Part 1. Looking for light
I sought for a word to encapsulate a year. A year looming with unknowns and the anxieties and vulnerabilities that accompany this. The past 12 months have brought all sorts of changes and challenges.
It began a year earlier when my husband Michael was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia – in other words, at 55 years old, we found out he had Alzheimer’s. This meant he could no longer work, and also that I would need to change jobs so I could be home more. It also meant the upheaval of packing up 9 years worth of items, objects and accumulated detritus – the horror of moving house.
We moved to somewhere both cheaper and more Michael-friendly, but further away from family support and to a community where we knew no one.
It was as if, one by one, I had to discard each familiar structure that underpinned my life, including the very nature of my relationship with Michael. Even writing this now recalls the emotional turmoil, and I take deep breaths before I continue.
Looking for a word that I could hold on to for a year, I came across this verse.
“In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us
To give light to those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death
And to guide our feet in the way of peace.” [Luke 1:78-79]
I knew that the word LIGHT was exactly what I wanted.
I needed the hope of a dawning to disperse the gathering shadows.
I needed a light place to live and breathe, to bring clarity and a sense of openness, rather than feeling trapped by this new life. And I really needed a sense of peace and a path to follow.
There isn’t a happy ending to this.
The year that was 2015 brought more sickness, sadness and sorrow than I could have possibly predicted or expected.
I sit writing this in a light-filled house, where the balcony is flooded with morning sunshine throughout the winter and provides pleasant shade in the summer. I now live close to breathtakingly beautiful beaches and coastal views, with an abundance of bird life which brings daily joy. Michael is in a place that allows him daily access to the things that he loves best – bushwalking, bike riding, swimming, snorkelling and pottering about our garden. And first my sister and brother-in-law and then my Mum have bought houses near by – an outcome as wonderful as it was unexpected.
So there is light – often patchy or hidden by clouds, and sometimes only seen after a long, dark night.