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Full Circle

Linda Cacaci,

ou hear the phrase ‘empty nest syndrome’ a lot lately. It is when all the children leave the ‘nest’. I am feeling that emotion but I never had children. But the feelings are still the same and they are very real.

As women we are nurturers. We can’t help it. That is our nature. We worry, we protect and we take care. We put everyone else’s needs before our own.

When I was 19 years old, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I took care of her when she came home from the hospital. She died 4 months later. I was alone. My brother was living with another family member. I was young and just learning about myself, who I was and who I wanted to be. I also inherited the house that I was born and raised in. That is a tall order for a person of 20.

A year later I met someone and we married the following year. I now had a husband to watch over and who would watch over me. We had no children but we had many dogs. I stayed home, took care of the dogs, the house and my husband and wrote when I could to supplement the family income. One by one the dogs passed away, four from old age and one from epilepsy.

Now it was only my husband and myself. It was then that my brother came to live with us so I was caring for all of us. My husband took ill and was hospitalized and stayed in a coma for a year and a half. Another heartache. Then after 23 years of marriage, he passed away. He was only 46 years of age. That left myself and my brother. Now 12 years later, my brother has passed away. I am the only one left. I am alone after 37 years.

But now it is different. It is very different. I have grown up and become set in my ways and my habits. I like myself. I am settled in my ways. I am a writer. That takes up most of my time. I listen to classical music. I am comfortable being alone. Yes, I get lonely, but you can be lonely in a crowd, too.

I am me and that is enough for me. After taking care of so many people and animals, now it is time to take care of me. I do have quite a bit of medical problems, diabetes, high blood pressure. I also use a cane after a stroke five years ago. I am limited in some of my physical activity, but I don’t mind taking it easy. After all, I am 58 years of age.

I like it just fine in the slower lane of life.


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