The Good Days between Bad Days

A few months ago….things were at the rock bottom worst, ever. Marq was in the deepest despair you could ever imagine….in fact, it was scheduled that he’d be going to California as soon as I got back from a trip to Africa to spend a few months in a special brain injury center that could help him overcome the deep depression he’s been in for the 2 years since his brain injury….it has been hell and it was at it’s very worst……and, I just didn’t know what else to do….

brave enough

Then, a few weeks before I left, the doctor said he’d like to try one more medicine before we decided to send him there…..and, I could hardly get him to try one more thing because for 2 years….we’ve tried so many medicines and so many therapies and so much of this and that and everything…….and…..things sometimes got a little better…but never to a place where life felt happy and worth living….just bearable….just numb…..he’d try to smile and be happy….for months at a time….but he’d always say that he really couldn’t feel anything….and you could see it in his eyes.

And that was the worst part….no feelings….none. No love or passion or sorrow or compassion or worry or joy…..nothing…

…….and I had to come to terms with that….going from the most passionate marriage between two best friends that I ever even knew about to one that was without feeling…from one side anyway….he tried so hard, he felt so bad and so guilty and he tried so hard…….but…..just could not feel anything, about anything…..just darkness and nothing that had finally turned to anger and bitterness…..but a really empty kind.

And before I left he was getting out of bed at the crack of dawn, like old times….and heading outside to work…..and I’d come out to see him and he’d be whistling…and he wouldn’t come in until after dark. And I packed for Africa biting my lip and thinking….surely not? I did not get my hopes up……and he took me to the airport and we said goodbye and I tried so hard not to notice the pink color in his skin and the little glimmer of light in his eyes.

you will fly again

Then, one night last week while I was on the other side of the world….3am actually, in Africa…..my cell phone rang and woke me up and I answered it…..and it was Marq….and it was 7pm at home…and I’m sure he knew that but he called me anyway. And he said “whatcha doing?” and I said…”sleeping! It’s 3am….is everything ok?”…..and he said….and I will never, ever forget……….

“I just keep thinking about you and I can’t stop crying. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I can’t stop crying and I miss you so much.”

Now…..do you see why this is big? I did. I was so happy that I couldn’t feel sorry for his tears….only happy that he was having tears….having feelings….that he was feeling love….love for me….

But I’ve seen glimpses like this here and there over the last few years….and they go as fast as they come and they are strained….and, so…you know…..I just was thankful for it but trying not to, you know ……

Holding on to Hope is Brave

On my plane ride home I was thinking about him…so much…I was thinking about him my whole trip. I talked about him constantly. I am so deeply and madly in love with him and I have missed him every second of every day since this horrible thing happened to us….I fell asleep on the plane and had a dream that I will never forget….

I remember feeling like I was broken up in a million pieces when I left for Africa…I was wondering how I could ever find all of the pieces to put myself back together….in my dream, pieces of me were falling to the ground, and I was scrambling to find them and glue them back on….and they would fall off….and more would fall off….and I’d cry and hurry and couldn’t pick up the pieces fast enough and glue them on…..then finally I saw what was happening.

It was a hard outer shell that was cracking and breaking and falling off of me….in pieces. It was sort of like hard mud, or baked clay….but, with each piece that broke off….a radiant glow of newness…new skin and new life and new me and real me was underneath it. It was supposed to fall off….while I have felt like I was falling apart, falling to pieces….what has really been happening is that I am shedding old, hard painful things and finding radiance and love and light underneath…the real things. The real me…maybe like the cocoon is cracking and shedding?

And when all of the pieces fell, in my dream, I found myself against a thick wall of glass….I was on one side, Marq was on the other….and we were touching hands and walking back and forth and following each other’s hands with our eyes glued to each other’s….and trying so desperately to connect….so desperately. This was a painful dream….the kind you don’t stop feeling for days…..but then….the whole wall dropped, it shattered into a million pieces in a pile on the floor….and our hands met….

And I woke up promptly and sat in my seat and bawled like a baby. I wished that something like this could really happen, and I was thankful for the perspective about shedding the pieces, and that I needed to stop trying to glue the old pieces back on…..but, I really just wished the other part was true……….and sort of let myself believe that maybe it was a sign.

I called a dear friend from my layover and she told me that something big was happening….she said I wouldn’t believe my eyes and she didn’t even know how to explain it….but, that the whole time I was gone….Marq was getting better and better and happier and happier and more like his old self than ever…that he even looked different……….

you will be ok

I got off the plane at home and saw him standing outside the glass window waiting for me. He smiled and I smiled and I started to run and ran through the door and hugged him harder than I ever have…and he hugged me back…..and kissed me…..and looked me right in the eye…..and grabbed my suitcases and told me again how much he missed me….and I said “you have no idea how much I missed you….” ….and it had nothing to do with Africa.

Today is the 3rd day that I have been home. I can’t tell you what happened while I was gone but I can tell you that my husband still loves me….that we have been talking and catching up and laughing and hugging and smiling and there’s so much that I hope you never, ever take for granted……because I had almost forgotten what it was like to be loved like this.

And, even if it doesn’t last…..this is the best it’s been for 2 whole years…….and I know it’s from prayers from people all over the world and thousands of tears that fell down lots and lots of cheeks, especially mine….and God’s timing….and the lessons we needed and need……and patience….tons and tons of patience….and never giving up…..and keeping big promises that you have no idea how hard they’ll be to keep. And love that is given whether it’s given back or not……….and that miracles still happen, every day…..exactly when they’re supposed to and usually much later than we’d like…and that it’s always, always worth the wait. And that sometimes maybe God says…”you go to Africa and let me take care of this….”

Today I came home from work and went to find him out back working on his tractor…..and he pulled off his work gloves and kissed me the way he used to…..and my kids snapped this photo…..and I’ll print and frame it because this is the first day of the shedding of some old skin……and good new things are coming, I just know it.

Written August 2006

your story is not over yet.

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