It’s been a good week, but a rough one. Okay, so it’s been a rough 1H 2015. Fine. Let’s just say it’s been rough for a while. But some times are rougher than others, even though things can be really fabulous, too.I’ve known things were different since that harrowing ENT appointment. The tears were squirting out of my eyes as I chokingly fixed them on my doc and wondered, Why is he not enacting the contingency plan?!? NOW’s the time, buddy!! I seriously considered pushing him away, but I was too busy clutching Ed Blueberry.
Thankfully the cough cleared once my meds were changed and Coach R no longer carries my lozenges in his pocket. It’s a good thing, I told him, bc the ENT said I didn’t have to go back for an entire year and there was NO WAY I’d go back before schedule.
But apparently my exaggerated response to the ENT exam process (one I’ve gone through probably 10+ times, not counting the times while I was asleep), was unsurprising given that I’m in PTSD treatment. Medical procedures, plane rides, etc. are different when you’re already at a heightened level of distress, so I’m supposed to be careful about these things.
I guess funerals could be characterized as one of these trigger events, and we’ve had a couple lately. SNIFF.
So I think I definitely exhausted all that denial had to offer me. So now I’m supposed to deal with it. I’ve been extra special jumpy lately and although my pain level has been so much better than in December when we said goodbye to Dan Uncle, there are some health decisions I need to make, and I need to start planning and eating food properly again. So I’m taking the rest of the summer off.
Yay! It’s summer vacation! I continue to struggle with the idea of vacation, and what that means for This Disabled Life, since I have to live in this body 24/7. But then I think of friends in a situation (e.g. caregiving) where there really is no break, and no brain injury to use as an excuse when you just have to shut everything down and go to bed. Suddenly, I feel more energized, and focused on making these friends’ worlds a happier place. :)
But I’ll be better equipped to do so if I take care of myself. I’ve been informed that my #1 job right now is to protect myself – for me this means sticking close to home and observing routine – this is not a fabulous time to undertake new challenges or stretch myself in general. Obviously I love to laugh, but I assure you that I feel the weight of my loss acutely. I’ve done a LOT of pretending since I got sick. A lot of it was simply easier for me since there was no time lapse in my head and I wanted to pick up where I left off with the friends who were still a part of my life. But there are moments of searing memory that catch me off guard. I avoid these if possible and shut them down or deal with them in a way I’m being trained to do. But for the first time in public, I referenced my Old Life in a way that put the elephant in the room front and center. We had Aunty Haigouhy’s funeral last week. It was tremendously sad for me, but a great joy to see her grandson grown so tall.
This is what I said:
My name is Ning. If you don’t know me from church you might recognize me from the neighborhood – I’d always be at The Shop or running errands with Aunty Haigouhy and it always amazed me how many people stopped to chat with her. I was like, How could one woman possibly have so many friends? Or you might have seen me when we had Uncle Joe’s funeral in 08.
I got really sick in 2011 and before I woke up the nurses told my family to bring in pictures of my friends and family so I’d be surrounded by familiar faces when I did open my eyes. So my siblings made copies of the photos on my fridge and made me a beautiful picture board. If you made it onto the picture board the implication was that whether or not the same blood runs in our veins we’re family. There was a beautiful picture of Aunty Haigouhy and L on my board. It was taken the week Uncle Joe passed away. And you know how you can tell in a picture sometimes when someone is stressed, sad, and tired? Aunty H was all these things, but NONE of them showed in that picture. She looks beautiful because she was with her grandson and it’s clear from that photo she loved him to bits and pieces.
In case you’re wondering why I inserted myself into the S family, this is one of my favorite stories. My Daddy had cancer a while ago. One day I was so sad I was sitting in the back of the red jeep talking to Uncle Joe and Aunty H. But then I burst into tears. I was like, Wah! Bc I was so sad. Uncle Joe was immediately like, No cry, No cry! But Aunty H smacked him on the shoulder and said, Joe – She want cry, LET HER CRY!!! I had to laugh bc it was so funny. But I knew that they were not strangers to grief. But they were a great balance. Uncle Joe told me to be strong. But Aunty H told me to be myself, and let me cry if I wanted to. That was a long time ago – and I decided then that I would be loyal to this family forever.
But that doesn’t change since Uncle Joe and Aunty H went home to be with the Lord. I want to say something to L specifically – but this goes for M and K, too. We spent a lot of time together before I moved to Oregon and before I got sick, but now that I’m disabled and stuff I can’t just come over and hang out anymore. So I figure that if I’m going to say something to you, it’s going to have to be here and now, in front of everyone. I know you’re old enough to remember me before I got sick. I was different. We did a lot of stuff, and we had fun. But a lot of those things we probably DON’T remember because you were a baby and I have blocked out a lot of memories because it makes me too sad. Things are really different now. But I just want to make sure you know, that no matter how your life changes, and it’s changed a LOT recently, the Lord Jesus doesn’t change. How your grandparents loved you is just a picture of how He loves you. Please remember that.