I recently listened to Kelly Clarkson interview Sam Smith about writing songs and that how their best song writing came when their feelings were fresh and raw. I can totally see how that relates to writing of any kind. My best stories have come from highly emotional situations. But in stressful situations, how do you do write your story without calling out your perpetrators or reveling information others would prefer remain private? Putting your thoughts out there, then wishing you could retract them but they are permanently written in the cloud; no take-backs.
As many of you have noticed, I haven’t written in a few days. I hard as I tried, I wasn’t able to put into words the pain and frustration I was feeling. I’m set on keeping it real; so, I’ll fill you in. Thankfully, now that it’s in the rear-view I can say that everything worked out for the best but it sure didn’t feel that way when it was unfolding.
From the minute that we found out that Scott needed a stem cell transplant, I have been counting days and trying to anticipate how he would be feeling by the time my daughter’s wedding day got here. As a blended family, our kids were already college age when we met. They never had to live together but since we’ve been together, we’ve done holidays, vacations and other activities as one family. They all get along and have a great time together. We were a fairly new couple when his daughter married but we were married ourselves by the time each of our boys married; within a month of each other. Having rented a large Airbnb for a family hangout for all the “kids” I was really looking for a great wedding weekend getaway for our last child’s wedding. A blended family outing.
Right after the transplant, Scott seemed to do really well and the dream was in focus. Sure, we would be stretching the 100-mile rule but we would be within 20 miles of Cleveland Clinic. COVID is still a concern but I have a plan. The house is huge and we can cordon him off in the bedroom with the adjoining sitting room with fireplace. Position him in the back row at the wedding and whisk him off as soon as the ceremony is over. Back to a hotel to avoid the busy-ness of the Airbnb. Bases covered. He’s present; but protected.
October approaches and he comes down with a cold; and tests show it’s not only a cold, he has mono too. Looking back, we think he’s probably had mono since he was in the hospital. It explains his extreme tiredness, but inability to sleep. It could be part of the rash and lack of appetite.
In the days leading up to the wedding, I was constantly being asked what I planned to do about Scott. Everyone had their opinion and felt the need to tell me what they thought was best. As if I’ve been caring for him all this time and now, I suddenly don’t know what’s best for him and need to be told what to do. I was a mess.
What ultimately led me to concede; to say he shouldn’t go, was seeing that he wasn’t engaging in the discussion about whether he should go or not. Maybe he was scared; not wanting to have people looking at him and wonder what was wrong with him. Whether he could get around without the help of a wheelchair that we didn’t have, and how he would stay warm with temperatures predicted in the fifties; when he was already freezing when it was eighty degrees out.
I phoned my friend and trusted advisor Tal (that went with us to Mayo Clinic), and he convinced me that I needed to let his family take the reins for a few days and try to enjoy the days that were about my daughter. Something that wouldn’t happen if he was with me and I was constantly worried about him. It was her big day and the last thing we wanted was for Scott to become the center of attention. It was time for me to take a break. He and his wife would be with me and everything was going to be alright.
Once I changed my attitude; the first hurdle was breaking down and asking for help. Letting go of control. Daunting. I needed to find someone to stay with him for three days. Sure everyone always says they will help but when the time comes; will they? I needed someone that I trusted; that would also need to be confident enough to manage the magnesium IV and manage his medications and hound him to eat and take a shower. Then get them comfortable with the process in a couple of days. Scott’s sister and her husband were quick to step up to the challenge. Still, I felt like I was walking off the job when he still needed me. I couldn’t see how I was going to enjoy any of it while leaving him behind.
It also meant telling my daughter, who had told me so many times how important it was for Scott to be part of her wedding, that he wasn’t well enough to attend. I had to stop worrying that people might ask me where my husband was, causing me to fall apart. Ultimately, I put on my big girl panties and dealt with the fact that I was not going to be able to share this once in a life-time event with my best friend by my side.
Things fell into place throughout the week and Thursday night my friends picked me up for the four-hour drive to the Airbnb. I had committed to providing breakfast and lunch for our guests and the wedding party for Saturday so I was able to be in my comfort zone cooking on Friday morning. We followed that up with a little retail therapy and finally the rehearsal and dinner. It was a sleepless night; I think I just fell asleep and the girls started arriving to get their hair and make-up done at 7:00 a.m. Like her mother, the bride planned to single-handedly manage the tasks of the day. Complete with her own spreadsheets, typed out instructions for all and an hour-by-hour schedule that all wedding party members have on their phones. I would expect no less.
It was a storybook wedding that went off without a hitch. It seemed that by the evening she was allowing herself to be present and enjoy the day she had meticulously planned; one that marked the official beginning of her journey as a committed life partner. A group of us were able to do a video chat with Scott and his sister and husband before the night was over so that was nice.
Having divorced parents is not easy or desirable; but I think it’s allowed her to see what life with the right person can and should be like. That commitment is not always full of the joy and excitement that we hope it will be. That even fairy tale relationships have sadness and frustration. That when you really love someone, you do what you have to do. One day at a time, with some days being more difficult than you ever imagined.