After spending many hours at the synagogue, I feel cleansed, surrounded by new acquaintances who seem willing to become friends. During a break, from one o’clock until four, I visited Bob. When he saw me he said, “I feel rewarded when you are here.” As it was a temperate day, we walked, holding hands, to the strip mall near his home. At the thrift store, he found a pair of shorts in his size for $5.99 and some plastic hangers for sixty-nine cents. At the register it was fifty per cent off day, so the items totalled $3.69. Successful day.
And another 100 words for this auspicious day:
I enter the meeting room and look to find a seat next to someone I recognize near the front. Seeing Marion, I join her and explain my reasoning. She says, “I always like to sit up front; I feel more connected here.” So do I. The feeling I have is one of belonging, of being a part of an experience, not merely an observer or an audience member. I am replacing my beloved, demented husband with strangers, other single women my age; all have had losses and live with their memories of past years- daring to hope for the future.
Looking toward the future, finding some space to have fun, reducing that feeling I carry with me that I have to be busy doing important work so I don't feel guilty that I am not spending my time with Bob is my goal for this year.
I am at the home with Bob for two to three hours twice or three times each week, yet every time I sit to read, or just "do nothing," I feel I "should" drive over there. "It's only 10 minutes away" my brain says, or "He'd really like some of this fresh fruit." In order to get myself out of that frame of mind I have had to get up and DO something productive, which is stressing me. My digestive system is warning me; change or suffer the consequences. Other members of my support group have similar feelings; one woman removed her husband from his assisted living placement and has him back home on his "promise" to be more civil.
Of course the meaning of all this is once again finding the balance between self- regard and regard for others, work and relaxation, being productive in helping others in our communities, within our families and within ourselves.