My breaking point came at a family friend’s viewing. I vividly remember standing in front of his casket, looking down at this 82-year old man who had passed away, and wishing with all my heart it was me in there instead of him.
By late fall 2005, my physical symptoms began to dramatically affect my day-to-day life. I couldn’t continue to tell myself it was just stress or that I was “run down.” I began my quest in earnest to discover what was happening inside my body. It’s also when I discovered that even doctors don’t have all the answers.
It’s a story about a life interrupted by an insidious disease, and the discovery of how deep-seeded is this thing we call “Hope.”
It’s been 10 years since my now-ex husband announced with flat, dead certainty that he didn’t want to be married to me any longer – that our marriage was “done,” as if we were a pie baking in the oven. Done.
Letting go comes in two flavors: “passive letting go” and “active letting go.” One tastes like plain ol’ vanilla, the other Cherry Garcia: cherry ice cream with whole cherries and mega pieces of dark chocolate.
It took me several years to truly understand that what happened with my friends was not malicious or intentional; it was the unfortunate by-product of change. It was the natural shift that occurs when people are no longer moving in the same direction. Like a road that reaches a fork, I went left while they went right.
The wheel on the hospital gurney made a continuous squeaking sound as they wheeled me down the hall to the operating room. It was one of those incessant noises that would normally drive me crazy, but for some reason that morning I found it comforting.
Nothing prepared me for the physical, emotional and spiritual fatigue, and the ongoing insomnia I would experience when I became chronically ill. It goes well beyond the occasional night or two of no sleep. It’s so much more than being “tired.” It’s exhaustion at the cellular level.
I am not old…she said. I am rare. I am the standing ovation at the end of the play.
When your hair is aflame with winter and you have decades of learning and leaving and loving sewn into the corners of your eyes and your children come home to find their own history in your face.