I am a very fortunate person, I love life, I have been lucky with my choice of husband, and with my three children. I have six beautiful grandchildren. That is the way I like to look at life. But of course there is much more to my life than that. And if you have read my blogs from the early part of my journey with stroke you will know of my struggles with the journey that Ray's series of strokes took us on.
My experience with the caregiver life along with the experiences I got on this site have really stood me in good stead during the past year. The isolation of the lockdown was nothing compared to the isolation that the strokes caused. The instant changes of yet another set of regulations was very like the many changes with Ray's treatments. Life had prepared me for this. What it had not prepared me for was the loneliness but widowhood had. I was used to being on my own.
I was very fortunate in January, February and March before the pandemic hit. I got away for a few days early in January, went on the second last cruise of the Ruby Princess in February and on my return had my thyroid operation. I survived lockdown, I always had plenty of food in the freezer, always seemed to find what I needed in the supermarket, including toilet rolls. How silly was that episode in Australian history? We have an epidemic and we make a rush on toilet paper? Really Aussies what were you thinking? Well you should have at least a year's supply if the media reports are correct.
It was great each time the regulations were relaxed and I could meet up with friends in small numbers. Most of the organisations I belonged to met with some restrictions or Zoomed or sent out bulletins by email. I missed the fellowship, the fun and particularly the hugs as we practiced social distancing. Drinking coffee with a mask on, recognising smiling at people isn't effective of you are wearing a mask and so there was a gap between people caused by that too. I found that was hard to get used to.
In March began a relationship that I had never expected. A friend I had known for thirty years decided he would ring me every second night, just to make sure I was okay. This improved my mental health and through our talks our relationship developed. We first met early in the '90s when I started theological studies when he became my mentor. Through Ray's long journey with strokes, fits etc he became a family friend and we became Aunty Sue and Uncle Ray to his two disabled grandsons, going on picnics and day trips around the Central Coast. Them he got married but the marriage was short lived and he moved away to start a new life.
I don't know if this will be more than an extended friendship, I feel a little old for romance but as we live six hours drive apart a week here or there is a break for us both. If friends and family are shocked so be it. Nothing untoward has happened so far. Funny to say that at my age this is a very unexpected result of the Covid journey but who knew that absence of the routine that had filled my life prior to Covid would open my life to a new relationship. Peter was here for our Christmas lunch and the sky did not fall in so obviously my daughter was okay with him being here. It was his daughter's idea as she and family were going to the other parents this year and did not want him to be on his own.
But life goes on, I will not see him in person again until after the end of March as he is doing the last dissertation for a Master's degree in History, yes he is a nerd. So I will go on here with my normal routine, church, Lions, pastoral care, meet ups with friends as permitted, I am okay with that as it has been my life for the past eight years. I am a widow but so far have managed to live independently and with continuing good health should be able to do so. I have a good friendship base here so moving is not an option, too hard to replace the lovely people who have seen me through so much.
I thought it was about time I confessed to this change in my life. It doesn't matter to me if people accept it, I know some won't, they have got used to me being a woman on my own and in reality that is what I still am. I just have a special man in my life and that is nice.