Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bridal on My Brain

Don't they make a cute couple?

I'm getting ready to head out to the East coast on Saturday -- only a week and a half before D#2's wedding -- and a bit behind schedule thanks to that dumb stupid MIGRAINE.


In the interest of not taxing my already dopey brain, I have decided to repost a few of my older entries on occasion over the next few weeks and save myself a bit of energy and brainpower. Since all I can think about right now is WEDDING, I thought it appropriate to re-post a bit of an entry written back in 2008 as I was preparing to attend a young friend's wedding:
......On our wedding day, John and I also looked to our future with excitement and high expectations. We envisioned our lives together to be filled with love, adventure, careers, and eventually, children. For the most part, all has come true. Yet like everyone's life, what has also come to be is what was definitely not planned.
     For the record, this does not include my three children. We asked for them all, God bless 'em.
     Ah, yes, there were many surprises along the way in our 28 years of marriage. Jobs, houses, cars, dogs, cats, and even garter snakes...........have come and gone. Some with relief, some with regret, most with fond memories.
     What we didn't plan for all those years ago was the arrival of autoimmune disease in our marriage. We didn't expect the enormous changes that would happen in all aspects of our relationship simply because my immune system shifted into overdrive. The idea that either of us would be anything other than healthy and energetic was simply not part of the vision that we had planned. Doesn't everyone in their twenties feel the same way? As though invincible? We sure did. Yet, here we are, one of us feeling definitely less invincible than imagined and as a result, we both are changed.
     I think that we were fortunate to have twenty - plus years of marriage in really good health behind us before chronic illness showed up. Goodness knows we needed every bit of energy and vigor to survive the expected adventures that come with three kids, two busy careers and our marriage that matured and developed as we all did. I think John and I had built a solid relationship a little bit at a time. We were lucky that we had so many strong bonds forged before autoimmune disease began to place stress on those bonds.
     It took six months or so for us to realize that this disease was going to be with me for the rest of my life and we both went through radical changes during this time; I felt my body become changed in ways I had not thought possible; John felt frustrated at his inability to facilitate my return to good health. We both were concerned about the change in our income as a result of me leaving my job. John's already busy work schedule now had to include what was previously my share of the cleaning, laundry, and all the other daily tasks in every household. I felt guilty when I needed extended amounts of rest and resentful of my traitorous body. It was hard accepting help, but also hard to let control of so many things slip out of my hands.
     Somehow we have found a new normal. Somehow, after five years, we have made a tentative truce with Sjogren's. My part of the deal is to take responsibility for my energy and rest, to objectively observe my status day by day, to ask for help when I need it, and to resist the temptation to over - or under - estimate my abilities. Unfortunately, the largest part of the bargain requirements fall to John, which are too numerous to even begin to list, and I am unbelievably grateful that he has willingly shouldered his share. Somehow John and I found a way to continue to like each other through these difficult times, and our marriage has not only survived but strengthened, and for this I am grateful most of all.
     I am hesitant to slip into a smug we've got this all figured out mindset. We all know how quickly life can change, as I learned five years ago when my parotids swelled to chipmunk proportions and I felt as though I had been beaten with a sledgehammer. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?
     I am thankful, though, that for today, life has found  a balance of sorts. My medications and coping skills have beaten back some of the effects of this disease. I can laugh at myself again, and goodness knows there's plenty to laugh at. It took a long while, but I managed to move through the stages of loss and grief that everyone faces when dealing with a lifestyle change. I went through each stage kicking and screaming, but hallelujah! The good days outnumber the bad, and I am thankful that the scales are tipping on the positive side.
     My wish for our friend's brand new marriage is that thirty-some years from now, no matter what obstacles life will throw in their path, that both will be able to laugh and live and like each other still.
     I know they will. 
My dear, dear daughter -- I wish the very same things for you and your fiance.

1 comment:

Brigid Rauch said...

The best way to treat a migraine is to stop it before it starts. My family and I have a system that works for us: at the first sign, we take ibuprofen, have a cup of tea with sugar and some chocolate.( Of course, for some people, chocolate is a trigger!)

I find that highly emotional events and those that disrupt normal sleep patterns are potent triggers. Both my son and I took the ibuprofen ahead of time on his wedding day!