Well, I am glad I finally got that published. It has been hard writing much of anything with the news of life changes like a boulder in the path.
After a stroke, everything changes. It’s not a predictable shift, and emotions and memories get mucked up along with functional life, so what seems like one very positive trajectory on one day becomes forgotten the next.
I wrote on Facebook the other day of many things that have made me laugh quite a bit. They are good to remember.
I’ve kept to myself the many things that have been said and done that have caused me emotional pain. I shouldn’t suffer in silence, I should lean on someone or something. But sometimes I just suffer until I’m ready to let it go.
Today is another one of those days. Yet in those moments of true vulnerability, there is immense potential breakthrough.
I get to let it go.
To say that Mark and I have a perfect relationship is a lie. Actually, anyone who tells you that their relationships are perfect and wonderful isn’t acknowledging the fact that relationships are where we come to poke each other with our broken pieces until we let go of them. The joy we find is often in that letting go.
Before his stroke, I was mad at him. He was frustrated with me. We were at an impasse on a number of things. That’s not to say that we were on the brink of divorce or anything. But there were unresolved things happening where we just didn’t see things the same way. I had expectations, he had expectations. I had fears, he had fears. We were both holding our broken pieces up at each other and neither of us was ready or able to let go.
There was one point where I realized that he was having a stroke (far too late unfortunately, and I will grieve that forever), where I was afraid he was dying in front of me. It was in that moment that I said I was sorry and asked him to forgive me for being mad at him. I told him I didn’t care anymore about the things that hurt me, the things that frustrated me. I didn’t care about any of it. I was ready to let it all go and to let things be unfair. I was ready to let him just win at all of it if he would just stay.
Right or wrong didn’t matter. Fairness didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if he forgot the garbage or left crap on the stove, and it didn’t matter if I was doing too much around the house and he was doing too little.
All that mattered is that he didn’t die.
I decided at that moment to drop my broken pieces, the demands I had that things be a certain way. I dropped everything and all that mattered was that he was here.
I let go that I was mad at him because I recognized the signs that he had stopped taking care of himself and he wasn’t paying attention. Two weeks prior I had hollered at him for eating fast food, for not taking his BP, for letting himself get toxed out to the point of illness. He was asking me for help, and I told him that I had no control of what happened between his hand and his mouth and he had to get it under control.
I was right, you know. With every and all scorecards in the world, I was RIGHT. No one can tell me I was wrong.
But with him dying in front of me, being right about healthy living didn’t matter much anymore. I didn’t care that I was right.
All that mattered is that he lived.
I’ve got to keep looking for the gift in this, even on the hard days.
There has been a complete reset on a number of things in our relationship, even down to the core of who I am. He keeps forgetting my name. Only my name, no one else’s.
Some might say that he won the fight, but by surrendering and letting go, I have found greater strength and freedom. I didn’t expect to find strength where I feel utterly weak.
All of the platitudes about strength in surrender that sound good in a book sound like a pile of crap when someone is dying in front of you. There, you know. You feel it. And you accept your defeat and summon your strength in the same moment.
My defeat in the battle has helped me win a war I didn’t know I was fighting. As with everything, it ends up to be a war I was fighting with myself.
In less philosophical news, Mark is moving to a more intensive rehab facility early next week, tentatively Monday. Instead of disorganized, COVID-guideline-addled half-assed rehab that sometimes doesn’t even happen, he’s going to be doing therapy for many hours a day. He’s built up enough strength to do it, so off he goes.
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