Thursday, August 29, 2013
Subtle Changes - The Wife's View
I see it at the top of my calendar.
And I know what they say.
Eight months, they say. Eight months after December.
And still I don't believe. No matter how many ways I bend my brain, I cannot make sense of the reality that it's been eight months since I stood alone, gripping a friend's phone in that emergency room, watching doctors and nurses frantically work to save the life of my husband.
To be cliche, It Feels Like Yesterday.
Maybe not yesterday.
But certainly not eight months ago.
In March, a friend asked me over the phone if I felt like Brian's heart attack had changed me; if it had helped me realize the gift that Every Day is; if it reminded me to live fully in each moment. I thought for a minute and then answered as honestly as I could.
"I wanted it to. I thought it would."
But life still felt hard. Our house wasn't selling (wasn't showing) and we had a newborn baby to care for. Brian's energy was low and our stress levels were high. Little things still irritated me sometimes and, darn it all, the kids still needed to eat every couple of hours.
More time passed and the stress of selling and moving and leaving grew. And grew some more. But my pregnancy related hormones started leveling out and Timothy started giving us longer stretches of sleep through the nights. The aftershocks of the heart attack itself started subsiding and I found myself feeling a little more in control of the chaos that had become our lives. And one night, I noticed that a small shift in service had taken place during the months. Instead of asking Brian to finish the dishes for me, I had been doing them myself. Instead of waiting for Brian to go get our late-night ice cream snack, I had preempted it and made my way to the freezer. I pulled the sheets tighter when I made the bed in the mornings because I know that Brian does it for himself every night. And I thought, maybe I have changed a little after all.
The first Sunday in April, Brian stood in sacrament meeting and walked our little baby to the front of the room. With a circle of men he stood and surrounded Timothy with the power of the priesthood and, in that setting, cradled our son in his hands to give him a blessing. As he spoke I was overwhelmed by the simple fact that he. was. there. I thought of the moments we'd shared that had been sandwiched between the heart attack and that minute of Timothy's blessing and felt the warmth of all the long hugs, the joy of all the laughs, the sweetness of all the tender conversations and even the sting of all the tears. It was hearing Brian's voice blessing our child that made that moment even more special and even more cherished than it otherwise would have been. And in appreciating that moment so deeply I thought, maybe I have changed a little bit after all.
I have noticed that there is a substantial increase in the number of times I shrug my shoulders and genuinely mean it when I say, "Eh, it doesn't matter that much." In small things such as not being able to find time in the day to get dinner started, to personal things such as feeling a little too squishy in my bathing suit, to big things such as the thousands of dollars lost on our home. I see that it is my faith that matters. It is my husband that matters. It is my children that matter. It is relationships and love and trust and companionship and friendship and doing good for others and seeking the most delectable brand of chocolate ice cream that matters. So, maybe I have changed a little bit after all.
This man... this incredible man holds a much deeper place in my heart today than ever before. I can see that we have built our lives in, around, and through each other to an extent I still can't quite grasp. Through the past eight months as I've contemplated just how close I came to losing him, I have started to see all the ways that he is literally a part of me. I would not be who I am today without his influences on me, and I would not like to try to be me without him by my side. I need him. And despite what critics might say, I believe this is how God intended love to be... whole and completely encompassing. Independent, yet so dependent. I sometimes get scared to love him this deeply, but my faith reminds me that, should God call him away from me on this earth, we would continue in this love through the eternities. In this new and more dependent depth of love, I see I have changed after all.
It's just that I had expected the changes to be drastic, I suppose. But I should know by now that change in myself doesn't happen drastically. In fact, change happens so slowly that sometimes I wonder if it's even happening at all; so to have expected myself to never again feel irritated at a glass of spilled milk on the carpet, or shoes left (again) in the middle of the floor, was, simply, to be unfair. But now I see that, maybe I have become a bit more thankful. A bit more humble in the knowledge of our mortality. A bit better at focusing on the eternal perspective of my life and a bit farther away from getting so distracted in the details of things that simply don't matter.
But as far as the day to day life goes, things feel... remarkably the same. I've gotten used to hearing the sound of pill bottles being rattled in the mornings and evenings. It just reminds me to be so thankful for all the medical miracles. And I've gotten used to the slight discomfort I feel every. time. he. lifts something/walks quickly/goes for a run/looks stressed/wrestles with the kids. It just means that I love him.
So I guess the heart attack has changed our lives. Not drastically, and not outwardly, but significantly. It's given us hard things to work through, wonderful things to cherish. And oh, how lucky I feel to be living this day with him. And if the wind makes my hair look like dandelion poof? Well, that's just the small stuff.
Happy 11th anniversary, my love. I pray that God has many, many more years planned for us.