This past month, possibly due to sitting on the couch for days on end and proofing recipes, something new is growing.
What I recognize from all the previous days is the sense of sadness, sometimes a sense of doom and a feeling that the worst is going to happen. I still miss David and have to catch myself when I begin to believe (and believe is not the right word, maybe take for granted is better) that he will return home one day and we will have our old life back. This feeling is not willful at all, it is just there, as if the program is always running in the background. In fact, everything that I just noted is like something running in the background. It is not good, but it does not roar in my ears, it just hums along.
But with this as background, I am gaining some resilience, resilience that I have sorely missed. Awhile back, an old friend wrote that David and I always seemed like a golden couple. We were pretty happy with our lives together, well, I am sure that I was and I think David was, but “golden”? David and I struggled and reached for what was beyond our grasp for almost our whole lives together. We wanted theater, he wanted film, we wanted to write, we wanted success, we wanted middle class living in the arts, we wanted successful law careers, we wanted more children, we wanted to move back to the east coast. And we did not just want these things, we worked in the hopes of getting some of them. As I went through our stuff, I was struck by all the effort that went into our lives -- all the attempts, rejection letters, resumes and head shots, and resumes and writing samples. We did not take our lot in life for granted, we did not take our blessings for granted either -- Cheshire, books, articles, contracts, grants, jobs and travel. We worked hard for most things that we had and worked harder for what we didn’t have that we wanted. So much rejection, so many new beginnings, and I was surprised that instead of perceiving our lives as failures and full of plan B’s, I was proud of us for all that effort. I was proud that we could reconfigure dreams and go on dreaming. I could see places where we might have done more or better, but we did as much as we could for as long as we could.
When David died, I said over and over that I did not want to take another day for granted, I wanted to live deliberately. I was viewing that as a great change but when I looked at the accumulation of our lives, I saw that we had been living deliberately for years. True those last years when David’s heart began to fail and then when we were waiting for a new one, we marked time. We held our breath. Our plans were not of new novels or exotic travel or another kid, but of a new kitchen and PTO activities. It did not feel as deliberate as before that time, but I see it now as holding on tight to hope, to believing that there would be parties to give in this house and a “best education” for Julia. The Thanksgiving of 2009 was our only real party in this house, and it has taken until now, now, lying on the couch with friends looking in to buy groceries and to do my laundry, to want to have parties here.
This journey is long.
But I come back to the comment that we were a “golden couple”? I guess I imagine a golden couple as people who get where they intended to go with grace and ease -- Grace Kelly and her prince, Fred and . . . Who skimmed the challenges of life and danced through the barbs. I see people without fear because they have always succeeded. I don’t know if my old friend thought of us that way. I don’t. But after writing all of that down, I perceive our lives together as lives well lived, not perfect but deliberate. And maybe that is golden in its own way.
But that is not where I started and not what I wanted to write about.
Yesterday, I called the Wisconsin Office who administers employee health insurance. I am insured under the state’s insurance plan because I am a widow of a state employee. It’s no benefit or bargain. It is self-pay and very expensive, but it is a good plan. Julia is not on that plan which has made self-pay more palatable and possible, and she has been covered as part of her autism waiver slot that gave us intensive therapy. Therapy under the waiver slot ends in July and I hoped to put her on my plan and get her another year of intensive and her regular care. I inquired a few months ago, I sent the application at the beginning of May. Now, this should be no problem to add her but it is midyear, not open season, and so, I needed to justify her joining immediately. I documented well. I called yesterday to check on the progress of my application and found out that they had the application but had no record of me! I was on hold a couple of times which amounted to almost an hour -- thank goodness for speaker phone -- and then told I would be called back. (Just to note, “Ginger” said she’d call yesterday and didn’t. No word yet today and half the day is over.) I am sure that they will sort this out eventually and that eventually Julia will go on my plan, but it could mean a summer without therapy.
And I woke up this morning thinking of all the things we could do without therapy! And I woke up this morning without worrying what I will do when the rejection from the LEND program comes.
I am sure I will slip back some, maybe soon, but for today, I can deal. I can make another plan B, a few plan B’s. And that is the way of me that I remember. That is the me I want and need to get back to. I am back at least for today.