|My Two Brothers and Me Several Years Ago|
Many years ago when I was in my early 20’s I decided to get married and follow my husband wherever. It was in the Viet Nam era and instead of being drafted in the army, he joined the Navy. So we moved from Missouri to Tennessee to California and he went on two cruises (not the kind going to the South Seas for fun) to Viet Nam. After the Navy experience, we went back to Missouri where I taught at Stephens College and he finished his Master’s Degree. Then it was on to St. Louis and back to the Bay Area (Mountain View, CA). We moved to Tucson where we lived for 22 years before he passed away from a brain tumor. Eventually, I found Peter and we moved to Prescott AZ where we live today. The point of sharing this with you is to point out that the early decisions we make continue to have effects years later.
I was the only member of my family to leave the Kansas City area and move across the country. So I missed (except for long distance phone calls) most family events. When Mom had a stroke and Dad had a car accident, I flew back to help for a few weeks at a time. I had a business and a life that I needed to continue. I worried from a distance and everyone tried to understand that I could not be there more. I worried and still felt a little guilty for being so far away.
When Allen was ill my network of friends was my daily support combined with family phone calls. Good friends understand when you need support and when you can give it. Selecting friends and building networks is of utmost importance no matter where we are.
Two years ago, my younger brother had an accident that left him disabled. Now his wife just had surgery. Both my brothers are in Kansas City area and I am still across the country in Arizona. While I could move back to Missouri, my life is in the West. I continue to worry from a distance.
I’ve learned that as family members decrease in number, they become even more precious. Life is finite and made of memories. The farther we are from each other, the harder it is to make new memories. I also know that worry seldom does much good. I still do it.
We make decisions and there is always a price to pay, a responsibility to take and a realization that nothing is free. We make our own happiness and I am happy. Still I worry.
Each of us travels on our own journey. We can help others but ultimately each of us takes a road and goes our own way. Others may not understand it and we may wish at time the path was different. We worry from a distance (any distance) knowing it is unproductive and unstoppable. We can assist someone on their journey but it is their journey as it is our journey.