I took a break...a big one from writing. I wrote, but everything I put on the paper seemed negative and desperate. I was turning 50, I was taking care of dying people, my son didn't get playing time on the baseball field, my refrigerator is not cold at all and I was behind on my housework. Other than that, my hair was mostly gray and my face was sliding into my neck!
I complained and complained to my husband...about all of this...blah, blah, blah...on an on. I came to a point when I was sick of myself!
My kids came and went for the summer...my daughter was home for one day and left for Guatemala for the summer. My son, the middle child, was home for three weeks and lightened things up but of course, when he left, the hole in my heart opened up even more. Then, my as my 50th birthday crept up, I was almost inconsolable. I didn't want things to change and I had no control over it.
Then something happened...a lady that I consider a dear friend went through the most difficult time in her life. She and her husband had to make decisions that were life changing and scary. It was the big time in life...when the rubber meets the road and you see who you are and who loves you no matter what. I watched as they manuvered life terrified but strong. They made plans that they wish they didn't have to, carried on and made it through. I am sure in the dark of night, they fell apart...but in the light of day, they handled this crisis with a grace that I wish I had.
As I sat at my 50th happy hour, I held my breath waiting on the news that their son was out of recovery and it all went okay. When my friend walked in to join the party and said she had heard and he was good, a chill ran up my spine. He made it, they made it and now it was time to recover and get going on life. The night was awesome and I felt so loved and special and came to a realization that this is it. This is the life we are given, gray hair and droopy cheeks and all. You can either complain and be negative, sit and wallow like I did for a few months or stop the selfishness and get on with this life!
The next Monday, I went to see a woman with pancreatic cancer. She had some heartburn on New Years eve and started the maze of diagnosis and treatment. Now, there isn't treatment left and she is doing her best to live knowing she has limited time. Two months ago, when I walked into her house, I had my shell on, thinking about "poor" me and the broken appliance and the kids being far away. In some aspects, it made it easier to care for her because I didn't delve into the hard questions and because she didn't really want to, I just was quiet. I would be in and out of her house in no time.
Two weeks ago, I showed up with new eyes. I realized that this is it for her and for me. This is our life and our time left. She, sadly, has quite a bit less than I probably have...and she knows it. I took my shell off before I went in and decided that I would try to help her in any way she needed. When she brushed me off, I would sit quietly a little longer and see if she really wanted me gone or not. I ended up at her house for an hour and a half...caring for her. She sat in the chair for a short time and then she was too tired to keep sitting up. Her husband took her hand gently and led her to the bed and since it was a tall bed, she had to step up. She didn't have the energy to do that either. Then, he gently picked her up and cradled her in his arms and placed her in bed. He shifted her until she was comfortable and covered her up with a soft blanket. He got her an glass of cold water and gave her a pain pill. I stood there seeing this couple for the first time with new, unselfish eyes. They have been together for 26 years and have kids a little older than mine. They are in their mid-50's.
As her husband walked me out, I told him what a good man he is and a gentle man and a wonderful caretaker. I could see the exhaustion around his eyes and his conflict with wanting her to go and wanting her to stay. We talked about that for some time without answers or right answers anyway. I just tried to help him understand that this is all normal when you are losing a loved one. It just is...
I got in the car and counted my blessings. I, barring getting hit by a beer truck, will be seeing my kids at the end of the summer and will be fighting with my husband and fighting the hands of time on my sliding neck. I can guarantee that this lady will not.
So, for me, it's time to get back to writing, to living, to loving and to being aware of others instead of myself. It's time to love again...with abandon, saying what is on my mind, good or bad, and taking my licks.
So "I'm baaaacccck" and since I'm fifty now, I can assure you, it won't be pretty. But, it will be.
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,