Well. Here we are. Three hundred eighty eight days later. Three hundred and eighty eight days since the call that informed us J needed a kidney. Lots of tears. Lots of anger. Lots of uncertainty. Lots of hope. Lots of love. Lots of surprises. Lots of miracles.
It does not escape me that the man walking through this life with me every day is only here because of unselfish love and a couple miracles. He smiles for himself – not just for my benefit. He laughs at the world around him. He does projects with his daughters. He wrestles with the dog. His skin is the most beautiful color no longer covered with sores. He stays awake for 15 hours. He sleeps soundly. He breathes evenly while he sleeps. He’s back.
It’s been a long year. Looking back, we’ve lost friends. People that were everyday phone calls no longer remember our number. Maybe they didn’t know what to say. We’ve gained friends. Acquaintances that we only knew in passing now laugh with us often. Some of our friends stepped back. But many of them stepped up! A crisis can change people. It changed me.
When J was at his sickest I was ONLY focused on helping him AND keeping our girls lives as normal as possible. Self absorbed? Maybe. Selfish? Absolutely! I threw my entire self into keeping 4 heads above water. I was not a good friend. I really didn’t have the energy to be. I truly love and value the friends that pushed through anyway and helped me carry the load. The clean kitchen, clean laundry, clean bathrooms, coffee, food, dinners for our entire (extended) family, gift cards for places near the hospital, flowers, phone calls, texts, beds to sleep in — I recognize and am so very thankful for every time a friend pushed into our little circle.
I’m thankful for the friends that are still asking. They heard over 300 days of me saying, “Sorry, I can’t…” — and they are still asking. And I’m starting to say, “yes!” It is honestly an adjustment for me. I can go grab that lunch. I can go to girls night. I can grab a coffee after school. Somehow, we managed to get through to the other side and everyone seems to be back to normal. I’m trying.
J was out of town for work last week. I didn’t sleep. I’ve been warned that during the extra hard parts sometimes the caretaker is working so hard they don’t have time to look around them and deal with their emotions. And once things get back to normal all of those emotions can hit them like a ton of bricks. I think I’m there. I’m at that part now. I mean, I cried this past year. I was sad, angry and confused. But usually only for a few minutes at a time because something else had to be done and I had to get myself together. But now the girls go to school. Jamey goes to work. And here I am. Im slowly getting back to my old habits. Slowly getting back to taking a bit better care of myself.
So back to Jamey. My smiling, laughing, hard working, beat boxing, loving husband. It hasn’t been easy or fun. But it has been bearable since you were with me. I love you.
And Ryan Patrick Summers — I love you too! Thank you will never be enough. I hope when you see my face it says all the things that I want you to know.