On Sylvia Tyson’s 1976 album ‘Cool Wind from the North’ there’s a song called ‘River Road.’ The chorus goes:
Here I go, once again,
With my suitcase in my hand
I’m running away down river road
And I swear, once again that I’m never coming home
I’m chasing my dreams down river road.
That’s exactly how I have felt recently.It’s a quest for freedom, for relief from stress and worry, from certain responsibilities.
I’m sixty-nine and my parents are ninety-four and ninety-one. My mother has dementia, my father has within the space of five months fractured both hips and had hip replacement. When not in hospital my parents are in good long term care two hours away from me. I try to see them once a month there. The hip replacements meant extended hospital stays in the city where I live, so I was up to visit every day. It’s hard to see anyone, much less a parent in distress because of pain, confusion and frustration. There’s really nothing to be done to ease the distress of confusion and frustration. I see the years of decline and think about my own aging.
I believe in finding answers to problems and challenges, but I haven’t found the answer to my current one yet. It seems to me to have something to do with attitude. I continue to think and read about this to try to find the path forward so that I can be as healthy and happy as possible. I don’t want to be an angry, grumpy old lady. So I continue to do yoga nearly every day and go for long walks by the river, as well as to write.
At times it feels as if it’s all I can do to hang on, to go forward. I have friends, but at the worst times it seems too hard even to try to contact anyone or to have to deal with people at all. It requires too much energy. There are times when it’s vital for me to withdraw from the world and try to regain peace, hope and energy.
I still believe in the possibility of finding answers to these challenges. I haven’t ruled out running away.