Every year I write this diatribe about what I learned and how I grew and how I’m going to kick the new years ass. So much happened this past year alone, I can honestly say the one thing that I really learned this past year is I’m a hot-mess of a bad-ass, but I can’t do it alone, and I don’t have to.
Let me start with the beginning of the year. My poor kids, everyone’s kids really, trying to learn from home. All of us trying not to get Covid. Hearing all the to-do’s and not to-do’s. My kids SUCK at home learning and their grades tanked. I stressed. My husband stressed. The kids went back to school in masks. One of my kids had SUCH anxiety about wearing the mask all day he had special arrangements made for him to be alone in a room and dial into class so he could have some down time from the mask. Broke my heart. Summer came thankfully and a break for the kids, and for us.
Not much of one tho! While my doc, Rebekah Pointek, has been watching a heart murmur she heard about 6 years ago, that murmur finally revealed itself to be a Bicuspid Aortic Valve I have apparently had since birth. And that valve decided to narrow to the size of a pinhole so surgery was in my future. After my ER visit in April (see previous Facebook post), I was scheduled to have surgery on June 15, 2021. My husband was MY ROCK. I fell apart. I cried and couldn’t stop thinking about dying. What would happen to my kids? Can I get things in order in time. Docs, my husband, my friends, my family, all assured me everything would be fine, but I was scared shitless. I cried A LOT! Poor Kyle. He hugged me, A LOT! And the day of my surgery, he couldn’t even stay. He had to drop me off at Hartford Hospital, kiss me and leave while I went inside for open heart surgery. Coming out on the other side of the surgery tho, I spent 4 days in ICU and it was nice! Lol…restful and quiet and comfy and lots of help. Frontline workers RULE! Everyone that took care of me was awesome!
A huge THANK YOU and ALL THE LOVE to my dear friend Annie who arranged a meal train for us for a month and a half. Nearly every day for all that time, someone paid for delivery or made us dinner so I didn’t have to cook and neither did Kyle. Record reps from all over, Kyle’s hockey teammates, family, friends, neighbors, everyone in our lives! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! WE LOVE YOU ALL AND APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT MORE THAN YOU KNOW! We are forever grateful!
Now I go home. Let’s talk about the warrior that I married! When I met Kyle, he some things to work out. WE worked them out, together, although he did all the hard work, I was just the cheerleader. Before my surgery he treated my like a China doll. Dropped me off at doors so I didn’t have to walk too far, carried all the heavy things, took the kids to and from practices, all while working a job that made him extremely unhappy. He took care of me and the kids and after my surgery, the same. He ran this house so I could rest. Took time off from work to take care of all of us. He just powered through and never faltered. He didn’t let me see how much my surgery affected him and I didn’t realize it until recently. He is and always will be my hero, my warrior!
After I had healed and was able to do more, my husband went back to work but made the decision that he felt he was done, what he called “wrenching.” He was under a lot of stress at work and things weren’t getting easier at all. And he wasn’t enjoying it like he once did. When he got a rash on his neck and into his hairline, that lasted a few days with some pain accompanying it, he decided to head to the VA and get it checked. Turned out to be SHINGLES! At only 36 years old! They admitted him immediately and he was in the hospital for 10 days! Unfortunately he had other issues accompany the shingles, things he is still dealing with now. We couldn’t see him at all for those 10 days because of Covid protocols. It was awful.
Meanwhile all the chaos around the kids and sports and school never slowed and somehow, some way, we managed, together. I have oft heard the saying that your parents raise you to take care of yourself, but they don’t teach you how to take care of them. And you will have to when they get older. My mom unfortunately was diagnosed with Louie Body Dementia recently. It’s been hard to watch and find all the things that she needs and my sister has been A+ AMAZING in that department. I often joke she’s in charge of medical care and finances, I’m in charge of entertainment! I thought I was tough! My sister is Wonder Woman and Xena all rolled into ONE!
In September, Damon and I lost one of the most important people in our lives. Tony Banks was the unseen, unheard THIRD member of our show. He was our talent coach, originally from Long Island, living now in Florida with his wife and 2 sons. We met with him every other week online and helped us improve. He was able to constructively pull our show apart and help us make it better. He was supportive and funny and we actually looked forward to his meetings! He never put us down or was mean about his critique. He only sought to build up. One day he cancelled our meeting. He didn’t feel good. He went and got tested. It was positive. Two weeks later, Tony was gone. He was 53. I still cry over him. I miss him. It doesn’t seem possible. There’s a hole in my heart truly.
All of this happened WHILE a pandemic whirled around us. I watched friends fall into depression and struggle to get help. I tried to help. I watched my mom struggle with simple things she never had trouble with before. I watched my kids struggle with loss, anxiety and the unknown as I went into surgery.
I can’t even NOW wrap my head around all the feelings, bad or good, that are going through my heart. Sadness, joy, sickness, anger, love, exhaustion, peace, unrest, stress. All the while I have watched all of you on social media, dealing with all the same things. We are NOT alone. We are all together in dealing with all these things. We NEED to stay together. Support each other, love each other, be kind, help one another.
There are no promises that 2022 will be better. I’m not here to say anything like that. But realize in the moments that you experience, in the people around you, are the feelings that you must deal with and truly, they are what you make them. Make them GLORIOUS! Make them full of LOVE! Happy New Year to all of you from me and my family.