Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Final Post

This is the last time I'll be posting on this blog. Since the relationship is over, I thought I would say goodbye officially and then let it all go into the ether.

Thelma and I didn't work out for a lot of reasons, many of which are between the two of us. One of the big ones is that I could never get past what happened in January, when we split up the first time. I remained afraid of her anger and her tendency to lash out physically when she got mad. Maybe because I grew up in that kind of environment, I never trusted her not to hurt me again. I knew in my heart that she couldn't do anything to get that trust back from me. It was just gone.

Unfortunately, at the end, her family got involved and really lashed out and hurt me, too. They never really wanted me there, and because of things that were said and done, I believe that all along I was the scapegoat for everything they didn't like about her and her "lifestyle". It had to have all been my fault, right? They threw all kinds of names at me (and psychological was ridiculous). I felt every word. It really, really hurt. If they're reading this, I hope it gives them great pleasure to know that they threw further hurt onto a woman who is as hurt as a woman can be.

They said that I invited my ex-husband down to spend Labor Day weekend with us and that surely I could understand why that would hurt Thelma. Well, that wasn't true. He asked if he could come down that weekend and pick up his cat, who was and is very sick. He didn't want me to have to drive up to MD to bring her back. He was then going to go on further into the mountains and camp or get a hotel for a few nights. He simply wanted to either meet up somewhere close-by or drop by and pick up his cat. He didn't plan to stay at the house or interfere with us in anyway. (Though she had been in his house twice with me, never thinking that maybe it would rattle his nerves a little.) Sean was going to come with him, too (our son), and spend a few days with us while his dad went off camping and exploring the mountains. Paul's girlfriend was going to be out of town with her family that weekend, so she couldn't come. All of that got the final argument started. It was a molehill turned into a mountain for sure, and he felt terrible that his idea for picking up his cat and combining that with a little mountain vacation resulted in our nasty break-up. I was accused of cooking it all up, but that was simply not true. I think it was all an excuse to be angry with me and to try to further isolate me. It backfired, if that was the case. I said to her, "I am not going to shut out the father of my children, and I need to know whether or not you can live with that." Apparently, she couldn't.

But regardless of her feelings, motivation, or actions, I loved Thelma. I loved her for most of my life. I loved her in spite of everything. Part of me still loves her but never wants to see her again. I don't trust myself to be in her presence and not want to grab her in my arms, because the love was so real and so deep on my part. It's just better this way, with me in a completely different state. We brought out the absolute worst in each other; I'll never know why.

I wanted us to bring out the best in each other, but the control and trust issues started the first time we went out to a bar with her friends. She got mad because I was talking to the only man at the table (a married hairdresser). He was as much of a stranger to the conversation as I was, so we began to talk about microbrew beers of the area (at the time, I was really into them). He let me try "Fat Tire," which was made locally, and I ended up ordering one. That got me into big trouble. I should have run the other way then because of the red flags that went up, but I thought it was a little sweet that she was jealous. That was the tiny thread I pulled at which turned out to be the thread that unraveled the entire garment. She seemed to see that incident completely differently than she saw what else happened that night, with a pretty woman (who was crazy for her) trying to unbuckle her belt right there at the table and then following her into the stall to help her when she went to the ladies room. I suppose I wasn't supposed to be jealous about that? I truly don't understand how one compares to the other. I was having a conversation and a beer. No one's hands were on me. I wouldn't have let anyone do that to me, but she did. It was the old double-standard.

From then on, it was obvious she needed to keep me away from other people, because she couldn't trust me or anyone else. She often talked about the "outside world", saying that if we let the outside world in, they would ruin our relationship. Having always been a social creature, I didn't realize what I would be giving up, being so isolated. The whole situation ranged from lonely to scary, depending on how badly we were fighting at the time.

If only she had been able to see how much I loved her and that I would NEVER have cheated on her. Even now, I'm not involved with anyone. I'm healing.

There is a saying in recovery: "Hurt people hurt people."

She was a very hurt person, molested and maligned by many members of her family, and yet she needed approval from the very people who had hurt her. I never understood it, and she didn't seem to really want help for it. I wish she would have gotten some help, because then we might still be together. I just couldn't go on, wondering if she really loved me, wondering if she was just using me, wondering what was going on behind my back (and now I know that something was). She had a need to isolate me, to have me all to herself. Maybe that was the best way for her to keep her stories straight. Maybe it was the only way she felt she could trust me, because she had been so badly hurt. But in the end, I couldn't live that way. It was putting a great deal of stress on me, and I found I could only communicate with certain people without getting into trouble.

The last few hours together were terrible. On the one hand, she said, "If you leave here, you're walking out on the best relationship in the history of the world." I don't think so. I wanted it to be, and I think she wanted it to be, but it wasn't. We fought all the time.

On the other hand, she said, "Good! Now I won't have to put up with your illnesses anymore!" And before I even left the house, she posted on Facebook that she was finally, happily single and that she couldn't take the drama anymore. Okay. Well, neither could I.

But you know? That really hurt. I had been in the ER the day before for heart problems. Now I'm on medication for them. I've also been referred out by my primary care physician to a rheumatologist who specializes in lupus. I seem to have some kidney involvement, which may be part of the reason my blood pressure was going up. Neither my lupus nor my heart was going to get any better with the kind of stress I was under. I needed to rest. I needed quiet. I get plenty of that where I am now - in my ex-husband's townhouse.

Yes, that might sound odd, and it has caused him some problems, I'm afraid. But we truly are only best friends. He has his room and privacy, and I have mine. We weren't romantic with each other before, and we certainly aren't now. I'm gay. I have no interest in being with him or with any other man. But he will always be a part of my life. We had two children together, and we lost one. Anyone who is going to be with either of us has to understand that we have a bond and don't intend to block each other out. That doesn't mean we have a "relationship"; it means we're going to always be there to help the other one out, if needed. It means we'll always be there for our son. It means we will talk and joke and stay in touch. That's all it means.

I'm paying toward fixing the house up and paying off the last of our shared debt (which includes, now, a new AC and furnace - they died a couple of weeks ago), and then he'll be moving into an apartment and I'll take over the mortgage on the townhouse. He's a decent man, and I did a lot of things to hurt him in the beginning of our separation, right after we lost our daughter, no less. I have made my amends to him, my son, my friends, and anyone else who was hurt as part of it all. Thankfully, he accepted my apologies and amends.

I just knew at the time - May 16, 2009 - that I had to go and be with Thelma. I loved her so much that I didn't care who I hurt. I just wanted to be with her and live the rest of my life in her arms. It devastates me to know that's over and will never be. She has moved on already, whereas I am taking my time to heal. I don't plan on dating for awhile. Right now, I can't imagine being with anyone else. She was the love of my life, no matter how it turned out. I don't want anyone else right now.

I'm just resting, getting well, writing, and working. Grad school started last week and is a joy to me. I've become a bit of a workaholic, trying to keep my head up as I battle the grief over the relationship. Nothing will ever compare to how I felt in Thelma's arms. She and her family can say whatever they want to say about me, but I know what we had. I know what we've lost. When I stay busy, I don't hurt so much. It's when I'm trying to go to sleep that all the memories come flooding back in. Only time will heal this deep wound, but I figure if I learned how to go on without my daughter, I'll learn how to go on without Thelma.

It's so hard to write this. No one may ever read it, but I needed to write it. I needed to have a good cry and sit here with the feelings of grief and loss of our relationship.

Yesterday I took my feelings out into the garden and ripped up old plants, dying plants, and weeds. I put in new life and mulched it all. I watered it and watched the droplets fall like tears from the leaves. I sent my innermost thoughts down into the roots to nourish them and to become one with the plants. My ex said that I looked like I was enjoying myself, though we both know I pushed myself a little too hard. Being in the sun and heat isn't good for my lupus, but I needed to get out there and do that gardening. It was good for my soul, if not for my body.

Someday, maybe Thelma will send light and love my way instead of hatred and anger. I am trying to send light and love her way. I'm trying each day to let go of my hurt and anger and just remember how good things were when they were good. We gave it a good try, and even though it ended, I will always remember how it felt to be in her arms. And I will always love her.

- L

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Long Winter

It seems like this winter will never end!

We are not getting the kind of ridiculous snow my son is dealing with in the DC metro area, but we are expecting some of the white stuff this week. The ground is saturated from snow and rain already, so more precip is not exactly thrilling. We are hoping that the weather warms and clears by next weekend so that we can ride.

We had a couple of glorious days last weekend in which we spent time grooming Thelma's Shih Tzu. We started out on the porch, in the warm sunshine, with the clippers. The whole task took several sessions (clipping, then later a bath, then drying, then brushing) and resulted in two-and-a-half bites (I got the half bite; Thelma got two bites, one drawing a significant amount of blood!). It was so nice, despite the bites, spending time outside in the sunshine with a light breeze blowing.

In the worst part of the winter, we had some serious issues arise that resulted in us being apart for 3 weeks, but we are back on track and are doing fine. Sometimes you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. We are worth the work. We are worth it.

In about 3 weeks I'll start back to school - full-time, online - to finish up my masters degree. Thelma is looking into her options, as well, so we will be busy. Rest assured that we are still here and we're going strong. We just want some warm days and sunshine. Is that really too much to ask? :-)

- L

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow on the Rooftop

Thelma and I are enjoying a visit from our boy who drove down from Maryland a couple of days ago - ahead of this snow we're getting here in the mountains. It's been snowing off and on since about lunchtime, and it has made a very pretty landscape outside our windows. With our Christmas decorations still up (in honor of the boy coming), the house kind of resembles a Thomas Kinkade painting, lit with white lights, a fire in the fireplace, and glittering reflections on the snow.

He will be here with us through next week, staying to celebrate my late daughter's 26th birthday. I suppose we'll have some kind of Italian food (her favorite) and maybe a strawberry shortcake (her favorite, too). Whatever we do that day, it will be special and tearful.

Thelma started physical therapy last week for her hip injury and was doing pretty well until the pool therapy session. Apparently the therapist took out his aggressions on her, piling on the weights and resistance until her muscles and nerves screamed in pain. She spent the next two days trying to recover; today she is doing better, but it was hard to see her in such pain. Still, the physical therapy seems promising and will hopefully help her avoid surgery. That would be a very good thing.

Despite her aches and mine, we have to keep things going here at the ranch. The cold air moved in and froze the pond, the pipes running from the pond (which is spring-fed), and all of the other water sources for the horses. Because we rent the ranch, we haven't installed things such as automatic waterers. (Listen to me trying to sound like I know what the heck I'm doing!) I'm just a city girl in the country. When we go out to take care of the big babies, I don Thelma's camouflage jumpsuit, pleather gloves, Boggs, and a hat. I help carry up the feed scoops, and I help scoop poop and clean up the hay. It gets me out of the house, gives me fresh air (sort of! LOL), and is better than an aerobics class for exercise. This city girl is finding that life in the wintertime around the ranch is tough, but it's better than sitting in front of the TV, stuffing my face :-)

As I write this, the boy is putting wood in the woodstove and the supper that Thelma has prepared is simmering on the stove. Life is good.

Peace - L

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Growth Through Challenge

Yesterday was a very bad day.

The weather was about to move in, and I'd had a tough week at work. We decided to go out early in the afternoon--I took a break from work--to get a few things from the store and visit the post office box. While I was in the store, Thelma called her mother, who had been clued in (with Thelma's permission) about our relationship status but mostly about accepting her daughter. We've tried to be respectful and keep it quiet, but more than once we've had words over the fact that I want to live my life being "out" to the important people in our lives, while she wanted to keep it quiet to keep "all hell from breaking loose."

You see, she was "out" for most of her life, and it always brought hellfire down on her head. Only her father seemed to accept her, and as you know, he was killed at his store in 2000. After that, she crumbled and caved in to the pressure being brought to bear on her. She married a man in 2001, less than a year after her father died. Prior to his death, she had dated a few men to please her family, but it never felt right to her. She remembers having always been gay.

I, on the other hand, was so afraid of my father (who was strung out on morphine when I met was prescription, injectable morphine because he had cancer - but he became an addict and had to go get clean at the VA hospital), that I stayed in the closet. I had girlfriends throughout elementary school, but when I got to Jr/Sr high school, I began to see how "those" girls were treated. I was terrified, and I kept my eyes down in the locker room. I hid my feelings and dated VERY few boys in high school. The ones I dated were usually guys I either (a) knew were gay or (b) seemed safe. I ended up leaving town when I was 17 to go finish high school in Texas. Thelma never saw me again until May 16, 2009. As you know, I never forgot her.

So when I got back in the car and heard her mother, on speakerphone, saying, "And you cannot bring Louise into this house. My house is sacred, and I won't have you lying around with some woman here..." and I saw Thelma just sitting there, listening, letting her mom have her turn, I freaked out. I got out of the car in the pouring rain and pulled my hood up. I didn't know where I was going, but I couldn't stay there. I left my purse, my phone, everything, and started walking. By the time I got to the post office, I was drenched. I had walked through ankle-deep water and crossed streets without paying any mind to the cars. I went into the building and waited. I knew she would come.

When she pulled up to the curb, I went and got the keys. I was angry. I got the mail and the package. Came back to the car and got in. She was saying things to her mother like, "Do you realize people have been murdered and have committed suicide because of this so-called 'lifestyle'? Do you really think I would choose this for myself? To be harassed, punished, and abused?"

It was just too much for me. I said some things I regret. Thelma got angry and threw the phone down, disconnecting her mother. We argued. We cried. She tried to jump out of the car at one point, while we were on the way home.

It was a bad day.

She is hurt that her mother has rejected her and has given her an ultimatum: either you go straight or you don't have me.

We've been un-invited for Christmas.

I'm hurt, too. I feel like yesterday's Caesar salad, left out on a counter to rot. I feel unwanted and unloved. My mother died in 2006, and she died knowing EXACTLY who I am. She loved me. She was a Christian, too, and she loved me unconditionally. This is exactly why I can't understand when a parent rejects the child because of sexual orientation. I lost my daughter this year. She was bisexual, but I didn't give a rat's patootie, because she was my daughter. This is hard for me to comprehend, Thelma's mother rejecting her and saying things such as, "I'll never set foot in your house again."

And then I compounded it by showing my butt and being a pig about the whole thing instead of being more supportive. I was just shocked and hurt. I was injured, but no one was or is more injured than Thelma in all of this. She is missing her mother. She is wishing her dad was alive again so that she could feel someone would care.

I care, honey.

I care, and we'll get through this together, just like we always do. I wish it were easier, but I guess God wants us to grow through all these trials. He is carrying us.

Love, L

Thelma's Response:

Well I haven't heard a word from my mama today.

I sent her emails on how I feel. I won't call her as my aunt told me to just let things lie...stew with her. I am so sad because I am used to talking to my mom every day. But I don't want any more abuse or ridicule. I just can't take it anymore in my life.

I do hope that she will read the emails that I sent her from, and Mel White. I love her. She IS my mother, after all. I miss her. I just wish that she could accept me for who I am. Her older sisters do? Why not my own mother? I am heart broken and I am sure that she feels she is too.

Let's face it, I'm not the perfect daughter. But I am a good person and try to do good things. I don't flaunt myself in public. Never have. I don't believe that I am a bad influence on her grandchildren or great grandchildren. I am not a pervert. I have never harmed a child. Never will. Those children are and will be exposed to all kinds of people in this world...God's PEOPLE!!!! They cannot shelter them forever from the outside world or differences. She said that she didn't want her grandkids to think it was acceptable to be gay, and that I was NOT welcome in her home with Louise. Those kids are growing up in this world with seeing all kinds of love of every kind.

Who is the JUDGE? I believe that my GOD loves me and He will comfort me through all of these challenging times. I am learning from that I may someday be able to help another person going through this unacceptance issue. I am glad that I have come completely out to my mother, because it has been very unhealthy for me to hold this all in for so long. So many years of my life I felt ashamed of being me.

I love Louise and I will NEVER be ashamed of that...EVER!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Love and Fear

This is the most amazing love I could ever have imagined, this romance between Thelma and I. My heart is full and overflowing.

What I don't understand is why there are so many people in this country (and in all fairness, around the world) who would say that our love is wrong. Whereas heterosexual people, in most circumstances, take for granted their rights and protection as a couple, we must think about things like "would that person understand?", "is that place safe?", and so on. Why does the world have to be this way?

I want to hold her hand in public. I want to lean over and kiss her at dinner. I want to go to church with her.

The last one is what I miss the most. Yes, we could drive to one of the big cities (two hours in any direction), but why should we have to? Yes, we are in the buckle of the Bible belt, but we are Christians! Why shouldn't we be able to go to our church of choice, worship as "straight" people do, and get our spiritual food for the week without having to make such a trek? Thelma is out of commission right now because of the hip injury and will be going to physical therapy three times a week, so going two hours each way to church isn't even an option.

Today a family member said that homosexuality is the only thing the Bible says is an "abomination" against God. Not so. Thelma has been doing a little research and is finding quite a bit of Biblical scripture to refute that. But I'm too exhausted from work and stress to expand on that right now. Instead, I'll refer you to and any of the books by Mel White (especially "Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America"). Educate yourself, though I suspect our readers don't need to be educated all that much. If you want to know more about taking on the religious wrong, as I call them, read Mel White's material. He follows the principles of Martin Luther King, Jr., and is fighting the good fight every day.

It breaks my heart when anyone calls what we have together an abomination. I love Thelma. She loves me. Our souls are enmeshed and have been since we met as kids. I want to marry her and have the same rights and recognition (and protection) as any "straight" couple. What the hell is everyone so afraid of? We are who we are, and we love who we love. We aren't hurting anyone.

But as Emerson said, “Do not waste yourself in rejection; do not bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.”

(found this on the writers' blog for the Grey's Anatomy writers...great blog, if you like the show)

Peace - L

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Maybe the Holidays Aren't So Bad

[Image credit]

We've been busy girls at the Girly Ranch. This past weekend, we moved past the single-candle-in-the-window phase to an almost full-blown Christmas decorating party!

I had moved my few boxes of Christmas decorations up to the main level a week earlier, but Thelma wasn't quite ready to face the task or the notion of Christmas just yet. She misses her father during the holidays, and I'm dealing with the first holiday season after losing my daughter. It was waterworks all around, let me tell you.

But after spending much of Saturday in bed (not sick) or piddling about the house and barn, we found ourselves with time on our hands Sunday. I decided to begin to decorate. I took out my Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which is a 4' pre-lit tree, and my few decorations--mostly blue and gold, with white lights. I felt bad, because Thelma didn't want to bring out her decorations, as she felt I needed to be with my things more. My little tree was too small for all her ornaments. My mood dipped, and suddenly my tiny spark of Christmas cheer was almost out. I did what I do often since my daughter died - I lay down in the bed and cried for awhile. Though Thelma tried to cheer me up, I was suddenly exhausted.

A few hours and a nap later, I came out to find her buzzing around, putting a few of her things out and finding places to hang lights! Before we knew it, the place was sparkling with bright colors, folk art pieces, and Christmas spirit. My tears were dried, and the mark of us both was all over the house--her reindeer and snowmen, my tree, her towels, my towels, her bows, my 4' star... It was radiant. Though we are both missing pieces of ourselves - our loved ones - we realize that this is our first Christmas together. We want to make it special.

Shopping has been difficult, because we are always together ('cause we want to be, of course!). I've done almost all of my shopping online, which is how I normally do it anyway. She has done some shopping online, but some of it she did with a separate cart at Walmart tonight. That was a challenge, I'm sure!

The jaunt through the megastore was a challenge for me, too. Right now I'm on a cane with an ankle splint on because of a fall down the last three steps down the stairs from the loft. I'm okay - just sprained - but it gave us a scare. It's the second fall on stairs I've had since we moved in here last summer, but now we know I have MS. I need to be much more aware of each step I take, and I need to hold the handrail. It's difficult to relearn how to do things like walking up and down stairs!

Thelma had an EMG on both legs and her appointment with the neurosurgeon on Monday, and she has a couple of options for what's wrong with her hip (piriformis syndrome). She can have same-day surgery to cut the tendon to the piriformis muscle, which should alleviate most of the burning pain she has in the hip almost immediately, followed by physical therapy, or she could have physical therapy to see what happens**. This pain syndrome is caused by a permanent spasm in the piriformis muscle, which is deep in the pelvis. The pain has stopped so much of her activity, because on the days it hits her the hardest, even sitting down is difficult. Walking around a place like Walmart, with its hard floors, is grueling for her.

What to do, what to do? With me gimping around, she's worried about having surgery that would lay her up for awhile. She doesn't feel I could handle the barn detail every day plus other chores that have to be done. We could have some help come in, but then that means dealing with an extra person in the house. We're still in the selfish phase of our relationship, when we want to be able to grab onto each other in any room in the house, kiss at the barn, make love in the middle of the day. (Honestly, I hope we never outgrow this phase!) I think she's going to try physical therapy first to see if it helps, plus she's getting a deep tissue massage on her birthday (next Tuesday), as part two of her gift. (Part one was a trip to the salon!)

Whatever we do, though, we will get through it together. It's been a wild ride so far, and we often wonder exactly what God has in store for us. He must know how strong we both are, and He is using all these trials to strengthen us as a couple. I feel it.

I promise to write more later. We've had other things going on - such as her brother's illness. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer, but the surgeon got it all out. He has secondary-progressive MS and has had many challenges, so would you all please include him in your prayers? God will know who you're talking about.

Peace and happy holiday prep! -L

**Another treatment possibility is an injection of Botox in the muscle, followed by physical therapy, but there are a couple of problems with that: (1) insurance will not pay for the Botox medication (several hundred dollars), just the doctor's services and (2) we're not reading that people have gotten really good results from that route. But she would never have a wrinkle on her butt!

Friday, November 27, 2009


This has been a strange year. I would never have seen it coming, not for all the clues in the world.

You can probably guess that it is difficult going into this holiday season without my daughter, but there are so many other things to deal with as well. My son is going to the doctor on Monday to have his blood pressure checked again. It was pretty high today, so I spent some time talking to him about his diet, exercising, etc. I know that the root of it is this: his sister died. She was his best friend, and she's gone. They talked about everything, and she's gone. It's the holidays, and she's gone.

He's depressed but doesn't want to take medications. He needs to lose some weight (don't we all?) and is "not motivated" to go to the gym that he joined a few months back. He has a sedentary job (and stressful, too - doing credit card collections calls) and is taking classes online to finish his degree in computer science. PLUS, he's taking care of the house and 5 animals (a dog and 4 cats), since his dad is traveling a good bit of the time.

I'm worried about him, yes, but he is a grown man now. This requires me to pull back and not jump into the kind of codependent relationship I had with my daughter. I need to let him handle his life while still staying involved enough to let him know I care. He is dealing with the same crushing sadness that his dad and I are dealing with, but he finds himself now an only child. And I am far away. Communication between us takes place daily by phone, text, email, and chat. He has been to see Thelma and I twice since I left. In fact, we celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday early with him and his friend Travis. He is already planning his next visit down in January - this time with a girl friend of his (notice the distinction). He likes her, but she smokes. She seems to like him, too, and she's taking him hiking tomorrow - a very good thing! We'll see what plays out there.

That is all just the latest in what has come to be normal for us.

At the ranch, we've had visitors nearly every month, so we've been busy and a tad bit stressed out from time to time. Okay, sometimes we're really stressed out, at least I am.

I can explain it this way--have you ever had one of those days in which nothing seems to go right? When everything you say or do comes out wrong? When all of your best intentions fall flat? On those days, you just want to give up, right? You just want to throw your hands up in the air and then go back to bed. Except when it's your whole life that is going that way, you can't just go back to bed and solve anything.

If only one bad thing had happened this year, then maybe I could keep my equilibrium, but I've had
  • the decision to leave my marriage (January) immediately following two months of battle with my daughter to try to get her into a recovery program for her drinking
  • finding the long lost love of my life (late March/early April)
  • the loss of my daughter in April after she'd been sober for 3 months (accidental death)
  • a move to another part of the country in May which led to a brief battle with the ex (we've since worked things out so that we're on friendly terms again - if for nothing else but for the sake of our son, who was drained by the whole ordeal)
  • a trip back to my former home in June that was part of the whole battle with the ex
  • a visit with and falling out with my eldest sister in September
  • a visit with Thelma's family and my youngest sister in October, which went well except for her brother (who has secondary-progressive MS as was on leave from the nursing home) getting sick and ending up spending most of his trip in the hospital (thank God he's alright but is still on antibiotics at last report)
  • and a visit with my son last weekend in which his best friend exhibited the same signs of alcoholism as did my late daughter (as if I needed that reminder of how things went at home last holiday season!)
Now, I don't want you to get the idea that life is all bad, but I wanted to put it in perspective for a moment. Just re-read and digest that. Now...add to it:
  1. Thelma seemed to hurt herself in late September. We thought it was something quite temporary that resulted in a swollen upper thigh and bad pain. Two ERs and a trip to Atlanta later, she is still waiting for a final diagnosis. Meanwhile, she missed the entire fall horseback riding season and has spent a good deal of it on heat/ice/medications/rest/stretching. My poor woman has been sidelined, and she's not the type to be sidelined! Trust me on this one. December 7th we will return to Atlanta for her to have an EMG test on both legs and another visit with the neurosurgeon. Remember her telling you that she was injured when she fell through a stage floor in 1994? Well, the MRIs of her lumbar spine don't look good at all. It seems as though she may be dealing with the gradual deterioration of a disk catching up with her.
  2. I was diagnosed with MS and am going to see a neurologist in Atlanta 12/30. It's the soonest I could get in, but my nurse practitioner said that this is the neuro she would see if it were her.
So how do I keep my equilibrium? How does she?

I haven't had the energy to do as much writing as I used to do, nor have I read as many books. But then again, I'm with the girl I've always wanted to be with, and of course I want to spend time with her. I haven't made plans yet to return to school, but when I do, it will be online by necessity. There are no universities close by. With our health being what it has been, we haven't gotten out as much as we did in the beginning, but we did go out to dinner on Thanksgiving, and we went to a movie together tonight.

She has pulled away from many of her old friends, as some of them are in the ex's corner or are very anti-gay. She has not been able to horseback ride, or do much of anything. She has missed a lot of things she used to enjoy.

The end result is that we've both been through a tremendous amount of change and associated stress in the last year (including a major surgery she had in January). It isn't just one of us; it's both of us. We're both trying to find our center again.

We don't ever mean to let any of that get in our way, but how can we help it? There are days in which we miscommunicate or fall short of being the perfect couple. But I've really given up on being perfect at anything, truth be known. Since my daughter died, I have begun to realize that there is no perfection, there is only one's best effort.

That's what I'd say I'm giving life most days - my best effort. I try to be cheerful and hopeful and positive, but there are days during which I just want to pull the covers up over my head and give up. I can't imagine why she puts up with me. I just can't imagine.

As we make our way through this maze, we may make a few wrong turns or find a few dead ends. The key, I think, is to keep correcting our path and moving forward. As long as we're together, we'll get through it all. Otherwise, we risk wandering aimlessly through the endless hallways and right angles, the dark corners and frustrations. It's far less scary if you just reach out and take the hand of the one you love.

Peace - L