Sunday, August 1, 2010


I meant to write this a while back, but between vacation and moving and work and unpacking it slipped my mind. Last week I got another dose. But I'm not going in to that here. Not yet anyway.

There have been a couple things in my life that have brought me a new perspective on life.

When my brother was arrested my life changed. In some ways for good and some ways for bad. It didn’t just change my life it changed me. It was like a complete whirlwind that I never expected to ever go through. There was a year of court dates and a day of sentencing that I only vaguely remember because I lost it as soon as the judge started to deliver his sentence. There are a lot of things, rules and procedures, that you don’t even know exist and can’t really imagine until you’re faced with them. The adjustment period to each new facility. He’s in his third prison. And I can’t even count the number of jails he was in during that first year. And just recently he was told he was moving, again. We were hopeful he'd come closer to home. The next morning they didn't take him for some reason. There is a lot of disappointment that comes with this experience too. The learning. What we can send him and how. What we can bring to visitation. The really long car rides. The awfully long periods of time between visits because he is far away. Having to break bad news to him over the phone and listen to the sadness in his voice knowing that he needs his family and we cannot be there in that moment. The things he has missed. The holidays he has spent alone in prison. Having a knot in my stomach every single day until he is home safely. The nightmares. The fear. If I never have to go through this again it will be too soon.

I have also been stabbed in the back and betrayed by people very close to me. People I thought of as family and people that were actually family. People will make choices that best suit their lives, because ultimately most people are only out for themselves and do not care how their decisions or actions will affect someone else’s life.

The event in my life that has given me the most perspective though happened to my husband.

In June my husband woke up with some stomach pains. I thought nothing of them because that is not uncommon for him. By the afternoon we were in the hospital for appendicitis. That was a Tuesday. He didn’t have it removed until Thursday. And we were home by Friday. Having never been through anything like that before neither one of us knew what to expect. But apparently it is not normal for them to wait so long to get out your appendix if they think it is infected in any way. And though he presented all the classical physical symptoms of appendicitis, the test said otherwise. So they waited. We finally had to get a second opinion to actually get him into surgery. After all was said and done, it was his appendix and they got it out and we were heading home the next day.

Four days we spent in the hospital. Four days I spent worrying about what was wrong with my husband. I was for sure it was his appendix, until the tests said otherwise. And then what. I had no idea what could be wrong with him. No clue if it was something simple or something very serious. Were we walking a little bit of meds and back to normal in no time, or were we talking something a little more invasive and daunting. We had no idea.

And with this four days in the hospital nothing else mattered. Our settlement got moved again (and not because he was in the hospital) and I didn’t care. We’d either settle or we wouldn’t. All of a sudden something that had scared me to no end (the house thing that is) and stressed me out beyond belief was not as important as it had once been. That house was just a thing. An inanimate object. It was important to us on some level, but in the grand scheme of life it was not. My husband was what mattered. There was no life to build for us without him in it. I value our relationship on a completely different level. I don’t think I will ever forget those four days in the hospital and what they taught me both about myself and life.

Through my brother’s time in prison, being betrayed by friends and family and my husband’s hospital stay I learned that life is fragile and unpredictable. Life will throw you curveballs when you least expect them. Life is not something to be taken for granted, but to be cherished and valued. I learned then not to take anything, anyone, or any time for granted. I have learned a lot. About myself and about the people in my life. It has been hard and there have been a lot of tears and some therapy associated with this learning. But I have learned. And I have grown. And I am happy with the results.

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