A sunset over the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

I took a ride into the area recently to clear my head and ponder recent events.  As regular readers of this web site know, I have been dealing with issues revolving around the sunset of life — not my own but of a loved one.

Dealing with the long, lingering decline of someone close to us is devastating — both for those of us closest to that loved one and those around us. For several months now, my family’s life has been an emotional rollercoaster and the stain of dealing with the unending stream of highs and lows is taking its toll.

I walked into the bank this week and one of the tellers looked at me and said “you look like you’e about to drop.”

She was right. I’m drained physically, emotionally and spiritually. I’ve lost too many loved ones in my life but most of those deaths have been sudden and unexpected.  Dealing with a long, slow decline eats away at you and rips apart your soul.

I’m difficult to live with in the best of times. Friends often express amazement at Amy’s ability to put up with me through more than 30 years of marriage. I’m stubborn, opinionated, judgmental, arrogant and quick to criticize others for their shortcomings. But lately I’ve taken those traits to extremes. My temper flares too easily, my ability to focus is gone and attention to details has suffered. My recent overkill on the Floyd Town Manager issue is one example but it’s not the only one.

I’m going to back away for a while, take some time to regain perspective and — with luck — rediscover the joy of living.

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