Monday, April 10, 2017

I'm Ready to Rage

Years ago, while watching a funny but low brow comedy movie, Back to School starring Rodney Dangerfield, I was confronted with what would become one of my favorite poems.  I say confronted instead of introduced because the message of the skillfully crafted lines really did hit me.  The poem is, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas (the same poet that Robert Zimmerman took his stage last name from—yes, Bob Dylan).  “Rage against the dying of the light became an anthem with me.  In my younger days, it seemed to apply more to the dying of the light of truth than of life itself.  That is starting to change, however.

It was believed that Dylan Thomas wrote the poem for his failing father in 1947, though his father did not die until shortly before Christmas of 1952 (very close to the day I was born in fact).  Dylan followed his father in death only the following year.  Wow!  However, I have since seen people I love age and die.  Currently my siblings and I are watching over my father as he goes through the slow fade of dementia.  I would beg him to rage, but in his condition, he would not comprehend the concept.

The meaning of the poem is changing for me, not because of my father or others that are passing, or have passed, however.  It is changing because, I must now face the fact that I, myself, am aging.  I remember being young and seeing people at my current age of 64 and thinking that they were ancient.  As a very small child, my grandparents, only in their fifties at the time, seemed beyond old.  But, now they are gone, my mother is gone, my father is fading,, and I look in the mirror at a man much older than I could have ever comprehended.  The light seems to be on the verge of dying.  You may say that I’m a bit premature, but there are reasons for my feelings.  I retired last year.  It was a bit earlier than I had planned, but it was time.  Just that word, “retired” has the tendency to make a person feel older.  I don’t know why.

Along with the retirement came a few other “aging” things to help drive a few more nails in the coffin, as it were.  I have developed hereditary knee issues and had to have one replaced.  It works great, now, but it took most of a year to fully recover.  That coupled with the preceding years of limited activity due to the knee's painful deterioration, and along with some other activity limiting things in my life, have left me totally and completely out of shape, physically.  I also have the normal aging body things going on.  Yes, I hurt in places I didn’t used to hurt and don’t want to hurt.  My right knee is on it’s way out…thanks, but no thanks.  That shoulder I separated in a bicycle accident as a child rears it’s ugly head at times.  A few joints just hurt for no other reason than the fact that they want to hurt.  All of this is to say that it is hard to motivate myself into moving either for the reason of getting back into shape, to do things around the house and yard, or even to do the woodworking and mechanical projects that I love to do for a hobby.  And, of course, there’s that unwanted houseguest of depression that comes to visit now and then, making it hard to get up and move.

So, I’m 64, retired, and out of shape.  That means, if I live to the natural age length of my predecessors, I have maybe 20 years left.  That bugs me, because the last 20 years went by in a flash!  I know a lot happened, but it seems, in reflection, that it just flew by.  Will the next 20 go even faster?  Probably, if the reflections of the “ ancient” ones before me are to be believed.  I’m not liking the sound of that.  It’s been getting me down as of late…almost to the point of immobility.  Honestly it has been an emotionally difficult year and I feel like I’m on the downhill side or slide of my life.

But…and it’s a big but… I just recently heard that poem again.  “Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, rage against the dying of the light!”  And with the coming of spring to the tundra, the words take hold and remind me that it is my choice to give up or not.  I am older.  I am a bit arthritic.  I have some developing eyesight issues.  I am fat and out of shape.  But! I can still choose to not go gentle into any night that is ahead of me, good, bad or otherwise.  I still have dreams and abilities and I can and will rage until my last breath against the dying of this light…my light.

Yeah, I’m ready to rage.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

We're Going to Miss the Clowns

The news recently came  that The  Ringling Brothers, Barnam and Bailey Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth! is shutting down for good.  This news came with cheers from many, who have noted and protested the treatment of the animals in their shows.  I understand that and agree, based on what facts I have seen.  This public pressure wasn’t stated as the reason for the shut down, however.  The reason given was financial.  Attendance has dwindled over the years and the Circus is no longer a money making proposition.  I can understand that, too.  I haven’t gone to a circus for years.  I did, however, see many circuses in my time.

One of my favorites was the annual Boeing Christmas Party put on in Wichita, Kansas.  My Grandfather worked for Boeing when I was young and their annual “Christmas Party” was an actual full blown circus at the local indoor arena every year around my birthday.  Grandpa would secure tickets for our family and we would go and have a ball.

Along with that, it seemed that every school I attended made an annual field trip to the circus when it came to town.  I even earned a trip to a circus for some special participation in school.  Being many years back, I don’t remember the deed that earned the trip, but I do remember the circus.

Being a child of the 50s and 60s, I used to watch circuses on TV.  There was even a special series hosted by Don Amici highlighting varied circuses throughout the world.  And finally, I took my wife and her youngest sister to their first circus when we were dating.  My wife, not her sister.  She was only 4 or 5.  The sister, not my wife.

Alright, now where was I?  Oh, yes.  Let it be known that I’ve seen many circuses in my life and I truly enjoyed them.  I enjoyed the acts and feats of daring and precision, especially the trapeze acts.  I enjoyed the acrobats, the trained horses and dogs.  And, with apologies for my younger ignorance, even enjoyed the trained wild cats and elephants at the time.  But no circus was ever complete without the clowns.  I loved the clowns.  Everybody loved the clowns.  Those wacky outfits and painted faces enthralled me as they performed their slap stick humor with each other and the audience.  How did they get that many in such a small vehicle?  Once, during a time of stress and tension between me and my parents, I took them to see Emit Kelly Jr., pictured above, in a public appearance.  During that short time, we were able to put aside differences and enjoy a moment of joy with an icon.  Yes, I love the clowns.

It seems the circus is the main, if not the only place to see clowns.  What will happen to the clowns?  It seems that their proper spot is at the circus and without a circus and it’s crowd to perform for and make laugh, what is a clown to do?  I’m sure the profession of being a clown has been slipping for years.  Ringling Brothers once had an actual Clown College for the training of clowns.  That shut down some years back, possibly a harbinger to the closing of the circus.  We need the clowns to help us laugh.  Their humor wasn’t high brow by any measure, but they could take us away from whatever pressure life was putting on us for a short time and make us laugh out loud.  They could, for a short while, make things child like again.  They would invite us into their antics and play.  The world has always needed clowns.  We still do, we just don’t realize it.

Today we have replaced clowns with such things as Honey Boo Boo, who along with her mother are close in many ways, but the fantasy and whimsy have been replaced by what is being called reality.  We have a lot of clowns out in our world at the moment.  We find our modern day clowns in politics, in religion, in what passes for music, and many other places no respectable clown would ever be found.   Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but that’s because I mourn the passing of the clown.  The true clown is becoming an anachronism, and it makes me sad.

The Circus is closing.  That means no more animal cruelty, which is a good thing.  It also means no more clowns.  Not such a good thing.

The old quote goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.”

Take my word for it, we're going to miss the clowns.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Why I Hate Cats--Reason #1


When In college, I played the part of Snoopy in the Musical, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.  To quote a line from Snoopy, "I hate cats!  To me, cats are the crabgrass on the lawn of life.  I am a cat hater, a cat despiser, and a cat loather."  I may not go so far as my stage persona did, but I am really not a fan of cats.  Many people agree, but others ask why.  Here is reason number one.


Many years ago, I got a new fishing reel in early spring while living in Northern Minnesota.  The ice was still on the lakes, and since this was a "bait casting" reel I needed to practice to avoid getting a backlash every time I cast and embarrassing myself in front of my fishing buddies.  I tried some practice casting in the yard.  Our cat thought I was doing this for her pleasure as she would chase the practice lure back and forth while I cast and retrieved it.  The yard was small and scattered with trees, so I walked the one block to the small lake down the street.  Yes, it was still frozen but lacking all obstacles that my yard presented I could cast better and farther.  As with many Minnesota lakes in very early spring, there was about a one to two foot width of open water between the shore and the edge of the ice.
Unbeknownst to me, the cat had followed me and her toy to the lake.  As I noticed her presence, I could see she wanted to chase the lure as I practiced casting, but was deterred by the water.

Finally, she could resist the temptation no longer and lunged toward the flying object. Sploosh!  She not only hit the near freezing water, but sunk to the bottom.  The water was shallow, but deep enough to totally submerge her completely.  She, in a panic sprung off the bottom and out of the water, only to find herself sure footed, but on the ice side of the water.  A wet, panicked and disgusted cat can take on a look that is indescribable.

Now that she was on the ice, she realized that she needed to be on shore.  Not knowing what else to do, she lunged once again, not getting good traction on her launch and, once again took a polar dip in the water.  She came up with an even worse look on her face and howls of annoyance to accompany it.

Feeling sorry for her, I picked her up, protected her from the elements the best I could and took her home to dry her off and get her warm.
I look back on this as being one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed.   So, why, you may ask, would I use this to illustrate the fact that I hate cats?

Simply, because the little ingrate, acted like the whole thing was my fault, and she never let me forget it.  Why not?  She was, after all, a female.


It wasn't my fault!

I hate cats.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Talkin' 'Bout My Resolutions



I just stepped into the year of 2016 along with everyone else who is alive on this planet.  Back when I had the world by the tail in 1971, 2016 wasn’t even on my radar.  It’s been a while since I had the world by the tail.  I probably never really had it by the tail, I just thought I did.  Since then, there have been times when it truly had me by the tail.  That brings me to New Year’s resolutions.  We take this somewhat arbitrary turn of a page to look back and look forward and way too many of us make some unbelievably optimistic plans and commitments for the New Year.  We are going to stop all of the bad stuff and start all of the good stuff in earnest, and not in a passive way at all.  We are going to grab this New Year by the short hairs (a not so polite Southern Term I believe) and not let go until we are skinny, fit, have our finances and relationships in order and are riding high above all the clouds and negative stuff in life.

I’ve never really been a New Year’s resolution sort of person.  I know myself.  I know that I am not disciplined in that way.  I am a dilettante, a dabbler, a hobbyist if you will.  If I were to say that I was going to research various and odd subjects and try 2 or three new hobbies in the New Year and totally enjoy the heck out of them, I could nail it.  That’s what I do.  But to say I am going to get totally fit and loose a thousand pounds (that’s not so much of a stretch) etc., I can’t commit because I know it won’t happen, or if it does happen, and it has at times, it won’t stick.  I’m not that disciplined of a person.  Life things get in the way.  And that’s the truth for most of us.  For too many of us, I think the New Year’s resolution is based on the idea that we have not been too successful at life; maybe even failures in many ways, but!..Beyond this turn of the page, we are not going to be failures!  We are going to be Successful at Life! (Insert very dramatic low voiced reverb/echo here).

I’m tired of looking at life that way.  I’m tired of looking at the New Year that way.  Yes, it is good to have a set point in time to look back and look ahead, but I refuse to say, “I am or have been a failure, but from now on, boy, I’m going to nail it!”  I haven’t been a failure.  I may not have succeeded in the areas that the world and its marketing scheme seems to think are important.  I may not have been as successful in every area of life that is personally important to me.  But, I refuse to accept that I am a failure and that I need a complete and total turn around to get my life in order.

So, looking into this New Year, what can I say about life?  I can commit to living my life, not according to the world and its marketing schemes, but according to me, the choices I choose, measured by the metrics I can accept for myself.  Do I plan to improve?  Yes, I do, but my improvement will hopefully be in the areas of being a better person in my own life…a better husband to my wife…a better father to my adult children and their spouses…a better family member to my extended family…a better friend to those I consider friends and those who call me friend…a better citizen to the world around me—especially to those in need…a better member of God’s natural creation…a better member of God’s Kingdom…and especially, a better me as I understand me to be.

I know, going to the gym every day or losing 50 pounds may be easier than this sounds, but I believe that even a small improvement in any or all of these areas will improve not only me, but everyone and everything around me.

I also want to get a radio controlled drone in 2016.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

I'm Dreaming of a Weird Christmas Tree Ornament


While decorating the tree this year, I started wondering if other people have weird ornaments like we do.

 I’m not talking the ugly dried marshmallow snowman that one of the children brought home from kindergarten, or the strange needle point and pipe cleaner bee that Aunt whatshername made for everyone one year and checked to see if you put it on the tree every time she came to visit.  I’m talking about weird ornaments with a capital “W” that you and your family purposefully chose to put on the tree.

We went through a phase with the children that we would work to find a special ornament that would commemorate that year.  We would mark the year on it and hang it on the tree.  We did that for years with some truly strange results.  One year, of course, we found an ornament with Santa kneeling at the manger.  That was nice.  The next year, however,  we found an ornament that looked like a drunken reindeer with angel wings riding a shooting star like a carnival ride.  See what I mean?  Have any of you done that?  Just wondering.

Here’s a list of some of the stranger ornaments we have come across.
We have a Santa pig riding a giant ear of corn like a rocket ship on top of a wagon.  This one looks like a float in a parade in Iowa or Nebraska.

We have a strange dragonfly fairy with moving arms and legs that looks more like it would be found down the rabbit hole than in a Christmas scene.
To celebrate my Southern roots, I guess, we have a Santa Face made out of a dried Okra pod.  I think it’s a waste of good Okra myself.
We also, have milder ones like a tear drop camper ornament.  That’s kinda cute, actually.

My father-in-law got into the act for a few years and gave me…
A big bull frog ornament dressed up like a fly fisherman
A Turkey dressed up like a hunter.  Get it?  Turkey hunter?  Yeah, he’s funny that way.
And another weird turkey hunting themed ornament.

Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of the “normal” Christmassy themed ornaments, but they just seem to fade in comparison to the “other” ornaments on the tree.  I mean, how can you calmly settle your brains and have dreams of sugar plums when you know such things as a…
Flying Angel Armadillo,
a Spooky Druid Claus made out of a birch branch with cardinals nested in knot holes in the abdomen of his branch body, 
Or a bizarre Drum with spindly legs and arms and very strange face coming out of the side of the drum, 
…are out there hanging on your tree, waiting to turn your peaceful Christmas slumber into something akin to a drug induced nightmare?

Next year, maybe just a pre-lit tree with round balls in a monochromatic theme.  Admittedly, not much character, but maybe I’ll be able to sleep during the season.

And to all a good night!




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Toxic is Toxic


I took a new job recently.  It is a good job.  I am engineering manager for a composite fiberglass manufacturing company.  What that means is, we make many different types of commercial and industrial things out of laminated fiberglass.  It’s interesting work—a little different than what I’ve done for most of my career, but interesting nonetheless.  I will forego the discussion of how I stepped into a firestorm when I started there three months ago.  It is finally mellowing out and I feel that I/we, the management team, are finally getting a handle on it all.  I am foregoing that discussion to deal with the topic at hand.  That topic is toxic environments.


It turns out that though the facility is set up with the best of air filtration and complies with the strict guidelines for dust, fumes and emissions set for such places, the environment seems to be physically toxic to me.  To explain, I have slowly developed some asthmatic symptoms as I have aged, and I have struggled with asthmatic bronchitis since shortly after I started here.  Once I was treated with antibiotics, codeine and inhalers.  Just recently, on a return visit, I got another, more powerful inhaler.  The place is not toxic to everyone.  Fifty other people work there with no problem at all, but I have a problem and it seems to be related to the environment.
What does one do in such a situation?  We tend to have pretty cut and dried answers to what to do about physical toxicity.  Poison ivy?  Avoid it.  Hornets’ nest?  Run away.  Allergic to peanuts?  Don’t eat a PB&J.


What can I do?  All things being equal, I would do what sane people do, step away from the toxin or in this case the job that presents the toxin.  I could look for another job, but that’s not so easy at my age of 62.  I could keep taking the meds and hope they stave off the coughing and make things better, but I’m not real happy about taking medications that have big WARNINGS on them that they have been known to cause death in users.  This medication also contains an ingredient that tends to make me ravenous.  My waist line and general health does not need that.


I do have dear Christian friends praying for me.  They are praying for me to be healed from this asthmatic problem so that I may stay at my job, and I have to say, I do believe in prayer.  If the healing does not come, however, I have some decisions to make…some tough decisions to make.
So, yes, we act reasonably and avoid that which is toxic to us physically.  No one in their right mind would continue in an environment that is detrimental to their health and physical wellbeing (tobacco and possibly alcohol abuse are another issue).  There are, however, other toxic environments that we don’t shy away from so easily.  Some we don’t recognize as toxic.  Some we may have an idea that they are toxic, but for some reason we don’t back off or escape.  I’m talking about those situations and environments that are toxic to us emotionally or even spiritually.


On the emotional level, just watch the news.  It's too easy to realize that the classroom and the relational system built around school can be very toxic.  It is toxic on many levels.  My wife and I, being quite involved in our children's lives found, to our surprise that teachers can be a part of the toxicity of the educational system.  Not all teachers, but a few definitely are.  Then there are those who are targeted by bullies.  For them, life can be hell and if the targeted child doesn’t have allies, at least in parents if no one else, this environment can be devastating and have lifelong effects…sometimes even leading to suicide.  I have some friends whose child has been targeted by bullies for way too long.  Their choice, though costly and difficult, was to sell their house and move to a new school district for the betterment of their son.  I applaud them and pray for their son.


Other emotionally toxic environments that I remember and many other people have in their lives, as well, are toxic work environments.  These are usually set by someone in a management position.  Sometimes the immediate supervisor, but other times a whole environment is built by the neurosis or dysfunction of the upmost management or ownership.  I’ve experienced two stellar examples in my career.  These situations were harmful to me and everyone else around.  I ended up getting away to tell about it.  What is hard to understand is those who stay, knowing that it is toxic…complaining about it constantly…but not doing anything about it.  They stay in the emotional toxic sludge and day by day their emotional being is eroded by the sickness being perpetuated upon them.


In the work environment, there are also other toxic people who can affect you.  There are coworkers who love to build themselves up by tearing you down.  These people are emotional bullies.  Their tactics may be very subtle, but they are effective and can eat away at a person’s self esteem and well being until they feel like nothing.  Again, some people are healthy enough to do something about it.  They fight back or find a way to get away.  Others don’t feel they have the power to fight back or for some reason don’t think they can leave.  Laws have become much better in efforts to keep this out of the work place and even classroom environments, but it still exists.


There is one more toxicity that we don’t realize too often, and if we do, we don’t want to admit it or talk about it; that is spiritual toxicity…environments that are toxic to the spiritual well being of the individual.  We are spiritual beings and we desire a connection with “The Spiritual”.  We usually find ourselves in institutions of sorts that claim to help us with that need/desire.  The problem is, many times, the institutions, or their higher organizations, or their individual local expressions are toxic.  It’s easy for us to sit back and look at the “cults” in the news and know that they are toxic and should be avoided.  “Those people are crazy and those inside have been duped!”  It happens in other accepted and established spiritual environments, though.  Churches where the leadership is very autocratic and set up environments that demand more than encourage.  These systems use shame, inclusion versus exclusion, and other manipulations to control people, their beliefs, their finances, and their behavior.  These systems have in/out, good/bad, with us/against us mentality.  These systems see the individual as something, not someone, and they see it as something to be controlled.  Some of these systems preach a freedom, but their practice is constraint and control.


Spiritual toxicity can be very subtle and one can get sucked in before they know it.  It sometimes speaks to some other hungry dysfunction in an individual’s life.  Being as such, it can be very hard to identify and break away from.  The questions that need to be answered when asking oneself if this is a spiritually toxic environment are, “Does my spirit feel fuller or hungrier than before?  Do I feel closer to The Spiritual or farther away, or just stuck in a spiritual quagmire?  Do I feel that the ability to encounter The Spiritual is completely dependent on my efforts alone, or is The Spiritual actively working to move closer to me?”  There are probably others, but this will get one started.  Being born into such a toxic spiritual environment makes it very difficult to identify and even harder to walk away.


I am a person of faith.  I hesitate to use the term Christian because of the connotations that term carries in the Western World today.  I try to call myself a Biblical Follower of Jesus.  So, when I talk about “The Spiritual” above, I am talking about experiencing God through Jesus Christ.  Yes, many “Christian” churches and even denominations are spiritually toxic if looked at in light of the definition above.  They are not the only ones, however.  That is why I used the term, “The Spiritual” where I did.


Bottom line?  I have a physical reaction to my physical work environment.  It may be able to be treated.  I may be healed according to the prayers of my friends.  If not, I have a decision to make.  That decision is, for my own health and well being; get away from the toxic environment.  It’s a no brainer.  Staying away from poison ivy…avoiding a hornet’s nest...not playing in traffic are all no brainers.  We always try to avoid that which is physically “bad” for us.


But what about the emotionally and especially the spiritually toxic environments?  I would say, do as I had to do with my bronchial condition.  Take stock.  It wasn’t hard for me to realize I was coughing…a lot.  Why?  Because my new work environment was toxic to me.  Is your work, or school, or social surrounding causing you emotional problems?  Is it possible that the environment is toxic to you?  Is it building you up or tearing you down emotionally?  If it’s tearing you down emotionally, it may be something to get away from.


If your pursuit of “The Spiritual” is tearing you down and frustrating you spiritually, you may be in a spiritually toxic situation and need to get away.


We find it easy to avoid hurtful and toxic things if they are physical.  For our own good, we need to be able to look into the emotional and spiritual areas of our existence and be honest with ourselves whether they are beneficiary or toxic to our beings.  If they are toxic we need to step away.  If their toxicity has affected us to the point that we are suffering either emotionally or spiritually, we need to find treatment and/or healing to some extent.


Toxic is toxic.  Whether it be physically, emotionally or spiritually; and it is to be avoided.  To quote a line from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, when confronted with toxicity in any part of your life, “Run away!  Run away!”

Sunday, May 17, 2015

MY NEST SEEMS TO BE EMPTY


There is something I realized lately and feel it would be good to share and/or talk about.  My wife Gayle and I, she being the patient, are now in the post treatment and recovery stage of her cancer.  It’s great.  It is behind us for the most part.  Time to get on with life now, she to work and me to?????  Yeah, that’s the problem.  Me to what?  For the last 16 months, I have devoted myself to her as she got totally put through the meat grinder of Cancer treatment, involving three major surgeries, countless procedures, radiation treatments and months of chemotherapy.  It was a brutal time for both of us.  I helped her, encouraged her, nursed her, changed dressings, cleaned her and other things that don’t need to be mentioned.  And I worried about her.  I laid awake at nights listening for her and what she may need or what complication may come next.

I was her coach.  I encouraged her when even my own hope was waning.  I also fed her.  Have you ever tried to cook for and feed a person who would vomit even at a smell sometimes or just because of the Chemo coursing through her veins.  And even if the nausea had subsided, she had no appetite at all.  Then, there were the times when she did like something and that was her fallback sustenance until that one day I would fix it for her and she couldn’t stomach it ever again.  Yeah it was a fun time.

Prolonged hospital stays.  Unexpected complications.  Going to Mayo Clinic when doctors in a major metropolitan area threw up their hands.  Dealing with Doctors and hospitals when she was too weak to speak up.  Just being her advocate out to and against the world.  And I did it well.

Yes, I did it well…or as well as I or anyone I know could have…as well as anyone who was also being affected by the trauma could do.  And yes, she/we made it through it.  She now has a clean bill of health which in a cancer patient’s life means all is clear, but you will have lingering effects of the surgeries and chemo, and you will have continued exams and scans for years to come.  But yes she is healthy again and back to work and getting back to her life.

I have been trying to get back to my life lately and it doesn’t seem to be working for me as well as it is for her.   I’ve tried to figure it out.  For nearly a year and a half, I have left much of my life behind because of this.  Much of my regular activity and even man stuff around the house and yard were let go.  I kept up the house, cleaning wise, along with the help of our adult children, but lawn maintenance, house maintenance and upkeep, and a number of other things that are a part of my regular life and routine were laid aside.  Hobbies and interests were put aside too.  Nothing got totally out of hand but nothing was really under control either.  Why, because my life was her and her cancer, period.  And now, all of a sudden—it seems like all of a sudden to me—it’s over.  She’s well and I don’t have to hover and nurse and take care  and listen for pain or breathing or groans.  I don’t have to hold her hand and comfort or encourage her, or even take her temperature.  I don’t have to go to sleep wondering if it’s another trip back to the ER.  I don’t have to go to sleep wondering if I will wake to a morning without her.

And that’s all good.  It’s great!  But I’m left feeling lost and purposeless and empty.  It was so intense and all consuming that I was fully given over to it and now it’s over.  I wondered at this feeling for  quite a while until it finally seemed to dawn on me.  I have what seems to be a combination of a type of PTSD and Empty Nest Syndrome.  I am left emotionally wacked by the experience while at the same time, my baby has left the nest.  Her need for me has changed.  We have a good relationship and realize our mutual need for each other, but that complete helpless dependency that was there is no longer and leaving it behind and shifting gears back to regular life seems hard for me.  Like a parent, this is who I was and what I was about for a significant amount of time.  “This is who I was.”  Now I’m not.  And I’m not sure what to do about it.  I’ve found it hard to resume regular activities.  She is doing a good job of reminding me that she doesn’t need that kind of help any more when I do start to hover, but in some ways I’m lost for the time being.

I suppose it will just take time to rediscover myself post-cancer caregiver.  I suppose it will be a “recovery” type process for me.  Maybe a little bit at a time my purpose, meaning and identity will recover and I will not feel empty but whole, complete, and myself again.  With that, our relationship will hopefully recover, as well, from caregiver/patient to husband and wife partners.  That would be cool.

Maybe what I need is a new hobby.