Hey friends! It has been a lot longer than I ever wanted to be away from the blog, but today I am back and it feels great! So where the heck have I been? I have thought a lot about my normal answers- poor time management, Dan’s been too sick, Dan’s been too well, professional life, I have been sick or distracted, a heavy weight on my heart….. over my 4 years of blogging there have been many different reasons that have pulled my attention away – but today I wanted to share a new and pretty necessary reason: our life has completely changed.
As summer is coming to a close I have been thinking of the things that also disappears with longer days and the arrival of cooler temperatures, such as carnivals and amusement parks. It has been a few years since any of those types of things have been a part of my summer fun- but I do love them…. especially rides like the scrambler! You get on and are thrown this way and that- marveling at the exhilaration that comes from walking that fine line of safety and danger. Your stomach can barely keep up, but luckily before tossing your cookies the ride will swing you back the other direction just in time to be fun! Once you get the rhythm down the ride begins to slow and when your starting to think it’s done- you are sent flying backward! It’s just as fun, with a little less fear since you have now been on the ride for awhile, yet with the new direction it is different enough to be exhilarating. Finally the ride ends and you make your way down the ramp to the exit with sea legs trying to regain balance on solid ground. That scenario seems to perfectly describe our life since November 30 and I have needed some down time to find my footing on new solid ground.
The incredible high from being matched and a successful surgery was wonderful. Then we entered a period of stress, mood swings, emotional challenges, and a time when the price for lungs appeared to be the cost of the life as we had created. Yet, time did its thing and marched forward – catapulting us into a brand new life with incredible periods of good. Dan was the version of himself that I used to only see every once in awhile if everything was going well (health, rest, meds) and he felt good. Now that persona is his new regular! For me, life went from hours of quiet and prayer time hoping for an answer on how to survive the tough stuff to suddenly no down time just living life – and living it well! We finally crossed things off our wish list and experienced the sensation of falling in love all over again! It has been truly a miracle season.
But as summer comes to a close we feel a sort of shutting the door on this chapter of go go go and live love live in exhange for the real world. Danny will be heading back to work – something we have not experienced for several years. Our calendar is becoming increasingly more full with plans and a lot less smattered with medical appointments. In the oddest way – I am suddenly faced with a completely different life. Yes certain pillars remain: faith, our pup, our home, my job, family and friends…. but the other hours of the day are full of newness and how I approach them feels completely foreign.
I have come to realize our life before this time was rather unique. It wasn’t odd for my weekend plans or fun activities to shift from being a couple thing to being alone. This was something that was familiar- but never comfortable. Eventually I preferred just staying in and hiding out to facing the possibility of having to cancel plans or go alone. This meant blogging, social media and my phone were my connections to the outside world. I was rarely without my cell in arms reach and when I felt the need for companionship it often had to come from my family, friends, and the world of blogging to feel grounded. Dan was just trying to get to the next moment and it was hard to ask more of him. Each weekend I ALWAYS had a long list of chores and errands and that was my way to experience life. The time out of the house included some sort of fun- a coffee stop, lunch date – and I often had a book with me to aid in my escape. Or you would find me holed away in the loft seeing life through a screen. I became pretty good at this life – and there were so many aspects of it that provided guidance, faith and hope. Danny and I would enjoy our moments of good and always make the best of it, but solitaire life was my normal.
When I wake up on the weekends now, Danny does too and wants to know what the plan is going to be. Evenings I get home and we are spending actual time together – not one person sleeping and one person writing. When I consider the month ahead, we make concrete plans and my email is now full of date invites from him. If I do happen to be alone, its because Danny is out living life. Suddenly days have gone by without time to blog – read to write. Hours will pass that I have no idea what happened to my phone and Bessette Daily has been almost missed several times! Living in the alive world has changed how I fit into it. Our life is upside down and I had no idea what it would feel like.
In terms of responsibilities, Danny is now shouldering much more of those items and there are parts of my world that feel so free! The interesting exchange is the aspect of my life that was previously more flexible: how I doled out my emotional and mental energies or when we would have lengthy conversations is suddenly different. For example when I thought about our future or made goals, it was often things I would spend time thinking about alone, from my perspective and when I was in the mood. It is hard to talk with someone about the future, when they can barely figure out if they can stomach the next meal. So I had plenty of time to dissect my ideas and emotions and dreams and needs from a million different ways alone first! When Danny and I finally did talk, what I wanted to see was very planned and purposeful. When discussing our hopes I was always prepared and it left my heart overjoyed at the possibility (that hope kept me faithful that I was where I was supposed to be…. because just the idea of “what if” made my giddy). But the truth was neither of us would let ourselves get too far down the path of whats a head, because the hurdles before that time were huge. So future plans were short, sweet and based on some day, with no need for how to think about moving forward. Plus if we had the energy to talk future it needed to be about transplant center decisions or creative accounting to make the dollars remaining after medical bills last.
Now when we are talking about plans or next steps – I have a fully present and functioning person responding back and with their own ideas! Danny is clearer and truly present now that he has the option of a future. And the whole some day isn’t in the future…. its now. Sometimes Dan wants to talk as I am settling down to read or I want to respond to what he said, but forgot what I was gonna say. This new experience has brought with it a lot of emotions and need for conversation – a part of my life that taxes my emotions and mental space that has never been there before, it is a whole new world. In my mind I thought he would get better and then we would just jump into the life we thought we wanted- finally be more social, have more fun, and I guess just start running down the trails marked “some day”, but that isn’t what it is like at all. We view life as so much more precious…. we want so much more than what we had always talked about…. we laugh so much harder and deeper….and we both feel so much more than my heart was ready for. I don’t just have a person to fill the role that was waiting for him – I have a husband who wants to mold and create a place for himself and a future together that is bigger and brighter than we had ever imagined.
All of this change, the many emotions, all the feels have affected my heart so deeply I have needed time, energy and space to take it in. What I thought I knew about what life would be like I was so wrong. For years I have felt crushed under the weight of needing to be perfect. OCD has been a struggle in my life, but also a staple to feel in control. Things like food or spending money were so very important because they were how I found enjoyment whether in a hospital room or on a fun trip. None of these things are nearly as important. Danny and I would have a hard time communicating and listening before because we were so bogged down with the feeling of survival. We would fight for our voice to be heard by our spouse because we were scared…. we were frustrated… we were exhausted… and we needed so much from each other, maybe more than we humanly were capable of giving. Now we seem to laugh at our miscommunications and easily let go of the need to make our specific points, because we aren’t so scared – in fact we are on fire with possibility. The factors of our world that provided us stability were because so much of our life could not be understood. Now we see that not understanding was a crutch because we were afraid of the worst that could happen. Some of the worst did happen and we are still standing….. now we don’t need to fight so hard for fear of losing. We see that both suffering and winning is just a part of life. The unknown and the pain brought change that we did not expect and joy we could not curate – things just aren’t so scary anymore. We view life differently now and we better comprehend partnership.
“To those who much is given much is expected” is something we both believe in and now we are finding out what it means for real life. We have been given so much we are now realizing we need to plan to give out just as much and more. We see the incredible amount of pain the human spirit can survive and we appreciate that learning to walk through it will take you to a place better than you could have found on your own, especially when avoiding the tough stuff. And we now see that part of our mission in life will be to share that message….. we just aren’t quite sure what that looks like yet. When I thought about post-transplant life, I just thought about the things we had been missing, we had wanted that we would be finally doing…. I never considered the possibility that our goals will change and we would be fulfilled by finally getting what we wanted – because now the want looks different. None of this could have been realized if I had not taken to the time to process.
I am sharing all this emotion, honesty, and experience today for three reasons. First – I am not a person who spends life being still, going slow, truly letting faith lead and taking time out to listen to what is being said. That has been wrong and could have destroyed my life. So I encourage those of you who are like me – stop and take the time. If you give yourself the space to take in the world around you and reflect on your place in the here in and now, you will benefit. I hated not blogging, I worried what folks would say about my not being around so much or detaching from my phone. But it has been necessary and has helped me experience this new life. Second – others have shared that reading the journey of our lessons have helped while they walk through their experiences. The more we share, the better we can appreciate the many different struggles of this world and how important compassion for one another truly is. So I know we will continue to share. Finally I want to document what this phase of life has meant to us. It is rare in this world for the opportunity to say what life do we want? Most of the time you join the rat race and then you are off! Responsibilities, obligations, and timelines just start and slowing down doesn’t feel possible. Danny came out of surgery and we thought we would jump back into the rat race – hit the gas and do our best to catch up with all the things we thought we were missing. The unexpected of how tough life post- surgery was and now how much joy in a different life we have found, I have realized its not at all about the rat race ….. in fact its about blazing a new trail.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!