I went to a funeral this past Friday. It’s the first one I’ve gone to in years. It was for the woman who was our landlady for the first years we moved to California. Her mother lived in the house next door to us most of the years I lived there. Her mom was in her late 90’s when she passed. Our sweet landlady lived to 3 months shy of 98. Her baby sister who was taking care of all the festivities was 84 years young. You wouldn’t guess her to be a day over 70 and more agile and active than I am at 63.
The chapel at the memorial gardens was filled with friends. Neither of the sisters had children but their lives have been filled with friends who became family. Usually by 98 most of your friends are already gone. These 2 women had almost 80 good friends to support their journey through life as well as each other.
It brought to light how small my community of family and friends has become. The divorce made it so much smaller but then, there was no solid family connection there anyway. You can lose a lot of friends when couples part and move away. I’m still trying to keep in touch with them by e-mail. Also, being a child of a military family meant I met lots of people but managed to keep so few close other than in my heart. I work hard to keep close contact with my family but most have busy lives and their own agendas.
Being ill for so long with Bells Palsy has also reduced the size of my world even more. Having no home of my own for a year and a half kept me from opening my circle wider. I’ve always thought of myself as a gypsy and love traveling and meeting new people, learning new customs and trying new foods but I also finally want to find that place where I feel at home and can open that home to a wide variety of fellow travelers through life. I’ve often wondered if the gypsy life is part of what always made me feel like I was dropped on the wrong planet. I never quite fit anywhere and am still searching for that place that feels safe and nourishing to me.
I don’t expect to make it to 98 and not sure I’d know what to do with myself with that much time but it certainly could be interesting to give it a go. I know for certain that I would love to have a place where friends could congregate and exchange ideas and information not to mention share a glass of tea or wine. Everything tastes better when shared with a friend.
Bells Palsy has given me time to reflect and make some very necessary changes in my life. I plan to live the rest of it on purpose, with purpose. I’m reducing the opportunity for people to bring conflict into my environment. Nerve damage tells me too many and too much have gotten on my nerves and I had none left. That’s what Bells Palsy is for me. One seriously damaged nerve. But it’s healing, slowly. We are betting that by the time the pension issue is settled and the house is sold, I will be fully recovered. Why didn’t this go away in a few weeks like it has for so many others? Everyone says when they hear I have Bells Palsy that “it goes away, doesn’t it”? Well, usually but not always. But it’s not the worst thing in the world. To die with no friends to witness your life would be the worst thing in the world for me. It’s something I want so much to remedy.
I have friends and family quite literally scattered throughout the world. If my face stays paralyzed forever, I’ll make the best of it. Not being able to drive to visit the friends and family in this country or fly and drive to see those in other countries is the part I most desperately want to have heal. I want to drive myself to a spiritual center or a writers group or a class. Till that time comes, I take the bus where it will get me and be ever grateful for the family I have close by to love and assist. I will give encouragement to those that are struggling with tougher dilemmas. There are plenty of those to go around. They make me feel like my life is a piece of cake. It’s all about perspective.
From my heart to yours,