Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Letters From My Love

Four years ago today, July 18th, 2008, I started dating the love of my life, Daniel James. He is not only my Husband, but my soul mate, my Hero, and my Angel. I have been so incredibly blessed to have been a part of Dan’s life. Our two years and three months together were so full of love, laughter, faith and commitment. We laughed. We dreamed. We planned a future together. We had it all, and we were so happy. Our life together was cut short. He was ripped from me in a matter of seconds, and my life was changed forever. I was changed forever.

As I was sitting in my room last night, missing Dan and being so overcome with anger at where I am in my life, I decided to read through all of the emails that Dan and I had ever sent each other while he was deployed. That was the best decision I could have made. I often feel sad, lonely, depressed, scared and worthless. These feelings can be so incredibly daunting and consuming, but they are real. And I understand that many of these feelings stem from the hormones and side effects of my chemotherapy, but they are real nonetheless. Reading through Dan’s emails, and reading his words of love and comfort take away all of the negative thoughts and feelings that run through my mind, and that is such a blessing. Below are a few quotes from my Love:
“I love you so much sweetheart...have I told you that before? Maybe once or twice. We truly do have a blessed marriage and I feel so lucky to have found you! I sometimes think of all the things that led me to meet you. Like starting with making the decision of joining the Air Force, then deciding to do EOD, and getting stationed at Vandenberg, and finding South Valley CC to go to and meet Bobbie and Vince and go to the bible study. God definitely has a plan for our lives. Everything that happens in our lives happens for a reason and God is in control! You are an amazing wife and I love you so much!!!! I will talk to you soon :)”
“Well sweetheart, I Love You very much! And I miss you very much! I can't wait to come home to you :) Soon enough. I'm praying for you everyday baby! Stay strong and I will talk to you soon! I LOVE YOU!!!”
“Well Sweetheart, I am going to get some sleep. I will dream about you!! I Love You VERY VERY VERY VERY MUCH!!! :) And I can't wait to hold you in my arms again! Soon enough babe! I'll talk to you soon honey! Have a good day at work today and try not to get stressed or have a bad day. Think of me and smile :) I Love You!!”
“And I can't wait to talk to you again! I loved hearing your beautiful voice last night(morning for you). I know it's only been a few days, but I miss you so much baby! But I know we can do it! God is protecting both of us and He is there to comfort you and help you through this deployment, me too.”
These very personal and very private words from Dan mean so much to me. Even in his absence, he has helped me through some of the worst times. He continues to encourage me, continues to remind me to lean on God, and continues to build me up to be the woman that God intended me to be. I realize that I am not the same woman that Dan married. I was a very strong, confident and positive person. Now I am a shell of what I used to be. I am sick. I am weak. I am scared. And I doubt myself in every aspect of my life. How did I allow myself to become this person? I often think that Dan would be so upset at how I have changed and morphed into the new me. But I know that he would still love me and support just the same. He would kiss my bald head. He would rub my back as I threw up from chemo. He would hold my hand throughout countless doctors appointments. And he would be my rock. I need my rock. I need him here to keep my head above water, because I often feel as if I am drowning.  
Dan’s words remind me to carry on. They push me through to the next day. I have been blessed with amazing friends and family to help me through this journey. But my biggest blessing of all has been him. I really do not have much of a message with this particular blog. I am simply putting my emotions down on paper. I am remembering Dan, and the amazing and strong Husband that he was. 
I want to be happy again. I want to smile and have it be genuine, not forced. I want to love someone with every ounce of my being. I want to encourage people. I want someone to look at me the way that Dan did. I want my old life back. I want to not hurt.
To my Daniel, thank you for being a constant pillar of love and strength for me. I know that I can get past this. I know that I can make you proud. I know that I will be happy. I know that I will be whole once again. Just give me time. Forever yours,
- Your Wife

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Am Over Being Overwhelmed

Oh how I miss the days of stressing over a term paper deadline, or being nervous over an upcoming tennis match. Those days have now been replaced with stressing over my tumor, and being nervous about how my life will reconstruct itself in the future. If I have learned anything in the past three years, it is that I need to make "me time" a top priority in my life, which is something that I often have a hard time accomplishing. With all that is going on, I often find myself utterly overwhelmed. I am often so overwhelmed with various emotions, that I just shut down on the inside; robot mode. From this blog on, I am vowing to dedicate more time to me. More time to relax. More time to take a deep breath. More time to travel. More time to write. And more time to realize that I am still here, living this life.

 I am not working right now, but I often find myself wishing that I was. I want something to fill my mind besides my tumultuous life. I want deadlines. I want staff meetings. I want business trips. And the fact that I am not working is just another reminder that I am sick, and cannot physically do so. So instead, I find myself with time, time to think. Time to think about my illness, and that I may not be around in a few short months. Time to think about my Husband, and the fact that the love of my life was ripped from me in a matter of seconds. Time to think about how I cannot have children naturally, and may never have children. Time to think about how my family will react if something terrible happens to me on the operating table. Too much time to think. Overwhelmed? Hell yes.

 Perhaps one of the most difficult things about my life is that I do not have the opportunity to forget about it, even for a short time. Each day I am reminded that I am sick, or that I am widowed, or that my life is at a standstill. I try to work out and stay healthy, but my energy level is so low that I am tired before I even begin. I try to go out and have fun, but I fear that every door handle I touch or table that I sit at may be infected with bacteria that can make me extremely ill. I try to make myself feel attractive every day, only to come home and take my wig off at night, and feel ugly once again. Reminders of my new life are everywhere, bringing me back down to reality with a powerful and painful punch in the gut.

 On a more encouraging note, this overwhelmed girl has been blessed with many things to keep me occupied. So instead of sitting around thinking, I try to live. The operative word being, “try.” I have a new hobby; golf. Well, I think you can call it a hobby. I am absolutely terrible at it, but it is fun. I now understand why Dan would curse incessantly during the game; it is extremely frustrating. But, I love the driving range. There is something so incredibly therapeutic about the silence of the driving range, and being able to smack the heck out of a tiny white ball. It is my escape. As is shopping. Retail therapy is the best thing out there, and I am great at it. And there are so many things that I still want to try. It is one my goals to catch a fish in my lifetime. I want to travel, I want to skydive, I want to camp, I want to write a book. I want to, and I will.

 And when I am at my most overwhelmed, I turn to my family and my friends. I cry with them, and I laugh with them. I do not think that my family and friends realize how much it means to me when they spend time with me. Whether it is a quick dinner, or a weekend out of town, it means the world to me. I often find myself holding back when I want to visit with my friends. I always fear that I am "bugging" them, or being an annoyance. I do not ever want someone to spend time with me because they feel obligated. So when I do call or ask to hang out, it is usually because I genuinely need to be with someone. So I whole heartedly appreciate those who have made the time to be with me, even at my craziest. You keep my head above the water. My lifesavers.

 Being overwhelmed is a scary feeling, because it is often hard to come out of. I have gone days on end being so overwhelmed that I cry myself to sleep. And I have had days where I can mentally check out and focus on other things, which are a huge blessing. Those are the days that I need more of. I know that this phase of life that I am in is temporary. But it has become my new normal, which I do not enjoy. I need this phase to be over, because I am not sure how much longer I can go with being overwhelmed, sad, anxious, worried, depressed. But, I will continue to fight through this time in my life, because I know that there is light at the other end. I may fake a smile at times, but I am smiling nonetheless. I may fake a laugh at time, but I am laughing nonetheless. Unfortunately, my tears are real. Those I cannot fake. The hard truth is that there have been more tears then smiling lately. More tears than laughing.

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.