“Do you ever think about what it would be like if things were different?” my husband asked yesterday.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Like, what if the job in Hershey had worked out,” he said.
Ah, yes, the job in Hershey. In 2005, Bud had taken a job in Hershey, PA, that turned out to be not exactly what it looked like on the surface. In fact, we found out later that he had been one of a string of people who had walked through that revolving door and walked out again within a few months. The toxic work environment hadn’t been evident at interview time — but he saw canaries dying everywhere in that departmental coal mine after he started.
Five hours away, I was home with the children. Our oldest had started college, but our youngest was not yet two. I started having back spasms from the stress of trying to homeschool while keeping our house clean enough to show to prospective buyers.
Then I did what any person in that situation would do — I got a puppy.
“I try not to think about Hershey,” I told Bud. “That was a stressful time.”
“But if we were there, you wouldn’t be here,” he said wistfully. He and I both want to be together again.
After Hershey, my husband took a job in Binghamton, about an hour and a half from Cooperstown. Our Cooperstown house sold and we bought a house in Greene, an hour and fifteen minutes away from Cooperstown
The process of moving to Cooperstown to help my father happened in small steps. First, I started coming once a week with the girls to help him with my mother. Then twice a week. Then spending one overnight. Then for the summer because the kids had jobs in Cooperstown.
It was like boiling a frog, raising the temperature one degree at a time.
Caring for my parents became a larger and larger job, but I didn’t see a good alternative. I still don’t.
Before the fall when I actually moved here to stay with my father, my husband and I discussed the options.
“I think I’ll be able to work remotely when we get this new computer system in,” he said.
Sometimes I AM wishful about that — because it still hasn’t panned out.
During the first fall I lived here with the girls, my father had a fall in which he hit his head. It caused a subdural bleed. A month later my mother died. The doctor told my father he couldn’t drive anymore. My father had brain surgery. I was so glad I was here for all of it.
But the journey of aging only goes in one direction.
I love what I do, though. I love being able to help people I love. I know this is a privilege; not everyone has the support or the means to do it.
Every day, I am grateful that I can.
One small change would make it the perfect job — to have my husband here with me.
7 thoughts on “The Perfect Job”
Well, that intention seems a perfect one to ask Mary to intercede for..
I have nothing to add except my understanding. And in that understanding I will not stop sending those messages upwards into the ether until you have that blissful homecoming that you both deserve. All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. I promise it shall. 🙏
Julian of Norwich — one of my favorite quotes.
Mine too ….
“The journey of aging only goes in one direction.” Indeed. I pray that you may have strength for his journey, dear friend.
Not an easy road to be on.
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