Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"How are YOU doin'!"

When people ask "how are you doing," the polite thing to say is "I am doing great!"

For my step grandmother, we learned never to ask because she would tell EVERYTHING that was wrong with her health not for just her but everyone.

When I had a stroke, the platitudes were more pronounced! Everyone was so concerned. It was gratifying. I have so many friends, and the generosity was so humbling to me.

10 months later, everyone is moving forward with their lives like me. But, just as everyone moves forward with their own lives, I do not think that a lot of people know about my reality. I don't know what their lives entail anymore. When I was working and very active, I knew a lot about their lives, kids, work, etc.

Now that I am "home," I don't get around anymore!

That is understandable. My mother-in-law told me that, when her husband died, there was so much activity. Then, days, and then months, and years slipped away. Do people know really what she thinks, dreams, and fears?

My uncle died last week. My uncle and aunt were married for at least 56 years, and, like my mother-in-law, my aunt now has a sad reality check. Granted, we love loved ones, but they go on with their lives, what is left for them?

I think about this often. Not just because of my relatives, because of me. Do my friends really know about my life? One of my friends helped me with my homework soon after I released from the hospital. One friend. That's it.

My wife and my brothers have been so great asking and participating. I am so grateful for them.

But, the others? No one knows anything about my therapy other than "I have some." No one knows about how hard it is. No one knows what I do every day. No one knows about my fears and dreams and hopes. Some friends call often. Some do not...even close friends.

On the off chance I see people, they often slap me on the back, and say "you are doing GREAT." But they don't know. I have had great success. I have a lot of honors. But, in the dark when I should be sleeping, I wonder what my future holds. Go back to what I did before even though I cannot do some work like before? Will I venture to a new adventures and work?  Will my friends be the same?  I don't know.

My wife is a great reality check for me. When I feel so sorry for myself, she says "have you thought about this or that." That helps a lot.

But, just like a widow, I am isolated in my grief about what I was before.

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