Sunday, February 28, 2016

Milestones are millstones

Tradition tells us that milestones are measured in birthdays and babies, graduations and career moves, weddings and first homes. Shiny, happy memories full of smiling faces, handshakes, and the passing on of age-old wisdom.

Tradition, it seems, missed the memo:

I'm sick.

And, as such, many of those milestones may never brighten my horizon.

At best, my milestones may be a mixed bag - in addition to marking the anniversary of my wedding, for instance, I will also be marking the one-year anniversary of the onset of the mystery illness that would completely overtake my previously presumed birthday and baby-bound future and replace it with pain, terror, and sadness.

Turns out, not all milestones are blessings.

Many milestones are millstones.


I'm a believer in signs...and while that acknowledgement may make you write me off as a lunatic, let me please assure you it wasn't always so (the belief or the lunacy).

There was a time in my life where a certain song coming on the radio at a certain time was mere coincidence, where a timely phone call from exactly the right person wasn't a life-saving sign but rather a lucky break.

Life has taught me differently.

So maybe I should have seen the sign - in this case a very literal one - when I received this as a wedding present:

Now don't get me wrong, the gift is gorgeous - a lovely marker for a lovely milestone.

But now, in the wake of my wake of my previously healthy life, I can't help but look at the sign and ask myself if I should have seen the scary future in the E.M.S. hanging on my wall.

After all, I think we hung it mere weeks before my first of many trips to the emergency room to receive my emergency medical services...

But I'm not a soothsayer. Just a girl who believes in signs. And I saw what I consider to be another one today.

After yet another night with little to no sleep, I woke from the 30 minutes I was able to get this morning with a jolt.

I am not unaccustomed to such an awakening - but it usually results from this: in my dreams, I am still healthy and well. When my body wakes and finds it is not so, it very literally jumps at the recurring realization.

Today's jump was different.

I fear today's jump was a sign.

Because this morning, in my dream, I was not well. I was sick.

And I woke to the realization that I no longer get a reprieve from this sick sentence...

Perhaps this isn't so much revelation as intuition. Perhaps it's not a sign so much as a milestone.

Either way, I acknowledge that my subconscious has realized what my conscious mind already knew - that I am sick, and for the foreseeable future I will be.

And while I continue to hold on to hope that tomorrow will be brighter, easier, healthier... I admit my grasp on hope is much sweatier and more precarious than the strangle-hold I have on my present reality...

I know how this sounds.

Helpless, hopeless, hurting.

I am all of those things.


Maybe that's what prayer is for.

When milestones become millstones, maybe that's when the miracles come.

I hope it is.

And there you have it: hope.

Hope from the girl who staggers under the weight of the millstone.

And maybe that's a sign.