I remember my mother and also her mother telling me that “Nobody promised smooth sailing.” I recall thinking that this Nobody was an alright, optimistic kinda fella, although a little “off.” “Sailing” for me as a kid wasn’t exactly smooth, but surely this Nobody would eventually make good on his promise. After all, a promise is a promise! And smooth sailing’s not too much to ask. Right? RIGHT???
Well. Big deep breath… When I get my hands on this Nobody character, his butt’s MINE! I intend to PUMMEL this individual. This Mr. Nobody’s a BIG, FAT, LIAR! Smooth sailing, my backside. Humph. I have a few other choice words and names for him, too, when I bump into him. And a swift kick in the “cookies,” as my sons like to say, is most assuredly in order. (Sorry, John.)
Three big things knocked the wind completely out of my sail in the last two weeks.
First, chronologically speaking, our sweet Maya dog (who came to live with me & the kids after her owner, my mother-in-law, passed away in August) got VERY, VERY, V-E-R-Y sick. SICK. She’s gone from a healthy, muscular almost 60 pounds to a scrawny 38 pounds. They’ve identified some evidence of liver failure or intestinal “issues,” but her lab values don’t substantiate any of that, specifically. Yeah. I know. Basically, two local vets and a specialist in KC are stumped. They have all kinds of what-if and if-then scenarios that we could follow, but each option essentially renders this gentle, loving dog a science experiment with no guarantees. Not good options. Steroids and a special diet should mean she’s gaining weight like crazy, and that’s just not happening. No one knows why. We have until Wednesday of this week for her to gain some weight or for yet another set of labs to show some improvement. After that, if she’s not better, we (the almost-ex and I) don’t see any options. She’s wasting away, and I can’t bear the thought of her suffering. The almost-ex and I agree on this.
Yes, I know. She’s a DOG. I actually had someone say those words to me, and I nearly “Nobody’d” that person. She is a dog, yes, but she’s OUR dog and all we have left of my mother-in-law, AND she’s the one creature who’s been there for me when my kids were at their dad’s and the house was otherwise empty. She’s been my snuggle-buddy, my foot warmer, my companion. She’s not JUST a dog, dammit. I’m beyond sad at even the prospect of her not existing anymore…
Second, my half marathon is not to be. Suckage. I’d taken a week or so off of running because my knee had been giving me some trouble – swelling, pain, the usual. No big deal. On March 11, however, I was walking down the hall after lunch, heading back to my classroom, and my knee completely buckled. It just went out. No warning, no nothing, just GONE. Ship SUNK. I bawled like a sissy girl in the hallway in front of MANY students and had to be helped to the school nurse, finally emerging on crutches and in tremendous pain.
Anyway, on Wednesday, I saw the surgeon, who did the fourth surgery on this knee almost a decade ago, and he decided that I have again dislocated my kneecap, (I really despise the word “patella.” Something about it just grosses me out. Sorry.) something that was supposedly all-but-impossible after they re-aligned the entire joint in 1995. Surgery is almost a certainty, as is the fact that I will not be racing in April as I’d planned. I’m beyond bummed at this little development. I feel ripped off, and I’m frustrated at my aging physique. And this stupid knee??? I could Nobody it, but it’s basically jacked enough at this point. I’m just… I just hate this.
Third, an incredibly special woman, my Grandma Marge, passed away peacefully Sunday at the age of 94. She’s been in ill health for awhile, so it’s not like it was a huge shock. But it was a HUGE SHOCK.
This woman was remarkable! She worked the farm with my Grandpa right up until his health failed him and he passed away 6 years ago, raised kids (GREAT kids, by the way, one of which is my dear Daddy), cooked, cleaned, sewed, and took care of EVERYONE around her, whether you belonged to her or not. She accepted my mother when she & Dad started dating almost 20 years ago, and she took me & my kids in like we were her own flesh & blood, counting us all as HER grandkids and great-grandkids. She was all heart and an absolute character – ornery and clever, honest and spirited, opinionated and kind all at the same time. She was wonderful.
I can’t explain what a rock she was to this family, nor can I explain how virtually impossible it has been to watch my Daddy cry over losing his beloved Momma. I can’t say I’ve done too many things that hurt my heart as much as holding him as he shakes and sobs. His heartbreak is more than enough to do my own little heart in, and my heart is sad all on its own over losing her. (And, later today, I get to tell my kids they’ve lost another grandparent less than 7 months after burying their Grandma Joyce. They’ve been skiing in Colorado with their Dad for Spring Break. A whole other heartbreak I can’t even get into at this point in time.) The only good thing about any of this is that she’s with Grandpa again, and goodness knows those two are doing a mean polka right now. Man, how those two could dance. And he’s shining that killer smile all over his woman, and she’s beaming and basking in that smile… That thought makes ME smile, and in all honesty, I’m happy for her. She’s free of pain, of being tired and unable to do what she wants to do, of being confined to her bed, of missing her dear husband. Knowing that takes the sting off just a bit, it really does. And that’s a little relief in the many waves of loss…
So all in all, my COFFEE goals have taken a back seat to Life things, to the not-so-smooth sailing things. Sometimes that’s just what has to happen. Like it or not, Life happens. Life will continue to happen. And, in all likelihood, Nobody’s not gonna come through for any of us. He lied. There’s no such thing as smooth sailing.
Hug your family, COFFEE friends. Hug your friends. Say “I love you,” especially when you don’t feel it but know you mean it anyway. The waters might not be glassy and smooth, but they’re the waters we get to navigate. And honestly I can’t help but be thankful for the people in my boat, who are banding together to keep this boat floating in the midst of all of this Life stuff… my peeps… and I count many of you among those. Hugs and many thanks for all the kind words and prayers…