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My Big Fat Life – Throwback Thursday (365 days later)

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm

A year ago today I stood in the hallway at OHSU right outside the door of the ultrasound room, and cried as I listened to a cardiologist tell me that Gabriel needed to have life saving open heart surgery. These were the same halls I walked when I was visiting Gabriel in the NICU after his birth, and the same halls I walked when I was leaving the hospital with a little boy that I was told was in perfect health with a perfect heart. Even though I had my suspicions over the years that there was something going on with Gabe, nothing prepared me for that moment and those words.

Here we are 365 days later, and I never would have guessed that life would be so much different than where I thought it was that day that I made the drive to the hospital for routine tests for the boys. In some ways the changes are very disappointing and in other ways, life is much better.

I was going to write a list of the changes that transpired over the year, but recently my sweet friend Jessica posted something on Facebook that resonated with me so much, that I wanted to share the list of things she has learned this past year (with her permission):

1. People who actually care will make a way to be there for you when you need them.

2. People have different definitions of help.

3. People have different definitions of friendship. Just because you know what kind of friend you are to someone doesn’t necessarily mean they will be that kind of friend to you.

4. Ultimately, you don’t owe anyone any explanations for your living, romantic or self decisions (unless you are hurting someone).

5. My mother will always be there despite how she feels about whatever is going on… good or bad, or indifferent.

6. You know the answers in your spirit; we seek others for confirmation.

7. If when something goes on in your life and you pick up the phone to tell someone, the first person you think/want to tell is and should be your best friend or partner (if this isn’t the same person) . If you find yourself telling someone something and they aren’t the first person you thought to share your thoughts or happenings with, reconsider who you’re sharing with. Everyone isn’t meant to know everything.

8. If you are in a bind and you need help, the first person you know who will come through when you call is your family.

9. After all is said and done, whoever is left is your true friend. I fight very hard for my friendships/relationships. Fight for people who will actually fight for you and don’t be surprised when you find out people you thought were going to won’t. I’m learning who actually fits into that “friend” category. And although it sucks, it is definitely an eye opener.

10. MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OF ALL: You can’t expect anything from anyone. So… make your own life filled with happiness and joy the best way you can. You will meet amazing people along the way; know when to hold on and when to let go.

While I can’t really relate to #5 and I am not really into fighting to keep relationships intact this past year (I have had to keep my battles soft), this list really hit home with me. Especially #2 and #3. Besides these lessons, I have also learned that hope can be an enemy if not used with caution and that hugs (for someone who is not normally affectionate with strangers) are essential.

A year ago I never would have thought that some people who were in my life then, would not be a part of it now. Some of those relationships were redefined, and I am grateful for the preservation of those connections. I do miss friendships that fell by the wayside, but I am very thankful for the new friendships I made this year, with people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I have met other heart parents along the way, and also Wendy who is a heart patient herself (she is a kindered spirit in the realm of parenting, and she makes me laugh on a consistent basis). These people have made me feel as though I can lose my shit in a place that is understood, even if our experiences are all different. I am especially grateful for a friendship that came from the most unexpected place with perfectly imperfect timing, how it’s evolved, and how now Omar has come to be amongst the most cherished people in my life.

Life hasn’t carried me where I thought it would. It certainly has changed in the last 365 days. In some ways the changes have been really disappointing, and in some ways life is so much better.  The best thing of all is that as I write this, Gabriel is playing a video game with his brother and I can hear the debate about the game take place. A year ago I was terrified that might not be the case.

Still not sure where the next year will lead us; I’m not even sure what tomorrow has in store (other than a soccer lesson). I do know that I am grateful for each and every one of you who have read my words, written me letters of encouragement, loved me despite my often bouts of frustration with this journey, and given me space when I needed it with the understanding that you would always be there when I was ready to talk. Your loving and patient friendship has meant a lot to me.

My wish for the next 365 days is for healing, love, and victories. I wish that for all of us.

 

(I snapped this photo of Gabriel on June 26th 2013, while he was being prepped to have the echo that would prove to be both life saving and life changing)

Gabriel June 26 2013_copy

 

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