This time one year ago was the tip of the biggest, most devastating iceberg I would ever encounter in my life and I had no idea yet. And to say this is really saying something; I lost two grandparents in one week, I can take a hit, but this was an atomic life bomb that was just ticking away and I was sitting right on top of it.
It had actually started in the spring when my husband lost his job, but this was the point where he was going away for six weeks (a mandatory evil that occurred on October 15, 2012) and I was going to be home alone with our then one year old, moving out of our first home, into my parent's, then to a rental in another town, and eventually to our new house. On top of this, my parents were also going away, his parents were both working, and my sister was working, has two kids of her own, and a husband who works away, so help was limited.
So we finally sold the house and I left my first ever home, all by myself. Boom.
Brad finally came home from away and was welcomed into a very tiny rental house with a baby who wasn't adjusting well and who went from sleeping twelve hours a night to being up screaming from 3am to daylight on a regular basis. This continued longer than we had anticipated as our house was months behind on completion. Needless to say, the fact that we couldn't flush a toilet without waking her as we were living in a matchbox, added with the fact that she was waking at all hours of the night anyway, and topped off with being in a constant fight with contractors over a completion date on our house put the smallest amount of stress on our marriage.
Then while I was at work one day, I got the call that my dad had been found to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm and would be requiring surgery. Boom.
I left work that day and Brad, Avery and I drove out over the highway so that we could be home. Thankfully my dad could have his head hanging off and would still act like it's no big deal, so knowing that he was okay made us feel okay too. We headed back to our rental feeling reassured.
The next weekend I had off, I decided to take Avery and go see my family for a couple of days. Brad stayed in our new town to keep an eye on the goings on with the house. About an hour into the drive, I got a sudden pain in my lower abdomen that was almost bad enough to make me pull over. A pain that was made more terrifying by the fact that I was newly pregnant with a baby Brad's own father didn't know about yet, let alone our extended family or any friends. At that point I had decided not to worry, that it was probably implantation, and the pain went away fairly quickly, however kept coming back throughout the day and woke me several times at my parent's house that night.
Finally, when I got up the next morning, I went to the ER. I called Brad and told him I wasn't bleeding and I was sure it was nothing but I just wanted to get checked. He offered to leave and come in, but I reassured him that I was probably just overreacting and not to bother. I went to the hospital alone, had some bloodwork drawn, was reassured by the doctor that it was probably just implantation, and waited.
At some point when my sister realized I was there by myself, she drove out to wait with me, however before she got to the hospital I went to the bathroom and saw the blood. Boom.
Thankfully she was there when the doctor came in to confirm that my bloodwork showed that I was no longer pregnant, and stayed with me for the remaining litany of tests and exams performed to ensure the pregnancy wasn't ectopic. She also somehow made me laugh through it all (like singing porn music when they dimmed the lights for the internal ultrasound and asking if it was ok to have a smoke after. We're a classy bunch.) Brad and I had our own little breakdown over the phone in the middle of it all. All in all it was a horrible day.
We finally moved into our house on the very convenient 21st of December, where we threw our Christmas tree in front of the window, among the boxes and partially put together furniture, and attempted to have some sort of a Christmas. We failed miserably. It didn't feel like Christmas at all and a few days after the 25th, the tree was dismantled and placed in the garage.
New Years Eve was spent at a party with friends and at midnight I remember kissing Brad and whispering to him that this new year had to be better than the last. Surely God nothing could get worse. Things could only go up from here.
A few days later my father got results back from a CT scan and bloodwork that was done in preparation for his surgery and was diagnosed with liver cancer. Boom.
This thanksgiving, as well as more often than I ever have been in my life, I am thankful for my family, my pregnancy (even though it feels like the longest one in history!), the health of everybody that I love (especially my dad who is doing much better), and am extremely thankful for my real, true friends who have been there for me over this past year.
Your family is always there (especially mine as I am blessed - and cursed, ha! - with a very close knit family), but your friends make a choice to be. This year has shown me that I am extremely lucky to have some amazing women who have chosen to be there for me through all of this, be it through texts, calls, e-mails, or visits. Your love and support has been overwhelming and I'm beyond grateful for you all. Sometimes when your life goes to shit a little bit, people tend to back away. I'm glad you ladies never. Having said that, I hope I never have to be as supportive towards you because I hope you never have this much crap piled on you at once. Thank you for the laughs, the lunches, the coffees, the shoulders to cry on, the sarcasm, the constant availability despite your own crazy schedules, and especially for the occasional glass of fancy wine in cozy pajamas.
And of course I'm very thankful for a husband who has made me laugh every day in the midst of the shit storm, who is an unbelievable father to some pretty cute kids (even if one has only been seen thus far on ultrasound), and who I never thought I could love as much as I do after having him next to me through everything that has happened. You'll be kept on.
Sometimes a lot of things have to happen for you to realize how lucky you are. I'm thankful that I can appreciate everything good that I have in my life, because I really have a lot.