After finally adjusting (after 5 years not) to a full 8 hour sleep regiment... that’s a messed up way to wake up at 3:30am. A voice in the darkness.
“Your wife is dying. Do something.”
It may very well have been my much deeper subconscious... rejecting that what happened exactly 4 months ago. Madness.
What seemingly happened Days ago... Hours even... Minutes too... Eternities each. Just “...do something.”
Whether it was me or someone else, You gotta admit though... That’s a d*ck thing to say.
So my subconscious is a prick.
Just “...do something.” - Perhaps a vain attempt to bolster some hidden strength I had yet to tap in to. Yup... I always knew I had a super power. Laser vision, unlimited physical strength, the ability to fly, maybe? Maybe something with less... well just less. “Sometimes...” it’s said, “You have to fall out to learn to fly.” Pretty sure that’s just what birds and things that fly say but, yah... there I was, “falling”. Out of what, I don’t know but I sure as hell was gaining speed... falling... falling... waiting... still waiting... still... falling...nothing. Annnnd SPLAT. So, yah. I don’t get the flight bit. Aerodynamically, anticlimactically and really quite frankly, just flat out disappointing. (No pun intended) Maybe instead of me falling on the world, the world had to fall on me. Well, that sounds fun too, provided the world has better luck than me. Much like a fortune cookie left in the glove box of a Jetski, I can’t help but feel all enlightened, smooshy and... just gross.
Now, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned, we knew where this was eventually going. We had to ride this wave all the way to the the beach, for Jenna, for the kids, for us. The beach was where we were headed, just nobody wanted to get there.
I remember the moment we realized that worst case was going to be the easy part. Just didn’t know what all that meant quite yet. It was the “best that bad could get” moment. Sounds more like a Gillette commercial promoting a razor blade made of biodegradable forks. But what it actually was, was the crushing reality of actually seeing the future, knowing the outcome. (Not a superpower to want, btw)
I struggle to think if I could have done another 5yrs like this last one. I know I would have, 10x over, don’t get me wrong. Still. Just not sure I would’ve walked out of that tar pit, not in these shoes, anyways. To put it bluntly, when it came to trials, Jenna and I always followed the “Stronger Together” mantra. We had the “In Sickness AND In Health...” part covered. We had the “For Better OR Worse...” bit dialed in. We just missed the private elevator to the “Happily Ever Afterparty”. We’ll get to it one day. Basically, This had always been a joint venture. No, not that kind of “joint”.(... but I do like the way you think.) “Stronger Together.” That was us. Now, picture your best friend is just lying there and there is NOTHING you can do... actually don’t. It's crap. I’ll break it down. You feel a sense of helplessness, guilt and well... yah, I’ll be the first to admit it... pissed offey-ness.
For sure, I am still grappling with my emotions. More so now, surprisingly, than before. I guess, I kind of suspected this was how things would play out? I guess I was just hoping maybe this would get easier with time? It has been 4 whole months after all. I know. Feels like forever though. Fact is, my love for her meant sitting by and letting this happen. That reality is very much still sinking in like baby puke on the back of your favorite hoodie. Honoring our oath. For better AND worse. Jenna wanted Jenna to be Jenna. If it was her time to leave, then I would not take that from her. No tubes, no pumps, no machines that go “PING”. The classic “If I can’t do it myself, don’t plug me in and do it for me.” It’s called a “Non-Resuscitation Clause”. Yah, it totally sounds like a “Zombie Santa” Halloween costume, right?! It’s actually a real thing. Of course, It wasn’t written with that exact verbiage, nor is it an actual costume (yet). Turns out, legislative institutions don’t care much for "humour", no matter how "hilarious" and "therapeutic" it may be. Our lawyer friend wouldn’t even let me put in there that I, myself, wanted to be dropped in the sea, on fire, from a plane, into a “bullseye”, made of flowers, surrounded by raft ups of my closest friends while Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon” plays over everyone’s stereos. Sick, right?!? And yes, I have a lawyer friend. Two words, lawyer/friend, that seem kinda weird when you put them next to each other. Until you meet one who takes the time... the valuable time... to tell you about the time... that her kid got worms. You just can’t put a price on that kind of legal counsel. Another reason... I love my people.
It’s important to have professional advice while traversing through the stages of “This will happen’ses” to the “This is happening’ses” to the “This literally just friggin’ happened and I don’t know what to do now’ses.” All found in the oncology departments waiting room magazine... “Stop Sobbing and Get Your Sh*t Together, Quarterly”. To process that kind of emotion, you need to know yourself better than anyone. Something few can lay claim to. Try playing chicken with a mirror. One of you is going to get hurt, and it’s likely going to be both of you.
Being grateful was/is a big part of all this. Being grateful is HUGE. We talked a lot in our previous life, Jenna and I. We knew where this was going. We knew there was to be no “Keep me here because you can’t let me go.” garbage. Just be grateful for the times you had and don’t resent the times you won’t. Trust in that, it makes the world a lot easier to carry. Besides, we don’t usually get to know when. We don’t usually get to know where. And we don’t usually get to know how. It could be any number of unfortunate happenstances. Driving to work, crossing the street, bad hummus. Or, JUST hummus. OR... as a sketchy, little man bun yoga instructor, teaching skydiving to a group of recently singled, middle aged women...
You could be mauled by a cougar.
Very few actually see it coming.
Knowing how... and approximately when is difficult to digest. Preparing for the worst case... because it’s the best case... is just farting in the elevator. Straight up wrong... on so many levels. I can’t find words to describe the emotion of being given the realization that some of our life goals will just have to wait for some other life times. That stuff was supposed to happen THIS lifetime. “Every second counts.”- said someone who probably spends too much time in their phone in the bathroom pretending to poo while actually hiding from their kids. Just know, there can be A LOT of seconds. It doesn’t always happen as fast as you don’t want to admit you’d prefer it to. Minute...Hour...Month...Year...Lifetime
All in the blink of an eye, it’s over and hopefully you’re not left holding a bag of things you didn’t say.
For this too, I am grateful. We said stuff, All of us, kids too. We had our one on ones in the days leading up. We all loved her so much and I’m grateful to know that she knew that. I’m grateful because this amazing woman showed up when I needed her most. I’m grateful because I was given the opportunity to be there for her when she needed me most. I’m grateful because through her trials, our little family is now stronger than ever before. I’m grateful that because of these trials, my children are stronger than I could ever hope to be. I’m grateful because the very thing trying so desperately to tear her from us was actually pulling the rest of us closer together... she connected all of us. The only thing I’m bitter about is that now I can’t hear one Kenny Rogers song without getting all teary-eyed. The man is a evening songbird with a beard made of tinsel and I have the emotional stability of an 11yr old girl.
In truth, I do feel a bit angry too. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. Yah. I’m frustrated, I feel lost, I’m confused, I’m hurting and there doesn't seem to be time to process any of it outside of this blog. Yah, angry and all that. BUT, I have far more to be grateful for than to sit around feeling sorry for myself for. There’s a Native American proverb that I’m likely going to absolutely butcher about the “two wolves” in each of us, fighting to survive. One represents good... Happiness, gratitude, humility, kindness, empathy. The other represents evil... arrogance, self pity, regret, greed and anger. Which one eventually wins? It’s the one you feed. No one points out that if you have two wolves fighting inside of you, then you are very surely, probably already dead.
On my budget, I couldn’t feed both. Not for lack of trying, though. I chose gratitude for the way things were because... well, they just were. Everything that ever was has lead us to this and every moment from here out. Along this path there are things you can change and there are things you cannot. I subscribe to the... “If you can change it, why worry? Just change it”...school of thinking. Followed, categorically, by... “If I can’t change it, what’s the point in worrying about it?” It’s an easy choice when you don’t really have a say in the matter.
So I tried on some gratitude. Took some getting used to. Not gonna lie, little snug in the crotch. Not like “skinny jean” snug but that’s what you get gentlemen, for wearing denim pantiehose. I just threw on some board shorts and started shouting things at a piece of paper using a pen.
- I’m grateful for the day I met her.
- I’m grateful that she came over and asked me the time with a perfectly good watch on her wrist.
- I’m grateful for the moment she pinched my butt and kissed me back.
- I’m grateful for the life we’ve made, together.
- I’m grateful that it was twins on that ultrasound and not some grotesque monster looking back at me like I thought it was.
- I’m grateful that none of you will judge me for not having a clue what an embryo looked like, let alone two on the same page. (Thing looked like it had googely eyes. I genuinely thought we were having a bouncing baby “Sloth” from the “Goonies”.)
- I’m grateful that I gently touched my fist to that wall and knew in that moment that if I lacked gratitude, I would have put my arm clean through it. So I didn’t.
Where did this all begin? Oh yah,
Well, Let’s start by feeling like me again. It’s not just about her, anymore. I know she’d agree. Bring back the laughter. Bring back the calm. Let’s make some questionable decisions. Let’s try to bring back the guy she fell in love with...
... just a little less broken.
... just a little less broken.