Day 20 since the breakup. Day 20 since my world fell apart. Since it crumbled and shattered. And for some reason, I can’t seem to let go. I’m doing ok one moment, and totally not the next. I smell an old shirt – something that had his scent on it – and it brings me back to him. Back to us. I remember something, or see something, or think of the future…..a future without him…….and I can’t breathe. My oxygen literally feels like it’s being cut off. And my heart…..my heart just cries. It aches and yearns for what was so familiar, and so loved. It’s so hard to take. It’s so hard to accept. So I fill up my time. Or at least I try to. But even that doesn’t help sometimes. Because at one point or another, I’m going to remember. At some point, I’m going to be alone with myself, with those feelings. With that pain. And it’s at those moments that I break. It’s at those moments that I cry. It’s at those moments that I feel at such an amazing loss……..a loss I don’t know how to get through. It’s at moments like this. Like now.
Something must be happening. Some change in the universe, a full moon, or maybe it’s just life trying to shake me up a bit…..or a lot. So many things have happened to me in less than two weeks. Things I thought I might not get through. And while, they still hurt, nothing scares me more than hearing that there’s a slight chance, that I might have thyroid cancer.
So I recently found out that I wont have a job in June to go back to. I thought, ok, let me schedule as many appointments as possible – dentist, regular physical, blood work, etc. before my insurance runs out. I go get my physical. The doctor checks my neck and asks me if I’ve ever checked my thyroid. I say no. She tells me she feels a small lump, and that she wants me to get an ultrasound. She tells me it might just be that I’m skinny that she can feel the thyroid a bit more, but wants to be sure it’s not a nodule. There I am sitting….listening to what it might or might not be. A little in disbelief. Scared even. You know those movies where they show someone in the doctors office getting bad news? The ones where the person just heard some scary news about their health and they just space out because they are trying to process it all? That was soooo me. I ask questions, and the answers I get back are not really answers I want to hear. Especially not now. Especially not after all I’ve been through these past weeks. So I’m there thinking “great, the good times just keep rolling in”.
So I’m told to schedule the ultrasound, and that we’ll go from there. It could be a simple nodule that won’t need surgery and that we’ll just have to watch in case it keeps growing and possibly take a pill for depending on if my thyroid isn’t functioning normally (which might eventually need surgery anyways), or it could be something a little more serious – a cancerous nodule that might need surgery (removal of the thyroid), and a lifetime of taking a pill. That same day, I rush out and schedule the ultrasound. Next day, I get the call while I’m at Lowes buying paint. The results come back positive for a nodule. My heart kind of sinks. I ask to meet with the doctor that same day. She wants me to get a biopsy. That’s some scary shit right there. I run through the options and the different scenarios. I’m told that even if it is cancerous, that after they remove my thyroid I should be ok. Yes, I’ll have a scar, and yes, I will be uncomfortable and in some pain afterwards, but that most people get through it okay. Somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better. The thought of being prodded by needles and having my throat cut up and having something removed from my body, doesn’t make me feel too good. It’s just scary. The thought I might have something cancerous in me is majorly frightening. The thought there could be a small chance there might be complications due to the surgery….let’s just say it all blows.
So now I am waiting to be scheduled in for the biopsy. Might not hear back until Monday. I’m hoping and praying it’s nothing. Just a lump that will need watching for the rest of my life. I actually have to get my blood work on Tuesday which would determine if the thyroid is functioning properly as well, which could determine if I also need to take pills for the rest of my life.
As scary as it all is, and as much as it all sucks, I know I have to be strong. I have to find the strength in myself to get through it all – not just this, but all the things that have hit me all at once in less than two weeks. I have get through it all - I have to. That’s my only choice. I can’t give up on life or myself….especially not now.
To be continued……..
9/15/13 Update: So I received my results for the blood work and urine analysis. All seems to be normal….Thank God. So I just need to get the biopsy on Wednesday and find out what’s up with the nodule. I’m hoping it’s really nothing, as the doctor told me these nodules are common in women. However, the thing that scares me is what she told me in the office that day – that mine seemed to have blood and vessels running inside it. Again, hoping it’s nothing and that I’ll just have to keep an eye on it every couple of months…
When someone you love dies, you know that you have no choice but to accept the fact that you’ll never see them again, feel them again, hear them again. That you’ll never hear their laughter, hear their jokes, or their loving words. You’re heartbroken, lost, and shattered, but you know that it wasn’t their choice to leave your side. You know that they loved you just as deeply.
But what happens when someone you love decides to leave your side by choice? When they’ve chosen not to touch you, or feel you, or hear you again? When they no longer feel that same love in their heart for you. How do you stop loving them? How do you get over the memories….all those memories….good and bad? How do you tear the hurt from your heart when you feel you’ve given everything? How do you accept the rejection, the pain? How do you accept that they’ve decided to leave you behind? That they’ve moved on without you. How do you accept the quickness of it all?
The memories are everywhere. At the supermarket, department stores, at school, at home, or at the parks you used to share walks with on sunny days. The loss hits you when you see a couple in the street holding hands or laughing together. Or when you think of the trip you were supposed to take, the places you were supposed to go, the accomplishments you were supposed to celebrate together. The moments of grief, sadness, frustration, and anger you were supposed to support each other with. The dreams, hopes, and experiences you once shared and still had for the future - for each other - they are suddenly ripped away. They are disregarded, thrown aside, and forgotten. Now they live in your mind and heart, or in a memory book you once started long ago. The memory book you once thought would be filled with more life journeys, moments, joys. Now that memory book brings on pain and hurt because it reminds you of all that was and could have been. The millions of pictures on your phone or computer…..the ones of both of you laughing, holding hands, kissing, and enjoying life. They are now a source of sadness and hurt. They bring on a sense of loss. Each one of those pictures and memories so deeply rooted. So deeply tied to the other person.
It’s hard to make sense of it all. Hard to let go. Hard to go on. From shock, to hurt, to anger, to more of the same……you end up having to pick up the pieces of that broken heart…….of those broken dreams…..of those broken promises.
So you have a roof over your head. You have enough money to pay the bills. You have a job. That’s great and all, but are you really happy? Do you get fulfillment out of all that you have? Do you feel accomplished? Do you feel valuable and appreciated and challenged? Do you feel excitement, happiness, and eagerness for what you do? If you don’t, then it’s okay to want more for yourself. Sure, you’re grateful for everything you have – you’re blessed to make more than the average Joe. Your job might be in a convenient location, or offer you perks others might not usually get. But at the end of the day, is that enough? Is it enough for your spirit – not necessarily your wallet?
So many of us struggle with this feeling. This feeling of wanting more, but being stagnant where we are because we are either afraid, don’t know what to do next, don’t feel like we are capable of more, feel like we should be grateful for what we have, or just can’t catch a break. Sometimes we need to take action. Sometimes we need to be patient. Sometimes it’s a little of both. Sometimes we need to be realistic, and other times we need to be optimistic. It’s hard to know what decision is the “right one”.
I guess the best advice is to never limit your options. Never close the door on possibilities. Never stop searching, or wanting more. Most importantly, don’t ever let yourself believe that what you have today is all you’ll ever have, or that where you are now is the only place you’ll ever be. You are worth more. You deserve more. So don’t ever feel guilty for it, and don’t ever feel guilty for expressing how you feel about it. You have a right to those feelings. Let those feelings out – shout them out, cry them out! Let them guide you. Let them promote action in you. Let them be that small pebble….the one that will one day lead you to your heart’s true desire.
My dad died just before Thanksgiving. I won’t say he “passed away”, because the priest who was speaking at the service would kill me. According to him, we pass gas, not pass away. I guess his point was that people are afraid to utter the words – “he died”. Instead they try to lighten the blow, or make it sound less horrible in some way. But when it comes down to it, it all hurts just the same, no matter how you say it.
I’m still kind of in a daze I guess. It’s weird because I think I went through so many of these emotions and feelings 13 years ago when my dad first had his major stroke. When he was in a coma for about two weeks, and the doctors were telling us he was either going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life, or he wasn’t going to make it at all. I was nineteen at the time. I remember going to the little hospital chapel one day with my mom. We both walked in, somber as ever, sat down, and prayed. It’s funny how moments like that bring you straight to God even when you haven’t attended church or read the bible. I knew very well what my mom was praying for. She was praying that my dad would live. That he would wake up and survive…no matter what. I was praying he would make it too. But I also prayed for something I felt guilty about. I knew that if he were to wake up from that coma, that he would not be the same man I once knew. And so I prayed a different prayer. One my mom would not like. I begged God that my dad would wake up ok – normal – as he was before. But I also asked that if he was going to wake up and end up not being able to talk, walk, or do things for himself, that God take him. I thought a life like that would not be a life at all. For anyone. Even for me. I was ashamed of that prayer. It felt selfish and horrible. But I know it really wasn’t. I didn’t want him to have to suffer or go through life like that. I also didn’t want my mom, who would be his primary caretaker to go through that experience either. My dad did end up waking up slowly. But I was right – he didn’t wake up the same as he was before. And that day (or those days), were days in which I mourned the loss of the man I once knew to be my dad. We all mourned that loss. And we all struggled to deal with reality. With a new dad. With new life struggles and challenges. Somehow, we got through it. Somehow, we gathered up the strength and courage and determination to keep going. To face all the challenges. To keep ourselves sane…or at least mostly sane.
My dad and I weren’t the closest. My dad was a workaholic. Sometimes work would come first. Sometimes it felt as if he didn’t quite know how to connect or be present for us. As a teenager, I was angry about that. I wanted him to be there for us. I wanted to know him better. I wanted him to want to be with us. But as an adult now, having gone through all this, I understand that that was the best he knew how to do. His way of showing us love was probably to work so that he could support us. We both made mistakes. We both might have not said what we should have said, or done what we should have done. We both might have even said things we regret. But that didn’t mean we both didn’t love each other. It didn’t mean that I still didn’t need my dad, or that he didn’t need his daughter. We can’t expect our parents to be perfect. Just as they can’t expect us to be perfect.
I hope he can forgive my errors, as I forgive his. I hope that he’s looking down from heaven at me with only love and peace in his heart. I hope he knows that we did all we could for him. I hope that he knows I love him and that I wish we could have enjoyed all the little things together – as a family. That he could have seen my brother graduate from college twice – with his bachelors and masters. He would have been proud. That he could have gone to the beach with us. That he could have met the person I hope to spend the rest of my life with. I hope he knows how much my mom loved him, and how unselfishly she gave of herself, her time, and her love. What an amazing woman you married dad. How much she loved you – I don’t even think you knew. You should be so proud of her and so in awe of her. She is truly amazing. She never left your side. Never stopped praying for you. Never stopped fighting for you. I hope you give her the strength to get through. To live the life that you would want her to live. That you watch over her and protect her, just as she watched over you and protected you in life these past thirteen years.
Death is hard. It’s hard to face. It’s hard to accept. It’s not something you get over in a few weeks. Seeing a loved one in a coffin is not a sight you easily overcome or forget. The emotions come in waves. And even when you seem okay to the outside world, your heart still aches for the one you lost. For the experiences, time, moments that you’ll never have together. For the words you’ll never hear spoken. For the touch that wish you could feel.
I hope I can make you proud dad. I love you, and I miss you. A part of me has missed you for the past thirteen years. I hope you are at peace. I hope you are in heaven, free and walking and talking to all those who you too loved and lost.
Until we meet again…..you’ll be in our hearts forever.
The other day I was watching the news. They were talking about the flooding that occurred in New Orleans due to all the rain and storms they were having. There was a couple on a small boat retrieving a few salvaged items from their home. While the news crew filmed them on the their boat as it slowly made up its way through the street which now looked like a river, leaving their flooded home behind (for not the first time, as this was the second time the home had flooded since they lived there), the wife looked around and said “We’re gonna get through this”, then looked at her husband, rubbed his back and said “right hunny?”. The husband continued to look straight ahead as he navigated the boat and simply said “Yep…we have to.”
‘We have to’. Those words stuck in my mind. They were so simple, yet so poignant. They reminded me of how much strength, determination, and pure will we humans have to continue - even through the most difficult of situations. How we muster up any ounce of courage, faith, and hope that we might have left, so that we can get through the impossible. Through situations that we could not even imagine coming out of, or through the most heartbreaking of losses or circumstances. We get through because we have to. We get through because the other choice would be to just give up, roll up in a ball and die, or let the anger, hurt, and frustration consume us. And that’s not a road most of us want to take. It’s not what we want for ourselves. So what do we do? We find a way. We find a way to get through – because we have to.
This topic is so fitting of today. On one of the anniversaries of 9/11. When heartbreak consumed not only New Yorker’s, but the world as we watched in horror the product of hate and ignorance. I always wonder how they, along with those who lost loved ones in Virginia and Pennsylvania, got through such horrific events. It truly is mind-blowing to see people get through such circumstances, but not just get through them, but thrive as well. How they continue to keep all of who they are intact – their kindness, their faith, their hope, their belief that there is still good in this world. It is truly amazing. And it is not only until we go through circumstances like that, that we really find out what our own strength is.
My wish for us all – may we all have the courage, the faith, the strength, and the determination to get through anything that life might throw at us. No matter how difficult. Because we have to.