Planning Epic Transcendental and Mystical Journeys

I am so beyond stressed out from taking care of my father’s latest medical crisis, my brother’s continued mental problems, and my own lack of sleep because of caring for them that I can no longer find comfort in planning epic transcendental and mystical journeys. But here is an update for those of you who have expressed concern about my idea of walking up the Pacific Coast to Seattle.

Although I would take precautions, there is no doubt such a walk could be dangerous, but for now, that is not something I want to consider. In the past eight years, I’ve watched three people die slowly and painfully from cancer, and now I am watching my 97-year-old father die even more slowly from old age. Not taking the trip because of possible dangers would be merely saving myself for even more probable trauma in the future. Life itself is a danger. It does terrible things to people, taking everything they have until there is nothing left but a husk of skin and bones.

Despite all my thinking and blogging about an epic adventure, there is a chance this walk is merely a fantasy. I am not sure I have the physical capabilities of walking so far or spending so much time outside. I am not sure I can carry enough water and emergency supplies. And to be honest, I’m not sure I really want to do it — the thought could simply be a means of mentally escaping an untenable living situation. Still, if I take the trip, or try to take it, I will be as prepared as possible without carrying the whole world on my back. I’m looking into such things as mylar emergency blankets, down vests, bear spray (I figure if it can ward off a bear, the spray could ward off any human predator, too). I am also researching the best way of carrying things, and no, it isn’t on the back, it’s on the head, but that I won’t even consider. I want to look as if I am on a walk, not backpacking through the wilderness or trekking around East Africa.

The walk is only one possible adventure I am considering. I started out planning an extended cross-country road trip, perhaps visiting the national parks, sometimes camping out with full camping gear and sometimes staying in motels to catch up on civilization’s offerings, and this is still a possibility, especially if my car is running. (If I were to walk up the coast, I’m not sure what I would do with the vehicle during the year I would be gone.) Another possibility is to somehow use my ancient VW as a means of promoting my books, maybe painting it by hand to attract attention or letting people who buy a book sign my car while I am signing their boobedk. (Although I like that idea, I’m not sure how to market it. Marketing, unfortunately, is not my forte.)

And it’s possible I wouldn’t want to stop taking dance lessons, in which case I would take shorter long walks to prepare for the epic walk or go on weekend camping trips to gain experience in the outdoors. (Besides, my dance teacher says she doesn’t want me to stop, and it’s been a long time since someone wanted me around just for me, not for what I could do for them.)

In other words, despite all my blogging, thinking, talking, I have no idea what I will do when my responsibilities end.

Well, I do know one thing. I will sleep, or at least try to. Being responsible for others’ care is exhausting.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Danceless

Today I missed dance class for the first time since I began taking lessons, and I feel bereft, as if I misplaced something I can never get back. I can go back to class, of course, but today’s classes were special in the way that all moments are special — each is a treasure, a singular occasion, that will never happen in exactly the same way twice.

More than that, dance is currently my savior, helping me get through the daily traumas of my life, and there have been more traumas than usual lately, especially the past 22 hours, so I needed those classes more than ever.

And yet, here I sit . . . danceless. Even if I wanted to practice the dances I’ve learned, I couldn’t. I’m exhausted.

tugofwarI know you’re dying to know what this is all about, so I’ll tell you — it’s just life.

More specifically, my car stopped running as I started out on my way to meet up for the Sierra Club walk last night. No gas seemed to be getting to the engine, which leads me to assume the fuel pump broke down. Not a problem, really, since I have emergency road insurance, and they will tow the car to be fixed.

What was a problem is that a few minutes after I coasted back down the hill and into the garage (how resourceful am I!), my father went through a minor medical emergency. I was up all night dealing with both him and my brother who seemed to sense the chaos. Early this morning my father decided he needed to go to the hospital via ambulence. I spent hours at the emergency room with him, but they didn’t want to admit him, so the rest of the day was spent begging rides from the hospital for both of us, rides to the pharmacy for his antibiotics, and then to another pharmacy because the first had no pharmacist on duty. (How can a major pharmacy not have a pharmacist on duty? Strange, that.) And to top it off, I had to forgo a treat I was looking forward to.

I sound selfish, don’t I? Well, that’s life, too.

Temporarily, all is quiet. Both men seem to be resting, and me . . . I’m here on this blog, trying to make sense of it all.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.