It’s Saturday, again, and I’m melancholy, again! Yesterday was pretty awful, too. I suppose it’s cyclic, like it’s been for most of us, for most of our lives. We have our good days, our down days, even for months or years. But, like Dorothy (perforce), we must not live in the past nor worry about the future, but live well, now.
In my adult, married, life I’ve always been, on the whole, optimistic and interested in other people’s lives; more outgoing than inward-looking. But I sense now that I have changed, and my enthusiasm to add sparkle to other’s lives, has given way to periods of melancholy. I think that change started about three years ago, when I had to focus almost solely on Dorothy, and needed to plan our lives, one day at a time, and to anticipate and negotiate our different relationship and lifestyle.
Now, I hate to admit it, I did become depressed (and still do) but now that Dorothy is placed in care I should, theoretically, be feeling euphoric; freed from that anticipatory, confronting, personal care conundrum. That didn’t happen. I am not ‘freed’ – and, you know, I don’t want to be! It’s a paradox. The reason is because I still love her and want to be with her. But when I am with her, she doesn’t respond like she did, once, not so long ago. And, even though the staff tell me she speaks about her ‘Bill’ she doesn’t always make me feel welcome. After a while, she warms to my presence and then, a few minutes later, ignores me and wanders off, and I catch up and resume our encounter! Conversation is difficult, and mostly one-sided, but we hold hands and walk together and that is as good as a full-length novel! Often, like yesterday, I shed a few tears in the car before I drive off and come home.
One of my neighbours had previously invited me to dinner last night and I was not feeling very sociable, but it was a well-meant and sympathetic invite and, of course, I fronted up. There is no doubt that sharing a meal (especially prepared by someone else!) is really good for mind and body. I could walk there, have a glass of wine, enjoy a home-cooked meal, a quiet chat about everything and anything, especially about my host’s life and plans. That was enough to snap me out of feeling sorry for myself and it enabled me to sleep well. I can attest to that life-enhancing recipe – a good dose of someone else’s life problems and plans, mixed with food – as a way to shift focus and realise that you (I) don’t need to be in the centre of the universe.
Although this isn’t one of my best days, I am remembering today that our lives are best lived inclusively, but not exclusively! I do, actually, love being alone, sometimes. But not exclusively. I love being with Dorothy but, now, not exclusively. I can bring her more happiness by being apart for most of the time, and perversely, that’s better for me, too!
It’s now over six months since we parted, and it feels like six years. The hardest part, I reckon, is behind me – that’s the positive spin I am consoling myself with. As always, I treasure our time together, but I will also try to keep sane by living as fully as I can when we are apart. Yes, you say, that was so easy to type, and I know it isn’t really, fully, truthful; but I am determined to make it work – for both of us! I find comfort from the words in the bible: “…be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you…”. And, didn’t someone say, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy?”.
Must go, now, and prepare my next meal, and be grateful I can afford to do it in the comfort of my own home, and that I am well, and hearty enough to do it. My melancholia is giving way to the practicalities of living! And, if the TV is poor tonight, I have all those crossword puzzles to do….