I have mentioned occasionally on facebook that this past year has been the worst of my life… purposely cryptic in the details. It’s not that I enjoy being vague… it’s simply because not all stories are mine alone to tell.
But I’m nearing the one year mark and I’m breathing (a little) easier. Despite all the bad happenings, we moved forward.
I mentioned in a previous post that last year my son was hospitalized. What I omitted was how serious the situation was. Our situation was dire. It was bad.
The day he was admitted was the single worst day of my life. You know those movies where everything around the main character is going at a million miles an hour, yet the main character is in slow motion, watching the world zigzag around them… that’s what that day felt like. Frenzied. Overwhelming.
I slept on a cot in his hospital room for ten long nights, while my husband contorted his body to fit on a small couch. I never left the hospital. Never. Every single night when the lights were out and my son slept, I’d watch his heart beating on the monitor to remind myself that he was still with us.
We were living a nightmare. Awake, asleep (what little sleep we got). Didn’t matter. Our nightmare was always present.
Once he was discharged, we weren’t out of the woods. Very far. Yet, I was so grateful that we were able to leave. Many parents don’t have the fortune of walking out of that building with their child. I knew we were still in a serious situation, but we were the lucky ones who got to leave…together.
I took months off from writing. My heart wasn’t in it. My thoughts were a billion miles away, consumed with a fear that I had no idea existed.
In general, I’m not a crier. But over of the last 365 days… I’ve probably cried 200 of them. Morning, afternoon, night…didn’t matter. Most were filled with tears. Sometimes it was hard to wake up and face another day of uncertainty and fear, but I did… because I had to. Because moving forward was the only option. Because curling into the fetal position and cursing the world for our pain got us nowhere.
Forward was the only direction to go.
All during our nightmare year, we had other hardships thrown our way. My father-in-law passed away. My ninety-one year old mother-in-law had her own very serious health crisis. My husband was hospitalized, twice. All while dealing with our son’s heath issue.
So, what’s the point to this? From the series of unimaginable events, what did I gain from this?
Faith, Perspective, and Gratitude.
Life was hard. Waking up to face another day was hard. The continuous numbness that invaded my body and mind with worry was hard to live with. Everything was hard. But I had faith, faith that our situation would turn around. Faith that my son would have the future he so richly deserves.
Faith that my father who passed away years ago would watch over my son and protect him. I called on him during the ride to the hospital to look over us. To this day, my father has never let me down… while he was here on earth or watching over us.
You know that ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ saying? It’s true. I wish it didn’t take my world to get rocked to its core to learn this lesson. Things roll off of me so easily now. Most of the complaints I hear and read on facebook are white noise. Nonsense. Infinitesimal.
I’m not saying we aren’t entitled to gripe. We should gripe, complain, vent, whine on occasion (and wine on a few more). Hell, you want a list of gripes… I’ve got one a mile long. But now I see them for what they are. Blips. Speed Bumps.
Once you live through hell on earth… complaining about traffic or how long it’s taking a waitress to bring your dinner order seems so insignificant.
Annoying- without a doubt.
Significant- not really.
Nurses: Holy fuck, nurses. Unbelievably wonderful, kind-hearted nurses. You spend a lot of time with the nursing staff when you’re holed up in a hospital for so long. I can’t begin to express my gratitude… everything from their kind words of encouragement to their amazing work ethic. I could never be a nurse. It’s a damn hard job. They deal with people at their worst everyday… and they still show up for work the next day. They’re either saints or crazy… maybe both.
Doctors: Most of us have a love/hate relationship with doctors. I’m guilty of it. But the doctors who helped us were beyond wonderful— their reassuring words, their expertise, and their patience when answering a question for the hundredth time because terrified parents can barely retain a sentence. Today I thank God for them as I watch my son leave for school every morning.
Humor: I am so grateful for my sense of humor. Without it, I would have disappeared deep into the parts of your brain that are dark, cold, and unforgiving. If I were to move forward, I needed an ally. And I found it, the one thing inside me that truly kept me afloat. Humor.
When I sat down at the keyboard again and read over what had already been written, I smiled. That’s when I committed to a direction for my book. If it made me smile, I knew I was going in the right direction. I needed it… and I figured other people needed it too.
Julia Conti, a fictional character, my fictional character shook me out of a three-month long daze. Her snarky thoughts made me laugh. Her friendships warmed me. Her strength was empowering. She was no doormat. Writing Julia became liberating, a chance to escape for a little while.
Humor saved my sanity.
The book took months longer than I intended, but I saw it through. I had to. I no longer quit anything. I didn’t quit on my son’s health and I didn’t quit on this book.
Moving forward was our only option.
This brings me to the point of all this introspective babbling…
Have Faith. Never give up. Fight… fight your doubts, fight your fears.
Keep it all in Perspective. Someone out there is having a worse day than you.
Be Grateful. For what you have, for the good in your life. Don’t wallow in the bitterness, grow in spite of it.
Be kind. You may not see pain others hide. Some of us are very good at concealing it.
I won’t get my next book out in record speed. I may not update a ff chapter for a long while. I’d love to kick the words out faster. I wish you could see the stories rolling around in my head, but time and circumstances don’t always play nice. And I do what I can do.
I may not return phone calls, emails, or PM’s quickly. I’m unable to keep (or make) appointments far in advance. My life has been on hold for a year— full of things out of my control.
Yet I have no regrets. I have my reasons for the things I do—or don’t do. They’re important reasons—more important than a chapter update, or a book. I take life as it comes. I roll with it. I try not to be bitter. I try not to stay sad or afraid.
I move forward.