It is no secret that I have been really sick lately. And truthfully, I lost my heart's song. It has been hard to see the light at the end of this physical journey of illness. I do what I know how to do best and that is to shut down and shut out others. Or send an email here and there so others think that I am just fine.
I have a wonderful husband who talked to a lot of my friends (unbeknown) to me. What ended up happening touched me beyond words. Friends drove from all over to come and see with me and rallied around me. Those that could not be there, wrote me emails, some were tough to read...but, they were real and honest. Family called me to just say 'I love you" I get teary eyed when I think of it.
The weekend before last, friends and these amazing women in our neighborhood came to my home and made our room like a spa. A place for me to forget my troubles. Some of the women had never met me before. They did my laundry, brought food. I was and still am speechless.
This weekend, I saw friends from college that I haven't seen in so long. They drove a long way to just see me. I was and still am humbled by it. They did what the quote said....they helped me remember words to my song that I had forgotten.
They brought food, magazines....but, what meant more to me than anything under the sun was that they brought themselves. We sat around and talked and talked about the old days, where we are now. We laughed so hard that I personally think that my ribs are cracked! :) The kind of laugh that you start sounding like a hyena. Guys don't get that about us gals. That is when they leave the room and huddle around the TV for Sports Center. :)
I put into practice what I said I was going to do and that was to be authentic. So, I let my heart out and was real. I showed them my hair that had fallen out over all these months and I cried when I showed them the walker that I had to use. I cried even harder when I told them that this was not my plan in my life and that on many days, my pain was so great that I wasn't sure if I was strong enough to fight through the pain in my body. I told them that I learned how to block out the pain and when I was having a good day, I would call or write. And on the bad days, I hid.
Together, we all held each other and cried and they assured me that I was loved and life was going to be ok. They reminded me what a fighter I used to be and reminded of times that I had forgotten. Reminded me of what I had been through before in my life, and that every time....I fought like crazy and never gave up. They reminded me of my dreams...that I was one to never give up on a dream. And reminded me of my beautiful family and that I had friends near and far that loved me even if I couldn't see them. They told me that I had an army behind me. My other friend wrote me the very same thing...that I had God's army, my family's army and my friends army all right behind me.
The next day was seeing another dear friend (but is really my husbands Aunt) and having the best time talking with her and hearing her stories and sharing mine and realizing that we are not alone in our troubles.
Going through pictures brought back so many great memories and that it reminded me that I was still me somewhere deep inside of this hurting body. It made me laugh and it made me cry.
Then, the next day, other friends came in from Charlotte. I had already gone through pictures and laughed and laughed at the crazy, silly, fun loving girls that we were. They came to just see me...just like my other friends. We did the laugh that makes you snort (not attractive, but, the best way to describe it) One friend laughed so hard that she stopped breathing for a minute and then the roar of laughter came out. We reverted back to our old ways. We were all roommates and made jokes at each other and reminded each other of the jokes that we would play on each other and god forbid....others. ;) We caught up on all these months. We were teenagers again and it was awesome!
Then, it got real. We talked about my upcoming trip to Cleveland Clinic and as they say "the shit hit the fan" Friends tell you what you need to hear, not what you want. That is when you know you have a true friend.
They told me that it was ok to be angry at my body, it was ok to cry...that it wasn't a sign of weakness. They told me that hiding and pretending that all was well was not fair to the people that care for me. I was honest and cried and told them how scared that I was. And that truthfully, I didn't feel worthy of anyone's friendship right now. Because I see all of my friends having the perfect life and how could they possibly want to hear about this test or that test that came back positive. That I am scared to death that my liver used to have only one cyst and now has many and that my kidney had a cyst on it now. I told them how scared that I was that I have something on my brain that I didn't like to hear. I told them that I was scared shit-less of the seizures and that has caused me not to be able to drive or really go anywhere. I have to be checked for a type of cancer that my friend Michele had. I told them that I was tired of trying to be strong, that sometimes I just want someone to hold me and let me cry. My husband lets me do that all the time with him. But, I feel like he is burdened by all that he has to do and taking care of me and the kids so much. He is amazing.
I told them that I was holding on to my Faith with all my might...because there have been many days when I did not feel that God was near, nor did I truly believe that He could care for a screw up like me. I told them that maybe I was being punished for being a wild child back in the day, or that maybe it was because of the things that I said or did wrong in my life or maybe I drank too much back then, or maybe I wasn't a good enough friend, mother, wife, sister.......I rack my brain all the time trying to figure out what I did that was so bad that I am being punished. I admitted to being afraid to go by myself.
Then, as true friends do.....they hold you and tell you the truth...that I am not being punished and yes my faith is being tested, but, I will come out of this stronger. And no, I wasn't a burden to them or my family and in fact it hurt them that I only called or wrote on the good days. Someone once told me that I was putting my family through hell and I haven't let go of those words yet. It is wrong that saying " Sticks and stones may break my bones, but, words will never hurt me" They do hurt me. They admitted they wanted all of me...the good and the bad. They reminded me that we had all been friends for over 20 years and there was nothing that I could do to make them stop loving me. They reminded me to stop listening to anyone who was negative. Let all the things go when it comes to others saying and doing hurtful things. And to STOP worrying about what others think. And that I was strong....I used to be and still am that woman that can get on that plane and do this on my own knowing my loved ones were praying for me and were behind me.
What a blessing. A true blessing. I had another group of friends come in from Charleston this week, but, she has the stomach flu so bad that she can hardly breathe. I know everyone is worried about me having someone in the house in case of another seizure or passing out. But, that is the one thing that I am trying to hold on to....being able to stay in my own house.
I am grateful, blessed and in awe of so many people near and far for their support. It so helps to hear what is going on in another life so that I don't feel so alone. Frankly, it is nice to know that the notion that i have that everyone is perfect, except for me...well, talking to me and telling me your real story helps me tremendously.
I am still scared, but excited that maybe, just maybe...this is the beginning to the end of this nightmare and I will be running that 5k with my buddies. That I will be well this summer for my 40th birthday and be with friends who love me and support me and laugh like there is no tomorrow. And one day...I will be walking on that Academy Award stage.
I am lucky...truly lucky and blessed. There are just so many people to thank. But, I promise to pay it forward. I am finding my heart song again....