If I were to be given a wish tonight,to be able to build that wish into reality, Ray would still be here. We would be sitting beside a stream in a place called Childowlah, we would have a large two room tent, a generator for lights and refrigeration and a big trailer attached to an SUV. I know Ray would probably be ready for bed by now as he was always asleep by this time of night and he would say goodnight and maybe drop a kiss on the top of my head as he passed. I would be sitting looking at the stars and wondering what the other poor fools were doing on a Sunday night miles away in the city and counting my blessings.
It is good to have that daydream sometimes, a reflection of the good times of the past projected into the future we will never share. It is good to remember that just briefly we shared some good times, between parenting, working, building up the nest egg to extend our family home etc we had some good times. We had times when there was peace and contentment between us, that feeling that life stretched ahead of us full of unknown delights. We were young, we had energy, we could do it.
It sort of makes sense when people say there are parallel universes as that is how I feel sometimes as if my life slipped into a parallel universe when Ray had the major strokes, as if the life I should have lived went on without me. I became something I was never intended to be, the caregiver, the nurse, the food police, the person who wrestled with all the problems. This was never supposed to be me, sweet and cheerful Sue, this was some other much older woman doing all of this, a worried woman, a tired woman, a woman without much fun in her life.
So tonight, the end of a very hot day, I can daydream for a while, watch the older woman shutting down the camp for the night, dousing the fire, lowering the flame on the lamp, making sure everything is put away neat and tidy. She looks tired but it is a happy tired, the expression of a woman fulfilled a woman exactly where she wishes to be, doing what she wants to do, a woman who has earned this as her reward. I just wish that woman was me.