This week, I remembered a lesson that I learned years ago, but had forgotten to use. That lesson? “Ask for help when you need it.” Good lesson to remember, since everything has changed in our lives.
My birthday was on April 3rd. Ray and I spent the day in the cancer center, getting labs, a CAT scan and seeing the doctor. Needless to say, it wasn’t the celebration I am used to having, but everything has changed now.
Anyway, my sister Robin, my girlfriend Cindy and I, always celebrate each others birthdays together. My dilemma was how to celebrate with them, on the west side and leave Raymond here on the east side an hour away, two hours roundtrip. I asked for help.
The challenge, for a “control freak” like myself, was who could ever take care of Raymond like I do? Who would watch to see if his temperature rose? Who would cover him with a blanket as lovingly as I do? Who would make sure he took all of his pills? Cook for him? Keep him hydrated? Help with his oxygen? Walk him to the bathroom or the bedroom to make sure he doesn’t get dizzy and pass out? No one knows his needs like I do.
I prayed for my fears to be taken away along with my controlling nature. I conscientiously left it to God and asked for help. Ray’s cousin John just returned from wintering in Florida and since he was now home, I asked him if he would mind spending the afternoon and evening with Raymond. He was happy to do it and my night out with the girls was a blast. We went to mexican for dinner, opened truly thoughtful presents, had a few beers, a lot of laughter as well as a lot of love. What a delight. A well needed “sissy evening,” complete with a pj party. I do have to admit that I called Raymond twice, just to check on him, even my nights out with the girls have changed.
Yes, everything has changed in our life, but I need to remember to take care of myself and give myself time with my friends without guilt, fear or control. It turned out that John invited another cousin and his wife (David and Katy) over and they had their own party here! I feel for the first time, that Raymond’s family is my family too. They are here for both of us and they care about both of us, just as my family cares for Ray. They are kind and good people and I am proud and blessed to call them family. There are positives that have come out of this experience. Nice change.
Another positive is that Raymond and I are closer than ever. Our relationship has deepened to a level that I have never experienced with another man. When I got home at 7:30 this morning, Ray was awake. With the morning sun streaming in the window and rainbows dancing in the living room, we had coffee and caught up on what each other had done last night. We both laughed; happy to be reunited.
We took and afternoon nap. Ray was on his back, I on my side, facing Ray with my had on his chest. He took his hand and placed it over mine… A deep sadness came over me when I saw that his hand even looks smaller to me. He has lost 30 pounds, is short of breath, weak and tired. Everything has changed.