"If you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, might as well let it sparkle." -- Wanda S. Horton
I remember the conversation well.
A friend and I had met for coffee the week after Jon and I had returned from our idyllic weekend anniversary trip. It had been an incredible getaway, one that allowed Jon and I to return to the days of dating. In fact, the whole weekend felt like one, big, long date. It had been perfect. Really.
So perfect, in fact, that I told my friend (and I quote), “Life is so good right now. Our marriage is stronger than ever and life just feels right. In fact,” I whispered to her, “I keep wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.”
Yep, I said it. And even as the words flew out of my mouth, I looked around the coffee shop for some wood to knock on. Because we all know that just thinking those words is tempting fate.*
Well. About 10 days later, with much humility and chargrin, I told that same friend, “The shoe dropped. And it dropped hard.” Little did I know, even then, that a full month later, the shoe would still be dropping. It must have been dropped from The Burj Khalifa** because I really don’t think its hit the ground yet.
Some things I’ve written about, and some I have not. Which is hard for an open book like myself. I’m not one to pretend like my life is perfect when its not. I feel like I’m missing the gene that can pretend everything’s a-ok, but personally, I find life is much easier when I can just be real. And while some in my life think I’m too real, I can’t help it. Its just who I am, and right now, while keeping some of these things private, I feel like I’m living in someone else’s skin. Its an entirely uncomfortable feeling.
But I digress.
It started with the flooding of our bathroom. Its been about a month and we still haven’t seen a check from the insurance company. I guess the claim was just finalized this past Friday. It’ll more than cover the repairs, especially when I have a handy husband who can do the work himself. But I miss my master bath and am ready to stop sharing a bathroom with the Littles.
The marriage high from our weekend away? It hit a few speed bumps and came to a screeching halt. Even now, Jon and I can look back and laugh (a little) that perhaps we got a little too cocky about our relationship. Perhaps. Or perhaps we’re being refined through our current fire. Who knows why. The point is, as marriage goes, it ebbs and flows. There’s up and downs, hills and valleys. We’ve just come off a pretty high mountain and though we might be walking through our valley, I know (with 100% certainty) that’ll we come out stronger on the other side. I’m already looking forward to our next hill and the view from the top.
Then Colorado became engulfed in fire. Literally. It felt like every time I turned on the news, a new fire had erupted in this gorgeous state. We sat there, mouths agape, as the fire crept closer and closer to our town and loved ones. We were on pins and needles as friends waited on word about their homes. It was one of those times where you feel completely helpless, wanting to help but not knowing where to start. It was a bone-deep sadness for those around us.
This past weekend brought the biggest blow of all.
My grandmother, Grandma Nancy to those that know us in real life, was rushed to the hospital on Friday. About 2:00am, as she was making her way back to bed, she felt herself starting to fall, reached for the dresser with her left hand but it wasn’t working and she wedged herself between the bed and dresser, unable to move. Long story short, after much maneuvering and needed daylight to see the numbers on her cell, she was finally able to call my aunt and uncle for help.
It was at the hospital that we were told she’d suffered both a stroke and heart attack. But the doctor felt that something still wasn’t quite right and continued to run more tests. It later that day that the doctor told Grandma, my mom, and her siblings, that Grandma also had cancer in her spine. And since its rare for cancer to start in the bone at her age, chances are there is a primary cancer elsewhere in her body. Talk about a 1, 2, 3 punch.
The rest of the tests and scans were completed today, in what the doctor called “a cancer hunt.” We don’t have the results from the tests yet, and I’ve decided the hardest part of this whole process is the waiting. Living in this in-between, of hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Depending on tomorrow’s news, Grandma is probably being discharged to the same hospital that Mom was in for her Guillian-Barre syndrome three and a half years ago. We know the place well.
And while Jon’s wife was dealing with the crisis of Grandma, Jon’s road was being overtaken by mudslides. Yes, dear friends, the fire that swept through these mountains, taking so many trees and much vegetation, has created a perfect storm for mud and rock slides throughout the canyon. It was one of the first times that Jon had to decide between the crisis at home or the crisis at work. I know it was incredibly hard for him to hand over control to someone else, but I couldn’t have survived this weekend without him. He always knew the right thing to say or do, to know when I needed a hug or shoulder, or when I need to not be touched. But he has a mess to deal with come tomorrow morning.
Yes, life is hard right now. It feels like every time we wrap our minds around one situation, another is thrown at us. And we’re staying afloat (sometimes barely) but there’s hope. Hope that at the end of it, we’ll be stronger. Hope that no matter how hard this is, we’re not alone in it. We have each other, we have Him. In fact, this song is carrying both Jon and I through a lot of the hard moments right now. I’m not sure how people live this life without that eternal hope, I know I couldn’t do it. Life is hard right now, painful in fact. But this isn’t forever, this too shall pass.
And as I told my friend in a text today, “Don’t let me talk about shoes anymore.” I’ve learned my lesson.
* No, I don’t really believe in fates.
** No, I am not that smart. I actually had to find out what the tallest building in the world was from Google.