The call came Friday, my husband’s doctor’s nurse, I got excited, I thought she was calling with a surgery date, finally, we could get on the road to healing. Instead she said, “so what was his quit date?” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, his last day smoking, I said that he had smoked the day before so I guess it will be today if it has to be. She explained that in order to get his surgery authorized there needed to be 6 weeks of no smoking.
I had been out running an errand when she called, now as I drove home this feeling of dread coming over me. I not only needed to tell him that he was done smoking, but I needed to tell him that he needed to stay in this constant state of nerve pain for another 6 weeks.
It went over about as well as you would suspect that anyone would take that kind of news. I threw out the remaining pack of cigarettes that he had and tried to go on with the day knowing that this was going to be a difficult few weeks.
Saturday morning I woke up and went into the bathroom to wash my face and rinse my mouth, as I stood there swishing rinse around in my mouth I looked at our tub and had the thought, how is he going to get in there post-surgery, better yet, how am I going to be able to help him get in there? All of a sudden, it all came crashing down, how was I going to do this? Take care of him post-surgery, work a full-time client, not to mention any bit of self-care. I had to run to our mailbox and pick up a package, so I got in the car and started to drive with it all crashing in on me emotionally and just started to sob.
I have always been a hard worker, problem solver and doer of lists. I have always charged my way through life and when life has thrown lemons at me, I have hunkered down, worked harder and pounded through until I reached the proverbial lemonade but here is the problem, this is different, this situation is not only physically taxing it is also mentally and emotionally taxing. It is hard to watch someone you care about suffer in pain.
While I drove and cried, I knew that I needed to ask for help, I didn’t know how or from where that help was going to come and for the most part I still don’t but I do know that the lesson in all of this for me is this, sometimes there are problems in life that we aren’t meant to navigate alone. Sometimes in life you are presented with situations that no matter how hard you hunker down there is just not enough of you to power through something.
This has been such a hard lesson for me, I was brought up on messages of hard work, I could do anything if I worked hard enough, consequently I have always been a hard worker but at this point in my life I recognize that I have worked too hard, that I still work too hard, I still try to take on too much, like the other morning standing in the bathroom looking at the tub my next thought was to wonder if I could take on a project myself to knock the tub out and change it into a walk in shower. That part of me that was raised to think there isn’t anything I can’t do knows that I could remodel the bathroom, when I was younger, I actually did do some remodeling in my houses over the years. Here is the thing though, if I would have not woken up to how much I actually put on myself, I would have done that, I would have remodeled that bathroom while working full time at a client and running Writing Wisdom classes and, and, and….
At least today I recognize more of my limitations but more than that I am trying to bring balance into my life, taking more time out for walks, self-care, meditation, creative pursuits but the funny thing that I have noticed, the people around me, my husband, even my daughter when I talk about those creative pursuits they have assumed that they are associated with work, like being a hard worker is now this label that I don’t seem to be able to shake. I can stop and tell them that it isn’t work, I am writing because I want to write, it soothes me, it helps me get clarity on things but they don’t seem to get it, apparently once a hard worker, always a hard worker.