My life is different now. I am finding a rhythm to my days, which include visiting Terry in his assisted living place.
It’s a strange experience though. For a large chunk of time I am a single person, and yet I am still one half of a couple. An ‘Illness Separated Couple’ is our official description. So I am still mindful of Terry in what I do, even though we will never go back to the life we had.
I am gradually clearing away things, sorting out. And working out what I am ready to sort, including sorting out my internal life. The rug for example.
My house (interesting that I write my, not our) is a long one, hallway down the side and rooms lead off that. Then the back area opens out to an open plan kitchen, dining and seating area. This part has never had a proper room name (lounge room/sitting room etc), I always just think of it as The Back Area or Down the Back. It has large windows that look out to the garden.
When we were a proper couple our comfy arm chairs would be next to each other, backs to the garden, looking to the kitchen part. We would sit side by side, drinking endless cups of tea, chatting, reading, arguing. Or I would sit in the comfy red leather chair and watch Terry do the dishes ~ The Washing Up Fairy we called him.
This seating area was marked out by a green and reddish brown rug. It was a lovely thing, wool, made in India and suited the decor perfectly. Then we discovered the moths. Under the comfy red chair, slowly eating the wool rug. Even though we tried various things they gradually migrated from under the comfy red chair to other parts of the rug. I discovered that migration when I vacuumed.
Things got harder with Terry’s health and it was party time for the moths.
Now it was time for the rug, and the moths, to go. So I rolled up the moth-eaten rug, dragged it outside and dumped it for the hard rubbish collection. (The hard rubbish collection is another thing that will happen when the time is right. For now it is just a collection of hard rubbish.)
That left the open space where our chatting had happened. Let me say that I am not someone who rearranges furniture. Once something is there, it is there for many years. That’s why the moths could party on for so long. I was ready to put the chairs back in the original place until I realised I was ready for something different, an arrangement that suits my new Couple Separated by Illness arrangement.
The comfy red chair is now next to the window.
It’s a simple shift that resonates. The comfy red chair is much more of a meditative space now. I have my breakfast here and contemplate the day ahead. I have an afternoon cup of tea here and watch the light change. I read and write here and stop to watch the birds in the garden and the wind moving the leaves.
It’s a space for one, rather than a couple. My new rhythm.
I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live, garden and contemplate my world – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present. The land always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.