Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day 2010

I had me a man in summertime
He had summer-colored skin
And not another girl in town
My darling's heart could win
But when the leaves fell trembling down
Bully winds did rub their faces in the snow
He got the urge for going And I had to let him go
                                   Joni Mitchell

Summer is over. It seems like it barely started. Just a few weeks ago, it was early May and I was getting the camper packed up for our trip to Florida. Now, it is September, and the camper will soon have to be winterized again. One of my girlfriends thinks I should take it south and spend the next year or two on the road with the dogs and my laptop, starting with the Grand Canyon. A romantic notion that appeals to me in moments when I am feeling strong and self-confident, and scares the willies out of me when I am not -- which is most of the time right now.

Although the Florida trip was long and hard, and definitely colored by the loss of Bill's brother and his own poor health; I know we both treasured that time together, and stored up little moments every day to bring out and cheer us this winter. The night we spent in DalHart, Texas the wind buffeted the camper and blew our folding chairs away, I made him promise we would never have to stay there again on any other camping trip (this was our third stay and it was always windy and awful).

We spent three nights in San Angelo at Lake Nasworthy, recovering from DalHart and reminiscing about our beginnings as a family there in the Concho Valley. How many times we had camped with the kids at the lake, and snuggled in the camper when the kids were all tucked in? Independence Day, Chili Cook-off, and just because it was close by and we could easily get away.

And then the long trek through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. We skipped New Orleans because Bill was already showing signs that this was no ordinary road trip for him, and I was anxious for the remaining Frizzell siblings to be together. When we got to Sarasota, Bill had already lost his stamina and there wasn't much visiting done. We stayed in Sarasota two days, and didn't even see his family on the second day because Bill didn't have the energy to get in and out of the car that many times.

The drive home was as close to a death march as I ever want to get. We got to the panhandle of Florida the first day, and then spend three days there at a campsite on the bay while Bill recovered enough to go on. The rest of the trip was done in much shorter segments, with visits to friends in Louisiana and Texas as we went. On all of these visits, Bill spent most of his time lying down recovering from the effort of getting through each day -- but he wasn't ready to see a doctor.

It was while visiting with friends in Rusk TX in late May that we first noticed the mass beginning to develop on his chest wall. At that point it looked like a pacemaker inserted under his skin on his chest on the upper left side. He had begun to lose weight dramatically, and I began to wonder if I would be able to get him home to Colorado.

I have to tell the truth. I was also pretty angry about all this. I was doing all the work for this trip (hitching, unhitching, hookups, cooking, navigating, driving, etc.) and he was sick and dying on me. You can be as judgmental as you want, but it pissed me off. I was exhausted and worried and totally angry. I didn't want to be left by myself! I'm still pissed off about it! We were supposed to have this time together -- these golden years -- to see and do things and make up for all the sacrifices we had made over the years to get to this point. I was robbed.

I'll ply the fire with kindling and pull the blankets to my chin
And I'll lock the vagrant winter out and bolt my wandering in
I'd like to call back summertime and have her stay just another month or so, but
She's got the urge for going and I guess she'll have to go.


Natalie said...

Sharon, I started reading your blog a couple of days ago. My heart goes out to you. And of course, no judgement here. You deserve to feel that anger that you've held in. Just be sure to let it go once you've felt it all. I remember reading about your trip when you were on it this year, and thinking how fabulous that the two of you had so much time to spend together. I'm glad you had one last trip, even if it was difficult for you. I know you have grown stronger just from the experience of it. What a great idea, for you and the dogs to travel around, maybe not yet, but maybe in Spring? You are an amazing woman, don't forget that! You are doing it all as you should.

Anonymous said...

I remember telling Bill as you prepared for the trip "You are living my dream" The dream was that in some point in our lives, after the kids are raised, after you have labored hard, after the dust has settled you can FINALLY enjoy the company of one another. That was the dream I was talking about.

So I totally understand the "pissed" part. Life can be so unfair. We deal with what life gives us because after all, what choice do we have?