The word Wonder choose me at my annual 2018 Winter Solstice party. As we all gathered in the darkness we let go of past hurts, judgements, expectations, fears and disappointments. Then I selected a candle, lit it and read the phrase underneath. “This winter Solstice let your Wonder expand with the lengthening of light.” Funny I thought, how can I wonder this coming year with all that it promised. I was afraid of 2019 and what it might bring. How can ‘wonder”, a simple word that evokes lightness, breathlessness, amazement and even joy be my word for 2019? Was mother time a practical joker? Could Spirit, I wonder be a trickster?
I looked at the word “wonder” and thought maybe it meant wander. That would be more appropriate. I did not want 2019 to start. Somehow I wished it would just forget to arrive. I knew 2019 was to be a year of long lost looks, treasured smiles that may not come again and watching my love change. Normally I am a very upbeat, positive and joyous individual and wonder of the world around me was normal. But not at this moment in my life. I could easily wander but surely not experience wonder. How could one little “o” be substituted with an “a” and change everything?
You see during the last quarter of 2018 my husband was diagnosed with liver cancer. With his diagnosis the road or journey I was on took a swift detour. As I started grasping the meaning of his diagnosis I felt like I was wandering in a dense forest with no clear path in sight. We were told his condition was not good, and he would be given palliative care than a treatment for a cure. Our world quickly narrowed, blinders installed and our life centered around countless doctor appointments, specialist meetings, insurance approvals, reviewing different treatment options, waiting for treatment approval and then treatment. At times I felt like I had gone right over a guard rail and then was so very slowly falling off a cliff as time started going backwards.
I do wonder how one, out of many doctor appointments could change everything. In a split moment, a micro dot of time, all did not appear as it seems. My world, our world became not sure, not predictable and to be honest quite upside down. A place to wander about in, yes, but to wonder at, no I don’t think so.
How am I to be in Wonder through this time that is propelling me towards a complete unchartered course? We both have become a statistic (does that sound crass). I have become a caretaker, nurse, possibility creator director, administrator and manager. He has been given the role of patient (funny word when you think of it, waiting and waiting for what?). The last 4 months we have been spent hours in drab doctor offices, consultations, waiting rooms, procedures, long night web and media searches. We have cried, embraced and held hands through the long dark night. We have become the center of something I can’t define or defend. I am wandering for sure.
I know I am going through the stages of grief. Grief for the life we knew and had together. I am ashamed to say that at the doctors office, I was actually relieved to finally understand what was wrong. For so long he had not been doing well. Later I panicked and became determined to find out everything I could do to save him. Then I became angry/bewildered stage (although that won’t last I’m sure). But now more often than not, I feel ashamed and selfish, after all this is his illness and this time is not about me.
Now as the days and months pass I feel a sort of peace settling around us. Is that wrong? I’m beginning to understand that whatever happens really is to be. I can’t change the ending only the present. For me love now has a new special “present sweetness”. I cherish the smallest of moments. I feel the cocoon of time wrapping us up together . No that’s not quite true, I feel the cocoon of time wrapping me up so I can experience the sweet moment of a look or laugh. In my dreams and the whee morning I feel the spirts slip surround us. They pull silken strings in all colors around our home and heart, creating a type of nest where we can rest and be safe. Then as the business of daylight arrives, I experience sadness, anger, loneliness, isolation, fear, grief, openness and frustration. And the worst part is that I really don’t know what he is feeling. He is a silent, gentle, private man and one of few words.
So to go from wandering and just floating in the abyss to “Wondering” will take me time. Gosh even Jesus wandered in the desert until clarity, peace and vision came upon him, so I guess I’m in good company. For me, I ask for unlimited gentleness, strength, focus and energy because to curl up in a blanket and pretend the world goes away would be easier. I have been wandering for too long in fear.
To wonder will require me to pause and take in the scent of each moment. I notice the daylight is lengthening. I have been told by spirit to increase my Wonder of life, love and joy. I must change my A’s to more O’s and allow the wonder of the day into my heart and mind. If grief overcomes me again (as I know it will), I hope to not shrink from it but wonder at the wonder and depth of my emotions. Wonder will bring light not only to me but to those I care most about. Isn’t that a wonder.
Barbara is the owner and president of Wayfinding with Horses, Inc. She is a certified practitioner of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method, a retired Professional Engineer and Qi Gong Instructor. As a coach she supports her client’s inner compass and she is a woman passionate about horses and their wellbeing. Clients often report a heightened sense of awareness of their surroundings, others experience a deeper, more profound understanding of their relationships, connection and personal journey. Barbara lives at Wayfinding Farm, located near Ocala Florida.