Saturday, July 19, 2008

things I know about uncertainties...

Can you be certain about uncertain things? Yes, I know, when I wrote it, I had to re-read too. There are things that happen in our lives every day that though we are certain they are, we might be uncertain as to why they are. I could have started this out about Bipolar or depression or life. Any of the three I am certain would apply here and probably a few more not mentioned here.
As my time with Sheila grew into a Life, I was uncertain where it would all go. Certain at some point that her illness would always be part of our lives, I was uncertain how deeply it would impact our lives. Certain I loved her, I was uncertain how in love with her I was with her. Fifteen times in our life, I was told she would not live through the night. Sitting beside her bed in the dark, I would squeeze her hand and softly cry. I would pray to God to let her stay just once more. I was certain he would hear my prayers and I would wake to hear her softly breathing. How many more times we would do this very scenario I was for sure uncertain of.
When she woke from the first coma, I smiled at her, said "good morning, Love" and went on as if one day had passed, not 65 days. The entire 65 days for me was spent in a little room provided by the hospital directly outside of the CCU. I would sleep during the day as that was when the doctors were busy with her. I would spend my nights at her bedside. Each time I would close my eyes, I was certain she would be with me when I woke. Faith? Time proven? Knowing who was laying in that bed? I don't know which one made me think that way. Which of those elements were the strongest reason why I just knew she wouldn't go away, I am uncertain of. I just knew.
I think now, as I sit here and listen to Joe Nichols sing "I'll wait for you" and Leeanne telling me she "probably wouldn't hurt this way", about that last night. The most uncertain of my thoughts these days. The reason I cry so hard in the night and why I find it hard to move forward at times. No longer uncertain how very in love with her I was. No longer unsure of how deep my love for this beautiful lady was. But very much uncertain of how I walked through that last night. Angry with myself because I still believed she would be coming back out to be with me again. So damned certain that I kissed her and told her I would be waiting for her when she came out. God, the tears that flow when I remember... It was a simple kiss. It was a smile and a confident nod I left her with when they wheeled her in for emergency surgery at 1 a.m. on a quiet Wednesday morning.
I was going to go smoke a cigarette an hour before that moment. She asked me not to go yet. She held my hand and I stood beside her as she drifted off again from the meds they had given her to not hurt so bad. I sat at a hospital computer and sent e-mails to friends telling them she would be in surgery for a bit and then back out again. CERTAIN she would be coming out, feeling sore but better. The doctor coming out way too soon. His confession that he could NOT in fact save her. The weakness in legs that had lifted this lady 10,000 times for 20 years made no sense to me now. How could they be so strong and lift her so many times and yet not even support me as I fell to the floor when the doctor spoke to me.
Uncertain that these tears will ever truly stop. Uncertain that life will ever be normal again for me. certain that I will miss her forever. Certain of Leeanne's words telling me "I probably wouldn't hurt this way if I had never seen her face." Wondering why I didn't say more as she was slowly going to heaven. Uncertain today why I had sat beside her bed crying, rather than telling her all of the things I was thinking. So Scared that I would give away some big freaking secret to her. As if she didn't already know she would not see the morning Sun.Singing "In the Garden" to her as if it were just another day, not our last day... last hour together.
Why do I write this today? I am certain that my heart will question those last moments forever. I am certain that I will love her for the rest of my living days here on earth. Certain too that something inside of me wants to move forward. I know love in my life and want to reach out and experience it on a more certain walk. Uncertain that it is fair to ask someone to walk with me, knowing they will be walking with Sheila and I. I write this because it is my heart. I write this because I am certain that in writing is healing. I write this because I know I want to finish this life growing old with someone at my side.
What do I know about uncertainties??? I know they can and Do often control our lives. They cause us to make or not make decisions in our lives. They cause us to step or not step outside the safety of our our tiny little world that feels so safe. I think it can cause us to miss chances in our life that are so beautiful. Too beautiful to simply walk away from.
Certain I am, that bipolar, depressed, feeling good, normal {whatever that word means}, these are thoughts that I think no matter what your mindset is, one thinks about. Certain that I would have lifted her 10,000 more times and these legs would have supported us every time, if God had allowed her to stay with me for another 25 years. And CERTAIN I am of Joe Nichols' words. Sheila "will wait for me" in heaven until the day that God calls me home to be with her. And I am CERTAIN I will still be loving her.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pictures... the good, the bad but the never Ugly

This morning I was looking through my desk drawer for shhhhh, a lighter for a much needed cigarette. Yes I know, what a nasty habit. But that is for another blog and not one I will write soon. As I shuffled through the what nots of the drawer, I came across a picture. It was a picture I long ago told a very special lady that I had thrown away. Ahhh, those little white lies. The picture was of my Sheila and was taken not long after she had become so ill. I remember her telling me when she saw it to "Toss that Ugly thing out!! I mean it, D, throw it. I look so terrible in that picture. I did NOT toss it obviously.
My mind went back to that time for a moment or two. To a time when she spent most of her days in the hospital and I spent mine taking care of Samantha, our only daughter at the time. The picture was taken on one of her very few days outside. The meds had taken their toll on her and the illness had ravaged her body. But it was that outing that had been the start of her first remission. She had so enjoyed spending time with the family and laughing as we talked and spent time together. I was so thrilled to have her out with us and to be a family, if even for one single day.
I shuffled through more pictures in the drawer and tears came to my eyes. Each picture was a sequence to her getting better for a time. Why I had taken them that way I don't know. Or perhaps I had not and they simply came out that way to me. I found pictures of her fishing with me when we were first married. there were memories of our first anniversary and our first Christmas. There were pics of me on Christmas morning. We got up at 5 every Christmas morning for 24 years. I have to tell you, I was definitely the "bad" looking at 5 a.m. She, always looked as if she just came home from the store or a get together. Even at 5 a.m. she was for sure the "good." there were pictures of her in a wig from when she lost her hair to chemo. Scary pics of me wearing it, looking a bit like a Rocker with my beard and her wig. Fun times that we shared to make softer of the reason there was a wig to share.
As I looked through the rest of the pictures, they took me down a twenty-four year road of memories. Needing to stop and cry for a minute, I realized that there were no Ugly pics. There were no pictures to be shunned or hidden. These pictures were a chronicle of a life spent filled with love and caring and tears and smiles and lessons that we would live by then...and that I live by as best as I can today. A remembering of a love so beautiful that I know God must have surely seen something good in me to have blessed me with such photographs of Love caught on camera.
I smiled as I packaged the pictures together and moved them from my drawer to the strong box. With them I placed a note written to my daughters. It simply says, "these are yours to remember that each of these pictures shows one thing. They show your mother was still with us. Let them tell you now that she still is and always will be. there are no Uglies in pictures, only life and memories to cherish. Love Dad."
Have a look at your old photo album when you get the time. And remember, there are good, there are some frighteningly bad... But there are truly no Uglies.

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