Sometimes, things just don’t work out as planned, and there’s not much you can do about it. This weekend, I flew home to NYC to spend a day with my family, celebrating my dad as he had made the milestone of 70 years of age. The trip home was a short one, and I found myself walking into the weekend with a mixture of emotions.
I found myself feeling uncertain about how it would feel being back at home, as I was just settling into my time in Grand Cayman. I found myself nervous about seeing people, wondering how things may have shifted in my time away. I found myself wishing I had planned more time, as a mere 2 days to see the people I loved felt really short.
Saturday was devoted to friendship circles. I was glad to see the people who I consider my extended family. As I heard the news of things that remained and things that changed, I found myself reflecting again on my choice to come to the Cayman Islands for a bit. I find myself surrounded by people who were making changes in their lives- marriages, babies, new homes. None of those categories fit me, but with the world changing around me, I didn’t want to turn around and suddenly feel that I was living my life as a result of the circumstances that surrounded me, rather than circumstances that I had chosen. I could now say, a month into this experience, that I no longer held the fear that making this choice was the wrong one.
As Saturday came to a close, I suddenly saw my Sunday plans to see my family shift, as I found myself sweating in bed late at night with a fever that had decided to take up residence in my body. A trip to an urgent care facilty on Sunday was able to quickly diagnose me with strep throat, “highly contagious.”
And with those words, I realized that I would not make it to New Jersey to see my family after all. And with those words, I found I couldn’t stop myself from crying. Of course, a body that was fighting off a bacteria makes it all that much harder to keep emotions a little more at bay (perhaps allowing me to make it home before my eyes started leaking, rather than sitting in the local drug store as I wept).
It felt really hard knowing that I would not be spending time with aunts, who I hadn’t seen in months, or my niece, who apparently commented several times throughout the day, “I wish Aunt Kate were here.” And I realize that making the choice to move away makes those moments for connection feel that much more important.
I don’t know where that leaves me, as I write this from my tiny abode in Grand Cayman. Life doesn’t always allow you to follow the path you planned. Sometimes you take the sharp left turn when the sign points right, and sometimes life doesn’t offer you the choice. I suppose all I can do is continue to move on.