Trails and trials of the writer who walks
Oops! I created a second blog, intended for my eyes only, to splurge out my thoughts on private matters. My partner of 35 years is in his last months of life (pancreatic cancer). Silly me, I made a posting entitled Jelly and custard (that’s all he can eat now) to the wrong blog and suddenly got a surge of followers!
My partner was never an outdoor active type but we compromised. When he was well enough to look after himself, I would take myself off for six to ten days once a year on a long distance trail. I walked locally every week, by myself or with a couple of friends, to a good pub with real ale, and he would drive out to meet us and take us home. That worked for us.
When his health failed, nearly two years ago, my life shrank with it. I am 61, now his full-time carer, and he is 80. I admit, I was always scared of the possibility of spending the next ten years caring for him, losing the last decade of fitness of my own life. I was a newcomer to long distance trails and ultralight backpacking, but rapidly getting hooked. I yearned more than anything to be free to do it. He was diagnosed last month with pancreatic cancer. Oh, the guilt! How do you handle that? I can’t help feeling relieved that I will be free, and sit up at night secretly reviewing sub-zero sleeping bags and trekking blogs. But I also sit with him all day, help him wash, provide the futile medication and nutrients, accompany him to hospital visits, shield his children, rub cream into his bum and cry.