Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been a really special time for me.  Even as a child, I loved the smells, the family gathered around the table, even all the work the day requires.  As a young adult, Thanksgiving took on a brand new meaning for me because that is the day I met Sean.  We have one of those ridiculously romantic stories where he looked at me across the room and thought to himself, "I'm going to marry that girl." 


Truth be told, I've always been a little spoiled in the love department.  I met him when I was so young - I was only home from college for 6 months.  I was 22 and I got to love him for 17 years.  All of my adult life so far. 

When he was sick, he had this wonderful home health aide.  I've ashamed that I can't remember her name but we had a conversation that will stick with me forever.  Little rabbit trail: you tend to get to know the people who become part of the daily fabric of your life and she was no exception.  She was absolutely wonderful, she even washed Sean's hair a day before he died.  I actually told her that wasn't necessary, that she surely had another appointment to get to, but she insisted.  She was tall, she was lovely in her own way, her quiet demeanor and peacefulness only added to that.  She was extraordinary at her job and she had told me once in passing that she was married for 17 years and that she was divorced.  She spoke so lovingly of her parents and never mentioned children and I just knew not to ask.  Well, one day she sat at the table with me and told me what a good job I was doing with Sean.  That the love that we shared was beautiful and rare and that she didn't see it everyday.  Then she said something that completely stunned me.  She said, "I have never been loved like you are." 

I was speechless.  She was married.  Now, I'm not naive enough to think that every marriage is made of rainbows and lollipops but she was married and she had never been loved like me.  And it just made me want to hug her.  But, she taught me a valuable lesson and I can't help but remember her words this year.  I'm really going to try to remember how blessed I am that an extraordiary person loved me and he liked me and he protected me.  I wish that I could have had a thousand more years with him.  I really do.  But I'm going to look back at the 17 years, look at our two beautiful children and say thank you. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today I am feeling discouraged.  I set a goal for myself this month that I would exercise every day and that I would drink less soda.  I haven't really done either one.  Soda is really the root of all evil in my world.  It's the one thing that I just love to consume.  The thing that gives me the most comfort in the food arena.  It's truly like a drug for me.  There's this blog that I've been following and this girl is doing great.  She's lost 47 pounds since January of this year and she's done it all with Weight Watchers and discipline.  That's something that I sorely lack.  Every day I half want to stand up and cheer for her and punch her in the nose at the same time because she is doing something I can't.  (kidding...)  

I do great for about a week and then I fall off the wagon so far I can barely see it!  I pay for Weight Watchers every month and don't use it.  I just bought 4 more 12-packs of Pepsi this morning (on sale at least).  I have a treadmill that I've been using spotty at best.   

And now we're moving and it's all on me.   And to me it just feels like another excuse.  I know, I know.  I've lost Sean.  I need time to take time to heal from that and mourn.  I just feel myself on a slippery slope that I need to get off of.  I just found a Scripture that I love - "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed."  1 Peter 1:13

This weight for me is not just this weight.  It's something much deeper.  It's years of being self-indulgent.  And it's something that I absolutely have to get a hold of.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ethan Zohn

Ethan Zohn's cancer has returned.  For anyone who doesn't know he was the winner of Survivor years ago and one of the notable things about that is that not a single vote was cast against him to be voted out.  Ever.  That's pretty unheard of in the cutthroat world of Survivor.  He must be quite a man. 

Anyway, back to cancer.  The thing about this disease is it doesn't matter how popular or nice you are.  He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma a couple of years ago and it went into remission and in September he found out it was back.  I saw this picture of him and his girlfriend, Jenna, just before he ran the New York Marathon.  I literally could not stop looking at it. 

Ethan Zohn: Marathon Finisher in 4:20:46 | Ethan Zohn

Now, I can't relate to the struggles that he is going through, but her - she's a different story.  Everything that I have read about her, she loves him.  And there is nothing more heartbreaking to see the man you love, who is larger than life as I'm sure he is to her, throw up in a bucket.  To take a short walk and be winded.  To crumble in front of you.  I know, I've been there.  And even though, I'm  not them I know a little bit how that feels.  I really wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  I look at this girl in this picture and she looks dazed, like the mack truck called cancer just backed up in her driveway and dumped out all its garbage on her doorstep. 

Confession time: sometimes, during very dark times, I think I failed Sean and I think God took him early because of me.  I could not do what she is doing.  Ethan's cancer went away for 20 months.  For 20 months.  I imagine all kinds of plans were made, how jubilant they must have felt, how she might actually have taken a deep breath.  I don't know that I could have waited for the other shoe to drop, to always feel like I had to look over my shoulder to see if cancer was catching up with us.  I just don't know that I could have lived through that constant fear and waiting.  Now I know that God's timetable doesn't revolve around me and Sean's life was written long before I came along.    But, in the dark times - I think.

But, this girl.  She's someone you want in your corner.  If I met her today I would hug her so tight and I would tell her how hard I am praying for her.   How at the lowest times of our lives, the ones who surround us the best - those are the ones.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another day down

It's true how you can be in a room filled to the brim with people and still feel utterly alone.  I feel like that a lot lately but not any time more than on Halloween night.   I went to a wonderful friend's house and there were lots of really wonderful people there but I was painstakingly aware that every single person who came through the door was part of a pair.  I think it's because I remember last Halloween a little too vividly.  Sean had just gotten released from the hospital a few hours before trick-or-treating time and he insisted on joining us.  He was gaunt, he was wearing a borrowed jacket that in better day he would have filled out but now hung loosely in all the wrong places, he looked scared.  I remember looking at him and thinking that he already looked like he was so close to death.  I was so proud of him that day because he truly exemplified love.  He should have been grouchy, who would have blamed him.  He should have gone home, gotten in bed and pulled the covers up.  But, not my Sean.  He was dying of cancer, he was in horrible pain but yet he loved his little boys enough to sacrifice all that to watch them have fun.  I don't think Halloween will ever be the same for me.   

And so I can say that I survived. I made it through another milestone without him.  And whether people held my hand or tried to ignore the tears, it doesn't really matter.  Because grief feels to me like I am clawing to survive just one more minute, one more hour, one more day without him. 

I just miss his voice.  I can't really think too hard about the fact that I won't ever hear it again.  The way he used to know exactly the right thing to say at just the right moment.  How I didn't have to explain everything to him.  How I used to be able to step into his arms, take a deep breath and know deep in my heart that everything was going to be okay.  Sean used to look at me a certain way and I just knew that he loved me. 

There is somedays when I feel like the weight of the loss of him could only be likened to an elephant sitting on my chest.  I literally have to try to catch my breath.  And I'm glad that when I don't have any idea what to do next, my only choice can be to take another breath.