Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is Connection. There are some things that we really need to have strong connections – like this hammock. The people who made this understood the imporance of having intricate and strong knots connecting the roping and the people who hung it knew the importance of a strong chain. It is also important to have strong connections with people.
When I travel or am at my winter home, I become very aware of the importance of my connections, my social network. We are excited today because J saw our favorite southern neighbors at the pool. We have been waiting for them to come down from Toronto and it was fun hearing their latest news. We missed them and I feel more whole now that they are here.
My connections with family and friends up north are also really important. When my mother was dying of cancer in Florida, I was still living and working full-time in Michigan. She was married to a man who was taking wonderful care of her but I wanted to be with her – to help care for her. I flew down a few times that summer when I didn’t have teaching responsibilities but soon realized I couldn’t stay more than about five days. The stress of seeing her in pain or doped up on drugs made my fibromyalgia worse – especially because I didn’t have my normal support system around me.
When my father died suddenly in Florida several years ago, we flew down for the funeral. My two sisters and their families were there, and of course my mother, but the funeral didn’t seem to nurture me or help with the healing. About a month after returning home, a cousin died of cancer and I went to her funeral. It was there, walking into the church and getting hugs from my aunts and other cousins that I felt the comforting support I needed.
I am missing my friends up north and am eager to see them. We have had some e-mail exchanges but that isn’t the same. I need face-to-face time. I need that mutual give and take of conversation and laughter. They have let me know they miss me too and that feels good. I am connected to people who know how to give me love and how to take in the love I have for them. This is good, this keeps me healthy, this makes me happy.
My connections with my adult children are healthy and this brings me great joy. They have their own lives but they eagerly include us and share their joys and frustrations. They share because of our mutual love and respect, not because they expect us to fix their problems. We are all clear that they can ask for suggestions and information and sometimes we lend a hand, but everyone understand who is ultimately responsible for making decisions and we know our roles. They are good people, the kind that I would choose as friends if they weren’t my kids. They feel like good friends.
My most important connection is with my husband – but I have another post planned for him. All I need to say now is that my relationship with him has helped me heal from life’s wounds and made my life very enjoyable. I am blessed.