Thursday, May 23, 2013

...and we'll go up, up, up....

So, if you saw the Zach Sobiech story on facebook recently... you've probably been feeling like I have these past few days...pretty emotional, inspired, and honestly... down right sad.

If you haven't seen the Zach Sobiech story... you can watch it here... My Last Days: Zach Sobiech

Basically, here is the long and short of it.

At 14 years old, Zach was diagnosed with osteosarcoma... he battled it for a few years... it came back and he was given a few months to live.
Zach chose to stop treatment and spend the last few months of his life LIVING and not dying. 
Zach created music.... beautiful music. Zach loved his friends. Zach loved his family. Zach loved life.

Zach died on May 20, 2013. He was 18 years old.

I did not know on Monday morning when I watched Zach's story that I'd be so moved, so inspired, so touched and so heartbroken.

I did not know that when I clicked on the link to the video that I would be watching a story that was so, so similar to a story that I already knew by heart.

If you've read my blog or know me personally, you know that I lost my brother to Ewings Sarcoma.  
2 years, 7 months and 1 day ago. 
He was 2 weeks shy of his 26th birthday.

He, like Zach, battled cancer for a few years, endured surgeries, chemo, radiation...spent about 9 months cancer free and then it returned... in his lungs.

 He then spent another 10 months doing more chemo as a maintenance type program. 

Two weeks of chemo, two week break, two weeks of chemo, two week break... and he was miserable. For two weeks of every month, he didn't move from the couch.
He was ill. 
And we knew that the treatments weren't a cure... they were just buying him time. 
So he made the decision to stop treating...And start living with what little time he had left.

He had almost a whole summer before the cancer took over.

And watching Zach's video brought it all back for me. 

Everything about Zach and his family was so strangely similar to my brother and my family.
I could literally do nothing but cry when I watched. 
And then I watched it again. And cried some more.

And should I be embarassed to admit that I watched it again?

I couldn't help it. I was transfixed.

It was like I couldn't get enough of Zach or his family.

Because in a way they were MY family.
He was my brother. His sister was me. His mother was mine.

Watching the video... you could feel the strength, the courage, the love.
I was moved by their grace. 
I was heartbroken by their sadness.

In watching Zach's story NUMEROUS times, I felt that familiar feeling of trying to find the happiness through the sadness during my brother's last few months... trying to savor the moments -the touching little moments....
the sound of my brother's voice as he teased my girls, his boisterous laugh... the funny faces he made when telling a story... his walk... his scent.  

There was this ever present feeling in those last few months that time was slipping away... too quickly.

While we were trying to make memories and enjoy what time we had left...we were ever aware that our time with my brother was like sand slipping through our fingers... there was no holding on to it. 

All we could do was maintain and breathe. And love. And laugh and cry. And live.

And watching Zach and his family, it all came back.
That feeling of, "Hold on. I don't want this to end yet. PLEASE don't let this moment end"

And it broke my heart all over again.

And you'd think that maybe I'd avoid watching stories like Zach's... to spare myself the heartache.

But actually, I'm grateful to have seen it.

It opened my eyes.

Because in the past 2 years, 7 months and 1 day... while I've been healing,
I think a part of me had closed off to really feeling..really living.
I've tried to forget because it hurt too much to remember.

I just forged ahead.. .pushed through and looked forward, but in that... I lost a lot.

In the three years that my brother was fighting cancer, my family learned to cherish the little moments and let a lot of unimportant things go.

We really enjoyed each other's company and savored all the tiny moments because that's all we had.
Happy or sad...all we had were those moments. 
And together, we lived day to day... moment to moment... until the end.

So while cancer took my precious brother... it DID give us the ability to live in the moment.

And I think I've lost that.

I've lost the ability to just be here now and breathe and live.
I've lost the ability to savor the day I've been given.

And really... isn't that all we can ever do? Live the day that we've been given?
ALL of our time is limited here.
There is a cap to all of this... and for some it's much sooner than others. 
And we don't know when our time is up.

And that's crazy to think about. But it's also kind of a relief.

Like someone taking a weight off your shoulders saying,

"Hey, stupid! Let it go! Live right now! How do you feel RIGHT NOW? Forget next week!"

And I needed that.

I needed to be reminded of that by Zach and his family... by my own brother and my family.

We all have the ability to live in the now, we just need a reminder now and again.

And sometimes it's a painful reminder... sometimes it literally hurts. 

But I'm grateful. 

I'm grateful for these past few emotional days spent in a fog.

I'm grateful that I've been reminded that I have a lot of love to give now... that I have a lot of life to live now...that I have a lot of emotions to feel now... and that ALL of our time is here is limited with our without a terminal illness.

I'm grateful for the Sobiech family for sharing their story and their courage, and for the gift they've given me...reminding me to live...all day...every day...for as long as I'm here.

Rest Easy, Zach Sobiech.

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW

And we'll go up, up up.....
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now
If only I had a little bit more time
If only I had a little bit more time with you....

Thursday, May 9, 2013

So this is marriage....

11 years ago this coming Sunday, I met my husband.

It was Mother's Day.     It was also his 27th birthday.

We met on the side of the road....literally.

I wasn't hitchhiking(nor was he). 
My car wasn't broken down.  No, it was nothing like that.

The short story is...
He waved, I waved.
He stopped, I stopped.

We went out that night and that was the end of that..... or the beginning, rather.

11 years. 

When he proposed I thought our married life together would be as easy as our brief 7 months of dating had been.
Yes, you read that correctly.

We dated, excuse me, KNEW each other for 7 months prior to getting engaged.

So I guess what I pictured was a stress free life...  living together... sleeping in on Saturdays, Saturday night dinners out with too much wine and after-dinner beers at the local pub, slightly hungover Sundays spent at our condo complex's pool. 
I pictured working out at the gym together or going for long runs just the two of us.
I pictured vacations together as a couple, trips to places we'd never been... jobs where we made enough money to cover our expenses and put some money away for the future... and life would be easy breezy, lemon squeezey.

And I think we had that for maybe... a year.
ONE year.
One year of our marriage was exactly like the above. 

And then real life set in with multiple babies, job changes, out of state moves, deaths in the family, layoffs, etc. etc. etc.

What's funny...or really NOT funny is ... no one EVER tells you that marriage is hard.
No one tells you that marriage is WORK.
It's a full time job on top of the full time job you already have.

While you're trying to make your way through life and raise children and work a job and keep a house and do day to day things... you still have this relationship that you have to maintain and foster... you still have to remember to communicate and love and laugh.

Marriage puts a whole new spin on things.
When life throws you a curveball... and something unexpected comes your way,  not only do you have to navigate your way through it, but you have to navigate your way through it WITH someone else.

And you think that would make it easier..... but sometimes it's not.

It's really like one giant road trip. 

Sounds fun, but if you're anything like us...

He's driving... and I'm in the passenger seat holding the "oh shit" handle, slamming on my imaginary brake and cursing under my breath.. praying we don't die.

And sometimes that's how marriage is. 

There is no instruction manual. 
There is no, "When situation A. arises, try XYZ and if that doesn't work... try QRS"

And you know what?
Sometimes you encounter some tough stuff.
And sometimes it's TOTAL crap.
And sometimes life hands you a LOT of lemons...and you're so SICK of making just wish that life would just hand you the bottle of vodka so you can squeeze those damn lemons into something with a little kick.

And you put your head down, and you grit your teeth and you get through it.
Sometimes you get through it separately, but together.
If THAT even makes sense.  

And sometimes you come out on the other side of a MAJOR challenge and you think,

 "We survived that. I REALLY didn't think we'd survive that."

But you know what? 

It's all worth it.
It is.

And it can be easy...  really easy for us, especially during a difficult time to look back on these past 11 years and see ONLY the challenges... the struggles... the stress and completely disregard the good.

And it can be really easy to count...even list the things that have gone "wrong" for us.

But it's still worth it. 

Because the good outweighs the bad.  And love always wins.

And marriage means you have this person by your side who is going to have your back for the rest of your life.

And this person is the one who knows you the best, has seen you at your worst and STILL tolerates you with all of your imperfections and annoying habits(yes, you have them too)

This person is the only one who knows what it's like to be as tired as you are because you've both been up all night with a puking kid or a crying baby. 

This is the person who knows what its like to laugh through the dinnertime antics with you or Sunday morning pancake breakfasts(with the chocolate chips and NOT syrup even though you think chocolate chips don't belong anywhere NEAR a pancake)

This person can finish your sentences and knows what you're thinking without you having to say a word.

This person will bring home cookies from the store even when you tell him not to(but really want him to and he knows it)
This person will take YOUR college cat to the vet to be put down because you're too panicked and heartbroken to do it.

This is what marriage is...with its challenges, uphill battles and stress and "oh shit" handles and imaginary brakes... and this is what is good.

This is what is good.

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW