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Garth Brooks has a song - The Dance. It has been on my mind and in my heart these last few days.
Had I known how the story would end ...
I would have enjoyed my kids thru the growing up years more.
I would have worried less about how clean the house was, how well organized everything looked.
I would not have sent the kids outside to play when the noise level got on my "last nerve".
Just to hear the laughter now. Even to hear the words of argument!
To walk thru the house and find toys in the floor, and stuffed in every nook and cranny.
Crumbs on the table, spills under the table.
Candy wrappers stuffed between the couch cushions.
Wet towels on the bathroom floor.
Water stains on the walls and the floors.
Trash cans running over.
Dirty dishes piled in the sink, and on the table, and under the beds.
To hear a slamming door.
To feel a child's presence in the room, without seeing at first.
To know the arms of a child around my waist, or around my neck.
I never would have said - not now.
Oh I am so thankful for Mandy and Joshua. And I am so proud of the woman and the man they have become.
And I am honored and thankful that they are my 2 best friends on this earth.
I thank God every time they call ... or for every hug they give.
They still make me laugh ... and cry.
But had I known the house would be so empty ... and the silence be so deafening ... I would have enjoyed the loudness more!
I would have savored and treasured every word, every hug, every mess.
Had I known that a shoulder injury would take Rick's passion ...
I would have stayed in bed those mornings I didn't.
I would have laid with him as he slept - not get up and get the day started.
I would have turned into his arms every time, never saying - not now.
Just to get in a car and hit the open road - no destination in mind, packing nothing. Just go.
Those days are no more.
To climb on the motorcycle and feel the wind in my hair, and the sun on my face.
I regret the times that I didn't go.
The times of laughter and teasing.
Of hugs and kisses. Of LIFE.
Had I known all that would end ... I would have held on more.
That a chronic illness or disease could, or would, take so much away.
We have endured hardships in our life.
We have seen struggles and made it thru storms.
We have said that final good-bye, till we meet again - so many times that I have lost count.
But never have I known such loneliness, such grief ...
To have my husband with me. To see his form. To hear his voice.
But not to have his laughter ... his friendship.
To see his hands - but not to feel them.
To look at his arms - but not to have them hold me.
To hear his voice in conversation with others, but not to know that conversation.
To find quiet things to do as he sleeps. Hoping and expecting that he will feel better when he wakes up.
And then ... he doesn't.
He is still my husband. Still the head of our home.
But his strength is just not there most days, for most "jobs".
I am just a woman - supposed to be the weaker vessel.
Tired of carrying the load - spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
I have aches and pains, too. I have a tiredness that I just cannot explain - and it just won't go away.
It's been so long since I have slept - that sleep where you don't feel anything, you don't hear anything.
I sleep with one eye open - aware of every move Rick makes now. Never knowing when he will need me, when he will call out for something.
I sleep with one ear open - always listening for the alarms on the cycler. Sometimes they go off once a night, sometimes as many as 4 or 5 times a night. Get up, check everything, reset.
And I struggle with the feelings of being ...
Abandoned - the loneliness in the night time hours is sometimes so overwhelming that all I can do is cry out to Jesus, sit there and let the tears course down my face. Trying hard to believe that weeping may endure for the night - but joy comes in the morning.
Betrayed - because rarely any more does it seem that there is any joy in the mornings, sigh. At least not the joy that just sweeps me away. Joy now that I search for diligently and hold on to with all of my sanity and strength.
Left alone - because there is no one to call at 2 a.m.. Because there is no one that I know personally that deals with this. Because there are no arms to hold me when I have a bad night. Because when a storm blows outside, I sit alone, afraid, calling on the Master of the winds. Because when there is a storm brewing within me, I sit alone, calling on the Knight to come rescue me.
There is no one person to blame ... this is just LIFE.
But it is not the life we had planned. We didn't dream about this.
We didn't live our life for all these years with this in mind.
I do not mean this post to be a "downer" -- just the truth. Brutal and honest. Perhaps too much for some.
But this is life for us now.
The joys? Our children ... our grandchildren ... a friend who gives a hug ... a friend who calls to just say "I was thinking about you, I love you" ... a friend who makes a grocery run on one of the busiest shopping days of the year ... a friend's husband who gives a sharp "wolf whistle" when I walk in the room - simply because I am his "food wife" LOL ... a good cup of coffee on a cold morning ... a heating pad on a sore back ... a beautiful sunrise thru the trees ... a sunset that takes my breath away ... having a precious family member make a response to a blog post ... hearing a corny joke that makes us laugh ... watching a good movie ... laughing over an old sitcom ... a cold glass of sweet iced tea on a hot afternoon, when the throat is so parched it is hard to swallow ... we spend a great part of our days counting our blessings - big and small.
Better days? A day when Rick's blood sugar is low enough that he doesn't have to take a shot, but not so low that he has to take the "other" shot. A day when the pain is at a lower level. A day when even if we don't talk much - at least we aren't cross with one another. A day when we can visit with others. A day when we can just sit outside, drink a glass of tea or a cup of coffee, and at least pretend to be "normal". A day when we don't have to struggle to bring in the dialysis supplies, because the day before we brought in enough to last a couple of days.
Decent nights? A night when my body will let me stay in bed longer than 2 hours. A night when the cycler alarm doesn't go off at all - and I don't have to wake Rick up to check all the lines. A night when Rick sleeps without having to walk the floor first because of the pain. A night when the quietness of the house doesn't get to me. A night when I can actually sleep - even if it is on the couch, with my back pushed up against the back of the couch for support.
When we started this website and blog several years ago, we decided to be honest - good days and bad. Knowing that we aren't the only ones on earth to go thru all this ... and knowing that there are others who have things better ... but there are others who have things worse.
But, no matter the good or bad - we didn't want to be anything except HONEST.
And so, in HONESTY, I post this today.