Last year about this time I was busy planning adventures in my new RV, with the expectation of spending this summer on a road trip to Alaska, stopping at America’s numerous campgrounds.
Today the dream is officially dead. My home on wheels has been sold. Right now, numbness engulfs me. While the realization that this day was coming has been around for several months, the finality hurts.
The beginning of the end came when my husband fell and broke his hip in January. While it has healed, he is unsteady and is now using a walker. Alas, the vehicle is not walker-friendly.
So, for now, I’ll mourn and feel sorry for myself. In time, I’ll start looking for a new dream. As John Ajvide Lindqvist said, “That’s how things are these days: everything must move aside to make room for the new, all the time.”
Three years ago, I was planning my forties, new beginnings, and new adventures. My other children at the time were 17,12,10 and becoming better company. Then arrived what I call the immaculate conception. My sentence was extended for another 18 years and crushed me. I loved my baby daughter from the moment I saw her, although every day is a struggle.
At three months, I noticed she wouldn’t look me or anyone in the eyes. She was amazed by her hands and continuously banged her head. A quick google search and a doctor’s trip confirmed my fears. My beautiful daughter had autism. She completely changed every dream in every way.
Now she exists on another plane of reality, a different world. I love her and would never regret her, but I do mourn the life I lost—the insecurity of whether she will get better or burden her siblings after my passing. I long for simpler times and the experiences I never had.
These feelings are always accompanied by pangs of guilt, as I’m sure you are aware. I do believe that loving one’s burdens, perhaps as Atlas held up the world, speaks to our character. The impatient times we bend but never break.
I live for small moments, no longer big dreams. Lillie occasionally catches my eye; it’s only for a second and, at times, even a grin. But at that moment, I reach her, and it sustains me. They are moments of clarity in the fog in which she exists. I still have hope one day we will have a staring contest, and I will let her win.
I am sorry about losing your dream, but I hope you find solace in others. I hope one day you get to go from California to Maine with every bad meal that causes indigestion, tourist trap, and overweight tow truck driver to experience and all the wonderful starry nights. We have to take the good with the bad in this life, just like a road trip.
I apologize for rambling; it’s one of my weaknesses once I start writing.
David, Thanks for reminding those of us who feel sorry for ourselves that we are not the only ones who lose dreams. So, we’ll forge on together searching for new dreams and work to make them come true.