into manageable bundles -- no, I can't handle that this year, could you come back after I've dealt with Problem A?
      So between Elizabeth and I, then, there's only one degree of IRL separation!

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  10. Sending healing thoughts towards Patient and all of you! Change is scary sometimes, but often very good things come out of very scary changes!

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    1. Thanks, Murphy, and I do think this is often true. I look forward to experiencing the good result of this anxiety before too long...

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  11. Best of wishes for Patient, most importantly.

    But also, I am so sorry I never made it to the island. I had it on my horizon for this summer, but, alas, the best-laid. xoxoxox.

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    1. Well, if you move fast. . .
      And a guestroom is a top-of-the-list priority for our eventual bigger city condo . . . ;-)

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  12. The waiting is worst-everything is better when it would begin,believe me!
    Best wishes to you,The Patient and your family
    Too much is happening just now,but step by step -it would be fine
    Dottoressa

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    1. I believe you, absolutely! I know that once we've set the machinery in motion, my shoulders will relax a bit. Very soon.

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  13. I'm glad you did not delete that post after all. I understand your feelings about waiting. It is such a contradictory state of mind. You try to keep busy while at the same time, inside, you are thinking about one thing only, counting the seconds and musing about alternatives and options without being able to decide. You feel powerless in the hands of other people (doctors, specialists...)or anonymous powers (fate?). Too worried to concentrate on what you are doing and too nervous to distract yourself. Therefor I totally agree with Dottoressa: as soon as the path is clear and steps can be taken, things will become a bit easier.
    Yes, there is something like friendship by internet, at least that is what I feel towards you and your family. So all the best to you all.

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    1. This is exactly how I feel, Eleonore. I've been trying to keep up my various activities, but distraction prevails.
      You readers who comment might be surprised to know how much I also feel the friendships with you develop, even though your words here are far fewer. I begin to have a picture of each of you in mind, distinct characters and lives assembling around each name. Such a surprising and lovely phenomenon.

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  14. Glad you re-posted. I thought I had been imagining this post when I went back and found it had gone. There is nothing quite like undergoing two of the major life stresses at the same time to make one doubt oneself. Just one day at a time, Mater. Answers will be presenting themselves as they always do.

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    1. Yes! This is what I feel -- I always think of the points that Nobel-prizewinner Hans Selye set out in his research for the various life stresses, and I can imagine the needle of a pressure cooker signalling trouble! Luckily, the kids' situation has been downgraded to Slightly Worrisome but Under Control, and I can now concentrate on Needs Lots of Attention in the Next Short While but Should be Fine After That and Should Resolve in a few Months...

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    2. Phew. Stress now reverts to manageable.

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  15. I read your first post as I was lying awake in Mexico with the pre-travel anxiety. You have so much change and uncertainty right now. But you will find out about treatment and your location sounds like a great one. I must admit in the middle of the night, I wondered "what about the coloured chairs?" Then the post was gone...
    Sometimes in the night things seem like a dream. But, as Dottoressa says, the waiting is the worst part. I hope that your wait will not be a long one.

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  16. Oh, you get right to the heart of the matter. Yes, what about the coloured chairs?! I think this too, in the middle of the night, and during the day, too, for that matter. . . So much that I'm reconciling myself to letting go, Pater and I being grateful for what we've enjoyed . . . Again, lucky to be making choices, but that doesn't mean some aspects of the choices won't be hard.
    You must be home now -- hope the travel back went well. Sorry about the weather you've come back to...

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  17. Eight months after our big move, albeit from the big city to a smaller one, I look back with amazement that we weathered uncertainty, the stresses of selling, buying, culling, a myriad of other decisions and settling into a new place. We were exhausted both physically and emotionally. Trust your inner voice was my mantra. I don't regret our decision as a result. I'm thinking of you as you face your family challenges and lifestyle change.

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    1. Thanks for this, Mary! I try to picture that moment, eight months from now, when we're settled in a new home, the uncertainty and fatigue behind us. It's lovely to hear from others who have got through to the other side. . .

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    2. I'm GoNorthMary on IG. We have been following each other for awhile.

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    3. I know you! ;-) Thanks for introducing your IG self. . .we're already friends, aren't we?!

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  18. Just want to pop in and say my heart and prayers are with you and your family as you all face Treatment and Change. Glad that you posted this so that this blog community could rally around you and yours.
    Charlene H.

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  19. I have a sister who lives for change - new homes - new careers - even new husbands when she was younger . We get on well but are very different . I'm not sure which of us gets the best out of life but I prefer mine of course . I manage not to worry about her now . We've lived in our home for over forty years , a modest house on the outskirts of the city with a shop we can walk to & good bus/train links , but with plenty of greenery around . I THINK we can stay here for a good while yet , fingers crossed , & I'm resigned to the large garden becoming a wild life sanctuary / jungle - nothing's perfect . How lovely for you to have had your island life for as long as you did & it will be interesting for us all to read about your new life
    Wendy in York

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    1. Such interesting differences within families, aren't there? And it's so true that some seem to thrive on change while others of us crave continuity. I'd say I lean much more to the latter, but I've taken on new/change enough times that I know I can do it and will probably thrive on it this time 'round as well. I love your last sentence, which is what we tell ourselves as well -- we have been so lucky to have had this for so long. Thank you!

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  20. Ohh change.....! It sounds like so much is going on that emotions are bound to be raw in the middle of the night. I'm glad you returned this post to us. I read it yesterday, but was really too tired to type a word, not even one. Now I see you have a new post up and I'll go there next. Thank you for sharing the journey. I'm sorry I never got to your small island, but then there are so many places I've never been, and so many potential things yet to see. Hugs! And kind thoughts for all of you and Patient especially.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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