This week I accomplished one of my New Year’s goals; I published my 200th blog post. It still surprises me that I’m even writing because I’ve never enjoyed it until now. Now I can’t wait to get to my computer in the morning to write down another thought or memory.
With WordPress, the blog platform I am using, I can see daily statistics as to how many people view my posts. The story that has been viewed the most so far is The Sutherland’s Unconditional Love, which has been ‘Liked’ on Facebook more than 1,400 times. I think that’s crazy.
For the first time in my life I feel I can share my crazy thoughts and not be intimidated as to what others may think of me. What I never expected was the tremendous love and support my family is witnessing because of it. Even though I love watching to see how many hits I receive daily, it isn’t the best part. The absolute best part is reading your beautiful comments or letters. Your written words inspire me to be strong every day. Because of all of you I am coping with this disease and living much better than I ever thought possible.
My biggest acknowledgements go to Mark and Corey for their encouragement and help. If it wasn’t for them this blog would never have worked.
Thank you everyone.
I love you.
The spring before Mark and I were married I drove to Baltimore where Mark was stationed in the Navy to visit him. Mark wanted his car and we needed to find an apartment that we could move into in November after we were married.
I left Muskegon and stopped in Ypsilanti to stay with my brother Mick at Eastern Michigan University. I thought staying with Mick would cut some time out of my drive to Baltimore and I loved spending time with my brother.
I left Mick early the next day anxious to get to Baltimore to see Mark. I was driving through the mountains about half way through the trip when a trucker guy got my attention. He passed me and then I passed him until finally he somehow makes me understand that he is inviting me to stop to get a cup of coffee at a truck stop. I thought he looked nice enough and why not, so I stopped. I don’t remember what the trucker guy’s name was or what we talked about but we drank our coffee and went on our way.
When I arrived in Baltimore and told Mark about my new trucker friend he wasn’t thrilled but I didn’t see anything wrong with what I had done because he was a nice guy.
Needless to say, I guess I was a little naive at age 21 and Mark was thrilled that I was flying home instead of driving.
As I laid in bed this morning thinking about my lifeless arms and hands and how I have mentally adjusted to not being able to use them, I couldn’t help but think that the feeling of being loved has helped me adjust. Love has been the most important factor in helping me get through my life-changing struggles. And the more I think about some of the struggles from my past the more I realize that love has pulled me through those, as well.
As I laid awake thinking about the reality of what I can and can’t do with my arms and hands it sort of shocks me. This may sound silly and I shouldn’t be shocked because I’ve lived with my arms and hands every day of my life, but because of the love that surrounds me I don’t get to see and feel the true frustration that should go along with this great loss.
Maybe the reason I feel so at peace with my limitations is because of the way Mark and I have divided up our responsibilities as we went through our married life. Mark took responsibility for most of the outdoor chores, such as taking care of the cars, the lawn and the snow shoveling and I took responsibility for the indoor chores like cleaning, washing clothes and grocery shopping.
I overheard Mark telling my brother-in-law Bruce about how he always worried about our cars breaking down especially if we were on a trip or if our kids were driving somewhere after dark. But I never worried about car troubles because I knew Mark had it handled.
Maybe the reason I am not so worried about losing control of my arms and hands is because I have Mark and so many others to help me.
Corey shared this quote with Mark and I yesterday and I think it’s beautiful.
“You can’t save people. You can only love them.”
In my younger years I wish I would have concentrated my energies more on the loving than the saving.
If you’ve never read The Dash Poem written by Linda Ellis, you should. Linda Ellis wrote a beautiful poem about what the dash represents in a person’s life between the year they were born and the year they died.
I first heard about The Dash Poem at Kenneth Leroy Harris’ funeral in 2007. Ken’s son Dave Harris painted a beautiful picture of his dad’s life between the years 1928 and 2007. I really didn’t know Ken Harris before I attended his funeral but wished I had based on the story David told about him. It sounded like Ken Harris’ dash was fulfilling.
Ever since David gave that great Eulogy at his father’s funeral I’ve thought about what I want my dash to be like. I want my dash to be:
1956 – “She was generous, kind and she loved abundantly.” – 20??