Hello friends! Yes – it has already been a week since my last post. That was not the plan – but heck? Plans….yea those have sorta not been our thing lately. There is so so so much I want to be saying here…sharing…. and time and life and wanting to get it all exactly right is holding me back. Seriously – if you could see the pile of sticky notes in my planner for posts or the notes on my phone…. but life ebbs and flows and riding the wave is the only choice I have – the only choice life gives us. So I am picking up when and where I can right where I left off – and I am glad for those who want to take that journey through these pages with me.
This post I started on day 2.5 in the hospital. It was likely in the chair while staring at Danny, as the silent tears dribbled down my face (you know the kind…. the healing kind that just release a little of the pressure?) and I processed where we are and what we are doing. In those walls there are so many emotions – but I have learned that accepting my truth – the exact place I am in each moment (for right or wrong) and then finding the coincidences in those moments, sustains me. It makes me feel like God is there – my life is being played out as it should and I am learning the lessons. Not always well, not always with a generous spirit or soft heart…but constantly learning – and with writing as a way to document it. To say it aloud and feel that strong deep breath cleanse me through the writing – I am saved.
So today I share one thought that kept creeping up early in our stay. The feelings that were grabbing a hold so very tightly, I could hardly stand it…. and wanted so badly to describe it to those that asked…. so instead I wrote:
A lot of people have asked why I didn’t just go. Once we knew surgery was not a necessity (it was a blockage, something Danny is used to, and not a kidney stone) I knew Danny had his parents and would want me to go. Even through his groggy stages or pain he said to go. Why did I not just go?
A few reasons come to mind. Before I launch into them though, I want to say this is 100% how I feel- period. There are many CF families and other families with diseases that learn to balance more. They are great at having the caretaker experience their outside world a little better. In fact Danny often says he wants that for me. This time he encouraged me to just go with my sister who was leaving Wednesday night. In the future I may be better at this or my life my demand it, but right now- I am not ready… So this post is just a reflection of where I am at and being OK with my truth.
First for me this is the deal. I married Danny, I love Danny and when I squeeze every last drop of goodness from the happy moments- I know I have to also experience the other moments. Danny is my person- you know? If I walk out …. Then what? I need him to know, to feel, to see me in this with him at every opportunity and so I stay. There is no way to truly express the incredible elation/warmth/peace that comes on a good day….. the moments I am caught off guard and think – this is my life, how did I get so lucky? It is not uncommon for me to stop and be so overwhelmed with the love I have for my husband – it feels like a secret or something – I am crying for no reason. Most days I am happy, but I am talking about those “this is my life”experiences, that really do take my breath away…. I have been given those through my life shared with him. God gives us those moments – how lucky are we? So when hard moments darken my doorstep – I know I have to pay my time. I have to give my dues….. let me live them, let me feel them, let me fight through them…. just for a promise, even just a chance, at the other ones too.
As I consider the future- heck, as I consider the now- this option is not always feasible. I have a full time job and part time roles. We have a house and puppy dog, and if we dream of a family…. Being there is not always going to work. So this week especially how do I look at the man who gave me my last name and say – whelp, I already had that vacation planned…. So I gotta go. It just wasn’t an option for me, by my own choice.
Secondly – my joy, my excitement, my daydreams about this trip included Danny. It is so hard when you have to do life without your spouse, when it is one of those “this is why I choose you” moments…. You want to experience it with them. I have an amazing family and they are my world…. I would have laughed, I would have had some fun… But when I think of the huge hole that would exist without Danny my throat starts to tighten and I get that lump as I fight back the tears. Even just considering that drive without him- one of my favorite parts of our little life together: riding shot gun and talking about everything – it hurts… It hurts me in a way I will never be able to truly express. My core aches – and I have to protect that ache. I can’t bare to risk it getting deeper.
People have to do life EVERYDAY without their loved ones. All over the world holes exist where someones’ person used to be- it is a fact of life that we all will face soneday. But this day….. When my person is still with me- just not in the place I pictured us being – I can’t do it. I don’t want to electively face that hole.
Again here, I do feel compelled to say this is my choice. In fact Danny can get frustrated that I won’t face that fear and just live the life we planned. Big and small things, he feels it is important that life as normal continue as best that it can….me- I am not ready.
On the first day – as I stood in the IR surgical room – hour 9, following 7 in the ER, I wondered what I must look like. I could feel my sweatpants legs uneven, I knew my hair was only partially in its ponytail and I was weighed down with my large ER survival bag on one side and Dan’s stuff on the other – refusing offers for help fearful that I had found a balance (that meant my jacket was barely on under the weight of the bags) with these bags that I probably wouldn’t find again if I gave one up or even if I just sat for a second…. I stared at this room. In the past Danny goes by himself – but again I am reminded that hospital life is full of new experiences no matter how much you think you have done…. and I wondered if I could keep doing it. It is always best to just think about the next step ahead of you in these situations, but I don’t live like that and my brain would start to spin with questions.
This is where I sound like a better person than I am – but the truth is I have really learned that stopping the spinning is as important as stoping the bleeding and so I pray. Sometimes I pray simple “God be here” and sometimes I pour out my heart. It depends how hard the spin is going. Sometimes it is to a Saint, sometimes to God or Jesus, sometimes to Mary….. and sometimes…. in the moments when I am absolutely at the end of my rope I pray one special pray to my grandfather.
When he was with me on this earth, as a kid, he always told me I would do something great. And not in the “world is your oyster” way and not in the I was so good at math or music or something way…. no in a really odd way. Like he knew a secret that I would spend the rest of my days discovering. And in this so odd, secretive way I often wondered what he meant and (in a totally Jackie way) if my life was actually on the right path to fulfill his words.
Now as an adult, living without him here, I wonder if I am making him proud. Have I found the path? Something great? Shoot – I am sometimes barely doing something good….. And when you have those days that you know your supposed to just toughen up and face life, keep fighting, or do the right thing…. those days I pray to him too. And to be honest it is often out of anger. “That’s it – I don’t want to to be great…. I don’t want to do this ….why did he say I could do this….. “
So this day – in this very moment as I stopped the spinning of my head, but was left with the ache of now what in my heart: I am not strong enough – I thought of him…. is this one of those great moments? And then on the radio of the room we were in comes quietly streaming through “I Hope You Dance” – the song that was in our family slideshow that we gifted to him the month before he died…. that song has meant a lot to my life – but most of the time, when I first hear the tune – the initial memory is watching the beautiful images of our life go by as they are projected on the side of his house. I stood memorized sandwiched between my family, staring at the beautiful world we shared…. thanks to him.
And right then I chuckled to myself – and said to him – OK … I have the strength and he knows why I can’t go…. he gets it.. and I am right where I am suppose to be.
The days following the start of this post were full of trying to find time to sleep in a bed, breathe fresh air, and fighting the anger in the moments where I wanted to stay and I had run out of gas. There were a lot of tough moments and a lot of precious moments that I will forever treasurer….but also some I will come to regret. And from the jumbledness of this post you probably know the processing I am still go through – even after we are all done. But overall these moments where I felt the strength of my grandfather….. the times I felt the tug of my heart for the love of my husband…. I am comforted knowing I did the best I could do and we have made it to the other side.
Thank you for reading and remember to make it a great day!