Monday, July 28, 2014
Quiet Secluded Spot Along Middle Prong - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
July 22, 2014
It is a stifling hot Sunday afternoon in East Tennessee as I write this, but once the predicted severe weather rolls through, we are anticipating an absolutely delightful week. And don’t you think it was special of Bill to order this perfect weather for my birthday which just happens to fall on Wednesday? We have some really cool things planned for the week, but I’m getting ahead of myself because last week involved some really cool things and lots of variety!
We spent one entire afternoon perched by the side of Middle Prong up in the mountains. There was lots of reading, plenty of talking and much coffee consumed. It was quiet, peaceful and a perfect respite. It was one year ago this week that we signed the papers and found ourselves condo owners, something we knew we’d do eventually, but certainly never anticipated it happening when it did. We have no regrets and had we known then what we know now about the directions our lives were about to take, we’d have surely been even more awed at the way the pattern of our circumstances can be guided behind the scenes if we just stay out of the way! Putting Bill 3 ½ miles from work as opposed to 21 ½ seemed like a “convenience” move at the time. Little did we know, it was what would keep him able to work throughout his illness because it allowed him to come and go as needed.
But the afternoon by the river wasn’t a time for reflecting on the past as we have turned our eyes toward the future. Bill returns to school in 2 ½ weeks. To say he is somewhat apprehensive is accurate. As well as he is doing, we still have to constantly remind ourselves that he is less than five months past a grueling chemo/radiation treatment regimen and he cannot expect his energy level to be at full capacity for several more months. He tires easily and on some days, he feels ok one minute and the next has trouble putting one foot in front of the other. This radiation induced fatigue is something unlike we've ever seen and so odd in the way it effects individuals. We talked about how we might work together to get him through the first few weeks and into a rhythm as he begins to get a picture of how he is going to feel.
Monday was “my” day and I was so excited to spend the morning with my hiking friend, Judi! You may remember that I met Judi and her husband, Gene, through this blog and they have become dear friends. At the time we met, they were living and traveling full-time throughout the USA in their RV, but have since purchased a condo in a community close by and I am thrilled. We hiked regularly until Bill became ill and hope to resume that when the weather breaks, but in the meantime, just needed some catch-up time. It was therapeutic for me to just sit with her and talk about my mountains and get excited once again about hiking!
I was fortunate to be able to spend time with both my parents and Bill’s mom this week. We are so blessed to have them still with us and grateful that time with all of them is still fun! My dad is beginning to have some significant health issues so I particularly treasure every moment we are able to laugh together.
On Friday morning, we had some friends over for a light brunch. They’ve just returned from an Alaskan Cruise and we wanted to hear every little detail of their adventures. They had not seen Bill since Super Bowl Sunday (when he was bald as he could be), so wanted to hear all about his China trip. As silly as it sounds, they just wanted to see him EAT!! They are good friends and conversation flowed freely!
It was a full week because I haven’t even mentioned the trip to lunch on Saturday which ended up being a 110 mile road trip! Or the friends who visited so we could spend some time with their niece whom we’ve known since she was born, but hadn’t seen her in several years as she lives in Texas now.
Our lives are very full right now. Our hearts are even more full of gratitude that Bill, although still far from 100%, is able to enjoy life, enjoy our friends and family, enjoy the taste of most foods and most importantly, recognize that now it’s time to give back. We are thankful for opportunities this week do have done just that! I hope you have!