Everyone knows that your life can change in an instant with one phone call --two phone calls can leave your life unrecognizable.
This past year has been a solid year of change and then I got the phone call that changed my life and then sixty days later what was left of my life was reduced to ashes.
I feel like I woke up one morning plopped square in the middle of someone else’s life.
Almost every aspect of my life is so dramatically different I do not recognize any part of it.
December 2013 - I used to get up every morning at 5:30, get dressed and drive in yucky traffic to my job. Monday thru Friday I put in eight hours and went home. I lived for the weekend because on Saturday and Sunday I had Paxton.
We were looking forward to our big loud traditional family Christmas with a small grandchild again. My floor was once again, after many years, littered with toys. Diapers, booster seats and rocking chairs were scattered about and pacifiers and tiny little cartoon forks and spoons were in my silverware drawer.
Our biggest issue was that we did not know where we wanted to live in retirement and finding a suitable downsized retirement house consumed my every free moment.
I had three “best” friends – my first was my sister Joan; my best friend all of my life. We talked on the phone almost every single day and made it a point to make time about every other month to see each other even though there was a 75 mile span of bad traffic between us. Then there was Kathie -- she’s always been like a sister to me. And like with my sister, I’d had her almost all my life. We are over 60 years old and have been best friends since we were five. We started school, started dating, got married and raised children --together. And then Sara, my newest best friend, “new” as in 37 years ago. We met when my husband and I moved to his home town in South Georgia for a year and a half and she and I have been long-distance best friends ever since. We talked on the phone weekly and sometimes depending on what was going on in our life - daily. We visited several times a year. And no decision was ever made in either of our lives that we did not run past the other.
I had two pets – (amazing that we were down to only two.) I had inherited Brian’s 7-year old "pound puppy" when he and Kara married and I had a five year old rescue Siamese cat that I cuddled with every evening. I went to bed around 9:00 after the cat and I read, prayed and had written in my prayer journal where I asked God repeatedly to watch over my children.
I took my breakfast on the go and packed a lunch to take to work. When I got home I cooked dinner for two.
The only thing I like brand new is a car so most of our furniture is antique or "antiques to be". I lived with my husband of 38 years in an average ranch style house in a small farming town and worked in the city.
I was a very active member of a small country Baptist church for the past 20 years. Where I served on the building and grounds committee, the Lord’s Supper committee, the church bulletin committee. I did all of the church invitations, newsletters and flyers. I mailed out visitor cards and cards of encouragement, sympathy cards, get well cards and I worked in Bible School for many years. I cooked for every occasion; illness, surgery, death in the family. I oversaw the complete renovation of the 100 year old sanctuary in 2008.
That was life last December…
December 2014 - I woke up at 3:00AM. Daylight savings time is over but my body, mind and spirit still know that it is 4:00 AM - the same time that I woke up and burst into tears on August 23.
My brother in law got up at 4:15 and left for work by 5:15AM. My husband went downstairs to the kitchen to get coffee when he woke up as my brother in law left. I got up at 6:30 and went down to get Joan’s medicine out and get her breakfast prepared and pack a lunch for both of us to take to the clinic. We had an 8:45 appointment; not a time that anyone in their right mind would volunteer for in Atlanta traffic. But we do not have the luxury of choosing. Our days – week in and week out are dominated by the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic. We got to the clinic exactly on time 1 hour and 10 minutes to make the 12 mile trip.
I dragged my computer, her notebook, her medicines and our lunch and two purses in and set up my computer on a TV tray and sat hunched over for four hours to work as she got three bags of I.V. meds, a skin biopsy, a pump refilled for another I.V. medicine, saw a nurse, P.A. and the doctor. And that was our fifth appointment, third doctor in four days.
I come home to a four-bedroom two-story rental house in the city with all new leather furniture - so that unlike upholstered furniture, it can be wiped free of all germs and bacteria - and set my computer up and work in an upstairs bedroom set up as an office for the remainder of my eight hour workday. Then I go down and cook dinner for four. Clean up the kitchen, put on a load of laundry and feed the dog and the gray stray cat that lives outside. At 7:00 my husband and I will go to the huge Church of God church down the street and attend a Grief-Share meeting with people that are becoming my friends through the common bond of loss. We will come home about 8:30 or 9:00; take a quick shower and then go to bed as I will be up again at 3:00.After 37 years one of my closest relationships did not survive this tragedy and the fallout from it.
Next Wednesday will be Paxtons third birthday. This year, no party is planned. All that I have left of him are a few static photographs and the necklace given to me that holds a sprinkling of his ashes. The joy and laughter now gone from my home... and my life.
Our usual big loud Christmas will be missing my sister and her husband (she cannot be around crowds since her transplant), my youngest son, previously the life of the party, his young fun-loving wife and the baby that came running to me arms outstretched squealing "I missed you!" last Christmas.I am not only uncharacteristically, unprepared for Christmas - but do not in fact, even want to celebrate Christmas at all.
Saturday I will go to my real home in the country. I will cry periodically from the minute I get there until I leave on Sunday to come back here. I will have dinner with my daughter as I have become very clingy to the children I have left. Unfortunately for her, she is the only one local.
I will go to church on Sunday morning but have given up all of the duties that I had and I will sit there like a zombie unable to even pray. I will listen until visions of Paxton running hot wheels cars up and down the pew come to mind and then I'll cry. I’m not mad at God I’m justs not quite sure where we stand anymore. I won’t go out to lunch with friends after church as we are seldom invited anymore and I don't really want to be in a social environment just yet. And I won’t play hide and seek when I get back.
And as for where will buy our retirement home…nobody cares.