One year ago today I was in the hospital having surgery. When I woke up, Nick was standing there, and he told me I looked beautiful. What a damn liar. I looked like hell I am sure, and I felt awful, but he just wanted me to smile and it worked.
We spent a long six hours in recovery, and I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis. The surgeon looked at me and as he shrugged his shoulders said, “will you be able to have your own children? I am not sure”. I was devastated. But I also wasn’t surprised because I had been dealing with the excruciating pain for over ten years and I was finally provided validation and relief that I wasn’t just crazy.
This was the worst possible thing that could have ever happened.
So I thought.
Between December 18 and January 26 I was an absolute basket case. I had been diagnosed with a disease that I knew I had all along and had been ignored by doctors for far too long, (if you know anything about endo, this is very common). Nick and I were just about to fill out paperwork for a surgeon in Atlanta and we were prepared to try and figure out how to make the cost of it work, but then a miracle happened. I met a doctor who I refer to as an angel sent from heaven.
This doctor is one of very few excision surgeons in Canada, and I met her on January 26, 2016. I cried in her office as I felt such a sense of relief, and I finally met the doctor who was going to help me. She told me she would stand on her head to make sure that Nick and I had a baby and she would be with us throughout the entire journey. We had surgery booked for June 8, 2016, and she told me not to worry because we were going to get through this. I was on top of the world.
25 days later Nick was dead.
As I typed that tears started rolling down my face. I read a post today by a good friend of mine, and she was reminding people of something very important. While you are out shopping and getting frustrated over what to buy, or traffic, or line-ups, remember; there are others who are dealing with real struggles, and they just might be one of those people that you glare at or shove in a line up because you are in some kind of a hurry.
I am currently sitting on the floor in my empty bedroom. My house is empty, my parents have left, and my dogs went with them. I am sitting in my house one week before Christmas wondering what the hell I am going to do. I haven’t bought a single gift, haven’t written a single Christmas card, and I have no intention of playing a single Christmas carol on my piano this year.
This isn’t because I am a grinch, or I don’t care. It just means that my mind, and time, have been completely occupied with other things, and I know for a fact that I am not the only one who has had to put Christmas on the back burner this year to deal with other unexpected things.
It’s called life. Unfortunately, it’s not always smooth sailing.
I haven’t been easy to deal with lately. I have been exhausted, anxious, frustrated, and just plain irritable; but I am trying. I don’t want to waste hours and days that I know are so precious. I don’t want to look back 25 days from now and say I wish I would have just relaxed because now it’s too late.
It’s one week until Christmas, and I want those of you who may be stressed out right now to sit back for a moment and just breathe.
This has been a common mantra for me because sometimes I forget. Sometimes I am so tense and so bent out of shape that I simply just forget, but someone always reminds me and today I am reminding you.
Christmas is a magical time, but I am here to remind you that it isn’t all about the gifts, decor, or perfectly prepared meals. It’s about being with family and the people we love. I would give anything to have Nick here this Christmas and all the other loved ones I have lost over the years, but I can’t bring them back, and I have had to accept that.
Many of you won’t have everyone around the tree this year that you wished to have around the tree, and many of you reading this will relate to what I am saying. For those who are stressing about the details of Christmas remember this, if you are surrounded by family or even spending it with one other person you love, it’s perfect and just how it’s meant to be.
This year I am going to spend Christmas with my three beautiful nephews who light up my day no matter how bad it is. I am going to spend it with my brother and sister in law who have put up with me through this painful journey, and my parents who have hugged me and loved me even on the days I don’t exactly deserve it.
One year ago today I was dealt some pretty shitty cards, and just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse; it did.
I am starting to take the hint that the Universe has so aggressively shoved in my face over and over. I am getting the hint that we have to choose to be happy now. Not once the gifts are bought, and the decorations are up, but we have to decide to be happy now. If not now, when? When it’s too late?
I have been a bit of a handful the last little while, but I have found reasons to laugh, joke around, and enjoy those around me. It’s fucking hard, and I am not saying I am an expert at this, but as long as you are making a conscious effort to be at least a little bit happy, those demons will eventually disappear because they won’t be able to compete as you get stronger.
For those of you missing a loved one this year, I am so sorry. Last year I played Sarah McLachlan’s “Winter Song” on the piano for Nick. Multiple times in fact ;). It was a song that made me tear up because it always made me think of my Aunt. Nick would sit and listen, and he wouldn’t judge me when I cried. This year when I hear it, I think of him.
Tomorrow everything could change, so today enjoy the moments and celebrate the holidays with no stress.
“May you have the gladness of Christmas which is HOPE; The spirit of Christmas which is PEACE; The heart of Christmas which is LOVE. – Ada V. Hendricks