Monday, June 22, 2009

Seeking Perspective

This year has been a full one. We’re looking forward to our time away in the hope that we’ll be able to gain some perspective and assimilate all that's happened. The trip itself will be part of our assimilation process, as for the first time, it will be just the two of us with no other family. We leave Sunday and it’s time.

Not only has the year been full, its events were relatively big ones: Brain surgery. My dad’s death. Shea’s looming departure for college. My transfer from Law to Business. All on top of the stream of regular events that always flows through. Most of the big happenings are ones about which we’ve had little say in their arrival, sequencing or effects. For people who like control, that’s been an event in and of itself. The load of the past few weeks and months is a contributing factor, what with the exertion of trying to fit in items deferred during the most intense early period. Fortunately, the last bit of travel was smooth, except for the self-imposed cost of forgetting the prednisone and jousting with the system to find a way to get two 5 mg tablets of prednisone in Cambridge Massachusetts. Mastering that hurdle, having a good trip and actually getting home safe and sound between the massive storms felt good. Still, we’re tired and we’re ready to have a get the distance and find a frame in which to integrate where we have been into our going-forward lives.

We both have projects we aspire to move forward in the time away, and the prospect of a block of unstructured time, in the sunshine and quiet, is calling us with a siren song of ever stronger pull. We expect to see some friends and do some exploring, but all in a low-key way, in between time to think, reflect and (I hope) write.

Shea will be staying with the dogs and minding the house--and having herself a summer of independence and friends. It’s nice not to have to think a lot about preparing for someone else to live here, though just to keep our logistical arranging skills brushed up, we’re having the floors refinished while we’re gone. This has its moments, as all our rooms on the first floor are connected to each other.

I’ve brought in the bulldozer to push back the clutter landing here from packing up my office at the law school, as well as the stuff we brought down from the attic to make room for Kearney and Brad’s sideboard, and the stuff I’ve culled to make room for the stuff from... You get the idea.

What do the events of this year mean for us? We’re not sure. Having had a brain tumor still seems odd (who gets a brain tumor?), and for me at least, never having seen any of what the back of my head looks like complicates the experience. It is and has been frustrating never to see what I can feel “up there.” Today, for example, there’s a strange patch developing in a long-healed area of the incision and Michael’s explanations really don’t cut it for me. He says there’s a “rough” patch of skin in one of the dents amidst a clump of hair. I can feel that! I want to see it. Like so many things about this experience, that’s not a choice, so we shrugged it off and on we go.

Smashedpea found this blog through Google alerts (a wonderful tool!), and I’ve adopted her practice. It’s amazing the number of people who are blogging about craniotomies and meningiomas, and to have the chance to see the range of reactions. Most of them reinforce to us just how lucky and blessed we’ve been this year, from the accessible site of the tumor to the nearby skilled surgeon and, always, through our huge good fortune to be surrounded by a community of friends and family who have supported us so entirely.

We’re taking one last deep breath and moving forward this week, anticipating with great pleasure the chance to think about all of this from a bit of distance. As always, the thoughtful, caring and helpful comments you send enrich our lives.

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