HIKE NUMBER FIFTEEN
On a nice early fall afternoon, I met my friend, Paul, for a happy hour hike at Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield.
It has been years since I last visited Wood Lake Nature Center, although I used to run there frequently. Wood Lake is a gem in the city with trails around marshlands and some forest. Planked walkways take you across the marshy area. If you need a nature fix and can’t get out of town, it is a wonderful place to go.
It began with cookies
Paul is an old high school friend. We met in an awesome art, music and theater class taught by Mr. Stotts, a favorite teacher, during our senior year. Every day Paul had cookies in his lunch that he kindly shared with me so we became friends! Paul and I started hanging out at the University of Minnesota Extempore Coffee House to hear music. We saw some big name performers before they got famous, including Bonnie Raitt. Paul was also my first visitor when I went away to the University of Minnesota Duluth. I met him at the bus station; then we got hopelessly lost trying to find our way back to the campus — in a blizzard.
Until now, I had hiked alone and wasn’t sure I wanted to hike with anyone. When Barry was first diagnosed, I didn’t know how to talk about it. I wasn’t even sure of my own feelings about what was happening. But on this hike, it felt easy to talk about it with a good friend.
Two types of friends
I always have to remind myself that I don’t have to carry this burden alone. I realize now as we move forward with Barry’s dementia that as friends reach out, I need to learn to let them. There are other friends who, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t reach out to Barry or me. I have to learn to accept that, too.
This afternoon it was just fun to share great high school memories. (Rolling Stones Concert, Paul!!) We walked fast and did a couple of loops, covering a ton of subjects along the way. There was a beautiful sunset on the marsh by the time we finished. A happy hour hike isn’t complete without a happy hour, so we headed to an old hamburger joint nearby, had a couple of well-earned beers and a few more laughs.
When I got home, Barry was watching TV alone as usual. I felt so sad for him. He has very few friends at this point. I didn’t tell him about my hike.
For information on Wood Lake http://www.cityofrichfield.org/index.aspx?page=241
Thank you so much for this blog. My father-in-law was just diagnosed with FTD this past week; he is 60. My mother-in-law is in the same type of financial situation too. He was in charge of all the money and, like you, she had no idea that they were in financial ruin. I am thankful you are sharing your story. When my mother-in-law is a bit more settled I will share this with her so she knows she is not alone in this journey.
Wood Lake is lovely. I used to walk there with Allie in the backpack while Eva was at gymnastics. One time she said, “Mommy, waindeew” and pointed to a couple of deer that I hadn’t even seen! So glad you had a wonderful hike there, Nancy.
You are such a trooper Nancy – and an inspiration. I’m glad that you are at a point where you feel comfortable talking and writing about your experiences as you and your family go through this transition. You can help yourself and help others at the same time by sharing these moments in time.
Nancy, you don’t have to be all alone in this journey. There is no shame in needing help. When I had my sudden cardiac arrest in 2010, it cause an anoxic brain injury that was life changing! I’m very blessed that my hard work has let me get better than the DRs could hope for but I still have many physical & neurological difficulties. My husband & 2 daughters had sessions of counseling. My hubs & I joined a brain injury support group at Courage Ctr which has been very informational, entertaining & uplifting. Sending love & prayers, Lisa
PS: I went to Annunciation with Cathy McCool. I grew up on 51st Aldrich. I don’t remember who is older – Barry or Scott….
Hi Nancy and Barry, I’d like to come by and visit when I’m back in town this spring. Nancy I don’t have your contact info. My email is email@example.com and my phone is still the same for 60 years, 612 781 9340.
Love you guys, V