Life is challenging. Even if you’re one of those amazing people who always see things positively (and I know some of them), or you’re one of those folks who wrangle challenges better than others (I know them too), we all face hurdles. Only hurdlers handle that one.
This past year was hurdle after hurdle for me, and I found myself mired in dark stuff that I wanted to wrap-up and pack away. But I was stuck. Then, as the year was ending and I felt like maybe I was finding my groove again, December opened with meningitis in Israel, and now three months of recovery. And trust me, I’ve challenged that number–– because three months seems like a very long time, but every time I try and jump back into normal right now, it is incredibly clear that normal is still a ways off. So 2018 is opening with impaired speech and processing skills, lots of doctor’s appointments, anxiety about how to manage it all, and my impatience in dealing with any of it. My impatience and frustration are stumbling blocks I put in my own way, but I’m still working on that one too.
It’s hard to explain what it feels like to be unable to do and say what I want, for more than six weeks now, as I get through this recovery. Stunted, impatient, sad, frustrated, stuck, inspired, sedentary, angry, lonely, insecure, needy, anxious, tuned in, resentful, hopeless, hopeful, static, abandoned, excited, comforted, nurtured, disappointed, grateful… ok, that makes a dent in expressing what this is like. Dented.
I’m not a patient person. I’ve had a really hard time accepting that I can’t do a lot of things right now, that each day feels static, and I sometimes need help. I’m not good at asking for help. It’s hard to ask when I know other people are busy, or, I don’t really know what to ask for. I feel frustrated with myself and everything that’s happened–– still shaken that everything transpired the way it did, and shaken by fractured traumatic memories, and a passage of time that feels surreal at best. I’m disappointed in people I’ve reached out to in the past, or been there for, who did nothing for me, people who count a Facebook comment as support. I’m hurt by friends and family members who haven’t given a shit enough to call and connect, or be here when we–– I needed it. Asking for help is harder when you’re feeling vulnerable and scared; I needed some of those people to step up and just be here with a phone call, card, meal, or something tangible. It’s amazing when people just get it and don’t need the explanation–– folks who brought by a meal not because we asked, or offered specific help, and understood when I didn’t feel like saying hi. Admittedly, some of the “do you need anythings,” were answered with, we’re fine, thanks, because it was just too hard to think beyond the mountain of needs, and give a thoughtful suggestion. Need, needs, needy. It was constant.
And yet, I’m very grateful for so many things that happened during the challenging weeks, so far. While I’ve felt over-whelmed, I’ve also felt deeply moved by friends and family who called; quietly sat with me; drove me to appointments and waited (sometimes for hours); or hosted the Christmas gathering I planned (before I got sick) for a big group, and did it with humor, love and grace. I’m so grateful for a few close friends and my kids, who texted me when I was in the hospital in Israel, and felt scared and alone. They glued me together with their words, and let me know it would all be ok. I’m grateful for my son, who told me that this will all go away and I will be myself again… when I most needed to hear that, and feared it wouldn’t happen. I still go back and read his message on days when I feel anxious than I’m not myself yet–– when my stuttering, and failure to think of words; or my inability to drive myself more than a mile; or handle more than easy activities; or the hours and hours of binge-watching shows gets to me; or I realize I haven’t been out in the fresh air or taken a walk in so many weeks; when people who don’t know, and can’t see the problems, look at me strangely, as I try to say something, or freeze in confusion; when I feel like this stupid immune system of mine, that is going out of its way to challenge me, will never let me be the strong, healthy person I want to be–– on these days, in these minutes, I read that message from my son, to remind myself that this will indeed end, and I will be myself again. My. Self.
I’m grateful for my husband, who was there holding my hand and reassuring me, when things were so scary and sideways. He missed out on time with your beloveds as well, but he never threw that my way. We both missed a long-planned visit in Israel with our daughter, son-in-law and incredible grandson; it was beyond painful and disappointing. We missed spending Hanukkah in Jerusalem; we missed playing with our grandson, or treating our daughter and son in law to dinner out, while we babysat; we missed so many cuddles and kisses that we wait months and months for, and instead had days of scary hospitalization and daunting decisions. My husband, a physician, was also able to explain all the medical terminology to me, which would have been so overwhelming without him. I couldn’t have flown home, for better medical care, without him. Could not have done it. I was too weak, to unstable, and could not have navigated airports, delays, and my miserable situation. He was amazing, and I’m so grateful he was with me. The seriousness of it all definitely drew us together.
It’s been hell at times; it really has. As I get stronger and delve into processing everything, it’s hard not to feel stuck on things that are still lumps in my head. I feel sad that I missed being with my baby; I can’t quite wrap my mind around all that occurred. I feel done and over people and situations that don’t support me, fill me, or haven’t reciprocated mutual connections. Done. But despite all the disappointing things that have been heaped on this New Year so far, I also feel very positive about this New Year. I feel hopeful. I believe this is going to be a very important year. Admittedly, I’m a believer in signs, the mystical, that feeling, and magic. I believe in magic. And while I can’t put my finger on it, I feel like this year is going to be a good one. I’m going to be myself again, and I believe I’m going to be a better self, for having thought through some things that came up during this crisis, and for circling back to gratitude. For all the painful things I noticed and can’t un-notice now, or the hard things that happened, I’ve been surrounded by love and I’m grateful for every magical thing that’s happened.
Check out the Daily Prompt for more posts on static.
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