Imagine one day you walk into your house and look around and nothing you see belongs to you anymore. You see pictures of a beautiful family, but the mother is not you. There is food in the fridge, but it is things you cannot eat. There are games to play in the family room, but you don’t know the rules. It is like you have been replaced by someone else.
You continue to walk around the house and you yearn for the life of the family in the pictures. Carefree, beautiful, calm, healthy. Those things don’t belong to you. They belong to the lady in the picture. Easy smiles, trivial worries. Those too belong to the lady with the long hair in those pictures. That life doesn’t belong to you. You think you are eager to eat the fruit in the fridge. But you realize that it could cause you more harm than good and besides you are rarely hungry anymore anyways. The games that are there for the children, cannot be played by you. This house that you are walking in, you cannot afford. This is not your life. You are deeply jealous.
In some ways this is what it is like to live with a chronic illness. You try and try to adapt to the new, but you constantly yearn for the old. You are grateful for the present, but grieve the past. It’s like you are a crazy ex-girlfriend, looking in on a life that you so wish you had. I think that it is the grief that is key. I must move on with acceptance of the situation, but my heart continues to grieve.
Grief is not simple. There are the stages: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and finally acceptance. And these stages are fluid, meaning that you “swish” back and forth through them. I guess I am swishing through sadness a little today. My therapist says that I have been through so much, it’s hard to find time to grieve. I agree with her, things move fast around here. I know that someday, this will be part of my story. But dang, some days this chapter seems so long. And I have 18 years of happiness to grieve.
But this new girl is moving in. She is going to do the best to be better than the girl in the pictures. I think I am more laid back with myself and my family. I worry, but I guess that is valid for this point. The greater the heartbreak, the bigger the reward. I have reaped so much already. My parents moving close by, an awesome church family, more love that has been expressed to me; a love that you just don’t know is there until you go through something like this. I will have new pictures on the walls, and someday I will look back on the past with happiness instead of sadness. I try to keep marching through this time. Keeping things “normal.” Part of me wishes this time would just pass. That I would have no memory of this time, but I will and I do. It’s been almost a year now. And if I missed this time, I would miss losing teeth, birthdays, sleep overs in the basement, smiles, hugs, I love yous. Those are worth the pain. A million times over.
Cracks me up- My future’s so bright….I gotta wear shades.