Tuesday, July 27, 2010

There is a ? in my Future

Debby made the comment, in response to a previous Post, that I simply acknowledged that depression was a real possibility for me and I stepped up to do something about it. Yes! I did take steps by grabbing some domestic assistance however, that is not the heart of the problem.

Haydn has suggested that I put my current dilemma out there in blog land to get feedback. The thing that is bothersome for me is the isolation at the farm. At the time of our retirement in June 2008, the move to life on the farm sounded idyllic. We could not have possibly known what was in store.

Let me summarise briefly the 14 years that Haydn and I have been together. It is not my intention to get into the whys and wherefores. Married around two years when the going got too tough and we separated. Remained great friends and continued to enjoy a life 'together' while living in separate homes. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, way back in 2003, Haydn decided to build on acreage in the Hunter Valley. The property had been owned for many years by he and his late wife. A 67 hectare property would provide the opportunity for us to build a new home in which I could do 'my' thing.  It would provide a lifestyle that would keep 'him' occupied in retirement.

Haydn is basically a farmer at heart and this place gives him the opportunity to do what he loves most. So, apart from the days that he is driving me to appointments, he goes outside and 'plays' with his toys. This leaves me in the wilderness with far too much time to think. Although I attend Tai Chi and yoga classes, I have not formed any lasting friendships. I have always enjoyed being around people. I miss my friends, particularly at this stage of my journey. I want to be surrounded by the charge of energy that comes from loving, giving people. Sometimes, I want nothing more than to be able to sit alone in a coffee shop and watch the world go by.

Haydn believes that if the farm is sold for the expected price, he would have sufficient funds to purchase land elsewhere - minus a house - as well as something in which I could live. This would leave me in town where I have contact with friends and Haydn could come and go as he pleases. This seems less than perfect as I really find that I am no longer capable of doing for myself while Haydn is not really interested in food preparation. He only eats to live.

It therefore seems unfair to me for Haydn to give up his life on the farm. This is what he always wanted. What sort of relationship is it that sees him living in a 40ft x 20ft transportable during the week and me struggling to prepare meals for myself. In a perfect world he and I would go our separate ways. This would enable him to meet someone and move forward from here.

Maybe I feel I have become a burden and I do not want that for Haydn. Funnily enough, when I mentioned the opportunity of him finding a life with someone else, he asked 'why?'  Maybe it was the thought that he could end up with more of the same. Simply not worth taking a chance. I suppose he would feel like that after his experience; two wives with ill health. He is, no doubt, asking himself 'Why me?'

Maybe the bottom line for me has more to do with my life expectancy. I have no idea what the future holds. The Femara is keeping the Breast Ca in check at the moment, but who knows for how long. While Haydn is living 'his dream' I seem to be standing idle and watching my life pass me by. I feel helpless. I do not have a 'Bucket List' and I do not really know what it is that I need to do. I believe there must be a purpose for my being and yet the passion is missing and I have no idea how to go about resurrecting it.

So fellow bloggers... if you read this entry please take the time to comment, or ask questions. I need, and value, your feedback.


Anonymous said...

Hey Chez,
I know this is a hard thing for you to get to the right answers that are for you,been thinking maybe a weekend away once a month for you both would help and maybe you could get someone a friend or hire someone to drop you off in town so you could spend the day and do the things that you love to do or meet up with friends. Chez not a perment answer but maybe some help till you figure what is best for you. I know cooking is another issue and know Haydn not into that so if you stay at the farm then the cooking stays the way it is until you find anyway to cook,know you have try some.

Chez wish i had more answer and wish i didn't live miles across as i would be right there helping you my friend.Sorry wasn't much help.
Gentle Hugs and loads of love always..Kaz.xo

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl, so wish I had some answers, my friend. I do have a few questions though. Just what you need, huh?

Are there close friends or family that live in a town that you could go and stay with for a week or so at a time? You know like a week with your best friend, then a week with sister or aunt or something like that? Just to get out and into civilization for awhile.

Sorry for this question...
Can you afford to hire someone to come in and prepare and cook meals in quanity and freeze them for later? Do y'all have something like Meals on Wheels there?

You have so many,many people who love and care for you that surely between everyone we can come up with some ideas that can help to make things better.

Holding you in my heart and prayers always.

Chez said...

Kaz, you know how to be a great friend so, I too, wish you were close by.
Maybe my answers will come from putting my thoughts on paper.
Thanks my friend xo

Chez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chez said...

Judy, love the questions however, no definitive answers.
Somehow, with not driving it all becomes a bit hard. I have many appointments that I do not attend because of the distance. Unfortunately, therapies are necessary to keep me functioning at optimum level [whatever that means]
We do have meals on wheels here but my doctor seems to think that I am not to that stage.
The answers will come and, as I said to Kaz, sometimes my talking/writing is my therapy.
Sending God's Blessings my friend xo

sunflower said...

Wow, Cheryl this is really a biggie! I feel for you because I see there is something deeply missing for you with being isolated like you are! I have thought about this since yesterday when I first read your post and was a complete loss for words or suggestions for you my friend! Do you think that if you would voice needing some help to some of your contacts that someone would step up to the plate and offer some assistance? Possibly run an add that you could use a driver a few days a week to transport back and forth to appointments or just a "day out" could produce maybe a contact that would be rewarding for you? There has to be an answer that works for both you and Haydn even though it may not be the most wanted for you or him but your mental well being is as important as the physical needs too. Just make a move and start soon to start the elimination process and see if something will work that you can live with and make a difference for you! You just never know. perhaps if there is a place that you visit that has a bulletin board you could leave a post for a "companion driver" for a few days a week...maybe would open doors not thought of!! Who knows! Well, I hope I've given you something to think about. I feel so useless as if my hands are tied all up but boy how I wish I could help you out..it would be with pleasure my friend!! Hoping for relief so very soon, keep us informed!! Love and big hugs my beautiful friend!! ♥♥

Jeanne Marren Egan said...

My heart hurts for you. You are in such a tough spot. I think that the comments and suggestions that people have made so far make sense. A driver a couple of days a week would be great. The company of friends and family is even more important. Can you plan a trip with a couple of your friends? Can they visit you for a long weekend?
I know how hard it is to ask for help but I think that you would benefit in so many ways if you asked those in a position to help you for their help. Remember that in giving we recieve too, so I am sure they would be delighted to stand by you in your time of need.
As always, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Debby said...

What comes to mind immediately, is that you should sit down and make a list of things that are not working for you. That would enable you to decide whether you really need to change your whole life or simply change a few things in that life. Without knowing the dynamics between you and Haydn, I am reluctant to make any suggestions, but I would point out that the man is willing to sell his property to insure that you are taken care of. That, Chez, is an amazing gesture...that at his own age, he would choose to start over again in order to make sure that you have what you need.

Okay. Back to it. The meals sound like an issue. So perhaps the thing to do is to find meals that are quick and easy to make. I know that Tim and I ate a lot of salad. They were made, in the refrigerator, and easy to pull out. I toasted bread to go with it. Sandwiches, on toasted bread, cold cuts. Or perhaps there is someone nearby who would not mind coming to your house once a week and making a weeks worth of meals to go into the freezer, and you could pull one out a day, microwave it, or what ever. I know that my church fed us for probably the first month, when we were running back and forth to appointments, when our life was in such disarray. Those blessed people showed up at supper time bearing a hot meal EVERY DAY.

Socialization: I don't know how far out you are, but is there a library nearby? Are there book clubs meeting there? Perhaps what you need is to have a day or two in town each week. Instead of going for appointments, perhaps you could take extra time to sit in a coffee shop and watch the world go by. Can you talk to people by phone? Does that make you feel more connected?

I am not sure what the answers are for you, my friend, but the one thing that I know for sure is that all problems have a solution. I have a notion that if we can all put our collective heads together, we can help you.

Chez said...

Sunfloweryou, along with the other responses, have put such a lot of yourself into replying. I think that I can say, with absolute certainty, that just putting it 'out there' has made a huge difference to the way I feel about the situation.
Haydn and I continue our discussions and I believe that he feels as I do. Although I have been attending yoga and Tai Chi classes for 2 years I have had no offer of help, or even friendliness, which has never happened to me previously. They are very chatty when I am at classes.
I have been told by others that they have experienced exactly the same thing in Gresford.
The reality is that living in the country is just too hard when you do not drive.
I have been spoiled with my online friends. Want to be surrounded by you all.
Martha, suspect also that having lived in the Lake Macquarie region for 20 years, all my medical service providers are there.
Thanks for your help my precious friend. Value your thoughts.
God's Blessings Chez xo

Chez said...

Jeanne, think this is very much a case of 'bad timing'
To have the cancer recur at the time of retirement did not really give me a chance to make new contacts.
The fact that Haydn likes his own company, and does not wish to get involved in anything local, adds to the dilemma.
Personally, I think I may have reached the point that returning to the area from which we have come, is the best possible thing for me. We have talked about getting a boarder. Someone that could have a roof over their head in return for helping with meal prep. Problem is once again, the location. Better in town.
Thanks so much for your valued opinion. I am always grateful for your thoughts.
Love Chez

Chez said...

Debby, guess I have dreams of being surrounded by loving, caring friends and feel the pain deeply of finding that there is no one here. It does not help that the only take-away leaves a lot to be desired. Very ordinary food.
Today, my hairdresser commented that Haydn's gesture was a sign of unconditional love. Maybe that comment, along with yours, has allowed me to view the situation differently.
As I mentioned to Jeanne, there are ways of overcoming the problem. Just have to keep it painless.It is tragic that things have worked out as they have. As said previously, all medical appointments are over one hour away and Haydn is concerned that we are putting way too many miles on the new vehicle. Low mileage is better for resale value.
Debby, the meals are certainly a problem which is made worse by the fact that Haydn is really not interested in food. Not good for a 'foodie' like me. Being on the opiates also has a tendency to remove my appetite and I must be vigilant about that as I simply cannot lose more weight.
The socialisation certainly is more of a problem than I would like. Funnily enough, when I knew friends lived locally, I did not miss them if I did not see them. Not so any more.
Deb, thank you my friend for putting your thoughts down for me. You are so right. Collectively, we can win this battle.
Love and gratitude Chez xoxo

diane said...

Gosh Chez, that is a difficult problem to solve. It sounds like you are caught between a rock and a hard place. I can understand your isolation causes great difficulties when you need constant treatment/appointments. However, I wonder if you were not sick if the isolation would bother you so much, as you both must have been happy to be there in the beginning. Would you still be wanting to be surrounded by friends? What I'm trying to say is that I feel you have a very good friend in Haydn and I would think very hard about living separately. As others have said, investigate possibilities of getting a driver and a home help cook who could cook up meals and freeze them for you. Maybe you could stay in town over night once a week to see to appointments and sit in a coffee shop and make friends. Is their community aide or rotary club or other organisations that might be able to help?

Chez said...

Diane, you are so right about the isolation not being a problem if I was well. It is probably that I am not driving that has pushed me over the edge.
You are also correct in suggesting that Haydn is a good friend. He is the best! Very loyal. Could not ask for more.
I am very happy that I have done this post as it has given me food for thought.
Interestingly enough, I had a phone call this morning and ended up having lunch with 2 potential friends. Even that made a difference.
Thanks so much for your input. Will keep working on the best possible outcome...

Diane Rodgers said...

A friend of mine opened his wife’s underwear drawer and picked up a silk paper wrapped package:

“This, – he said – isn’t any ordinary package.” He unwrapped the box and stared at both the silk paper and the box.

“She got this the first time we went to New York, 8 or 9 years ago. She has never put it on. Was saving it for a special occasion.

Well, I guess this is it. He got near the bed and placed the gift box next to the other clothing he was taking to the funeral house, his wife had just died. He turned to me and said:

“Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion”.

I still think those words changed my life. Now I read more and clean less. I sit on the porch without worrying about anything. I spend more time with my family, and less at work. I understood that life should be a source of experience to be lived up to, not survived through. I no longer keep anything. I use crystal glasses every day. I’ll wear new clothes to go to the supermarket, if i feel like it. I don’t save my special perfume for special occasions, I use it whenever I want to. The words “Someday…” and “One Day…” are fading away from my dictionary. If it’s worth seeing, listening or doing, I want to see, listen or do it now.

I don’t know what my friend’s wife would have done if she knew she wouldn’t be there the next morning, this nobody can tell. I think she might have called her relatives and closest friends.

She might call old friends to make peace over past quarrels. I’d like to think she would go out for Chinese, her favourite food. It’s these small things that I would regret not doing, if I knew my time had come. I would regret it, because I would no longer see the friends I would meet, letters… letters that i wanted to write “One of this days”. I would regret and feel sad, because I didn’t say to my brothers and sons, not times enough at least, how much I love them.

Now, I try not to delay, postpone or keep anything that could bring laughter and joy into our lives. And, on each morning, I say to myself that this could be a special day. Each day, each hour, each minute, is special.

© Author Unknown

Diane Rodgers said...

Hi Cheryl, I have just read the following comment from a site I love....When reading it you popped into my mind....I have been thinking so hard on your post for days now as how to answer and help you figure it all out. This may help to get your thoughts going in a different direction...or it may not... Just know I want to help and I care how you are living each day. Love and hugs....Di

Chez said...

Di thanks for your words. There is a beautiful message there. Life is definitely meant to be 'lived' and I cannot help but wonder if I am really doing that these days.
I am so glad that I put it 'out there' as I am beginning to get a clearer picture myself. I really do appreciate the time taken to think about the situation, and comment and I thank you for that my friend.
Love and gratitude xoxo

Anonymous said...

Hello Cheryl,
I wished I had some answers for you, but the truth is Ive thought long and hard and just cant seem to think of anything that hasn't already been suggested.
Taking in a boarder one that is willing to prepare meals and perhaps drive you to appointments is a great possibility, but of course the delimar would be selecting a trust worthy person, I have faith that there are such people out there, good people who's perhaps down on there luck requiring a roof over there head and like you friendship.
Sorry I wasn't more help, my thoughts are always with you Cheryl. Sending you gentle hugs and lots of love....Edwina

Chez said...

Edwina, knowing that you care and have taken the time to read the entry, and comment, is all that is needed.
Your idea of lodgings in return for some help is a good one and is definitely worth considering.
Certainly a 'hot' issue for me at the moment.
I wish we lived a little closer. Maybe I can find a 'Edwina' like in this area. That would be grand.
Love and friendship xoxo

Donna Robert said...

Hi Chez,

I finally got on your blog, this is completely new for me! I read your question about finding ways to get food prepared and for doctor visits. People have given you good advice. Have you fiqured out what to do about your problem, seeing it's been awhile since you wrote it! So sad to know someone is ill, and they feel helpless. Keep in touch, my dear friend. Hugs xo