Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Road Goes Ever On

Hullo all, I am hardly gone, but many may have noticed I am not on Second Life as much, far less feverishly making a dress/horse/airplane a day. Well, truth to be told, I am unlikely to ever return to that level of presence, and will mostly be coming by for an hour or three in the afternoon/evening.

While maintaining my customary vagueness about real life details, I have been caring for a sick family member, largely by myself, for the past few months. Second Life--or I should say, the people I know in Second Life-- has been a balm to me in fairly difficult times.

But more relatives of mine have moved into town, and now have taken over most of the care taking. So, I am back at my non-writing job, the one that can pay the bills. And, part of that work takes me on the road quite a bit. In fact, in the catching up or the mundane, I haven't been home but four nights out since mid-July. Hotel connexions work intermittently, and I confess that when I am on, I usually feel more like chatting than building.

It's a strange thing to be independent again after casting oneself in the role of "caretaker". In a way, that label becomes one's identity. Despite not sleeping awfully much and frequent bouts of difficulty, if I am to be truthful, said identity was a prideful thing for me. "Oh, look how well she is bearing up!" and "You are so good to take care of him!" made me sit up straighter and perhaps imagine myself a better person for it. Pure vanity, of which I am ashamed of.

But such vanity is frustrated when older relatives, more seasoned in this sort of thing, show up and are far better at things than I am. And the patient in question has the nerve to be well enough to perhaps not need me around all the time, besides! It was time for my life to return to normal.

So, I find myself back at my old job. I do the things I do, at which I am apparently good enough that the corporation was willing to take me back. And I fly from town to town, and I suppose look every bit the professional. I think I need it--my own health has suffered recently, and I know I look more rested now then I did a week or so ago.

But I feel oddly uncentered. For a few months, I was useful, and now am just, well, not. How selfish a sentiment, and yet it is there.

A few days ago, I was in an airport and a little girl of all of five or so was looking at me in that direct way children have. "Where are you going?" she asked, and I told her. "That's my home! I am going there!" she yelled, then asked "Is that your home?" I had to allow that it wasn't, but that it was a very pretty town. She looked very sad for a moment and offered "I'm sorry." I had to excuse myself, as I try not to get moist eyed in public.

But the truth is more than that. I'm home at the moment, but it is not the same home as when I was sole caretaker. It's simply a place to sleep, and play with my dog (who is also in love with my older relatives). I think I have wrongfully associated Place (this RL location) with Home, when in fact it was the shared compassion that gilded this environment with that feeling.

But when I visit with relatives or friends, here in this Real World, or in SL, I feel "home". Home is not really a place, is it? The cliche would have it that it's a state of mind, but I would offer that it is comprised of those we care about. And perhaps, as busy as I find myself these days, modern technology allows me to sneak of to home at the end of the day.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that
and someone believed it,
and look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
the lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell,
we know that it's probably magic....

Have you been half asleep
and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
the lovers, the dreamers and me.
La, la la,
La, la la la,
La Laa, la la,
La, La la


Eladrienne Laval said...

It is hard to be the caregiver of an ill or infirm family member...so much of your life is affected by it...

As for home, it really is more than a physical structure or place. I agree, it is about the loved ones and those you care about that bring you a measure of peace and happiness. That way, "home" goes wherever you are in the real or virtual world.

Many hugs for you...

Miss Hermione Fussbudget said...

Ah, Miss Tombola, what a lovely note about a hard situation. I'm sure you know that we value you for your company far more than for your products! I'm so glad you find Caledon a comfortable and comforting place to be when your other life throws up challenges.

Hotspur O'Toole said...

What a touching post that was. And no, that's not Irish fustian.. I have had a similar experience (albeit certainly not as intrusive into my life as your experience was with yours), with a relative who ended up dying of alcoholism and diabetes. It was not in the same ball park as your experience (you have related some of this to me), but it had a real heavy impact on my day to day life for almost a year. Odd, when it goes away, isn't it?

Harrumph. In any event, I shall echo the excellent Fussbudget's sentiments. Even would you NEVER lay needle to thread again, NOR bang away on a bicycle frame, OR build a small experimental aircraft you need to test.. you are always welcome at Polymath. You may be missing SL and Caledon, but I assure you they miss you, too!


Amber_Palowakski said...

It is my hope you get ample opportunities to come home to Caledon! I enjoyed your company last night, sorry I was afk when you had to leave. And to me, Caledon is more my home than this "place" where my human types away at the keyboard.

Zoe Connolly said...

I've had similar circumstances as your story, although for me it was as a caretaker for a bipolar loved-one. It is not at all easy to endure and I honor your sacrifice and commitment.

I hope to see you soon in Caledon.

Current Population: 2 said...

That song always makes me cry...


Neb said...

Thanks for the interesting post. I'm always happy to meet you and look forward to doing so in the future. I can empathize with your caregiver situation, as I've been there in the past (with my grandparents) and am heading that way now with my parents. It can be very stressful, and having a place, whether "real" or virtual, to socialize and relax is very fortifying. Hang in there!