I have a great deal to be thankful for today, on this eve of the Thanksgiving holiday.
You see, there is no easy way of writing this. It has been hanging over me, like a weight on my heart, for a long time. With the honesty and encouragement of two bloggers who have shared publicly about similar experiences as those on my heart, I have decided to just say it, today, in this week of gratitude:
My husband almost died this fall. He got sick in July with what we thought, at first, was a bad cold. As he got sicker, and sicker, and began what felt like an endless journey to countless doctors, an unspeakable dread crept into our lives. Carrying on with "normal" seemed the only choice for me, even as his illness worsened and answers didn't come.
In the end, we never ended up with an "official" diagnosis. We found out a lot of what it wasn't, but ultimately, we think it was an MCS-like illness, or actually, more specifically, a hypersensitivity pneumonitis which is being called "trombone player's lung": a disease that only affects musicians! (The NPR article I linked to makes it sound a lot less bad than it actually is, by the way.)
Anyway, this sounds awful, and dramatic, and it really was. But he is well now. He is well! And this is over.
With so much to be thankful for, and so much anxiety and worry to put behind us, we journeyed to the ocean several weeks ago.
As I stood in the icy water, gulped in the salty air, and looked out across the great expanse of the sea, I felt myself letting go of the fear and worry that had permeated the previous months. It seemed to melt down into the sand where I stood. Peace washed over me as I listened to the tide, and played with my beloved little family in the surf.
Again, my children were my best teachers. Even as the ocean was such a concrete reminder for me to let go, and such a beautiful metaphor for healing and cleansing, I realized that my children didn't need a reminder so concrete: they are so present in each moment of life that the stresses of the previous months had already washed past them. What a powerful reminder that was -- my children on one side, the ocean on the other.
I'm hoping that I've brought back a little bit of that peace with me into ordinary life. And hoping, for all of us, that it doesn't take something so dramatic to help us renew our gratitude for the people we love.
Wishing you much love, gratitude, and joy these next days, whether you're celebrating the holiday tomorrow or not.