There are times it is bone crushingly sad; occasionally the sadness of what has happened permeates every part of me. It runs so deep and is so real it is almost a physical pain. It never lasts long and it almost always happens late at night, at times when I feel most alone.
What has happened to Marty, to our life, is sad, it’s awful, it’s unimaginable to people who had lived such a charmed life, to people who hadn’t known much illness, to people who had seen little death and had lived lives of relative privilege and success.
But it happened, the strokes happened, the life changing event erupted quickly. The result, the consequence of the eruption is beyond sad.
The good news is that feeling sad; feeling the loss, feeling grief has become only a small part of our lives. As time slowly moves us away from the days of the strokes, as the days of walking the black precipice has receded, so has the constancy of the sadness.
The depth of the pain is there, the intensity of the grief is still present, but mostly it is set aside, hidden, tamped down as life necessarily continues. Mostly, I just don’t think about it as often because there are too many other things to feel.
The truth is we laugh more than we cry, we joke more than we grieve, and we work hard at living a simple, scaled down life that is, at times, very hard.
I see other people who must deal with overwhelming sadness, the people who have lost a child, the husband who has lost his wife to Alzheimer’s, the wife who has seen her husband succumb to disease to the point where neither spouse can recognize the other, and the soul mates that are now separated by death. My Marty is here and present and knows who I am and that is my saving grace.
I get to hear Marty laugh and best of all I get to laugh with her; laughter was always one of the best parts of our marriage. Marty knows me, she knows her children, she knows her grandchildren. I don’t have to worry about Marty wandering off, I don’t have to worry about Marty taking the wrong medication, I don’t have to worry about her being afraid of me because I’m a stranger. Through the muck of this life, Marty and her story of survival brings smiles to so many so how could you always be sad.
Our life is not smooth; it’s not what I would call easy. It’s hard, in some ways and on some days it feels impossible. We have missed out on so many opportunities, so many moments, so many events. Like so many others in the world we have missed part of a life we had hoped on living, but at least we are still living and on the whole living well.
Our journey through life has been seriously interrupted and we have had to deviate from a planned path or at least the idea of a path. The interruption has been at times seriously sad, frightening, unbearably difficult and awe inspiring to me and to those who watch and admire Marty.
Occasionally a soul killing sadness grips me and starts to suffocate me. We will always have the “what might have been” hang over our lives, we will have to carry a certain amount of sadness with us on our journey… it just is.
Fortunately, today, the happy times for Marty and the happy times for me outweigh the weight of the strokes, and the journey continues.