He asks, “Where are you going?”
And I softly remind him that it is MY hiking day.
Rich and I have talked about this. It isn’t that I don’t want to be with him. But watching him sleep and waiting for him to awaken is not something I can do each day without some relief.
He isn’t able to do certain things on his own any longer. I need to help him for so many things that we take for granted. Clipping fingernails for instance. His hands tremble so badly he can’t clip his own fingernails. I imagine it could be from the COPD meds he has to take, but there you go. I am needed and that is good enough.
We talked at length about me and my obsession with hiking the Kickapoo Reserve. I have a trail challenge to attend to. It helps me remain strong and calm. Rich understands that I need what I call respite time away from hovering.
This ‘thing’ that has taken over my thoughts…other than when I am making appointments at the VA or driving Rich to appointments or running errands, doing chores, cleaning, and all of those other caregiver things I do…I pore over maps of the KVR. I plot ways of hiking the trails. I have even considered camping out overnight. Not practical when I need to help Rich in the mornings though…
My fingers trace trails and I search Google Earth to see how the terrain may lay. I write out which trail is my next move and have even asked my neighbor lady to help me by following me and letting me drop of my car at the end of a long trail. She could then drop me at the trail head and off I’d go.
There is such a sense of wonder while doing this on my own two feet. I am peaceful. I don’t think about death and dying, I am living and breathing in the moment. And that is perfect for me. My feet may ache a bit but I feel refreshed and ready to tackle anything placed in front of me again for a few more days.
That is, until the addition of the trail challenge begins to nag at me again.
This is Where I am Going.