This is the text of an e-mail I just sent to a friend with whom I haven’t spoken since last year. Consider it an open letter to you. If you’ve followed the CaringBridge site I set up last year, you’ll know I haven’t posted anything since mid-March. I won’t be posting anything on there anymore since our life has moved beyond crisis-mode.
There is still a lot of living going on though! I’ll post some of those things on this site.
An Open Letter to Our Friends and Family:
Let me tell you a little bit about us first, and I hope to hear back from you as well!
I think you probably know all about the events of Michael’s hospitalization, but it didn’t end when he came home. He had a brain injury, and it’s still working itself out now, even 8 months after the event that led to it. And it may still continue working itself out for the next year plus. At this point, things are mostly good, which I rejoice in! And then there are the times where the effects of the injury show up, and those are not-so-good times. Thankfully, those are getting fewer and farther in between and lasting for a shorter amount of time each time.
After Michael came home, he needed literally constant attention for weeks. Did you follow the Caring Bridge updates at all? I think my last post was in the middle of March. I shared about the difficulties with sleep. Literally, everything going on at that time made me so stressed that I was losing it. I was so angry sometimes; I didn’t know how to cope. And because of it, Ross, a friend of ours who came with us to Germany to assist Michael, left during the last week of March. It actually really helped me in certain ways. So, it was just me, myself, and I with the responsibility to make our life here work if we wanted to stay. Amazingly, the transition actually worked. It’s been a constant work in me to overcome my stubbornness and learn more grace and patience, and here we are! One good thing about Ross leaving was that we got to experience life on our own as a married couple for the first time in our marriage. That has been therapeutic for me, and many aspects of it, I’ve enjoyed. Things got a little bit easier once I was able to go out for groceries on my bike alone and leave Michael for 30 minutes, then 45, then an hour! Anyways, it’s all rather a lot to fit into a couple short paragraphs, so I won’t try.
How about a summary of life right now? Michael is working full time. (A lot is about Michael, but anything about Michael is also about me. We’re so connected, even more than before because we must mutually rely on each other in order to survive and live and be happy. Anyways…) And we got an alternating pressure air mattress topper. So, it was supposed to help with his comfort when sleeping and help him sleep for longer at a time. He’s been able to sleep for 2 or 3 hours at a time, but the last 3 or 4 nights, he’s woken up like clockwork every hour. Even with that, the sleep is still better than pre-air mattress. Crazy, huh!? So, every time he wakes up, he wakes me up, and I have to turn him so that he’s comfy again. So because of that and also since he’s still recovering, he’s in bed between 8 1/2 – 10 hours a night, average, I’d say 9, 9 1/2 hours. Me too. lol! On bad nights, I need to sleep longer too, because it’s hard to get enough rest when you wake up so often! So, those are our nights. A third of our life. lol.
Then during the day, we use up about 2 1/2-3 hours between Michael getting up and getting ready for bed. Then I also have to get myself ready, but usually I throw on my workout clothes either before or after I make coffee and breakfast just so that I don’t spend the next couple hours in my pajamas, and it makes me feel a little more like a person. I do at least a half hour workout 6 days a week, except for Sunday. I alternate cardio/strength and yoga, and I’ve gotten so much stronger and way more flexible than I’ve ever been! It feels good to have a workout schedule. Sometimes I don’t work out until later (seeing as it’s like 11 am by the time we’re up and done with breakfast, if we’re lucky). So I might not take a shower until 4 or 5pm. Ha!
We started something that I’m so happy we started. Once we’re up and in the kitchen, ready to make coffee, Michael puts on the audio Bible, and we let it play until sometime after breakfast is done, usually. It’s been really healthy for my own sanity and has led to some good conversations between us because we’re listening to the same Scripture passages. Woo! Then Michael does his work and is done after he’s worked for 8 hours.
In the meantime, I work out; do any cleaning or shopping or laundry or whatever; go on Facebook; practice guitar (which I finally took up a few weeks ago!); make food; study German; contact people/any other tasks on my to-do list; feed us snacks and dinner… and that’s pretty much every day. Lately, we’ve been catching up on the Dr. Who series, and we’re on the last season that’s out! It’s taken a while, but I pretty much make us watch at least 4 episodes a week. We’re both in the house for the majority of the day and the week, as our days go so late, and weekends have been iffy with Michael’s energy level. But I think we’re maybe finally at a more predictable point where we can schedule things on the weekends, like going to visit new places?? We went to this really pretty lake last weekend for the afternoon, and that was amazing! Oh yeah, Sundays is church most weeks, and we were hosting our small group at our house on Tuesday nights, but now it’s summer break for the next six weeks or so.
And in the everyday things, God is continuing to mold me, to shape my heart, to fill me with more love, grace, and patience. …And I continue to forget who I am sometimes. And God continues to remind me that He loves me and draw me back to Him. … I am so blessed! I wish I could be there in person with you to tell you about all of these things. Maybe someday if we come back to visit.
Tell me about you, please! Also, anything else you want to know about me? If you don’t have time to write frequently, that’s okay. Most of the time I don’t want to sit down for 30 minutes and write out a giant long email either.
Write back in the comments! I’d love to hear from you too and be able to address any questions about us and our life here in further posts.
Love from Germany,