Musings of an Old Hag (but an alive one) on her (almost) Birthday

First and foremost, massive hugs and love to all of you for your many emails, flowers and other goodies you sent to the hospital to cheer me up and the tons of prayers that most certainly kept me alive these last 4 1/2 months.

Also, thanks to the good Lord above for blessing me with a second set of doctors and surgeons who, quite literally, saved my life. I will forever be thankful to God and to them for their gifts of skill and determination to keep me alive.

While the last 47 years have been full of joy and laughter, love and lust, peace and grace, they’ve also been quite full of pain–both of body and mind. I sometimes startle when I think of it. And I think that’s the greatest blessing of all…that the bad hasn’t overcome the good and made my life one of sadness and fear. That I still am a bit shocked when I think of all the trials I’ve been through shows me that it’s not those trials that define who I am, but it’s those trials from which I’ve learned to be who I am.

Since January and the medical issues I went through and am still going through, I’ve endured more physical pain than I ever thought possible. And the emotional toll has been devastating. The fear. No. The terror of everyday life over the last 140 days has been stunning in its endurance. But, even with all that, and what continues to happen as a result of that, I know I’m blessed. And here’s why:

  1. My husband not only tells me he loves me multiple times each day, but he shows me. What’s he’s had to endure watching me go through this mess would have broken a weaker man. Instead, he tells me it’s his privilege and honor to take care of me. I didn’t know love that like existed. A person’s true character shines brightest not in the light, but in the dark. He lit up my entire world and continues to do so.
  2. My sister flew out and took care of me for almost 3 weeks. She made damn sure the doctors, nurses and everyone else that had to do with my care did everything that was required to keep me alive. Her dedication to my health, both physical and mental, was beautiful and more than I ever could have asked for. She was, and continues to be, such an amazing support and shoulder. I don’t know what I’d have done without her.
  3. My mom, God bless her, who is 78 and seen more pain in her life than 10 other people combined, managed to survive all of what has and is happening and not snap or give in to despair. She even makes me a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce every week to cheer me up and make meals easy for me as I’m getting back on my feet.
  4. My 2nd set of doctors and nurses did their damnedest to keep my ass alive. My nurses showed me so much love it overwhelmed my heart. I had one doctor in particular who made me feel safe every time he walked through the door. When you are living in non-stop terror and pain, that reprieve is more valuable than anything on earth.
  5. My home nursing staff breathed love all over me with every visit. I’ll never be able to thank my sweet nurse who managed my care enough. I think of her so often and how her tenderness, love, support and understanding helped me through one of the truly darkest times of my life. I’d never before been so sad and so frozen in fear, but she held my hand and told me I was going to make it through. On her last visit, we both got emotional for we’d forged a bond through pain and understanding that doesn’t go away overnight.
  6. My friends rallied like never before to pray for me, support me and send me love on a continual basis. My sister kept everyone informed over Facebook as to what was going on and the outpouring of tenderness still warms my heart. I still cannot believe the cards, flowers, blankets, teddies and other wonderful tokens of love that my friends sent me to cheer me up. And I still feel bad that somehow all the wonderful notes that came with the heart-felt gifts have vanished. I would love to have been able to reach out to every kind person that sent me a card or gift and thank them profusely–alas, I was very drugged and while I was overwhelmed with thankfulness when my husband read me the cards when delivered, for the life of me I can’t recall about 80% of who sent what–but a HUGE thanks to those of you who sent me reminders that I wasn’t going through this alone. And a HUGE thanks to all of you who reached out virtually to let me know you were praying for me. Those prayers made all the difference.
  7. My ability to forgive hasn’t weakened. For that I’m eternally thankful. Sometimes, the rage and the heartache and the sense of betrayal can be so overwhelming it feels like I’m sinking into a hole from which there is no escape. But before I get to the bottom of it, I remember to forgive. And that pulls me up out of it. Though sometimes that dark hole tugs back, I won’t let it gain purchase for that is place I never want to live.
  8. I’m still alive. Dammit! I’m forever thankful for that. I still get the privilege of loving my husband, my family and my friends. I still get to do my best to bring joy (often through sarcasm!!) to those around me. I still get the pleasure of petting my kitties and taking care of the chickens, hamster and hedgehog. I still get to go to Starbucks and chat with all the wonderful friends I have there (I drink way too many frapps!). I still get to giggle with my hubby about silly things and make my teddy bears have conversations of a most inappropriate sort. I still get to love all the things I loved before…that is truly a blessing. And, most importantly, I didn’t die and leave my family bereaved. The thought of hurting them even more than the last 4 1/2 months already have just tears out my heart. So, I’m forever thankful that they didn’t have to plan a funeral, decide what to do with my stuff, have holidays without me and mourn my loss. The feeling of pain for those I love is always more important to me than my own pain, and I’m blessed to have kept them from that particular kind of anguish.

For those people who’ve been around me, most of you likely think that all is good as I’m still cheerful, quick to giggle and have done everything in my power to stay strong and be thankful for the good things that remain. All of that is true. It’s not a façade. At the same time though, way down deep where fear is a living and breathing thing, I’m truly terrified of the upcoming tests I still have to face and what the results of those may be. I’m very lucky to have a brain that compartmentalizes very well…it lets me get on with life while wrapping up all the pain and fear into a little box that I only let see the light on rare occasions. If you are so inclined, I’d be ever so grateful for continued prayers and healthy vibes. I still have some icky things coming up that scare the ever-loving fuck out of me, so your positive thoughts are so very appreciated. 🙂

I know this hasn’t been my typical post, and I know it’s been a long time since most of you have heard from me at all, but I’ve tried to spend these last months focusing on getting better, reducing my constant fear, learning to live with unexpected consequences, and being thankful that I’m even here to write this.

After 47 years of life I know that the most important things have nothing to do with money, possessions, looks, position, power or any of that other superficial bullshit. What I do know is that allowing people to love you and loving them back with your whole heart is the greatest gift in the world. For that knowledge, I’m forever thankful and blessed.

May you all have a wonderful life and know that I’m always praying for you to be happy, healthy and safe.

Much love,

Jodi

On Eulogies and What Really Matters

Setting the Scene: A beautiful Spring day. 72 degrees with white puffy clouds in a crisp blue sky. 100 people standing together, sharing their love for their beloved friend or dearest family. Up to the casket steps the widower. Grief written in his eyes and a hushed tone in his voice, he begins to talk about the love of his life and what he’ll miss most.

The Eulogy: My beautiful wife… I will miss you more than you could ever know.

All of those many, many hours you spent in the gym every week to make sure that I could worship at your 6-pack abs are hours I’m glad you spent away from me and our family because look at the amazing results. Wow. The ripped muscles I could see pressing up against those tight dresses were so worth all the missed dinners and little league games you didn’t attend.

Every time you ate salad with no dressing, it proved to me how much you loved me. Each time you refused to eat birthday cake or passed up even a bite of french fries deepened my adoration of you.

Of course, I can’t forget those slim hips and delightfully petite tush that reminded me so much of how you looked when I first met you in Elementary school. I know that staying the same size you were when you were but a budding adolescent was challenging to say the least, but you did it so well and it made the world such a better place. You brought joy to everyone when they looked at you. They didn’t even have to know you or your mind to be thankful you were in the world.

What I’ll miss most is knowing that you loved me enough to spare yourself every bit of joy that good food, good drink and a lazy Saturday in bed could give us because you knew I needed you to be model-perfect everyday in order to keep our marriage strong and filled with passion.

In Heaven, may you find the gym of your dreams and may God give you a cup of 5 raw eggs every morning because I know how much you loved to start your day with protein. I’ll miss you, my love.

My thoughts: Of course that is an insane pile of shit! Hopefully, no one would really give a eulogy like that because when it all comes down in the end, what truly matters is what shines through. But I wanted to put it out there because I got stuck watching some commercials this week against my will and so many of them focused on: Being thin. Being built from the waist down like a 10-year-old boy. Having giant tits. A tiny waist. Bigger lips. Smaller hips. Being hairless from the neck down, but we have some great hair extensions to sell you to make the hair on your head twice as thick–all other hair is unacceptable. It was just ridiculous!

I’m soooooo sick of the pressure put on women to be “perfect.” First off, we all have a different idea of what perfect is, so let’s say bye bye to that word altogether. Secondly, who ever said that being a Victoria’s Secret model made anyone happy or secure? Men cheat on their model-hot girlfriends all the time. An expression I hate more than just about anything on earth is: “See that beautiful woman over there? Some guy is tired of fucking her.” I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard use that expression and it makes me wanna punch something. Being beautiful is not the key to happiness, love, security or anything else. It might get you your Starbucks faster, but in the scheme of things…

The truth of it is, most of the beautiful women I’ve known in my life are also the most insecure. When everyone tells you how pretty you are, then it’s easy for your self-worth to tie only to your external beauty. Since we all grow old, how well can someone like that fare as they begin to age? If one’s only perceived value is what they see in the mirror, what happens when what they see is 50 or 60 or 70 years old? Our value should come from everything beneath the façade.

So what if you are 40 pounds or 90 pounds overweight? Who cares if you are 20 pounds underweight? The only reason I’d give a rat’s ass is that I’d be worried about your health. What matters to me is WHO you are, not what you look like. What a shallow bunch of shit. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind a peek at a nice photo of Chris Hemsworth every now and again. I’m not blind. But if I met him and he was a dick? Then I’d never want to meet or see him again. It’s all about the love and joy and fun and support and strength that someone brings to others’ lives. Fuck how pretty their hair is or how nice of an ass they have. When life gets hard and you need someone to help carry you through those dark hours, do you really care if they have a 24 inch waist? Or do you care that they love you enough to endure any hardship that comes your way?

Here is an excerpt from a real eulogy a man spoke for his wife. This is the kind of  love I’d hope to hear at my own funeral. Note he never once talks about missing her 6-pack abs.

I don’t know about anyone of you, but as for me, getting married to my wife was the best thing that every happened to me. She was my best friend, my lover, and my wife. She was the source of all the happiness and all the fun I had in my lifetime.

The best part of each day was waking up to find her by my side and the best part of each night was going to sleep knowing she was laying next to me and the best thing about life was knowing no matter how hard it got, how scary it was, or how poor we were, all I had to do was go home, close the door behind me, and see my wife and the sun would shine and nothing else would seem that important any longer.

I guess what they say about your home being your castle is really true because whenever I got home everything outside my door was no longer of any concern. 

I will miss her terribly, but then I will see her in my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws and children and even grandchildren and I will smile knowing that a part of her is still with us.

I am saddened by my loss. She died too soon. “Why did god take her from me?” That is what I asked myself when Kathy passed last Sunday. It took this entire week before I realized that I was looking at it all backwards. That I had taken the wrong perspective to examine what had just occurred.

Try to imagine with me, if you will, that first day when the spark and fire of love was first felt by me. I went home and thanked the Lord for sending Kathy to me.

Did I ask him to give me 43 years of bliss and happiness? Would I have been so bold and brazen to have said, “Lord I demand 43 years of having a companion to share life with?”

Of course not. I was and always am timid and shy when speaking to our Lord. Do Your will, not mine. Who knew how great His love for me would have been. Who could have expected God to be so caring as to have granted to me such a wonderful life.

I would like to end this now with a simple prayer. If you would all bow your heads.

Heavenly Father, Your servant Kathy has returned to Your side in Heaven. We give You thanks for allowing her to stay with us as long as she did and we know it was time for her to leave us. Please Lord, let her know of our love for her and keep her in eternal peace. Amen