Thursday, March 12, 2015

Old Drugs, New Roads, & Mixed Feelings

Dear John,
 
Today I went to South Bend for a doctor's appointment and IV steroids. I can breathe now. And I'm wide awake at 10:00, doing my hyperactive hummingbird imitation. I do hope to sleep sometime. But, as you well know, this is normal while I'm on steroids. And breathing is a hard habit to break.
 
I came home Elm Road to the bypass so I could see that new section. You should go look at it - it's pretty amazing. The northern part goes west of the old road - we could tell that - and the south part is what we were looking at that was going on about a quarter mile east of the old road. And it all look seamless, as if the road has always been there. The neighborhoods that grew up around old Elm Road are still there and have much less traffic. It was done well.
 
I did something today that most people wouldn't approve of, but I know you'll understand. I took Jefferson to Elm, and this time I turned in at your old rehab place. I drove down there and sat for a minute. It felt just like it did when you were there. (Except that if you were there I'd have straightened the crooked blinds in the window of your old room.) I had strong and mixed emotions every time. The first thing I felt was the flutter of excitement that I was going to get to see you, rather like I felt getting ready for a date in college. The second was dread - what would the news be this time? Would you be better or worse? That feeling became more intense as time went by and you weren't doing well.
 
I still felt both of those today. That surprised me a little. I'd expected grief. But my emotions skipped right back to the old track, like a record that's been played too many times. This was probably the last time I'll play it - I doubt that I'll go back there again. I don't know why I had to do it today. But it felt right, and this journey has taught me to go with my feelings without having to understand them. As I always said, it's illogical to expect yourself to be logical all the time. You're the only person who ever understood what I meant. It seems obvious to me.
 
So tonight, thank you for understanding me - the part about being illogical, and my need to go back there today. I thought you were smiling when I turned in to the drive. You understood that I have a deep need for commemoration, for honoring the past. Today I honored that dreadful part of our time together. I honor your courage, patience, and determination. I honor all that you are. I honor both of us for getting though that, by and large, gracefully. And I honor them for doing the best for you that they could.
 
Now I have to try to sleep, and you have to go check out the new stretch of Elm Road. Yours will by the easier task. Wish me luck!
 
Adore you, honor you, worship the ground you walk on,
Joan.

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