Saturday, February 16, 2013

"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails"

The quote in the title is from Dolly Parton. I have to pause for a minute and tell you that I adore her so much. Her music is brilliant and the top of my bucket list is to visit Dollywood. Ok enough of that…
One of the hardest things about this experience has to be letting go of certain dreams and adapting to new ones. Originally I was going to title this post ‘Don’t Make Plans’. The reason came from when Jason and I first arrived at Balboa. Jason was getting occupational therapy while at the same time another patient was visiting us. He was a high amputation as well, so I took the opportunity to ask questions. Among the many tips he gave me, he told me something I will never forget.
“Don’t make plans. They will never work out and you’ll only end up disappointed.”
If you know me you know that I am somewhat of an optimist. When he told me this I thought naw, I don’t think that’s true. I’m writing today to say that it is partially true.
I suppose you could say that what he told me goes along with the saying ‘if you want to hear God laugh tell Him your plans’. It doesn’t stop us from making plans anyway. In fact Jason and I had a lot of things planned when he was to get back from deployment, but those plans haven’t happened and may not ever.
It’s heartbreaking sometimes to think about the future we envisioned for ourselves. It’s difficult to see others around you “advancing” in their lives while you stay stuck in one place. However, I am always reminded that no matter what future I am grieving, Jason is alive. I still have my husband. He still has his stunning smile, his contagious laugh, his sweet heart, and his inspiring courage. When it comes down to it, that is what matters most of all and I consider myself so incredibly blessed.
The main point of this weird post is to be adaptable. This may be hard for those Type A personalities (like myself) but every day you have to be open to things not going the way you planned. It’s important to be adaptable, be as prepared as you can, and have a plan B (sometimes even a plan C and D). Another point to this is don’t take it hard and don’t let your spouse take it hard. There have been many outings we’ve had to drop out of because of phantom pain. We once had to leave church early because one of the consequences of losing a good half of your body is temperature regulation, and Jason was overheating so badly we had to go.
Also, look forward to things in your new future. We are looking forward to a ski/snowboarding/dog sledding trip to Utah, our house from Homes For Our Troops, my graduation from physical therapist assistant school, the start of Jason’s schooling, lots of traveling in the summer, and so on and so on. There is so much to look forward to and still so much to be hopeful for. So take some wise advice from Dolly and change the sails.