It's been over a week since I've posted here, and even more time since I have managed to reply to comments. I have been a hit-and-run reader of email, and all of your comments have greatly cheered me, even though I may have been too overwhelmed to respond.
In fact, I have been mostly out of touch with the world at large since before Thanksgiving, caught up as I was in a frenzy of doing. Then, with family here, and the house full, I was caught up in a different kind of frenzy, one I had sorely missed. Their presence filled my heart and helped me catch up on a bit of sleep too, allowed me precious time to catch up with myself and make a little peace with my place in the world.
But now the family is gone and most of the biggest items on the "getting" list are in order. Now I am left with the sorting and moving and reconfiguring of our lives. In some ways this is the hardest part. G must move to the smaller room on the other end of the house and his things must move with him. This will require some sort of elimination and it feels strange to be sorting through his things and thereby the artifacts of his life while he is only a few miles waiting to come home. Even though I know he will not be able to come up the few steps to get to this room; even though I now realize that his closet had become a source of great stress for him; even as I realize that he is content with the simplicity of few choices and easy decisions; even as I think of all these things,I feel the responsibility of sorting through the remnants of a life lived and saved and the weight of making the right decisions.
And of course, sorting through G's things are only one part. My small library will become a small bedroom for a live-in caregiver. I had help moving the books this past weekend and they are now piled up, almost one thousand strong, on the living room floor where they will sit, one step up from the main level of the house, while new floors go in and G returns home. I am not yet sure of their fate. Shelves will go back up in other rooms, but that will have to wait for the new year, after all the floors have been installed, but sacrifices will have to be made.
G struggles with the loss of his view of himself as a man in control of life, a man who goes to work, a man who fixes people, a man who hopes to travel. His life now encompasses a smaller sphere, but still a sphere where there is time spent with loved ones.
I too struggle with changing images of self and yet to some extent the loss of books seems minor in comparison. But books too are defining. I have always seen myself as a person who has a library, who loves books, who collects books that I have read, that mean something to me and who also collects books I have not read, books full of the promise of worlds unexplored, of knowledge not yet gained. But books are not everything; I am just not yet sure of the balance point.
The decisions seem overwhelming at times and at other times simple. Perhaps being a person who over-thinks everything is not always an advantage. The days are short, the nights are long, the decisions are hard. And yet the destination is clear, it is just the path that remains somewhat hidden in fog.