But For You

Usually, I need to warm up to new music, but every once in a while, I hear a song once and fall in love with it. That is how I felt when I first heard the song Budapest by George Ezra a few months ago. When I heard Budapest a few days ago while driving in to work, I wanted to be driving the opposite direction to the hospital. I hated not being with Randy. I heard this song and started to cry. Honestly, I was ready to cry even without the song, but for some reason, the lyrics tripped the tear ducts. I just missed him so much. I missed him even when I was in the hospital room with him. But for you, I’d leave it all. 

When I am sad or scared or happy or excited, Randy is the person I want to talk to first. No matter how anxious or scared I am, he always helps me feel better. He is my safe place. He is my sense of security. He is where I find my comfort. That wasn’t going to work in this situation. I couldn’t stand at the end of his bed and tell him how terrified I was. I couldn’t say “I am so afraid you’ll die.” Seriously, when a person is ill in the hospital, the only thing worse than saying something like that would be punching the patient in the face.

I wanted to tell him that I was as upset for myself as I was about the pain he was in. That being afraid for me made me feel selfish and horrible. Usually I tell Randy when I feel that way and he talks me down. I couldn’t tell him, though. Hi sweetie, I know you are in terrible pain and you have been jabbed with needles so many times that you have track marks, but let’s talk about me. 

I missed him so bad.

I feel tired in every sense of the word. I feel it physically in a way that makes me feel like I’m the verge of vomiting. I’m not hungry. I haven’t been eating right. When I do eat, it’s Lucky Charms, little powdered donuts and Cheetos. I feel tired in my brain and it won’t stop whispering to me. Every thought, every action, is overshadowed by these words “I am tired.”

I was afraid, for a while, that Randy wasn’t going to come home.

I know we all love who we love. I know many people, some of you, have felt the loss of the person most close to them in the world. I want to say to you that I’m sorry. I am so goddamn sorry. I won’t say that I understand your grief, because I don’t. I got a little sneak preview of it, though, and just that little bit left me shaken and with the belief that my strength doesn’t run as deep as I thought it did.

I know I’m not unique in feeling a tremendous bond to another human, I’m just saying that I don’t know if I am equipped to handle that loss.

 I am tired. 

I am writing this after finishing out my week at work on Friday. I didn’t put in enough hours and I produced very little. I thought that Randy would be coming home today. When a CT scan showed another complication on Thursday they told us he had to stay at least until Sunday.

I was at my desk when I spoke with the doctor about the results of his scan on Thursday. I was in my cubicle when I found out Randy would be there two days longer than we thought. I ugly cried at my desk. I cried in front of coworkers. Not only cried, I blubbered. I don’t do that, you guys. I don’t ugly cry in front of anyone but Randy.

I am tired. 

I have been trying, though, to find silver linings hiding in the creases. It occurred to me, that I showed my pain and fear in front of other people and the world didn’t open up and swallow me. I am not even embarrassed and I am always embarrassed when I cry in front of other people. I think my emotional maturity might be kicking in.

People who care for me have been reminding me over the past few weeks to take care of myself. That I have to take some time for myself. They’ve reminded me that I won’t be able to keep taking care of everything if I end up sick. I know this is true. But I’m not convinced that it is true for me.

I stood in the shower a little while ago and it felt good.  I wanted to stand there for a ridiculously long time. 15 whole minutes. All I could do was berate myself for not moving faster. He’s in the hospital you haven’t seen him since this morning. You have to go. You aren’t in danger of burning out. You don’t have it that bad. You are being selfish.

I know this is bullshit, but that voice speaks with such conviction.

I am burning out. Earlier this week, I stomped through the house grumbling that I couldn’t find my goddamn shoes. The shoes that were currently on my goddamn feet.

That night, after coming home from the hospital, I sat at my kitchen table and carefully went through a stack of papers. I looked intently through this stack of papers four times before realizing that I had no idea what I was looking for.

Which isn’t as bad as last night. When we got the news that Randy had a few extra days in the hospital, I left work. He was having a procedure done and I wanted to be there. I drove home first and changed clothes, then got to the hospital at 2:00 in the afternoon. I left at 9:00 that evening and went to my car.

It was running.

I left my car idling the entire afternoon and evening.

That one shook me up a little. That was when I had to admit that I was fraying.

I did take a long shower. Maybe not 15 minutes, but I stood there long enough to feel the muscles in my neck release a bit. I didn’t feel good about zoning out in the shower, but I did it anyway. Just because the voices in my head are loud and mean doesn’t mean I have to do what they say.

I found more than one silver lining over the past two weeks.

I had moments in the past two weeks that have been amazing. I will be forever grateful to a group of people whom I have never met that propped me up every single day. I typed all my fears to a Facebook group I belong to and without fail, my friends in that group cheered me on and held my hand. They railed against the universe with me. They sent their good thoughts. They told me they loved me. A few times, they even made me laugh. I got a few phone calls from some women in the group and had the chance to babble long stringy sentences that probably made very little sense. I learned that I can accept comfort from other humans.

My friend, Mountain girl. was tethered to my side. She might be hours away, but she stuck with me every single day. She made me laugh and she listened to me cry. I knew I could call any time I needed and I knew she really fucking cared. I can accept love from other humans.

My husband’s daughter stayed with us which was amazing. I know she was here because he’s her dad and she loves him, but having her take care of shit while I was at work kept me going. Plus, she is one of my favorite humans and her presence comforted me. I am proud of my family.

Even with this amazing support system, I had to process some things alone.

I have had to acknowledge the fact that one day Randy and I will go through this again. Maybe the roles will be reversed and maybe they won’t. But we will go through it. And one of us would have to continue on without the other. I hate this. I hate everything about it. I don’t want it. Not now. For all that is holy, not now. Not ever.

This is a time when I won’t get my way. I hate not getting my way.

I am tired. 

I can rail against this. I can cry and scream and threaten and nothing will change.

How can I feel better about this? How can I not be terrified of the inevitable?

I can love my people. I can gather them close and love them because as long as we are alive this very moment, then at this very moment, we win. We have infinity in every one of these moments.

Please, find a few moments every day to pass some of your love to your people. Hug the neighbor’s dog. Smile at your barista. Call your mother, for fuck’s sake. Because we all have this time, right now.

Right now, time is on our side.

I screamed the lyrics of that song as I wrote this post. I am alone in my house. I will leave in a few minutes to spend the night with Randy in the hospital. I took this time to write. I took this time to empty some of this horrifying shit out of my head. I am okay with taking this time out for me. That is very nearly true. 

I am tired. 

I know this is somewhat incoherent. I hope you could follow. This post was hard to write. This one hurt.

I think we’re at the end of this particular shit storm. I will probably post this on Sunday. When I post this, I will know if Randy will be home with me or not. I hope so badly that he is.

I promise, I’ll be funny next time.

Randy comes home at Noon today.

I am tired. But I think I can rest now. 


115 Thoughts.

  1. You got me bad. I love you. I couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you to everyone who helped Michelle and I through this.

    • Get better, Big Guy 🙂
      (I love it when you pop on here… it’s like waving at you on the couch while M and I go have coffee in the kitchen 🙂
      I’m soooo glad to read you’re coming home!

    • Yeah! There he is! Yes, that old Robert Palmer song comes to mind. Michelle’s got a “Bad Case of Loving You”. Positive energy and healing thoughts being sent to both of you! 🙂

    • Yeah…I was kind of hoping you wouldn’t read this today. I wanted at least a day between you and the hospital. Oh well…as long as you’re home. XO

      Can we get back to normal now? You wanker.

    • Randy, I’m so glad you’re home and I hope both you and Michelle can relax and recuperate. The fear when a loved one is ill and in the hospital is so draining and exhausting.

  2. Godspeed for Randy’s recovery.

    The song you mentioned felt like something familiar to me from the first time I heard it. Same here, I love it too.

    I broke my tibia and fibula last week. Nothing life threatening but surgery to repair it was a shocker. Finding out I can’t walk for a couple months is a rude awakening.

    I hope you know whether your making me laugh or reassuring me that I’m not alone with the hateful thoughts in our heads. I’m your fan. I’m in it for the long haul, my friend. You ROCK!

  3. I had to read this in stop and start fashion because I began crying so hard, the words would blur together. Except for the support system, you have basically described my life for the last three months, but with the nightmare outcome instead of the happy ending. I have the wonderful support of a few friends who, unfortunately, live far from me, but other than that, my “help” is pretty nonexistent. I am SO happy that Randy is finally coming home and you will finally be able to have him with you again. Appreciate each other every day, never forget to tell each other every day that you love one another and always kiss each other good morning and good night. Those things are what can give me some shred of comfort–knowing that Paul and I did that every day. I never wanted a day to go by without him hearing and knowing how much he meant to me. Because, you just never know what can happen. Lots of love to you and Randy! And when he is completely healed, tell him I said, “Do not EVER do this to Michelle again, okay?” Haha!
    P.S. I’ve had many people tell me to “take care of myself”, but when you are in the thick of this kind of shit, you feel lucky to still be able to breathe in and out.

      • Thank you, Lisa. I’ve had an overall rough time lately. January 25th will be the 34th anniversary of my first date with Paul. And it was originally on a Monday, too. So, lots of memories being stirred up and thoughts of how quickly time flies by.
        *big hugs back*
        *sorry I wiped my nose on your shoulder* 🙂

        • Girlfriend, my heart is with you as you receive your message from the Universe on the 25th, a Monday, that correlates with ALL the good memories and emotions and reasons you lived through what you lived through.

          Anytime there is that much of a ‘coincidence’ I see it as a direct message that I am in the right place at the right time, saying the right words, thinking the right thoughts and making the right choices.

          The Universe (God for some of us 🙂 is lining up exactly right for me in order to confirm the dates and times of my most precious parts of life.

          That they were real.

          A ‘high-five’ from the Universe and an, “I’m right here” from Paul. That Monday is going to be powerful for you 🙂

          *wipes tears*
          *wipes Terri Lee’s tears*

          You can get snot on me anytime 🙂

          • Thank you, Lisa. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that this morning. I was dreading that Monday and now, I’ll be looking forward to it, to see what Paul and the Universe send my way. I do know that the memories coming back to me have been so powerful, I almost feel as if I’m there again, in that place and time.

            Here’s to kindred spirits who connect when the Universe knows they will need each other. 🙂

            *hoisting my box of Kleenex in tribute* 🙂

        • Hey Terri Lee 🙂
          This is supposed to go under your last reply, but it won’t let me put it there, so, you’ll have to jump your eyes up and down to organize this thought process 🙂

          I’m very happy to give you a different perspective. I wish I could fix the hurt and anger as easily… and as you have said, I wouldn’t know these things if I hadn’t been through them.

          And as you have also said, “Why do the best people live so far away?”

          I just saw your picture on the Gravitar (?). May I say that you are beautiful? Paul was a very lucky man 🙂

          *raises Kleenex box*

      • I’ll take a virtual hug until the day we can meet in person. 🙂 I’m not so sure I’m a warrior (a WORRIER, yes-haha!), I’m just hanging in there as best as I can. You have no idea how much reading your blog helps me. I look forward to it; it’s like having a great friend drop by for coffee. And then, Lisa K stops by and it’s like Sex and the City—Randy can be Mr. Big!) 😀

          • OK, everybody in my house is wondering why I just busted out laughing.

            You have an incredible tribe, Michelle 🙂 I am really happy I got to be a part of this, today! But we gotta find a better way than hospitalizing Randy to bring out this response and ‘fellowship.’ 🙂

            And Terri Lee, we’re gonna have some fun tooting Michelle’s horn… there is a pull I must heed… I have found my place.

            (How’d that sound outloud?? 🙂 )
            (Lots of voices wanting to chime in right now…had to pick one… two.)

            *eyebrow wiggle*

  4. Yay! I wish you both peace and rest and continued healing.

    Michelle, you don’t need to feel bad for not being funny in every post. It’s your brutal honesty and openness, and the wonderful way you convey it with you words that keep people coming back. That you’re very often hysterically funny is just icing on the cake.

    Now curl up with Randy and get some sleep.

  5. This to shaill pass. Everything is going to be just fine. These feelings of vulnerability build character. Be strong and know EVERYTHING will be fine.

  6. You did it! I don’t know HOW !! I would NEVER have been able to work and blog and FB and be appropriate and repeatable.
    Please don’t apologize for not being funny.
    Just like life, I can’t appreciate the ups if I don’t feel the downs.
    Your solemness and raw emotion are just as tangible as your humor and brutal honesty. I need both.
    So do you 🙂
    But, fuck if Vodka doesn’t help even out the punches. And Xanax.
    Sleep, my Precious.
    Curl up next to Everything that is good and holy in your world right now and recover some sense of sanity and stability.
    Big hug 🙂

    • Exactly, Lisa! How Michelle managed to remain even remotely coherent during these times is a mystery to me. When I was at the hospital and receiving bad news after bad news, everything in my head slowed and the voices around me began sounding like the adults in a Peanuts cartoon. “Wah, wah, wah….wah, wah.” If I had to also work and blog, I’m sure my words would have come out the same way. Making no sense whatsoever. All hail Michelle and her willingness to share it all with us. And now, for all that is holy, please toss a Xanax this way, will ya?

      • OMG!! I can’t believe how much better you sound, already 🙂

        *waves at Randy*

        *hugs Michelle*

        This has been the most positive thing I’ve watched all week…year… maybe forever. The people that surrounded you was AMAZING to feel, even in cyberspace.

        I’m SOOOO RELIEVED and HAPPY for you guys!!

        Thank you for introducing me to Terri Lee! You get the credit for making the connection for all of us!

        Terri Lee! Wanna go catch a movie while Randy and Michelle get settled?


        • Abso-fucking-lutely, Lisa K! I’d say we can also take a ride to the beach after the movie, but it’s pretty windy here today. Someday, we’ll grab Michelle and make it a girls’ night out! 🙂 And thank you for the compliment above about my Gravitar—these terms make me literally LOL sometimes. That is actually going back about ten years, when we owned a condo on the beach. I was pretty damned lucky, too. To have a love like we did for over several decades, through good times and bad—there is comfort in that, too.

          By the way, I’m feeling a bit better after having talked to my best friends I’ve never met! Thank you, Michelle! 😉 Oh, and a piece of a Papa John’s Brookie helped a little, too. That sounds dirtier than it is. Haha!

          • Hey, Terri Lee 🙂

            *waves from couch*

            I love how much better you sound, too 🙂 Those ‘details’ and ‘coincidences’ that are coming at you are what are giving you that expectant and eager anticipation. Replacing the dread and sadness by remembering all these great things about Paul is a real tribute to his life 🙂

            My favorite book, “Journey of Souls” by Michael Newton, kept me from committing suicide. For real. The things it allowed me to believe (I was feeling them anyway!) helped me turn my anger and hopelessness into a worthy learning experience for feeling my way through life.

            Fucking booze wasn’t working. I could still feel.

            The way this has all come together…Michelle’s blog, meeting you here, you’re time of ‘need’ … I really feel like Paul did this for you. So you’d know your ‘worth.’ And that your loss was a part of your life path. And that he’s with you 🙂

            I’ve so loved getting to meet you here and give you something to hold onto 🙂 I don’t know if this is what Michelle had in mind when she started this, how the Universe was going to use her to get us together, but I’m a firm believer it’s just going to get better and better 🙂

            One of the great things about everything I’ve researched and learned about life and death and being stuck here for the duration is that nothing is on accident. Your thoughts and emotions and ‘coincidences’ (high-fives from the Universe 🙂 ) are real and valid. You get to decide their worth.

            What was Paul’s favorite color?

  7. You are a fucking warrior. You tell that bastard voice in your head that the next time he starts whispering bullshit in your ear. You DID handle this. You WERE there for him. You had thoughts and feelings that any human in your situation would. But you were still there for him and I’m pretty sure if he were writing a blog post about all of this it would be all about how you are a FUCKING WARRIOR. I love you Michelle. I hope you are snuggled in bed binge watching and trading funny one liners with your man by the time you read this comment.

  8. I hope that, as I’m writing this, you are at the hospital packing up shit, helping Randy get dressed, and getting ready to come home. The car will be idling and ready to go in the parking lot :). Now THAT is efficiency!

  9. Oh, Michelle, what hell you have been through. If there was truly a hell in the after-life, it wouldn’t be the fiery depths which are the images so often used to keep us frightened and compliant, it would be watching those we love the most suffer, not being able to fix it, and feeling so goddamned helpless. There are no words for that kind of helplessness and fear, but you have done a brilliant job of opening that hellish wound and sharing that pain. Hopefully it was like a big fucking fabulous colonic for you. Sharing is healing, none of us should ever go through such hell alone.

  10. Thank you for sharing. Obviously it was difficult for you. I’m glad Randy is coming home. I’m sorry you are having a hard time, but I understand why. I hope Randy gets well soon and you regain your equilibrium.

  11. You don’t have to promise to be funny next time. We are all here cheering you on, and proud to listen to your honest thoughts. Here’s to Sunday (today!) and Randy coming home. I hope you have a netflix binge snuggled up to him in bed where you can both recover in the love you share.

  12. Putting one foot in front of the other and plodding on is true courage. You are a real warrior woman. It’s wonderful that Randy is coming home today – now tell him gently NOT TO EVER DO THAT TO YOU AGAIN! As you can see from the other comments, you & Randy have been in all of our prayers – and a hug and shoulder to cry on is offered in every one of them. That’s love sweetie – and you’ve got it!

  13. So glad for your happy ending. I understand your feelings better than you can know. I love that song too. But I have to say that I’m impressed! You heard it only once and understood he was saying “I’d leave it all”? I listened to it over and over and couldn’t understand that part of the lyrics. I had to google that shit!

  14. So glad to hear Randy is home! Fingers crossed neither of you will have to go through this again anytime soon. Michelle, its okay to fall apart, the important thing is to get back up and keep going, which you did. You should be proud of yourself and the both of you deserve some serious pampering.

  15. Michelle, this is so raw and powerful. I greatly admire your strength in writing this, and in asking for help.
    I’ve been there. We got our happy ending too, this time. Please do look after yourself, maybe not now, just get through it, but soon. You will get ill otherwise, and miss out on enjoying the peace after the storm. Big hugs.

    • He is home now! I don’t have any time that I can take off, but just not going to the hospital every night will help a lot. My son has been cooking and cleaning, so that helps as well. Thank you. 🙂

  16. Damn girl. You weren’t supposed to make me cry.

    I’m glad he’s better. I’m glad he’s home. I’m sure that there is some truth that the collective of positive energy we sent your way helped.

    I’m very sure that SLJ would have sung a string of expletives in your situation. And perhaps, in your head, he did.

    Hugs. Big ones. For both of you. Don’t hurt him when you pass it on though.

  17. Omg, Michelle, I’m so sorry for this trying time. There’s no greater challenge than health and facing the terrifying realization that the ones we love are not immortal. I don’t even know what to say except that I’m sending you a big hug. I’m crying now, so thanks for that. Sending prayers out to the Universe for Randy’s recovery!

  18. It probably says a lot that I didn’t find this incoherent at all. I winced, I ached, I cried, and I burst out laughing about your goddamn shoes. Because even when you are fraying and your world is falling apart, you still have your funny. It’s part of you, and part of your strength.

    I am grateful that Randy is home. I am grateful for the friends who held your hand and helped you through. I am grateful this was just a warning shot across your bow. Appreciation for the present is a whole lot better than regrets for the past!

    Thank you for this very powerful post. And many {{HUGS}}!

  19. You did it. You DID IT. You managed to push yourself through this really long horrible storm and you SURVIVED. You took every hard and harder step- you walked through it- you DID. IT.

    Now get him home safe. Get YOUR rest. *BREATHE*

    You did it.

    I’m so so proud of you. <3

    • Thank you! I am glad, too. Yeah..I need some breathing time. That won’t happen until the weekend, though. I have never wanted to get through a week of work more badly than this week.

  20. Oh, boy, this one is tough. Life, illness and death. The mere sound of it makes us cry and cringe. I pray that Randy gets better soon. I hope that your community continues to rally around you and that your close friends and family provide you comfort when you need it most. I see he’s home (from the comment above) and for that I am grateful.

    Live a good life, Michelle. I’m so glad you shared your story here.

  21. So I’m reading all this, and I’m thinking, “What a hellish roller coaster!” and then it occurs to me that if I could have a superpower (I’ve ALWAYS wanted to fly- cuz that would be amazing, for me of course, but not sure how that’d help others) I’d like the power to grant serenity. I would’ve granted you the serenity to stand in that hot shower long enough for it to run cold. The water would do the rest. Imagine it. THAT would be an awesome ability: zapping people into a peaceful state. Kinda makes super-human physical strength pale in comparison, doesn’t it? Do I really wanna leap up to the top of a tall building? Fuck no! Do I wanna zap my anxiety-filled friends into a calm, peaceful state? Oh yes. I would zap myself like a junkie, baby. Could I zap you through the internet? Yes! I have that power too! So, in my crazy head M, I’m zapping you. Hell, I’m zapping all of your readers. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a costume to design (note: it will not be the classic form-fitting/revealing super-hero type, cuz: 1. I’m not a hero, just fuckin’ powerful! and 2. what could be more anxiety-provoking than trying to squeeze into one of those?). Peace, guys.

    • OMG this made me smile so big. I am picturing you with lasers shooting out of your eyes and fingertips (which isn’t so much a serene image..but you have to deliver the serenity somehow and it might as well be lasers).

      Thank you. 🙂

    • Katnap, I think you might be onto something… 🙂 Definitely remove your reading glasses, first, tho. Too much self-served serenity might make a gal floppy.

      Do me, next… Please?

      *stands still*

      *opens eyes wide for serenity laser therapy*

      (Nice costume! Very flattering 🙂 )

  22. Life is such a nasty bitch at times. It hurts us and then comes back to hurt us some more. If there wasn’t love and family and stupid laughter and music I’m not sure what I’d do. Don’t worry about being funny. We are not here for funny. We are here for truth. Your truth. The truth that resonates within us and we recognize as our own as well. I wish you all kinds of well.

  23. Welcome home Randy! Let’s hope there’s a cease fire between your organs and the rest of everything.

    Michelle, take all the long showers you want. Hell, take ’em together, though that’s never quite how it is in the movies. Movie showers are not real people showers.

  24. I’m so sorry… it sucks goi g through that. I truly hope Randy is home and doing well! Here’s to a speedy recovery and No complications.

  25. This was beautifully written but still difficult to read. I hope it helped you to put it out there. I know it was helpful to me, but that’s not important. What is important is welcome home Randy.

    Now stay healthy.

    • Thank you, Christopher. I am just so goddamn happy he is home. He has a long recovery in front of him, but he’s already showing signs of improvement. YAY!

      And I am glad it was helpful to you. I always like it when something I write connects with someone.

  26. So glad he’s home. Hugs to you. While I know this was a very hard post to write.. it was beautiful and hit me in the gut. Well done friend! Hang on – better times are coming.

  27. I am so happy that Randy is home, and that you got some rest. And that you took the time to pour all those words out of your head. It helps, I am convinced. I share your feelings and inability to picture a life without Randy…I cannot imagine going through this kind of thing with my husband. I can no longer see a life without my “person”. But I am glad you have such a great support system! Hang in there and enjoy every moment. 🙂

  28. I hope you see this. I subscribe to your blog – the only one I subscribe to but I have not read many posts lately. I have been busy, work, family, stress, the usual. I am taking time tonight, of all nights to read your posts and found this one. My husband-ish had a massive heart attack Monday. He is lucky, we are lucky. He is too young for this, 46, but I knew it was coming. I have screamed, fought, pleaded and given up, trying to convince him to take care of himself. We knew 5 years ago, when we were fresh and new, that he needed to be vigilant. He needed to take statins and beta blockers. Meds made him “feel funny” so he quit them. Tonight he is in hospital with a brand new stent and a reason for why he has been so tired for so long. The reason was beyond his PTSD, beyond his depression, it was physical. I feel horrible for giving in, for giving up and stopping my nagging to keep to keep the peace. I have lost my step father, my father and now almost lost the love of my life. I have to stop loosing. Reading this post both broke me and gave me hope.
    Thank You.

    • Oh sweetheart…I am sending you and your husband all my good thoughts. What you are going through is horrifying and tiring and lonely and I feel so badly for you. Here’s to both of our husbands getting healthy and having many more years on this earth.

      I will tell you what others told me…try to take care of yourself. Nap when you can. You are going to need it.

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