I decided I wanted to take a road trip. Perhaps I needed to take a road trip, since it feels like normalcy had slipped out the back door of my life some time ago. Linda had only passed away three months ago and in some ways it feels like an eternity while at the same time, it feels as if I sat with her just last night. So, I made the most non-disruptive decision I could muster, which was to plunge my life into upheaval. I retired two weeks ago after 34 years in practice and embarked on a camping trip around the country for several months. Just me, my dog and my truck. It’s time to crank up the healing into 5th gear.
Which brings me to this morning. I am in beautiful Vermont and early today, Wally (my dog) and I went on an exquisite four-mile hike around a local lake. We had the trail to ourselves, with hordes of Mayflies our only company. I should mention that while I am doing pretty well following Linda’s passing, having had many years to get used to the idea, I am given to haunting bouts of imagining Linda in her last few months of life. I see her frailty, her inability to communicate while her eyes remained so expressive, the silly helmet they made her wear because she kept falling over, but most of all, the anguish on her face. These images cause me such unbridled sorrow and I couldn’t seem to find a productive way to process them. I even asked Linda to help me with them, thinking that she could somehow visit me and soften the hard-edged visuals that were plastered on to the screen in my mind.
This morning however, thoughts about Support the Caregiver were flying into my mind faster then I could embrace them. I pulled out a notepad and began writing down all of the ideas that were germinating. I was so excited that great things were beginning to happen, with the book and workshops and seminars that I was filled with a great sense of purpose. I felt so full of possibility that we could have an enormous impact on changing the entire caregiving culture.
Just then, one of those haunting images sprang into my mind, only it was different this time. Instead of Linda looking anguished, she was smiling at me. The hard edge had begun to soften. I allowed myself to dwell in the moment, as it was such a refreshing departure from the dark imagery. It clearly felt as if she was letting me know that she was proud of the work that we were doing. More so, it felt like she was giving me her blessing with such sweet approval.
Sometimes I ask myself where Linda went. Literally, as in where is she now? It occurred to me with great force and velocity this morning that for me, Linda lives inside of my desire to serve other caregivers. My strong commitment to share with people that caregiving can be an opportunity for growth and healing is fueled by my desire to make a great woman proud of me. I know now that my healing journey lies in making an impact. To the extent that Support the Caregiver can help assuage even some of the suffering that caregivers must endure, and bring them closer to living an emotionally prosperous life, I am fulfilling the promise of creating a legacy to a woman I loved deeply.
I look forward to continue healing and the great things that come from it.
I have been a chiropractor since 1981 in Ridgefield, Connecticut. My passion is caring for my patients, educating people on the principles of health, reading, writing, going to the movies, and traveling, on my Harley whenever possible.