Where we are going

August 17, 2015

Scars show us where we have been, they do not dictate where we are going ~ David Rossi

She was nearly ready when I entered the house, shuffling through her make-up case as she fended off her frustration in a search of missing items. I gathered the pieces I noticed on the floor and handed them to her and she laughed in the way only Deb can as she continued to get ready.

Although I was grateful that she was prepared when I arrived, I knew the winter sweater would not be a good choice for the warm day upon us. Her frustration dissipated when I offered her options to change into.  

Heading upstairs to the bedroom closet, I selected two summer tops for her to choose from. As I left the bedroom I noticed her craft room door open across the hall and stepped inside.  A few months ago I had picked up a new purse for her that had been misplaced, and decided to see if I could find it here, in what was once her favorite room that offered an escape from everyday life.

This thought alone left me altered…

The familiar craft items were efficiently collected on shelves; inkpads, punches, and neatly stacked embellishments, all the supplies she loved still awaiting her touch, a point that saddened me on its own. But the scene that haunted me most were the abundance of miscellaneous bags filled with her personal effects, so many bags; they began taking over the space on the floor.

Another painful reminder of her life today...

I had seen them before; often throughout the house and in her car, suitcases, and shopping bags, tightly closed with hand written notes to “keep out.” The reminders she says are for others to not take her belongings.

I sifted through a few of the bags that were filled with her treasured items. One held the ceramic dish we had painted together, unfinished craft projects, even many household items she loved. I quickly realized this job was something meant for another day, and stood to leave until noticing her grey overnight bag also crowded with items and decided to take a look.

Slowly I slid the zippered closure open to peek inside, woven within the emotions of the reality upon me, tears caught in my throat.  Amongst the items filling her bag was the Bella Grace magazine I had brought her with my published story in it.  A bittersweet message that reminded me of the pride she always carried for my accomplishments, yet sadness for the truth that left her compelled to hide it so nobody took it.

While packing these bags her thoughts are filled with concealing the items because to her, things are always missing and this is her way to protect her possessions. But once packed and set in another room they have abandoned her thoughts and no longer exist.

My attention was unsteady as I reflected on the life we once shared...

Spilling over the memories of occasions in the past we had shared with family and friends filled me with sadness. Now these moments are fleeting, a faded taste of what once was, packed away in some bag of reflection. Short-term memories still remain an issue, and the ache we shoulder is unending.

Composing myself and finding a smile it was time to get back to the day at hand and return downstairs to where she was finishing up, even with the grief still lingering beneath my smile. She changed into the summer top and we were ready for the day.

The new life she lives has been a compilation of trial and error in search of what will help. This poignant location in all our lives began two years ago, and we continue our search for the positive.

Her recent shunt surgery, which began as an overnight hospital stay, ushered in more complications with the diabetes insipidus, a hormonal imbalance caused by her first surgery, as her body excretes large amounts of fluid and her sodium levels are overwhelmed.  Also collapsing her ability to walk and maintain balance once again. Finally doctors were able to get the diabetes insipidus under control so she could transfer to Lakewood for rehab, and hopefully soon return to her full range of motion.

The positives from the shunt surgery will be a slow unveiling, especially with the setbacks she began with. Our hope is that this surgery will improve her gait and mobility and possibly increase her brain function and memory in time, and after two years or learning about traumatic brain injury, we have time.

The pursuit for answers is unending. We lean into the faith necessary to know that the right decisions are being made, while unpacking the patience it takes to see her through another round, knowing our lives will never be what they once were.

Often I wonder why life has been so tough on her? Why the hard parts are not distributed evenly? Why she cannot go through one procedure without ten more complications? But after a while I have to abandon that rationale and return to the promise in her life. The love and advocacy from her spouse, whom many in their lifetime will never realize, and a family of continuous supporters who remain true to her future.

While I continue to hold onto what remains, I miss my sister and feel sad for the life I took for granted, believing that we would always have tomorrow...

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  • August 17, 2015 @ 8:03 PM EDT
    By Marcie Stone
    Prayers for Deb's continued recovery, hope for a future filled with joy and strength for the journey. Blessings.

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