Didn’t someone once say that life isn’t for the faint of heart?
Life, for the past several months has been a whirlwind of shit. Absolute shit. Followed by moments of joy, relief, love, and more shit.
At the start of the summer – in June – I was diagnosed with Shingles. Lucky me, I got a really “severe” case (is there any other kind?) that knocked me on my ass for more than a month. It was the most painful, debilitating health experience I’ve ever had. No exceptions.
A month later, still recovering from Shingles, I get “that” call from my family in Iowa, telling me that my grandfather is very ill. It’s time to come say goodbye. I dropped everything, jumped in my car, and rushed the six hours to the hospital. I stood by his bed and felt both relieved to have made it in time, and voyeuristic for standing there watching him die. The last night of his life, I told him I love him, and I walked away.
Hours later, he was dead.
A couple of days after, at his funeral, I noticed my (now) 18 year old daughter didn’t seem to be feeling too well. She’s been diagnosed with Lupus and a blood clotting disorder, so we have to be vigilant about her health. She confessed she felt “off”- like she had a year ago, when she’d gotten that first blood clot in her lung.
Mostly to put our minds at ease, I took her to the local hospital. The same place my grandfather had died, not 48 hours earlier. They did a CT scan and found another blood clot in her lung.
Far away from home, in a place we hadn’t really planned to be to begin with, we found ourselves stuck in the hospital, grappling with another health crisis. It would take 5 days before she was medically cleared to take the six hour journey back home. Back to our lives, which we’d so hastily left behind.
Slowly, we crafted a new normal. Work, school, doctor’s visits, family life.
45 days later, just as we were starting to exhale, it happened.
My daughter, now newly 18 years old, was again hospitalized, where she would remain for two weeks. She suffered a lupus flare, which attacked her central nervous system. Further complicating things, the blood thinner she had been placed on while in Iowa for my grandfather’s funeral caused her brain to bleed. She was moved to ICU.
We got her through it- or rather, she got herself through it- but nothing feels the same anymore. I’m not the same. She’s not the same.
Her prognosis is good. Still recovering, my daughter is being homeschooled for the rest of this semester (her senior year), in hopes of rejoining “traditional” school after Winter Break.
Life goes on, because it has to.
Torn between not leaving my 18 year old alone for one second, for fear she’ll die, and not abandoning my amazing 11 year old daughter or my equally amazing husband… having to go back to work…
Having to piece it all back together again, knowing something inside of me is gone. We’re all fundamentally different now. Grateful, but different.
Now, with a fragile sense of normalcy seeping back into our lives, it’s time to recommit. Set boundaries, work to be healthy, sober and present.
These last few months were not kind to me, and I was not kind to myself in return. Exhausted, overwhelmed and heartbroken, I’ve been going through the motions, pretending to be OK, knowing full well I was anything but.
It’s premature to say I’m looking forward to the future. I’m not. I’m looking forward to getting out from under this fear, this depression, this overwhelming sadness. I’m looking forward to putting these few months behind us.
I’m looking forward to hitting that reset button.