Thanks for your patience while I took a little blog break. It wasn’t something I intended but I feel comfortable sharing now that my father-in-law has been gravely ill due to complications from a tick bite. Yes, a teeny tiny deer tick nearly took down a big mountain of a man. Things are looking up and took a big step in the right direction yesterday. I’m not going to go into further details on his battle, but I will say that when they tell you certain illnesses are life threatening for the elderly – they aren’t kidding.
What I can tell you, though, is that I spent much of the past week sitting quietly with Dale by his dad’s bedside. Other family members were there a lot as well, Dale’s siblings and our kids came and went frequently. But, speaking just for us, Dale and I chose to be there as often as possible because we both just felt better when we were sitting by Jack’s side. It was, as Kym once shared, life in parentheses. This analogy comes from the book Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding by Lynn Darling and the idea is that “catastrophes provide a pair of parentheses in which to live apart from real life, depositing you rather abruptly on the sidelines for a bit while normal life continues to eddy downstream.” When I first read that on Kym’s blog I thought I understood it. I mean, Kym explained it really well and it made sense. But now that I have spent the last week or so in parentheses I have to say that nope, I didn’t really get it until now.
Let me try to explain. I am a person who craves order and routine. I am also a person who loves summer and in summer my order and routine includes lots of time on the deck, lots of local corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes, lots of drinks al fresco, and lots of play time. Last week none of that happened. We were at the hospital pretty much all day every day and, while I missed all of those summer routines that I love, I also just didn’t care that I wasn’t able to do them. Life was going on around me and moving downstream while I stood on the sidelines and watched. Luckily I have really great people in my life who stepped up a lot and took care of things at work (thank you, Amy) and home, things like picking up cat food (thank you, Sean) and picking up invitations from the printer (thank you, Jo-Ann). I would have been lost were it not for people who reached out and checked in and offered support. Up until yesterday we weren’t certain what would do about our upcoming Cape Cod vacation and were pretty sure we would cancel it. And I just didn’t care. I wasn’t sad at the idea of not going, I wasn’t disappointed, I was just living in parentheses where nothing else mattered except that Jack was sick.
Life in parentheses has a really beautiful way of showing you what truly matters. All the junk, all the stuff of daily life, it just slips away and leaves you with perfect clarity: the only thing that matters are the people you love.
Want to know how I know that I’m moving outside the parentheses and back into routine life?
I was awake at 4am making lists of things I need to do before we go on vacation. And blogging. It’s good to be back.