Photo by Mary
The Style Crone is in the rose garden to mark the passage of the decision to remove her very pedicured toe from the health care arena. I continued to work a few days a month after retiring from my full time position four years ago, well into Nelson’s diagnosis. I was uncomfortable with separating myself completely from the work that had brought me so much satisfaction and fulfillment. As a master’s level psychiatric nurse I was able to work in areas that reflected my values and offered vast amounts of diversity and compelling experiences over many years. Not only was it a large part of my identity, but maintaining a position offered the possibility of increasing my hours to provide resources if an experimental treatment should become available and Nelson could be miraculously snatched from the jaws of death at the last moment. Having worked in health care since 1961, this is a major transition. However, I am at the point where traumatic stories are difficult to absorb, and I now want to focus on discovering my new journey. I do not currently have the energy or the desire to move forward with my evolving ideas, but through the fog of grief and disorientation of loss I see a vision of new life ahead. Even in the darkest of moments a dim light beacons before me; I trust that it’s signaling a new path approaching rather than a train running swiftly down the tracks in my direction. What will this life look like? Who will I be? How will I feel without caregiving as my focus, both at home and at work? How will I move forward without the support and love of my life partner? Questions to be answered in the months and years ahead. The roses in the garden, the roses on my long patterned skirt, and the rose on my vintage black straw cocktail hat with veil are blooming in loving support.