Rich awoke upset this morning due to a dream about a friend of ours that killed himself. Mike came to see him and gave him a reassuring smile. It upset Rich because when he looked into Mike’s eyes expecting to see his brilliant blue/grey eyes, instead he saw the deep chestnut brown of his own eyes.
As we often do in the morning, when Rich wakes up feeling very emotional, we sit on the bed and talk. It seems that on most days, Rich awakens in a state of agitation. It is especially trying when he does this at 1:30 – 5:00 am. His agitation can range from pacing and what he calls “crawling out of his skin” to severe depression where he cannot stop sobbing. I feel as though I am watching someone I love being tortured.
Sitting on the bed, holding my hand, Rich talked about how Howard, a dear friend and Harley rider, had advised him to try to make the most out of each day. When he first heard this, he responded with irritation, as he does with most platitudes and pleasantries that people offer. Intellectually he knows the spirit in which they are offered, but emotionally he sees that people have no idea what he is going through (hence this blog). To Rich, the little “keep your chin up” remarks feel like trying to put out a raging forest fire with a squirt gun.
Having sat with Howard’s sage advice for weeks, Rich said that he realized that he has to put “make the most out of each day” into perspective. “I have decided that I have to make the most out of the little things,” he whispered, his deep brown eyes liguid with ready tears. “I don’t get ‘days’ anymore, but I still have moments.”
“People think they are having a bad day when their boss yells at them or they make a mistake at work,” Rich continued. “They worry that someone doesn’t like them or that they have a bill to pay. I would give anything to worry about mundaine things like that. Instead, I worry about what this disease is doing to you and the kids. I contemplate how this whole thing will end. I sit with extreme emotions racking my senses and feel absolutely helpless to stop the torment.” He sighed deeply and clung harder to my hand. The look of deep desolation on his face makes my heart ache and my throat close.
Quietly, almost reverently, Rich whispered, “I have to be grateful for the moments. Like two days ago when we were riding bikes and you went flying down that hill and I started laughing at how you were bouncing down the road. That was a moment. I can still have moments.”