Happy Friday! Yikes, y’all. This is the second to last When Life Hands You Lymes
post. Crazy, right? This is the 88th week of me posting these segments and I’m not sure how to wrap my mind around the fact that it will soon be over. It will be incredibly weird for me to write a normal post on Friday, so I still haven’t decided what I’ll do…
Anyway, I have a busy day today, but I made sure to get up in enough time for me to post this in the morning because hey, it’s important to be on time for the second to last week, right?
I hope y’all have a great day and enjoy the story!
“There are so many things spilling around in my head that I can’t even think any more.” I gave Julia a dull look. “I know I need to move on. I feel ready to move on. Yet I’m not sure how to processes all that’s going on inside my brain and every time I start to process it, life gets in the way and sabotages what little headway I’ve made.”
“So, outsmart life.” Julia didn’t look up from the examine she was studying for.
“Right.” Going over I closed her textbook. “How?”
“Get away from it.”
“No.” Julia stood up and stretched. “I didn’t think you were actually talking about breathing when you said life.”
“Ok. I wasn’t.” She did have a point.
“You’re talking about the every day interruptions and duties and people, that kind of thing, right?”
“Get away from it.”
“Go spend a week in some far away location where no one will bother you and you can block out the world.”
“You’re a lifesaver.” I grabbed her hands and danced around the room. “Where should I go?”
“Where do you want to go?” Julia grinned. “I mean, after all your Dad does own an airline which pretty much means you have the world at your finger tips.”
I sat down on the couch, put my elbows on my knees and rest my face on my hands, a smile spreading across my face. “Hocking Hills sounds good.”
Julia gave a dramatic sigh as she plopped down next to me. “A national park that’s a two hour drive away would be my choice of destinations if I was offered any place on earth, too.”
I nudged her, “Hey, this isn’t about where I’m going or what I can see. It’s about closing one chapter of my life and opening another, right? So who cares what it looks like as long as it’s peaceful, secluded and safe?”
When I told my parents about Julia’s idea, they quickly agreed.
“Madalyn, that really is just what you need. A week to think through everything that has happened and find healing and get ready to move on.” Mom gave my shoulder a hard squeeze. “I’m so happy that you’re getting better.”
“Do you think a week will be long enough?” Dad was already busy looking on-line for a place where I could go to. My parents are total go-getters.
“I’m not sure, but I think if I went for any longer than a week I might just go crazy. I’m not used to being by myself for so long.”
“Honey, when have you ever been by yourself?” Mom went and looked over Dad’s shoulder.
I tilted my head, thinking about her question. “I’ve never gone away by myself.” That surprised me. “Wow.”
“This is going to be a good experience for you then.” Mom made a silly face at me. “As long as you don’t get it into your head that you want to move out.”
“Haha, thanks. I’m perfectly happy living here.” And I am. I don’t know if I would have been able to survive my years with Lyme disease without my parents support.
“What about this cabin?” Dad turned the laptop so I could see the screen.
“It’s cute and cozy, has peaceful surroundings and yet is still close enough to other people so that it isn’t dangerous.” Mom began ticking off the points on her fingers. “And look, right there is the perfect place for you to set up your keyboard and, oh, a kitchenette so you don’t have to leave to eat.”
“It looks good. Thanks.” I gave Dad the thumbs up and he began drafting a email to the owners.
“So, what did your parents think of the idea? Julia asked that night when I climbed into bed.
“Have I ever mentioned you’re nosey?” I smacked her with a pillow.
“Have I ever reminded you that it was my idea in the first place and that I’m your best friend and that you would be totally lost without me and that I help you with more stuff than you can even imagine and that half of your good ideas come from me and-”
“And that you sing your own praises and butter your own toast and drink your own tea and make your own bed and sometimes even wash your own hair.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Julia grabbed the pillow from me and then whacked it across my stomach.
“That’s what I thought you little answer-avoider, changer of subjects and all-around sneaky little muffin.”
“Of muffin? Blueberry.”
I made gagging noises. “Come on. At least let me be orange-cranberry.”
“Come on, at least let me be orange cranberry and if I keep talking enough and changing the subject then I’ll confuse Julia and she’ll forget her question.” Julia spoke in a squeaky voice, mocking me. “Ew, you smell by the way.”
I gave Julia a curious look. “I just took a shower and brushed my teeth.”
“You said I smell.”
“What else would you do with your nose.”
“Uggg.” I covered my face with my hands.
“I know, I’ve been hanging out with Darrick way too much.”
“Ok. So, the cabin’s rented. Dates are set and I’m going to be packing next week.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.” Julia raised to one elbow and gave me an incredulous look.
“Your family is so fast with everything. After six months I’m still getting used to the fact that one of you get an idea and the next thing I know it’s either being worked on or it’s already accomplished.”
“Is that a problem?”
“No, it’s utterly fantastic. I love how you guys make things happen.”
“Are you sure you’ve packed enough?” Julia’s sarcastic voice made me glance around. “One keyboard, one violin, one guitar, a suitcase of clothes, five gallons of water, food to feed an army, a computer, six notebooks and journals, three candles and a dozen miscellaneous things.”
“I forgot my teapot.” I turn to go back in the house.
“You can’t be serious.”
“I am. Thanks for reminding me.” I ran up the stairs, two at a time, grabbed my tea pot from my kitchenette and came back downstairs.
“Are you sure you should be going alone? Maybe you should have someone there so you can cry on their shoulder.” Julia helped me load my stuff into Harmony.
“I was just thinking that.” I jiggled my piano to make sure it was secure. “I really do need to have this time to process though.”
“I know.” Julia gave me a hug when we’re finished loading. “And I’m glad you can go. I’ll miss you though. You know that, right?”
“And I’ll miss you, too.”
“You’ve got to go and I’ve got to get back in to work,” Julia said after we’ve stood there for a minute. “Go have an amazing time. This is going to be awesome and life changing and all that good kind of stuff.”
“Thanks.” I gave her one last hug then climbed in my Jeep and drove away.
Somehow I knew this week was going to be bigger and more important than I could even imagine. I’d been sick for three years. Closing one chapter and opening a new one would be difficult, but worthwhile.
I felt almost giddy with excitement as I pulled on to the main road and rolled my windows down. I put some praise and worship music in and sang along with it at the top of my lungs.
The two and a half hour drive seemed to fly by and I was amazed when it was finally time for me to begin following the directions the owner of the cabin had emailed us. The cabin was just as cute in real life as it was on line and it smelled like honeysuckle and wild mint. I unloaded my belongings, struggling to get the keyboard through the doorway, and then stood back and surrey my pile of stuff.
“First things first.” I turned the classical music on my phone to random and then began organizing everything, starting with the perishable foods. An hour later everything was set up and I had two candles burning.
I slipped off my shoes and then took the clock off the wall and stick it in a drawer. This week I was going to focus on the internal instead of the external. I picked up one of my prayer journals, reclined on the couch and began reading.
That night when I finally crawled into the bed my mind is bursting, going around in circles, trying to sort and categorized everything I’d read, felt and experienced in the last few hours. I turned to explain something to Julia, only to remember that she’s not here with me.
The next few days dragged by. I read my journals, took notes and wrote down ideas. I relived the pain I felt while feeling alone and forgotten. I let myself recall the times people had been insensitive. The mean things Katie said. The thoughtless comments my friends would make. The uncalled for remarks from nurses. Each time I recalled an instance, I would dwell on it for a moment, remembering the pain, then I would shake it out of my head. “Those days are over. I forgive them. I’m moving on.”
Allowing myself to remember so I could purposely forgive began the emotional healing processes I had been searching for. Instead of feeling guilty whenever I thought about the hurt I had felt, I let myself accept it as part of my past. Because my past is part of my history. My past could make me stronger if I choose to use it as a springboard to move to the next level.
Some of the hardest times to remember were when people who were close to me had hurt me by being insensitive. I loved the people so it bothered me to actually acknowledge the fact that they had caused me pain. I wanted to blame myself, to beat myself up for being sensitive. But I had spent years beating myself up. Now it was time to accept, forgive and move on.
My mind was achingly numb each night after the many hours I had spent playing my violin and keyboard. I composed songs with a mournful tunes I didn’t even know I had in me. Grabbing my phone and notebook I recorded all of my music sessions and scribbled enough to fill two notebooks. Mom had told me once that my pain might some day turn into music that people could relate to, and it seemed like she was right.
The second half of the week filled me with excitement. Now that I had explored and learned from and re-experienced the sick years of my life I was ready to move on. I placed all my journals in a box and taped it shut. Going around and around with the heavy duty tape until the box was no longer visible. I wouldn’t throw it away, but I would bury it deep in some unknown closet and forget about it. After sticking the box under the back seat of my Jeep, I skipped joyfully back to the cabin.
“New chapter. Blank page. A world of possibilities.” Sitting down at my keyboard, I took a deep breath and let my smile spill down to my fingers and race along the keys in a jaunty tune. My world was now a brighter place. A universe filled with possibilities and joys that were just waiting to be explored.