Travel is wonderful for the assortment of temporary realities one can glide through in such a short period of time. It IS exhausting though. Still, my attitude has been adjusted for the better. Too bad I had to touch down in this dark winter rain. After southern California, I'm ready for spring!
Most of my good friends live in so cal…they came up to care for me during chemo, which is so far above and beyond, I'm at a loss as to how to thank them or express the depth of my gratefulness. It's meant everything to my ongoing recovery and sanity. And because we go back such a long way, they know just how to make me forget. They don't walk eggshells around me and aren't afraid to dream I may get well and continue burning the midnight oil with them.
I used to be more emotionally expressive than this. I don't know what's happened. I don't think I'm just trying to put on a brave face—I come from a strangely formal family where hugs and verbal expressions of love just didn't occur. It's taken years to get past that, and now, as adults, my siblings and I try to be more demonstrative. My father still doesn't say "I love you" except to his great grandchild. He says, "You too", or maybe, "Same here". He is stoic, even as my usually stoic mother bursts into tears. I can count the number of times she's done that on two hands—for my entire life.
This strangeness extends to gift-giving. I can't explain it, but somehow my brother wound up with all the gift-giving talent in the family. He always finds the right thing, the curious, strange, interesting thing perfectly suited for someone. This might generally extend to women, although I've heard accolades from his male friends as well. I may be the worst at gift-giving. Maybe I don't pay close attention to people, or I'm just thoughtless, or, god forbid, have bad taste. There might be a touch of perfectionism there too. Aside from certain people I find easy to shop for (my sister and dad), it seems damn near impossible to find just the right thing when I need it. My husband is the most difficult person of all time. He's fickle and his hobbies come and go. It used to be tools or things for the Jeep, then scuba diving. Now he wants a boat, or actually, a yacht. The kind you live on. For extended periods of time. More on that later. (I need to win the lottery)
So, in my new reality, I try to pay close attention to my friends. I am no longer cavalier with birthdays, holidays, visits, phone calls…all those things that maintain bonds of a lifetime. I'll never again pass up a chance to travel (health allowing) to see them, and I'm working hard on trying to travel more with them. I try to do the spa thing with them when I can. If I could just learn to make them feel as special as they make me feel.
Nothing feels better on a rainy day than to know you're cherished. I feel kinda weird saying that, but I have an excuse to be sappy, and I'm using it.
Returning to this reality, the one where I now view this place, this place I used to love and call home, as the place where cancer happened and where I have to have treatment, I return to the long-pondered question of where home is for me, or WHAT it is. It's where my husband and cat are, for sure, but it's also where my inner life comes alive, and that would be where my friends are. At this juncture in my life, I need to be closer to them more than ever.
It's like a koan, and my brain grows tired from it.