Come A Long Way

Snowy View at Hopkins
January 2017

Originally tonight’s post was supposed to be returning to our timeline and sharing the memories of our last holiday pre-surgery, Thanksgiving 2016. I had started it earlier with a recap of what happened and I would be tapping into the emotional side once I got settled in our hotel in Baltimore tonight. Posts like that one I think about for a few days. Writing it while washing my hair, adding to it while I sit in traffic…. to really capture the memory, feel the moment, it takes a few days of going back to that place. But its not until I have sat with it for a while, followed by settling down in my cozy clothes, hitting the button so my music softly trickles out from the speakers, grabbing something warm to drink (coffee…tea… or best of all: wine), and opening the pictures from that time do I really go there and the post can officially start.

 

Writing has a way of transporting me back to that scene, only now I have the advantage of knowing how it shakes down. I remember the emotions that come with the unknown and the rawness because the experience is brand new. This time when I revisit, it is with the scars of survival, and I am accompanied by the sting of a lesson learned or the badge of confidence for a journey concluded. Its an odd sensation … I am seeing my actions from the past, knowing the emotions that fueled them, yet I am able to clearly divide what was actually necessary for that situation to play out and what was just details. And most interesting, its through the remembering that I begin to pack up the what ifsI had before that moment had passed, which never came to be.

 

Preparing myself as much as I can about what will happen is what I assume makes me equipped. If I have scenarios of what to expect I can then create options and ultimately construct a way things will shake down. Thus far none of life has ever really worked out by following my plans to a T, but I still choose to make them. Or at least I did. Coming out of the experience of being Danny’s wife there are many lessons I have been taught and there are still many more to go. But there is one I am learning to make the most peace with – perhaps because thus far it is the hardest – I cannot prepare myself for life, it is unpredictable. Rather I am learning there are things you can do to equip yourself to weather the storm: pray, sacraments, strong relationships, taking life a little slower. But my ability to accomplish these things exactly right will not effect the outcome, it will just help me to better survive.

 

So as I reflect back when writing these posts, I can more clearly see the pain, the fears, and struggles that came from all the scenarios I was preparing myself for. Such as getting ready to list, I spent time deciding what I would do about my career, my home, my debit, if after surgery I walked out of that hospital alone. When it was clear that recovery was going to challenge Danny and I in ways I had never anticipated, I put on my PR hat and started to craft my messages for all the folks that would ask how Danny was doing. And when I made the tearful pleas for help to my tribe, I started to make a list of ways I could be a better – daughter, sister, friend – to repay them. I was trying to control and manage all the details that I thought would determine how this would all end. They did not and ultimately I had to let a lot of these worries and plans go after all.

 

Thankfully the reality that time marches on…. things end … new moments begin…. nothing is forever did bring comfort. I was able to find my swim lane enough times to just keep paddling, knowing deep inside one way or another this would all play out…. but today it hit me harder than ever before. The new season, brighter days, more sunlight hours, and coming up here without a chill in the air automatically makes the routine appear different. I think that is what shook me awake. We have completed a portion of the journey that I had spent a long time preparing for. The listing….. the call…. the surgery.. the start to recovery…. those things are behind us. Most of my worsts never came to be and the moments that most often took me to my knees, I had never prepared for – and yet survive them we had.

 

The hours of wondering what surgery day would be like poof – GONE! The many made up scenarios that would determine if Danny should double list or not, never came to be. The standing outside the doors as they push Danny away down the hall is over. The journey is far from done – but look at what we have already accomplished and lived to tell about it. Now that I am here I can honestly say this moment of thinking about a weekend we have ahead – some dear friends’ wedding and then wondering about a Sunday festival or ringing up some other favorites to drop in and see their new baby – we can actually consider packing the whole weekend FULL – with the only fear being not enough caffeine to face Monday. During those harsh winter days, I rarely prepared myself for the happy what ifs, like this moment right here. If only I could visit the Jackie standing at the feet of Jesus in the old part of Hopkins praying her heart out and say… He hears you and there is a lot of mud coming your way girlfriend, but there will be a weekend in May FULL of the chance for fun and you will realize you have been holding your breath for years waiting for “regular” moments like these. So now I am just breathing and enjoying on her behalf.

 

I am not sure if this post makes much sense. There are a few lessons I could choose to conclude with from all this babble. But really what I want to say today, what I want to be sure to write here is “thank you”. We have been blessed with prayers from all over and right now my heart is on fire with the power of possibility, excitement for fun that lies ahead, and the reality that life is changing for the better too…. and I think that is all your prayers blooming.

 

Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day.
Jackie

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