One day last year I took out the garbage and wanted to just keep going. I thought I was not made for this mountain of housework and life with a chronically ill husband. How can a unicorn be expected to work like a mule? (to paraphrase a folk song.)
I wanted to run away, because my life was more than I bargained for. (Yes, I know, there are many people, perhaps the majority of the world, with problems far worse than mine, so if you’re thinking, why should she complain? You’re right. Most days I have gratitude up the wazoo. But this is my blog and others can chronicle their challenges and joys on their blogs. And I will read them and like them and understand. So, do not judge.)
What saves me from flying away and keeps me tethered to the homefront is my three awesome teen kids and my unbelievable network of friends. I don’t know how people have a chronically ill spouse without energetic kids and lovely friends to distract them from the loss and grief in this shifting sand marriage. Here are other things that keep me going:
- Art: making art and appreciating art
- Having parties
- My biz, Boot Camp For Writers
- My church community
- Working out
I imagine every mother and wife has these days when she wants to run away. A while ago, I read this novel, Ladder of Years by the genius Anne Tyler. A middle-aged mom disappears from the beach and starts a new life in a little town as a secretary. I think of that character and how lonely (yet delicious) she found her life alone.
When my friend, J. and I went running this morning, we talked about this — how happiness requires work. It is not easy. It is not a given. But we are compelled to find happiness, despite life’s challenges. Among reasons to find joy, I find happiness in contemporary literature.
Novels save me. They allow me to escape. I can run away, but still be back in time to take out the garbage. Joy!