Recently, I have felt relaxed, almost cocky, that we are almost two years out from my husband having a stroke and that he was out of the woods.
He was clear, possibly, from having more complications, a larger stroke, or lord forbid a heart attack. If you have read my piece on how I canceled our wedding, to the piece on love and stroke aftercare, you know this journey has been literally a labor of love.
We finally got together a few years back, and now our world was falling apart. He was in tears the day he woke from the stroke. I was trying to hold it together for him, and we were barely alive due to the constant fear of something bigger happening with his health down the road.
(Catch up here on how this is all going.)
Now we are eating healthy, we are walking together (though not far due to his leg still dragging), we have done everything the doctors told us, and then it happened. Recently, we went to his regularly scheduled appointment, and we were feeling happy, and bam!
His O2 was way too low; they rushed in the portable electrocardiogram (EKG machine), and hooked him up quickly. My heart fell to the floor. The small EKG was okay, but it only measured five minutes. Lord have mercy on me as I lost it and the tears started.
He was suddenly at the highest risk of a heart attack, and I cried until I was out of the water to cry anymore. We have come so far forward from the stroke, and we were thrown violently back into this chaos of the stroke. I could hear my pulse in my ears and my heart racing. I knew I could not lose this man I loved so deeply.
We both made it out of the appointment. We are now required to go monthly. We were told that if his heart races or jumps, we are to call 911. The next step will be for him to wear a heart monitor for three days and do a longer version of an EKG. The next step for me is to stop crying.
It comes and goes, really, but my heart sank when they rushed in to make sure his heart did not stop during his routine medical checkup. This love, the enduring, do-anything-for-you kind of love, when you are all in, it engulfs my heart, and I realize I choose him every day, and him me. I also realize that my heart would shatter without him.
Life has been challenging with medical bills, trying to get him on disability, med management, and on and on. Life has thrown us some really hard curveballs. When I stop crying, I can give my anxiety a rest and then focus on just being present with him. We can then share our feelings together and continue to have open communication.
And when I lose him, I will truly know I did all I could. I made his life happier. I spent the time we had deep-listening to what he had to say. I will know that not a moment of this precious time we had was wasted. I will know I gave my whole heart, and I will know I loved wholly.
This life teaches me to be present. To stay off my phone, to talk to people instead of texting. It has taught me that instead of coming up with my response in my head that I need to focus on listening. I was rushing through my life, and I was missing the purpose of it. I am a firm believer in having a community of people around me. I believe it takes a village of others to raise a kid. And I believe that I have been given a gift (and you have too).
We have been given the gift of knowing our time with loved ones and friends is fleeting. The good news is that we can now focus on being present, put down our phones to really talk to someone, to actually tune out everything else and just listen, be present, and truly connect with the community.
I truly believe that life is short, even though sometimes it seems honestly longer than we would like, but when we are present in our lives in every aspect of it, well, that, my friend, is a gift we can all have!