Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Today I told a neighbor that "we have had a good year."  It surprised me as the words came out.  This was a neighbor we hardly knew and he said something about "no matter how bad you have it there is always somebody who has it worse."  I've never really enjoyed that outlook on life, but this year it has rang true.  We have it real bad.  It sucks it's so bad.  But, amazingly we are quite happy. 

I've talked at length about the church family, the friends, the family.  Our hearts are always fillled up.  We have a gardner who brings casseroles, family who lifts us, church members who bring dinners,  and a care giver direct from the lap of God.  All is well with our souls. Jed, is, however a continuing quadriplegic. 

So, we lift and transfer and turn and treat and give the care that the condition requires.  But, we have had a good year.  It's all come together.  We've had time to reflect, to look at life more simply, to appreciate, to value, to trust and love.  It has been the year we wish would never have come, but the year that has moved us beyond ourselves. 

On Saturday I did something for me.  I auditioned to sing the National Anthem for the Dodgers.  It was a big deal for me, a bucket list item.  But I did it, and am proud of myself.  I have no idea what will come of this, probably nothing, but I grabbed that mic and sang my heart out.  You see, one of the finer things I've learned this year is to grab the goodies while you can.  So I went out and grabbed them. 

My grandmother lived to be 98 years old.  She lived by herself for many years. I had a good relationship with her and would ask her about aging.  She said that she, "feels no different at all, except all her friends died."  The point is, we really don't feel different as we go through the stages of our lives.  Ours is to enjoy, live, love and participate in.  Should it be difficult or painful or ugly, well, that is just the way it is.  But, in the midst of it all there are goodies to grab.  Joy.  And if we don't go for it?

Years ago when Jed was quiting teaching, we talked about how he should quit.  My idea for him was to retire from teaching, take his pension and "live happily ever after."  His idea was to explore opportunities and take risks and have a hell of a good time.  He said over and over, "I need to have my arms and legs."  We decided that he should be free to explore opportunities.  So he explored.  And we had a "hell of a good time."   We dreamed dreams that most can't even think.  We lived high and we planed for a time when we could spread the wealth to our grandchildren and loved ones.  We lived on the edge and knew we were there.  He had his arms and legs.  And now he doesn't.  But, we still dream dreams and we still live high.  It's just different. 

Tonight I have a "life is good even though my husband can't move or care for himeself" attitude.  I don't really know where this comes from.  But I know that we have lived a remarkble life.  Arms and legs don't make a happy life.  Somewhere there is inner peace.  It may not last, and the next time I write I may be angry and mean, but, now, even though life is really shitty and who would ever want this one.  I pick ours.  It's hard, it's sometimes very sad and it's not at all how we planned our "retirement," but we are complete by the essence of each other.  We don't have arms and legs, but we soar.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hope is like oxygen. Without it the body is slowly starved and dies. But with hope great things can happen. The body breaths, the body becomes aware that somewhere beyond what medicine can do, Hope takes over and moves mountains (or in our case, limbs.) When you walk into our home you can tell that hope lives there. It has occassionaly taken the dog for a walk and the lack of it strangles us with anxiety, but when it's there, it is tangible, almost visible. Faith, Hope, Love. The bible says the greatest of these is LOVE. I suppose. I guess it is LOVE that exists first and drives the need for the other two. It's HOPE that levitates and FAITH that makes us know both will continue.

I've wanted to write about Hope for months, but Despair has gotten in the way.  Well, here it is again, Hope.  I'm even thinking of painting the porch and building a ramp so that Jed can get to the back yard.  What a person needs to live a very happy life is very situational.  We were trained to believe that it meant all the trappings, all the stuff.  But life and the happiness of it is really quite simple...a little touch, a smile of assurance, some discussion of life and the way things are, and an occassional glass of brandy. 

My son once said about some decisions that we made, "It takes the bite out of life for both of us."  Wow, if we are blessed enough to have a son or daughter who shares the burdens and joys of life, how can we feel deprived of life's blessings. 

I have a friend who reads this blog regularly and will know that this is about her.  Hope surrrounds you.  You have been bathed in it.  We all have if just but turn on the faucet.  Hope is a choice.  I choose hope.  How something so vital for life could be a choice is very confusing, but here we are again at the dim mirror. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

We're nearing the year mark.  Life was one way before and life is another since.  As anniversaries will have you do, we have been remembering.  Last night at the "after the movie discussion-eat-and-drink-time,"  Jed was asked, "Just how did this happen, anyway?" and "Were you unconscious?" among other questions of rememberance.  So it all came back like a flash, the blood, the fear, the sirens, the EMTs, the lost keys, the "who should I call?," the skull bone, the knowing raised eyebrows, ...it all came back.  ER is a very frightful place.  There's puke, police, panic and prom dresses all within an eyes view.  I had forgotten, but I remember now, the bathroom angel.  I was deadpan.  She looked at me and said, "Can I help?"  From out of nowhere she comforted and prayed with me.  I looked at her through tears and said, "Who are you?"  She had flown in from Texas just that evening for a wedding tomorrow and ended up in ER with a friend.  She assured me that Jed would be fine, walked out and I never saw her again. That kind of stuff has been happening for a year. 

As terrible as this year has been, I can't say that it has been all bad.  Jed and I have a stonger more trusting relationship than ever, our kids and family  have surrounded us with love and support, we have become rich and wonderful friends with our care giver, we have been carried by our church and friends for months, and, even though we have  lost our lifetime envestment, we have gradually climbed out, and are feeling somewhat like butterflies with wet wings, knowing that something wonderful is ahead of us, but fully aware that this is not yet the time. 
Easter is a good time to think about what lies ahead and to look at the future with hope.