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

Musings of an Old Hag on her Birthday, part deux

So, I went back and reread my Musings of an Old Hag on her Birthday, part one from last year and I must say that it all still holds true.

For those of you new to my blog since June of last year, you can read it here: OLD HAG. I really hope you enjoy it and/or identify with it because I have to tell you that I’m happier in my 40s than I’ve ever been before and it’ll tell you exactly why.

As I don’t want to repeat what I said last year I’m going to list a few things that I’ve learned and a few things for which I am thankful.

Things for which I’m thankful:

  1. I have a loving family who always makes me feel special
  2. My husband kicks so much ass that it hurts my brain sometimes
  3. I have wonderful blogging buddies that add so very much to my life
  4. My 2nd toe is shorter than my big toe and that makes me very happy
  5. I’ve added about 15 new teddy bears to the Sofa Teddy collection and I have fun with them all the time
  6. Getting emails from people who’ve been helped by my sassy mouth–such a wonderful feeling
  7. I’ve managed to stay a non-smoker for approximately 6 months, 13 days and 2 hours (not that I’m counting)
  8. I’ve managed to only gain 8 pounds since I quit–really, that sucks, but it could have been 20, so I can’t complain
  9. I’m healthier since meeting the hubby than I’ve ever been in my life and he loves me even if I’m covered in scars from head to toe
  10. I still think that aging gracefully is a wonderful thing

Things I’ve learned:

I recently went back home for a visit (last week) and while I was there I saw two old friends who are so very dear to my heart. One I’ve known for 29 years. The other I’ve known for 22. Both of them have made such a great impact in my life–I wouldn’t be who I am today without either of them. One taught me what true friendship is. One taught me when to cut and run, how to heal and how to forgive. It was really quite emotional being back there, but I’m so thankful I went. Here’s what I’ve learned over the the last half of my life from knowing those two people:

  1. Friendship doesn’t need to be constantly reminded of itself. True friends can go years without seeing one another and then fall back into place like only a day has passed in the meantime.
  2. Friendship isn’t full of bullshit and fear. True friends love you enough to risk telling you when you are being a dumb ass and are loyal enough to hold your hand through the worst and best of times.
  3. Bravery is a beautiful thing, even if it means facing something you worry will cause you great pain. There is something about just the facing of it that can give you such great relief.
  4. Faithfulness and loyalty are the greatest gift you can give the one you love AND the greatest gift you can give yourself. Being able to look in the mirror in the morning and not shudder from disappointment in yourself is truly a blessing.
  5. Separating your heart from your mind and saying, “Enough is enough” is a skill that I’m so very happy to have, even if it is a bitch to put into practice.
  6. I have so much room in my heart for love that it astonishes me sometimes. Often I worry that I’m a little bit hard–things that make others cry often don’t really affect me. But I think that what it really is, is that I love those close to me so very deeply and completely that there isn’t a great deal of room left. That may sound bad, but I mean it in a good way. I love fully and with abandon. I don’t love with fear. I don’t love with regret. I love openly and I’m so very happy and thankful for that.
  7. And finally, forgiveness is truly the most glorious of all human abilities. It may take 10 minutes or 20 years, but forgiving yourself for your own mistakes (be they intentional or not) and forgiving others who have harmed you (again, whether or not they intentionally harmed you) will not only make the world a bit brighter, but will reduce the ache of that pain at least down to a very tiny pin prick, if not remove it completely.

As you can see, these two old friends have helped me achieve the beautiful life I have now and I thank God every day that they not only came into my life, but that they stayed.

On an entirely different note: Did I go an entire post without using the word “fuck”? Holy crap!  😉

Last but not least, here is a pic of my Mommy and me last week at the beach. I’m 5 days shy of being 43 in this pic and my mom is 74. We both embrace our age, though we also both still feel 22 (and often act it too!). I am most grateful that my mom is not only still around, but that she is for the most part happy and healthy. She is a true gift from God and I’m forever thankful to have her.

Mom and me at the beach