Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bad things happen to good people

Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a question that will never be answered, but it's one that often pops into my head. Almost every single day.

Most of the people I know are the most strong willed, inspirational, and amazing people I've ever met. They have the biggest of hearts, the quirkiest of personalities, the most giving souls, and they are the most selfless people I know. They all possess these qualities despite the struggles they face on a daily basis, struggles that most people don't face. Being under 30 and losing their spouses, facing chronic illness that overwhelm them, and facing terminal illnesses knowing that today may be their last day. Yet they all come out on top, with incredible attitudes to face another day.

I admire and look up to each and every one of these friends, even if I only know them from chatting a few minutes online and only getting a small glimpse of their stories. It's hard to be surrounded by people like this, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I am a better person because of it and I have a different outlook on life. They change me for the better and put into perspective my own struggles.

But, as I said, it is hard. It's nearly impossible to separate my life from theirs. It's hard not to get involved in their struggles. I have learned to distance myself, but my heart still hurts when I hear of their trying times. One of the ladies I know, who is a fellow CF wife, just got married a few months ago. Her and her hubby were able to tie the knot after he received a double lung transplant and started to get his life back. But he is currently in bad shape. He's intubated and fighting a sepsis and lung infection in the ICU. Not only that, but he's been battling rejection of his lungs for quite some time now and he is currently waiting for a second double lung transplant. Unfortunately he is too unstable to go through a transplant and so he is currently inactive on the list.

My heart breaks for both of them. I know that he is in a very, very scary situation. I remember the look in Spencer's eyes when he started to grasp the seriousness of his situation... that his life was, once again, on the line. I know that she is in a state of utter disbelief and shock, watching her husband fight for his life, not knowing what the next day, hour, or minute might bring. Watching him lay there, confused, uncomfortable, and scared. Trying to comfort him, love him, and be everything for him as she tries to hide her own emotions and be the strong one. The shoulder. The support. The unwavering support that feels impossible, but is absolutely necessary to get them both through.

I want to do so much for her, but there isn't much that I can do. I think back to when I was in that situation. What did I want from friends? What did I need? There really was nothing that could help heal my broken and distraught heart. Cards, kind words and messages were always nice and they really, really helped get me through the rough days, but I was also so overwhelmed with it all. I read what I could, but didn't get around to reading some of it until months after he died. I struggled to return phone calls, texts, messages, and e-mails. I didn't want to get out with friends and family and leave the hospital because I never knew what might happen the one moment that I decided to disappear. I want to write her, but I have nothing to say aside from; I understand, I'm here for you, please let me know if there is anything that I can do. The generic message that everyone writes a wife in distress. When I try to personalize it, I'm always afraid that I'm going to say the wrong thing at the wrong time; the right thing at the wrong time... I know that I had instances of that myself. The last thing I want to do is upset her.

So A. B., if you're reading this, I want to help you, I am just not sure how, if there is any way at all. If you ever want to hear my experience I will be more than happy to share it with you. If you want to hear how I personally got through some of the rough moments, I am happy to share as well. I feel like that's about the best that I can do. Know that you're always, always on my mind, as well as your hubby. All of your Cyster Wives love you so much!

There are several more of my Cyster Wives who are going through a really rough time with things in their personal lives and with their husbands declining health. It's tough to read about this because, naturally, I only want the very best for them.

I also have another friend who is struggling a good deal right now. My precious friend, Molly, who is waiting on a 4-organ transplant is currently fighting sepsis in the hospital. She's in desperate need of a transplant and it's scary for me to wonder how much longer she can possibly fight. I have only seen Molly when she's been fairly sick and I would love more than anything to visit her when she feels like a brand new woman.

These are all examples of incredible people that make me question why something bad has to happen to such sweet and amazing people.

On that same note, I watched a movie a couple of nights ago that is based off of a true story and it was incredibly touching.  It was about a man with Polio who resided in an Iron Lung for all but 2-3 hours each day. He was a college graduate, a writer and a poet. One day he was asked to write a paper about intimacy and disability, which prompted him to search for intimacy for himself that he'd never been able to experience before. Along the way he found love with different women, experienced true heart break, and touched the lives of so many people caring for him.

His heart was huge and despite the incredible adversity that he faced, he never gave up. As I said, he was a college graduate. He went to school each day laying down on a motorized gurney. He crossed the stage getting his diploma with the crowd cheering for him and his success. Because he had lost voluntary muscle control in every part of his body but above his neck, he used a pointer with his mouth to do everything; type, answer the phone, move things, reach for things -- you name it. And it looked so, so hard to do. His attitude was one that all of us should adopt. I was greatly inspired.

I don't know what prompted me to watch it, as I normally wouldn't watch something like this based off of the description, but I got a lot out of it. I laughed, I cried, and I felt and understood certain things here and there. It was called The Sessions, if you're interested. (Just an advanced warning, it's not for young eyes, and uses strong language in some parts...)

It's obvious that life is not fair, it never has been. It's just hard to know that people who are so, so very deserving of everything in life, and more, get handed some of the crappiest cards to play with. I am so proud of my friends and acquaintances who play that crappy hand to the very best of their ability and they don't let it hold them back. They may have multiple set backs and babysteps are inevitable but, as I said, they combat that adversity time and time again, for their entire lives, and they come out on the top saying "This won't get me down."

1 comment:

  1. Nikki, you are amazing. And, I am sure that A.B. knows how much you love her and will help. Believe me when I say, that knowing if I needed answers, I could ask you, was a very good thing. Everything happened so quickly for Teddy that I didn't have an opportunity to really ask you what I wanted before I knew the answers first hand. But I was grateful for you to only be an email away. And you never said anything wrong during that time so I know you can support her without hurting her too! Keep strong friend. Your story and love for Spencer is precious and will help many other women if you are brave enough to keep opening up to us :) Your Cyster Wife, Sam