Before we loaded up our rental van, I was on the verge of tears. Big tears. I didn’t even want to go on vacation. I wanted to hide in my bedroom, shut the door, and cry, cry, cry followed by a weeklong bout of sleep. I was hardly in the state of mind to begin a two-week vacation with my beloved husband, our two foster kiddos, and Marmy the Motoring Marmot. July has been a stressful wreck in-between all the work, both professional and educational, and other life changes.
I know today was hard for you. In fact, the last several days have been hard for you. You’ve been achier than normal and so fuzzy around the edges you’ve wondered if you’ve become rather like a kiwi, a layer of fuzz and a thin skin with ideas like the scattered small seeds inside. You’ve struggled to track conversations and to remember the ingredients you’re looking for moments after you read the list. You’ve been so, so tired that each task seems to require a wellspring of strength and focus that you’re not sure you have. Fibromyalgia is awful thing, and some days the struggle is worse than others. Valentine’s Day was particularly hard for you.
And yet you overcame.
When we bought our house a few months shy of two years ago, we knew that we’d be dealing with some delayed maintenance by people who had mostly treated the house as a rental. Neither of us expected the scope of the problems that we would encounter. Between moldy bathrooms and rusted out pipes, we’ve certainly had our share of older-house woes.
I quit walking my dog Alke over two years ago because I could not get him to stop pulling, which was excruciating on my arms and on my lower back. The flare in my lower back pain is what ultimately precipitated my fibromyalgia (thanks, nerves!), and I just could not manage walking him as I also tried to manage my pain. Now that I’ve reached what is hopefully my therapeutic level of medications and work/life accommodations, I’ve begun trying to walk him regularly again.
Our Thanksgiving involved the traditional turkey, stuffing, and gravy, but we also managed to sneak a little adventure into our trip to visit my folks in the Lowcountry. Because my folks moved across the country earlier this year, I’ve never had to travel farther than a few hours of driving to celebrate Thanksgiving. I’ve been fortunate to avoid airports around the holidays, but I was equally fortunate that my parents bought us plane tickets to come visit and organized some activities during our short stay in the area.
My work on gratitude this month may seem like a 30-day short-term project, but I am laying the foundations for a lifetime of grateful happiness, not a month of it. I may not always begin my day by jotting down a few things that I’m grateful for right alongside my to-do list as I have the previous two weeks, but I can envision myself continuing to cultivate a more grateful and loving attitude daily.
The first two years of our marriage have been trials in grief and upheaval, not exactly the frolicking honeymoon either of us had envisioned. Still, these (almost) first two years have shown me how giving, compassionate, and dedicated my own husband is. When he married me, he meant it that my journey would be his, in sickness and in health. Alas, sickness has won out, and I have grieved that victory and my new limitations. My husband has supported me all the way.