Three years ago, at 4:30 in the morning I woke up in a hotel room in Cleveland. While it sounds like some weird night of partying gone wrong, it wasn’t. I walked into the all white bathroom and closed the door so I didn’t wake up Mike and I began to pray. I was so afraid and the fear was rapidly creeping in like a shadow of dread I couldn’t stop. I had no control of the tears that ran down my face or the racing thoughts in my head. I mentally ran down my check list of things I tried to tie up before we left, business, life insurance policies, letters to friends and family, everything that I thought needed done before I walked across the parking lot to a place that would change my life forever. I prayed for my doctors, surgeons, for my family, friends, my Momma; I prayed that God’s will be done and that I would have the courage to walk in without letting Mike see me fall apart. I tried to breathe. I tried to remind myself that “I am strong. I am faith filled. I can do this. I can comfort him before because that’s what I do.” I let the hot water wash over my skin and mix with my tears for a long time and listened to Mercy Me sing my very favorite songs: “Hold Fast” and “Homesick” and “Word of God Speak” and watched the water flow down the drain.
Help is on the way
He’s come to save the day
What I’ve learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is Your grasp
So hold fast”
I knew that I was going to either wake up and see Mike or wake up and see the face of God. I also knew that either of these options were going to be where I was supposed to be. I just wasn’t prepared for the 3 year to date journey of mental warfare it was going to bring.
I remember it being so cold and I had 2 blocks to walk from the hotel to the doors of the hospital in the the dark. I had forgotten my coat so Mike wrapped his coat around my shoulders and he held my hand so tight. We had to walk fast because the wind was so cold as it swirled between the buildings. I stopped to look up at the sky and it was a wet moon 🌙 with a few stars, I took it all in and kissed him on that Valentine’s morning at 5:45. We kept walking in silence and when we got close to the door I said, “I don’t think I can do this…”
I’ve written about the surgery and recovery before, but as this disease has progressed I rarely allow myself to feel and relive the process up to that point. It’s too painful. I remember what my life was like before. If I allow myself to mourn the loss of my life as I knew it and how it ended one chapter that morning, then I don’t allow myself to appreciate this side of it as “good” just to be alive. That’s where I’m supposed to find my joy, but even with that rationale it isn’t always enough. Some, if not many days I wonder what it would be like to not be in this place. I don’t mean that from a place of regret, I mean that most days this disease let’s me know I am not in charge. I get like many of you, tired of feeling like absolute shit, tired of not being able to do the things I loved to do, tired of feeling sorry for myself, and I even get tired of those days of lying when asked “How are you?” because no one really wants my laundry list of symptoms in a broken body!! Heck, I don’t want to talk about it! Funny how I don’t mind writing about it! That’s ironic!!! I’m laughing because I selfishly write to help my own head with the secondary thought of reaching someone who struggles with their mortal earth suit! I always think that maybe just by writing it will give someone else the permission they need to talk about their journey, or mourn their old life, or face the depression that builds up and pisses on every day at some point and wears out its welcome. It is ok. All of it. Every emotion, thought, feeling, it’s all ok. Most days I am not as generous to myself and don’t allow it to be ok because “I’m strong “. But it’s ok.
Today, Valentine’s Day, love is in the air. It should be in the air everyday but today I want to say first, I love God and I say an extra thank you for the pain that reminds me I am alive. I say a thank you for any of you who read this to this point because you are ones who have walked with me on this journey. I say a thank you for my Valentine of 30 years, he is a man who walks by faith and has taught me more about love than anyone. Love is forgiveness cloaked in a hug. (I just coined that). I say a thank you for my kids, their loves, and their littles. I say a thank you for this life….just because it isn’t what I envisioned, I’m still thankful it’s the one I got!
Until then…. check out my music choices. You won’t be disappointed.
I love you.