Thoughts: Dang It’s Nice.

Munich RT

This morning I took the Uhaul back.

A week from now, I have surgery.

It is a time of things falling into place, being resolved, of gates being opened again after being burdened down, and I am already feeling lighter.

Saturday, the woman I love and I were in Massachusetts. We loaded up the aforementioned U Haul with the last of her furniture and drove it up to Vermont. These were things she never thought she would have. When she and her ex divorced, she took, literally nothing. She just needed out.

But she and her ex never finalized the distribution of property, so when he died unexpectedly, she unexpectedly ended up with the house and her furniture and more importantly, all the pictures and treasures that you build up in a life. All the things she thought she had lost forever.

We’ve been moving things down a carload or Trooper load at a time for months. Sorting things out. Making choices of what to keep, and what to let go. What to give away. Her daughter took a lot of things to her new home in Colorado. It’s been a constant worry and expense, and praying the house and it’s systems held together until we were out.

We were on track to finish by the end of September. We almost made it.  I unloaded the U Haul this morning.

If life had not intervened, we would have made the September date. But, eleven weeks ago, they discovered my Prostate cancer. Life has been a flurry of scans and tests and biopsies and, oh yeah, worry. As cancer goes, it’s been an easy path. When all was said and done, the cancer does not seem to have spread. And so after nearly three months of back and forth a few hours to the hospital, that journey is about to come to a head.

Surgery Monday. Two weeks of intense recovery and rehab and then months of slower, less intense healing and rehab. I feel like Monday’s surgery is a turning point, a new beginning in a way.

Sunday afternoon, I did the funeral of one of my dearest friends. He was 96, almost 97 years old. The past few years have been a litany of falls and injuries punctuated by his incredible spirit in rising back time and time again.  But not this last time. There was bleeding in the brain and he was too weak to do the surgery. The week before his death midweek and funeral Sunday was a time of vigil.  It was a time of heartbreak for his family and for me. We all knew what was coming, but we just didn’t know when. It could be days, the doctors said. It could be weeks.

It was days. And we did the funeral Sunday. It was a holy day, a day where love was tangible in the sanctuary for this extraordinary man. And now it’s done. I can breathe easier, no longer worrying that I would not be available, because of my own surgery, to do this one last thing for my dear, dear friend.

My son, who has been freelancing for months since his college graduation, has landed a good job that he likes Another thing to sweat, out of the way.

I made my last alimony payment last month. In Virginia, unless there are special circumstances, you pay for half the life of the marriage. We had 25 years together. My income has gone down considerably since then. But I paid it and now it’s done. My kids have nothing to do with their mother (and with good reasons but that’s their story to tell, not mine,), so this last payment is truly the last time I need to think about my ex in either pain, anger or wonder. It’s done.

It’s like, all these things that have been weighing on me are being released at the same time. I should be feeling burdened with the upcoming surgery but I am not. I am feeling lighter than I have in a year. A life with so many unknowns has, all at once, coalesced into something that makes sense. The ends, once not even in sight, are happening.

I have a bad habit of not knowing when I am not fine. When things happen in my life, I just bear down. I do the best I can. I am pretty good at not actively worrying, of living in the here and now. You might ask me how I am doing when things pile up, and I will generally say “fine.” And I am not lying, as best I can tell, I am fine.

But, I have discovered, is that “fine”, in a time when things are piling up, means “I am surviving.”.  When things resolve and I really AM fine, I feel the weight lift. I feel more joyful. I didn’t think I was sweating the result of my cancer scans, but when I got the results, good ones, I cried. Good tears, but still…

There’s stuff to do. We have to put the house together with all the new things, a puzzle every married couple in the middle of their lives have to do. I have the actual surgery itself. A couple of yucky weeks after.

But it feels like a new start. And I like new starts. They are fraught with possibilities and change and growth. Instead of surviving, I am in a place of excitement at what might be ahead for my beloved and I. And at my age, that’s not common.

But dang, it’s nice.

Be well. Travel wisely,




  1. Very sorry about your friend, Tom. It doesn’t matter that he was very old…the loss is just as painful. What a lot you have had to manage. I wish you the best going forward, especially for your surgery.

  2. Sorry for your loss, a firend is a friend, especially an old good friend, it seems you are going to a new life, new furniture, new life after the surgery, everything will be fine, you are in my prayers, Tom.

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