Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

Okay, Folks (to use one of Michael's words) here goes. You've told me you like it when I get real. This is just about as real as it gets. I cry almost every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. Well, more so on Mondays and Wednesdays... I think the joy of Friday in and of itself helps me to fight off the tears on Friday mornings.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings a woman comes to our house to get my husband up and help him in the bathroom. She's there for three hours. I hate this fact. I hate most of all that he needs this help. The fact that she comes makes me realize, over and over, each time she comes, that my husband is paralyzed. I hate realizing that over and over. I don't know how I keep managing to forget in between. Our life is very normal. We're very much in love, and we have so many moments that are just like everyone else. But Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings we aren't like everyone else. And it always feels like his injury just happened, and I feel shocked, like "What? Seriously? That can't be for real." Even though Michael broke his neck 17 years ago... half his life ago. He's been paralyzed ever since before we even met, yet it still smacks me in the face like it happened yesterday.

So, on MWF's, I get up and take care of chores and make breakfast and lunch and leave it in the fridge for Michael. I kiss him and lay his phone on his chest. Then, I go to my bathroom and get ready. I'm usually there when she arrives. We say good morning. I leave for work, and M shouts to me from the other room, "Bye, Sweetheart." I'll say goodbye, have a good day, I love you.

And I walk out. His wheelchair is usually in the living room, like this. So it's not in the way.
The door shuts behind me, I plug my ipod earphones in and start my walk to the metro or to the car... and that's when it happens. I cry. Sometimes just a couple of tears. Sometimes, it's an all out whaling breakdown. Then, somewhere along the way, I pull myself together, smile, and do my job. I wait to hear from him via text message, that he's up and at 'em. When he forgets to text me, I freak out! :)

It makes me so sad. Sometimes I feel mad, too. This is the part where you'll realize just how much of an immature jerk of a wife I can be. I'll actually be jealous. Can you believe that? I'll be jealous because while I'm getting up at 4:00 or 4:30, he gets to lay there until 7:00am when she gets there to get him up! Wow. Like I'd like to trade places? Actually, if I could, I would, sometimes. It does get really old watching the one you love struggle... even though Michael handles everything so gracefully and with such a cheerful attitude... Sometimes just the visuals are too much to handle and I wish I could make some sort of trade deal with God just so he can have a break.

Soon, we'll go back to a season where I'm handling all of M's care again. It's not ideal long term, but it's good for a season. Last night, we were talking about it and I asked M if he's dreading it or looking forward to it. "I think we're ready," he says. You hear that? "WE're." He's always so quick to stress that WE are in this together. I love that. I need that. Because it's awful lonely sometimes. Together, we can do ANYTHING! I truly believe that because I've experienced it.

There are a million things I never imagined I could handle, but I've done it, together with M and with God's strength. I hate being weak. I hate being vulnerable. I hate that I can't fix him. He hates that he can't fix me adjusting to all of this, and working through all of the grief and emotions. All we want to do is make it so the other one doesn't have to go through the tough parts. But, I suppose that's not the whole idea. I have to trust that all of this has a purpose.

I'm secretly looking forward to December... when I no longer have some other woman all up in my kitchen (major territorial issues there! haha) and when I don't have to watch him SLEEP IN while I'm hard at work! wink wink...


Anonymous said...

You are an angel on earth, Dana. I don't care if you are a brat.

~Mariesa said...

I'm in tears. As I'm sure you knew I would be, for many reasons. Mostly though, because of this: "There are a million things I never imagined I could handle, but I've done it, together with M and with God's strength." You are an amazing wife (and so am I...) and we get through it all, learning along the way, and getting stronger all the while.
The other thing is - with my Dad - I never thought of it this way. For some reason I always thought it was helpful for my stepmom to have someone there to get him ready so she can do other things, "take a break" whatever that means, etc. Seriously though, how can she relax or do anything else with 2 or 3 women she doesn't really know in her house? Her kitchen?Interesting perspective. I will look at it differently now.
We had a big realtor thing at our house today. Yesterday, Gary took the day off to supervise the cleaning crew, make sure all the little details were taken care of, do 20 loads of laundry and the like... things I would normally try to handle. I felt as though it was an imposition on his day, like he was taking on a heavy burden, like I was failing as a house manager. To him, he was doing everything in his power to see that I had fewer things to worry about, and ultimately less stress. He was loving me by taking on the work for me... and I think as I just typed that I truly understood what you were saying.
I'm sorry you cry. But I love that you care that much...

Unknown said...

Even though you experience that pain on MWF's, just know that WE love you and are so grateful that you and Mike are ONE... We do pray for you guys, maybe a little harder on MWF's?

Diane Moody said...

Dana, I'm in tears here too. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your true feelings. The love you and Michael share is such an inspiration, and I am in awe of the depth of it. God has blessed you two with such a beautiful relationship. I feel honored just to witness it "afar" from your blog! Thank you for being this real, my friend.

I've always adored your Michael - for as long as I've known him, I've thought the world of him. After the accident, I admired him even more for his incredible attitude about what happened, and the life he kept on living. Well, I have to admit, now that I "know" you (even if only via cyberspace!), I admire and adore you just as much! What a pair you are! And how AMAZING is our God to give you each other!

Now excuse me while I go dig up a Kleenex . . . Love you both!

Joyce Hawley said...

Oh Dana Diane has said exactly what is in my heart. You and Michael are so deserving of each other. You are truly an amazing woman! And there are no words that are good enough for me to explain the awe I have for Michael and the whole Ritter family. God is so great for putting you two together.
I cannot believe Michael's accident was 17 years ago. I thought maybe 5. LOL! I'm sure you won't mind but would you just give him the biggest hug from me. If you want a laugh have Michael tell you about my dad! ~<3~

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl said...

Dana, you are so sweet, and your relationship with Michael is so sweet too.

You rock.

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Thank you all for your sweet comments!

The Oswalds said...

Thanks for being so real! It's so precious to see & read about your love & relationship. God has truly blessed both of you!

a4249 said...

I broke down at "then I kiss him and lay his phone on his chest" because this tiny detail is my weekday morning, too.
And instead of an easy roll out of bed, he has to wait for someone else, too.
You're not alone, in early mornings, or breakdowns because of reality, or even in those twinges of irrational jealousy.
Love and superpowers to you!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

a4249, thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for taking time to comment. Knowing we're not alone goes a long way, doesn't it? Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

I just read your post entitled “Monday, Wednesday, Friday” and was truly moved. I highly know the two of you through our cyberspace connections, but I never miss a blog post. I love to see the love the two of you share. It’s lines like, “I hate [realizing] that my husband is paralyzed,” that impacted me so.

In my travels across the nation around the world I have the opportunity to meet the number of people who find themselves in a wheelchair for some reason or another. Unfortunately, for the most part I see people who can’t see past the chair. All they see is metal, spokes, rubber and a cushion. They can’t see the person at all.

All you see is Michael.

I know that a lot of that has to do with him and the way that he deals with his disability. But he is a lucky, lucky man to a found a woman like you who somehow came to earth wired in such a way that you simply see him. It’s a gift Dana a true spiritual gift. God has blessed you with eyes that see the person and not the circumstance. And that’s rare.

It makes my heart hurt that Monday Wednesdays and Fridays are so hard. But, from my perspective, Michael’s care is such a small part of what you do for him and give to him each day.

I hope to meet you two someday. I think you’re an amazing couple. A great example to Kolette and I.

Please know that we’re thinking about you through this “season” and praying that your Heavenly Father will give you the strength and insight you need.

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Thank you, Jason! I would LOVE to meet you and Kolette. You are an example to us, too!

Baby Bird said...

Foster Momma,
Just wanted to you to know that Patrick and I cried as we read this entry. Well, more like I cried and he walked away after finishing it. You and Mr. Dandy are certainly an inspiration and we're so lucky to know you, and most importantly, love you two. We miss you and need a DBR hug. SEE YOU SOON. ps, I like muffins. Just thought I'd let you know.


Dr. Dorree Lynn said...

Thank you for sharing this with me. Your challenges are real---and the good part is that you both know it and are determined to grow together. I wish more couples understood that learning to work together is a fundamental marriage goal.

Dr Dorree Lynn

When the Man You Love is Ill: Doing the Best for Your Partner Without LosingYourself.

Sex for Grownups; Dr Dorree Reveals the Truths, Lies and Must, Tries for Great Sex After 50.