For eight and a half years I wrote a newspaper column that followed the adventures and misadventures of my family, as well as the musings and random thoughts of my complicated, simple mind. It was a study in contradictions, much like myself. Much like all of us.
My column traced the years where I thought I’d lost everything – my youthful figure, my career, a marriage. Only to discover that sometimes you have to lose everything to realize you had everything you really needed all along.
Then life happened, as it does. I was smacked so hard I was knocked off my feet, breathless – literally – for over two years. Everything hurt. My hair fell out. I had a few organs removed, some by force, others went more peaceably.
At the point I got sick, I really didn’t think I had anything else to lose. I mean, sure, I’d gained so much more back along the way – the love of my life, two beautiful children, a cozy little house with a huge yard and a thriving vegetable garden – but me personally, Sara Beth Wald, aside from my very life, what else could I lose?
Life Tip: Never EVER assume you have nothing else to lose. The universe will prove you wrong every time.
Turns out, there was a whole lot. Little things we take for granted, like hair, and mobility, and breathing, for example. Things like that.
I’m better now. I mean, relatively speaking. I’ll never be better, in the way you heal from a broken arm or a common cold. I’ll always have autoimmune disease.
But it’s no longer running amok in my system, thanks to the miracle of science, and the unfortunate number of needles it involves every month, and the equally unfortunate amount of lettuce.
I had to give up McDonalds cheeseburgers, which may honestly be the biggest loss of all in this whole mess. I could dedicate an entire post just to the grief this has caused me, and may do so in the future.
There are still scars – the physical surgery scars on my abdomen that you can see, and the much bigger, darker, harder to heal scars left on the souls of our family as we recover from the trauma of the boogieman that is Mom’s Sickness.
I always prided myself on writing about (mostly) positive topics in my newspaper column. Even when I swayed towards the dark side of politics or complained about the lack of lines painted in the parking lot of the local grocery store, I tried to add humor or a positive slant.
As my illness progressed, I found it harder and harder to find the light, not just in my writing, but in my life.
Guys, it got so dark. I mean, I’ve seen some dark days, but there was always light at the end of the tunnel. There was always hope.
But when you’re trying to decide what’s going to happen to your kids in the event that you don’t make it, and you’re giving your husband permission to move on and be happy with someone else… yeah.
I quit writing.
I didn’t just quit my column. I didn’t write anything for two years. And considering I’d been writing since I was seven, that says a lot. The notebook by my bedside table collected dust. I turned off the computer. I turned off my soul.
It’s been scary… no, terrifying… tiptoeing back into the waters of my mind, letting the words leak out again. They’ve been still for a long, long time.
This stuff is deep. I’ve been struggling to figure out how to keep it both light and real, but I think I’ve figured it out.
For years others suggested I start a blog. So I did. My first blog addressed a specific need – the need to set loving boundaries and hold others and ourselves accountable. This site became Redefining Love. But something remained unfulfilled.
The only solution was to start another blog, to begin anew, right where I left off, on the lighter side of this beautiful, complicated journey through a blessed life. A lot of people never get a second chance. I’ve had, let’s see… I’ve lost count now. Maybe three or four? I’ve never stopped being grateful. I hope I never do.
Copyright © 2019 Sara Beth Wald