I can still remember exactly what I was wearing on the day my world broke. Gray cardigan, white button down peasant top, jeans, and cranberry ballet flats. The shoes, I still have them. They are worn and raggedy, I just can’t let them go. Those shoes carried me in the ER and they walked me out days later. Those shoes are a symbol that I survived the worst day possible.
Every day I am reminded that four had to die so I could be the one out of five who walked away. I live each day for those who no longer can. I live each day for the women who lost their lives to the Nuvaring. Those women are my battle cry and I will not rest until there are none. Those women whom I’ve never met have given me more strength than I ever thought possible.
Every day I am reminded that not everyone gets my outcome. I live each day with the knowledge that my stroke was 100% preventable. If only my doctor had actually listened to me and ordered a simple d-dimer test. Not all stroke patients get my outcome, some are scathed while others loose the battle. Their disability and their deaths have become my fuel, to ensure that no one else has to live our worst day. Seeing their struggles and their caskets are the stark reminder that the battle isn’t done, we have a long way to go until there are none.
I’ve been given twelve additional years on this earth. Twelve borrowed years that I lovingly call “survivorhood.” I wish I could say it’s been all rainbows and unicorns. But it hasn’t, I’ve had really good days along with terribly bad days too. It’s the bad days that allow me to dance on the good days. The bad days allow me to heal and savor all that is good in my life. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything in the world. Have all my dreams magically come true, nope they have not. The universe she has shown me no favors. I have had many blunders and mishaps along the way. And when everything seems to fall in place, she throws a rock in my shoe. Especially when it comes to love and motherhood. I like thousands of other women am still waiting my turn, motherhood eludes me.
Love I have found it, I have lost it, and I found it again. There have been men who had to healed a heart that they didn’t break, they were the stepping stones that led me to Jay. Those men allowed me to be messy, they allowed me to heal out loud, and to just simply be. And I know Charlie and Gary are both looking down and saying “can you believe it! She ended up with someone her own age!?” Yes, yes I did guys, I ended up with Jay who is just a little over a month older than me. So I think technically he still counts as an older man….. 😉
Jay has been my rock and like the others allows me to simply be me. With time he took my bags and accepted them as his own. He knows what it’s like to struggle and he’s learning to lean into things he cannot see or know. Our relationship is far from perfect, but we’ve found a groove and the best is yet to come. We’ve spent more time in hospitals and fertility clinics than we care to admit. He always tries to make me laugh on my worst days and held me tight as I ugly cried into his shoulder after I heard the words “I’m sorry he’s gone” and “I’m sorry your pregnancy test was negative.” Parenthood is a dream we both believe in and we’ve fought tooth and nail only to end up with babies in heaven. Our sons they were to beautiful for earth.
Jay understands that sometimes survival means going for a solo drive where I can loose my mind while jamming out to tunes on the curves of a country road. In Jay I found a man who understood the loss that occurred so he could have a seat at my table. I found a man who loved every inch of my broken heart and soaks in every drop of this life I call survivorhood.
Survivorhood isn’t all sunshine and unicorns shooting glitter rainbows out of their asses. There are hard times too. At times I feel overwhelmed because the universe keeps throwing wrenches in my plans. There are times where I am in a funk that not even the funniest joke can crack and there are times where life is just plain shitty on all sides of the equation. In those moments I want to yell, I want to cry and hide away from the world. Then I remind myself that these moments even though terrible are moments you were not meant to have. In the struggle I search for the tiniest sliver of beauty. I search for the positive in the moments of darkness and I remind myself “that this will pass.” We have to take the bad with the good, otherwise this life wouldn’t be a life worth living. Because this borrowed life that I get to live, is a beautiful disaster.