One more in Door County
The last hike during my trip to Door County was again in Peninsula State Park. This time, I began at the opposite end of the park where I was surprised to find a golf course, as well as camping, hiking, skiing, biking and swimming areas. It is a wonderful spot!
Vinni, the young woman who arranged my visit to the school, wanted to hike with me on one of her favorite trails called the Eagle Trail. After hiking, we planned to have dinner with her family and an aunt and cousin who were in town to do a half marathon the next day.
As I drove to meet Vinni, I wondered to myself if I would be so open to meeting new people if Barry didn’t have frontotemperal dementia (FTD). Would I be hiking and getting to know this awesome woman? Most likely not. To be honest, I feel rather like a single person these days — but I’m really not. My options are to stay home alone or get out and meet people. I have chosen to get out!
Home alone or out solo?
Since Barry is not able to accompany me anymore, I have gone to weddings and dinner parties alone and have begun to have people over for dinner without my grill master Barry. Is it hard? Yes, sometimes it is. On the other hand, I have met and made new friends because of Barry’s FTD. Sometimes I feel guilty about that. I am having this whole new life totally unknown to Barry. This is a hard thing to think and talk about!
As we hiked on Eagle Trail, I learned interesting things about Vinni and shared my life with her. On the trail, we had great views of the ice shoves on Green Bay and saw impressive rock formations down by the lake. At the end, we climbed the look-out tower as the sun was going down. What a fun hike. I was pretty proud that I could keep up with this fit gal!
When we returned to Vinni’s beautiful house, her husband, daughter, aunt and cousin were waiting with pizza. I learned that they have relatives up in the Yukon, a place I have dreamed about visiting someday. Vinni said she would put me in touch with them if I ever get up there – and I hope I will. It was a nearly perfect evening.
Anyone in my boat with a spouse suffering from FDT knows how hard it is to start doing things without his or her partner. It’s weird because leaving that partner behind causes so much guilt and is scary and really awkward at first. But the more you get out, the easier it gets. Besides, it’s a lot better than being alone all the time. I am learning a lot about others and a lot about myself.
The next morning I taught a picture book class with many interesting adults who live and work in Door County. I made more new friends that I will see again in November when they share their finished stories. My world is opening up while Barry’s world is getting smaller and smaller. This makes me feel so sad for him.
As is often the case now, I didn’t tell Barry about my trip or hiking when I returned to Minneapolis. I am not sure he even noticed I was gone.