A friend of a friend came to see us the other day. The son-in-law of this friend of a friend, who is now a friend, had a stroke, and she was looking for information, looking for ways to help, looking for a little hope.
Marty and I told our story again.
When I look back on our life, Marty and I, like anyone who has danced around for 60+ years, have gone through some stuff, and by stuff I mean STUFF. We have been hurt, we have seen our children sick and injured, we have buried family and friends, we have cried, we have laughed, we have been afraid and from time to time we have had courage.
In short, we have lived life.
When you look back at a life lived, when you see the trail you have walked you clearly see how your path has diverged from the one you had planned on walking. Looking back you see how the natural and unexpected events of life have shaped what you are compared to what you thought you would be.
No one, not me, not Marty, not you, can escape some cataclysmic game changing events. They are going to happen, life changing moments will, not shall, will happen that move you from your chosen path to one that is unfamiliar, frightening, challenging, and maybe, just maybe rewarding.
Those events change how you view the world, they have for me. I see little things like access differently, I see doctors and health care in a much different light, I see my family differently. My whole perspective, a perspective I spent my entire life building changed, overnight, in a matter of seconds.
One minute you are on one side, the next minute you are on the other. You may have to look back to see the moment, but after time, after pause, it becomes clear. To this day, Marty sitting in our blue chair, in our living room, holding her aching head, saying, “This is the worst headache I’ve ever had,” was our moment.
That was a moment, 2:30 p.m., April 3, 2005.
Friends change, some drift away, new ones come, jobs change or go away, what brings happiness to you completely evolves, satisfaction is altered, family units rearrange, finances are not what they seem, heroes rise, others never appear and priorities are completely arranged.
It just takes a moment and life veers onto a completely different path.
Change is inevitable and all of us evolve slowly over time as experience and wisdom gained impact us. Instant evolution, immediate change is just as inevitable and it is frightening and life changes forever in an instant.
If you haven’t had the vagaries of life hit you right square between the eyeballs, it will. A parent dies, a cancer diagnosis happens, a child gets broken, a job is gone, a stroke happens, it happens to all of us because we are a delicate wonder living in a haphazard bumper car world.
The beauty is we adapt, we learn, we accept change; we accept and deal with the inevitable. God created humans who learn to live in almost any environment and under any conditions.
Living with calamity of some sort is no different; you simply learn how and along the way you reorder your life, put on new shoes and run down a different path strewn with pebbles, stickers and mud holes.
The amazing part….you find support, you make new friends, you develop an understanding of how others live, you learn and you tell your story to give hope to others that they too will look back some day, they too will look back at the path they have walked and marvel at how far they have walked.
That’s what telling our story does for me, it amazes me, it makes me grateful that I still walk with Marty.