Monday, October 17, 2016

So Long, Farewell. . .

No, I'm not quitting this blog thing. I'm not going on a trip, moving, or even going shopping. But my laptop is going on a little trip to be repaired, and for possibly as long a week--Horrors!--I'll be without connection to what for me is the outside world. So I thought one last post before the darkness descends might be appropriate.

As most of you who stop in here know, I'm the sole caregiver for my recently disabled husband. Life changes in an instant, but it takes a lot longer to settle into all the newness brought on by that change. After almost two years since the first of what we now look at as a series of events leading to the "big fall," both of us are more or less settled. We don't leave the house together often and when we do it's a bit of an event just getting out the door. We don't have much social life beyond our church family, not that we've had much of one since we moved to Kansas over 15 years ago. But now it's down to an hour or so here and there between John's Bible Study and Sunday morning worship. I make the necessary trips around town for errands and to buy groceries. Otherwise, we're here together 24/7, which is really not a bad thing at all. In the past, we both worked from home and learned how to share our space without driving each other mad. We're good. John has his television and music, and I have the internet, and we have each other.

My social life is really quite active, considering all the truly loyal friends I've made on FB and, to a lesser extent, through this blog. They have seen me through hospital stays, rehab, turning our home upside down, and most recently, a brush with bladder cancer and the steady decline of our financial security. I can honestly say I could not have made it without them. I dread being separated from them for even a few days. I look forward to their posts, the pictures of their families and the events, large and small, of their lives. I watch carefully for updates on illnesses, the sale of homes, moves across country, and children growing up too fast. I enjoy seeing how their gardens grow and the beautiful things they craft, not to mention the delicious dishes they prepare. We're a community of mostly, but not exclusively, women who share and support one another in the simple business of living life and growing up and older. I, who was reluctant to put myself in such a visible place, fearing exposure to unwelcome attention from the past, have found the most comfortable neighborhood anyone could ask for.

Without the convenience of email, online billpay, and access to the business of selling ebooks, I could no doubt find a way to survive for a brief period of time. But without my friends, it will be hard to get through even a day. Who will I tell how grateful I am for the generosity of the human spirit surrounding us as we deal with our struggles? Who will remind me how fortunate we are compared to so many others? Where will I find a joke to laugh at, or a sweet baby to ooh over, or an adorably silly puppy or kitten to make me smile? And where will I find the warmth of comforting words at the end of one of our harder days, or the practical solution I couldn't see for myself through the fog of simple weariness?

By now you get the picture, I'm sure. I'm living my life in a fantasy world, you say? Don't laugh at me or pity me. The community I've found there is as true and real as any I've known in all the places I've lived through the years. I'd never have believed it possible, but there it is. People are much the same everywhere, but this many friends in one place is rare. Only through the magic of the internet and something we could never have imagined called social media, can so many like minded but still very individual people come together. I have collected a circle of other writers and creative minds, as well as loyal readers, old friends from times past, and just folks who reached out to me for whatever reason. I could never have met all these people in one town or had the time to form friendships that would last no matter where I moved next. I'm living my life in the company of virtual strangers who have proven to be precisely the kind of friends I needed at this time. How amazingly, impossibly wonderful is that?

So for now, I'll say so long. I'll see you all in a week or so. In the meantime, give some thought to the community of virtual strangers you share your life with, and if you're as fortunate as I've been, tell them how much they mean to you.