It’s been a long time and a long road since I posted to this blog. The last time was only four days before my best friend, faithful companion, loving husband Tom suffered a stroke. I know–life changing event, right? Both his and mine are altered forever, in ways large and small that ambush us every day, every moment.
Much has changed in seemingly huge ways. Tom is in a wheelchair now. His speech is largely composed of sounds that are difficult to understand. He is not driving, or reading, or solving Sudoku puzzles.
Surprisingly, much has not changed, in even larger ways. Tom still has that mischievous sense of humor. He still loves to watch The Big Bang Theory, and laughs out loud as always. He is still the intelligent, patient, determined problem solver he ever was. These are the important things, not the chair or the speech problems. He is still Tom, the guy who introduced me to the joys of “let’s leave tonight” over 40 years ago. It just takes us a while longer to make our travel arrangements these days.
“Travel” is the culprit that ambushed me today. My colleague Arlen is posting pictures and descriptions about his “old guys’ ride” along Route 66 in Texas and Oklahoma. Friend Brian is cycling across the southern tier of states. Jerry is recently returned from Yellowstone, Shawn from Glacier National Park, Mary on a road trip to Arizona. And my sister and niece are on pilgrimage to Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, cheering on the Packers, in full regalia and paint even as I write.
Earlier in this blog I wrote about how reading The Adventure Cyclist was almost unbearable during winters in Alaska. Since then I’ve come to work for Adventure Cycling in the Tours department, and though I have not ridden long distance very often since then, I ‘ve been immersed every day in all things bike touring. It seems to have fed that travel hunger and partially satisfied the longing to be, to go, somewhere new.
Now, contemplating new vistas of long term responsibility and care giving tasks, I can hardly manage to look at my friends’ posts. Their journeys long or short, day outing, overnight or months long pull my spirit thin and make my heart hurt.
It’s early days yet. It’s been only three months since that transformative event. With the amazing progress that Tom has accomplished in that time I am convinced–intellectually at least–that the reality of today will change, and change again, and yet again. Tom may very well spin the Fiat down the highway one day, tie flies, read his favorite sci-fi magazine. We may eventually finish that bike ride down the Mississippi that is the original inspiration for this blog. We both hope, pray and work hard for that reality to manifest. Until that day I congratulate my friends, ask about their adventures and try to carve out a little time each week to enjoy the view from the seat of MY bicycle.