March 21, 2011

6 Months it has been 6 months since Mark's bypass surgery.

The week + leading up to today was lame.  Mark got a cold, then I got it, then the kids got food poisoning and then I watched a sad movie.  I still haven't gotten all the phlegm out of my system.  I haven't had much contact with friends, but Mark did go out.  Lastly, Mark and I had a really heavy conversation.  Why so much emotion and frustration has to rain down all at once I'll never know.

The heavy conversation was last Sunday. Mark had been sick for a couple days and hadn't gotten any sleep the night before so he was vulnerable to actually opening up.  I kind of got on him about his over abundance of grumpiness.  I'm not talking about just being grumpy while sick, because of course that's understandable, but since before that.  It seemed to me that he had been barking at the kids for everything; didn't seem like they could do anything right for him.  And I know he doesn't want to be that kind of dad.  He was also picking little fights with me so I finally said it was really bothering me.

He broke down and talked about his frustrations with his legs still hurting a lot, and that his chest still hurts when he coughs or sneezes.  He told me that he's worried he could lose his job because he's not been able to do all the same things he did before his surgery, and that he needs his job to feel good about himself.  He's really been feeling his mortality since learning that he coded after the surgery and told me how scared he is of the possibility of dying while the kids are still young and what that would do to them.  He also worries about what people think of him.  He doesn't want anyone to think he doesn't try or that he'd ever give up.  Whoa.  I said it was heavy, right?

Of course all of this breaks my heart, but I think I managed to say the right things.  I told him that Depot has been so good to him and that they seem to genuinely like and care for him so I can't see them firing him at this point.  Then I said that of course it would be awful if he died while the kids are still growing up, but that they would still have me and he should know I would take very good care of them.  I told him that we would never forget him, that there would be no erasing of him by any means.  We would have all the pictures and keep some of his things, although I joked that I would definitely get rid of most of his crap!  I wouldn't just roll him up in a rug and throw him in a ditch like he likes to joke about though.  I reassured him that all anyone can ever expect of someone is that they do their best each day, and everyone knows he does that.  So he should not think that anyone thinks anything negative about him; on the contrary, people admire him and see how much of a trooper and fighter he is.

It was hard to know if Mark was really hearing me though because he wouldn't look at me.  He also didn't want me to try to hug him.  I guess he was feeling shame or embarrassment?  I just can't imagine why, except for that stupid male ego thing he's got going on.  I told him he needs to talk about this stuff with me from time to time, get it off his chest, rather than hold it in and just be grumpy at us.  He said he doesn't see how talking helps....but then when we were done, he totally acted like he was in a much better mood and started wanting to cook.  Wanting to cook something is always a sign that Mark is in a good mood!

For me, I am for sure gripped with the fear that we will lose Mark too soon.  I always have been a little (since he lost his transplant), but so much more since last September.  I worry that I won't know how to be happy without him in my life, and of course the impact it would have on the kids.  Regardless of all the crud he deals with, Mark is the life of our family.  He is boisterous and funny and social.  Things I am not.  He plays video games with the kids and he's a better cook.  He almost always has answers to the kids' curious questions because he watches so much educational TV.  I have to Google everything.  He gets the kids in ways I do not because he can remember so much of his own childhood while I don't remember much of mine.  And then there's the little fact that Mark is my love, my partner in crime, and who ever wants to live without that?

Ever since the surgery I have been struggling to not let my fears take over, to maintain my positive attitude and just live in the now.  Because right now is pretty good! We have each other.  We have our great little house which we love so much, and I still can't believe we live in.  We have 2 healthy, beautiful, great kids whom we are in awe of (in one way or another) every day.  We have great friends, loving family and an ever evolving faith in God.  Mark has his job, a decent car and a great dialysis schedule that has been so good for him.  I have being a Mom and running our household, my cool cat, a few special friends, obsessions with British royalty and knitting (there is just so much to learn about both!) and an open heart and mind.  All of our necessities are met and much of our indulgences too.  Sure, there's always something to point to that you still want, but I think there forever will be.  So despite how heavy (there's that word again) our burdens sometimes feel, and let's face, they are heavy (and again) burdens, we are fully aware that some have it much worse.  I also try to remind myself that even if the worst did happen, that we wouldn't be the only people who ever lost a loved one and had to deal with the aftermath of that loss. People do it every day. And they survive it.

So no pity party going on here; it's simply the truth, my truth.  I'm just trying to express that certain aspects of life really are hard, and unfortunate, frustrating and downright unfair, and there is a process of processing it all.  As I often say, and will continue to say, balance is my friend!

So where am I now that 6 months has passed since my husband had a heart attack, double bypass, sepsis and had to be resuscitated 3 times?  I guess I'm still traumatized and still processing.  Is that normal or OK?  Should I be over it by now?  I don't know and I really don't give a damn!  It is what it is.  I am a strong, sometimes insecure, thoughtful, caring and loving, supportive, loyal, stubborn, honest, emotional but positive person who thinks hard but leads with her heart and gut.  And I don't apologize for any of it.  I am riding the roller coaster of life and trying very hard not to cover my eyes the whole way.

I read a bunch of great quotes that would be good here, but I think this one sums up the goal simply:

"Turn your wounds into wisdom." ~Oprah Winfrey

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