Thursday, January 3, 2013

We grew old together.

I posted a link to my last blog post on Facebook and my sister commented, "Dude, your year sucked!"  God bless her.  I had to laugh...I love my sister so much, and she is probably the only person in the world who could have wrote that and made me smile instead of cringe.

But as I thought about those words, and how true they surely must be, I can't find it anywhere in me to agree with them.

I honestly can't say that last year sucked.

And here is why:  For most of last year, I had Ryan here with me.

Looking back I don't see pain and heartache all year.  Yes, it is true that the last three months of the year sucked, but before that I see Ryan and me, side by side...and nothing sucked about that at all.

In fact, we endeavored to do what we had wanted to do from the beginning: We were able to grow old together.

Ryan's diagnosis made us slow down.  Physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Physically, right off the bat, Ryan didn't have the energy he used to.  He was tired all the time, and since we were connected in so many ways...I slowed down too.

He only had the energy to go see his customers for a few hours in the morning, so he was usually home before noon.  We would have lunch together every day.  It felt like he was retired.

We were able to gain a perspective that is generally only afforded to those that are later on in years.  We saw what was important, and we saw the beauty in the world through the glasses of thankfulness.

I remember Ryan's friend Jason flew in to visit us, about a month before Ryan passed.  He rented a mustang convertible and he picked us up for lunch.  Ryan and I greeted him at the door, pasty and pudgy, like the retired couple we were, and we visited awhile before departing.  We uncomfortably got into the sports car and headed to the restaurant.  It was a hot day...and Ryan and I looked at each other, feeling so completely out of place.  Despite the 90 degree temperatures, we both wore sweaters and sunscreen...and hats.  Honestly, it felt like we were 80 year olds.  We had slowed down so much that when Jason asked us what we wanted to do afterwards...what adventure, what trouble could we get into, Ryan and I said we just wanted to go home and sit.

I look back on that day and it's hard to wrap my head around it.  Today I would say, let's go to the city!  Let's go to the beach!  Let's have an adventure!  In fact, if it was just a month before Ryan's diagnosis, we both would have been ready to party.

But last summer it was like we were stuck in slow motion.  And all the thoughtful nuances that come with old age, came to us.  Seriously, if we had rocking chairs out on the front stoop, we would have been rocking in them looking at the sky for hours and hours every night.   We appreciated everything.  In fact, here is a text exchange between Ryan and I two weeks before he passed:

Losing Ryan sucked.


But last year I had him.  Last year his hand was in mine.  Last year we experienced something magical.  Amongst all the chaos that cancer brought to the table...we were able to find peace and hope in every hour.   We appreciated the little things, the small moments that generally wash by you like a quick breeze.  We found a deeper and more profound love for life, and in doing so, we felt older and wiser.

We grew old together.

Slowly, the last couple months, the hands of time have drawn backwards, and I'm feeling younger than I have in years.  I have energy, the extra pounds are dropping and there is pink in my cheeks once again.  I'm ready for adventures again.  I feel like Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  Even though I'll be 40 next week I feel like I'm growing young.

So sorry sis, no year sucked that had Ryan in it.  There is a reverence to 2012 that will stay with me forever.  I am thankful for every minute, every second I had with him.

2013?  Now that remains to be seen.  I'm not even going to venture a guess on how it's going to go.

But I'm hopeful it won't completely suck. 


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