One of the struggles of the life we lead is having to figure out how to do just about everything long-distance.
Parenting. Budgeting. Encouraging each other. Consulting on vehicle and home repairs. Keeping each other posted on things of note. Saying goodnight.
Comforting each other. (This is where the dog comes in.)
It's been difficult to not have Steve here to hug me when I really need it lately. I know he's been concerned about me and how I am holding up as my grandmother's failing health has all but consumed my days. I keep telling him I'm OK. At least as OK as a person can be when they're losing a loved one.
Oh, I have my moments. Late one night when I couldn't sleep I had my own little sobfest. My heart hurts a little every time I walk through the kitchen and see grandma's extra set of eyeglasses sitting on the counter. I pause when I rifle through my purse for lunch money for the kids and one of the items I set aside is grandma's coin purse - the coin purse she would so lovingly pull a $20 bill from to pay for lunch on the days I took her out.
I took her to have her hair done and we went out to lunch just two weeks ago. Now she's not really eating at all.
Two weeks ago I would hold her hand to keep her steady while she walked from point A to point B. Now we hold her hand while she lies in bed and fades in and out of lucidity.
It was so recently that I hung a picture of grandma on the door of her room so everyone would know this is where you could find Leona. Now she hangs in the balance and all we can do is tell her we love her and that it's OK to leave this room, this world, this life.
Sad? Yeah. Of course it is. But there are so many blessings in this, and I am thankful. One of those blessings is that Steve is doing what he is doing so I can be here at home. I have had the opportunity to care for my grandma and visit her often and spend the most amazing weeks with her, all because Steve's job provides well enough for us that I can be a homemaker.
Steve has given me the gift of time, and I love him for it.
Yes, it stinks that I can't just come home and ask him to hold me while I process all these emotions. But we do what we can. Writing here - writing anywhere - is therapeutic for me. And last night Steve and I had a great conversation via on-line chat (because for whatever reason sometimes that's just easier than talking on the phone) and he helped me sort through some of my feelings and let me vent my frustrations. And he made me laugh. And cry. Both of which I really needed.
We do what we can, and we enjoy the times we are together. When we're not together we figure out ways to make our marriage and life in general work for us. It involves a lot of prayer, a lot of communication with each other, a lot of give and take, and many supportive friends and family members.
There are times when I'm absolutely fine and I sail through the days, and there are times when I feel like my boots got stuck in the mud and I just can't take it anymore.
Either way, good days or bad days, The Pipe Life or some other kind of life, I can't imagine navigating through it with anyone else. For the blessing of such a wonderful partner, I am eternally grateful.
And yes, for the goofy hound dog who always turns three circles before she can lie down, the one who twitches and whines in her sleep while she dreams of treeing raccoons, the one who will sniff at my hair and then sneeze in my ear ... for the comfort of having some warm, breathing being curled up next to me, I am thankful.
I think Steve will forgive me for occasionally allowing Ladybug to sleep on the bed with me. I promise I don't let her use his pillow.