Something

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to write to you all sooner, but none of my ideas quite went where I wanted them to go. This might not be any better, but we’ll see how it goes. Before I start though, I want to thank each and every one of you for all of your support after my last post. That week was one of the toughest I think both Daniel and I have ever had and it would have been even harder without the amazing circle of friends and family we have around us. Now, onto this post, there has been so much on my mind in the last month, that I think I’ll start with a list and maybe, just maybe, we can make some sense everything together.

1. Brittany Maynard and Kara Tippetts

Over the last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about death and dying. It’s kind of funny, I remember reading Chicken Soup for the Soul with my Dad when I was younger and I loved the ‘Death and Dying’ section. He hated it and complained, so naturally, I made him read me more depressing stories. I don’t remember too many of those stories now, but two stories have recently come to my attention and they both make my heart ache. Brittany Maynard and Kara Tippetts are both dying from cancer. As of November 1st, Brittany Maynard chose to end her life in dignity than die slowly and painfully. Kara Tippetts wrote a beautiful letter in response to Brittany’s choice from a perspective on suffering that you rarely hear. I cannot say anything against either of these women or their opinions, but that they are both far braver than me. They have both been on my mind a lot, along with their two opposing views on death and dying. I think two questions that their journeys have highlighted for me are first, can there be dignity in suffering and secondly, does anyone really have control over their death and dying? I’m not going so far as to say that we don’t have control over anything and I’m not necessarily speaking against assisted suicide, I’m just looking back at my personal experience with chronic illness.

2. The Legend of Korra

I don’t know if any of you have watched or even heard of Avatar: The Legend of Korra, but you should give it a try. Yes, it’s a kid’s show, and yes, it’s a cartoon, but it’s one of the best things on tv right now and pretty close to my favourite show of all time. Each season builds on the last and deals with mature topics with such delicacy and understanding. This season, they have dealt with an issue that is rarely shown on television and hardly ever handled properly: PTSD. The fourth season took place three years after the third in the story timeline, and showed Korra grappling with what has happened to her. Three years later and she is still broken, struggling to return to her emotional and physical peak, haunted by an image of herself at her worst. The episode “Korra Alone” focused solely on her painful journey over the last three years and it doesn’t look like there will be a quick fix for Korra. Her story and her struggle have struck a cord with me and I feel her pain as if it were my own. Everything she tries only seems to give her a false hope that she can return to ‘normal’. Again, no one can help her truly regain control over her mental illness and it may be that she has to learn to live with a new ‘normal’.

3. Coetzee

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about two authors over the last few weeks. In my second year of university, I wrote a paper comparing Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment to Coetzee’s Disgrace. I’ve decided to revisit that paper and have been doing some research in my spare time, specifically related to Coetzee’s novels. J. M. Coetzee, a South African writer and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003, writes poignantly about the difficulty of moving past the blot on South African history that was apartheid. Most critics agree that in his literature, Coetzee struggles to find an appropriate way to move forward. In Disgrace, Coetzee follows David Lurie as he struggles with his own crimes and those perpetrated against his daughter, Lucy. These are such big issues and definitely, one thought is how can an individual be expected to to make amends for such systematic pain? How do we move past retributive justice?

4. Dostoevsky

In his review of Disgrace, Salman Rushdie claims that the weakness of the novel is that it does not “shine a light upon darkness, but merely becomes a part of the darkness it describes” (Rushdie, 2000). However, bringing in Dostoevsky and Crime and Punishment, there might be a different way to look at the ending. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov spends most of the novel struggling with himself about how to find redemption for the murders he committed. Even at the end of the novel, after he’s confessed and in a Siberian prison, he still isn’t at peace with himself. At the very end, something finally changes: time stands still and he imagines he is in the same time period as Abraham. It is here that Raskolnikov’s redemption becomes possible, where time and space is fluid and history has no bearing. In connection to Disgrace, Lurie finds some semblance of peace by euthanizing sick dogs and imagining their pain and their souls in a way he was not able to earlier in the novel. There is still no clear redemption for anyone by the end of Disgrace, but it almost points to something, something outside of South Africa and history that can bring a more lasting healing to a wounded nation.

So, looking back at all that, I’m sorry I don’t think about happier things! It still seems like a bit of a muddle, but I think I’ll try to bring it together. What all these have in common, at least for me, is  that the problems in each situation are bigger than an individual person, or even a nation of people. Our solutions, our human attempts to control disease, mental health and racism all ultimately fail and we are left facing a vast, gaping chasm of nothingness. But lately, all that nothingness has started to look like something. Death is outside of our sense of time, space, history and understanding and it’s in that very fact that I find hope. While we only get glimpses of something greater throughout our lifetime, Death is a gateway to something completely new and bigger than anything here: “After all, to the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure”.

As always, thank you for journeying with me,

Laura

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Backwards and Forwards

Hello all!

So before I get started, I want to apologize for being so delinquent this past year with my writing. I tried to write multiple times and I just couldn’t do it. Looking back, I think what I should have been writing about was something I was trying my absolute best to ignore and I couldn’t write around it. With that in mind, you might be wondering then, what brought me back. Well, a few things in the last week or so have worked as a catalyst in both good and very bad ways. First, I received a comment from someone who had read one or two of my posts and in some way, found them helpful. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to start writing this in the first place: to help someone going through something similar. Secondly, Daniel and I received some heart-breaking news this week that I’ll touch on a bit later. In between my hiding-under-the-covers and crying phases, I Googled “marrying someone who is sick” (not the best language, but you have to be blunt with Google) and found a blog post that really hit home for me called “Whatever You Do, Don’t Marry a Sick Man” . It was a refreshing and inspiring find after going through lots of depressing posts on message boards from people saying they how their partner’s illness has negatively affected their life. That got me thinking about our own journey and how we got here and what kind of future is now possible for us, and that’s something I want to share with you now.

I’ll start from the beginning. Daniel’s mom was my grade five teacher and that’s how we first met, at the back of her classroom when he had a day off and got dragged to our class. I really don’t remember much about that other than thinking “who’s that weird boy at the back?”. Fast forward a few years and a few family get-togethers, and we wound up at the same high school for grades seven through twelve. We really didn’t have much to do with each other throughout high school, and I only remember hearing about his health problems through overheard conversations with classmates or off-hand comments from my parents. It wasn’t until grade twelve that we started hanging out in the same group of friends and I started to notice him and think “this is someone who I could really like”.

Eventually, after high school, we started dating, but I still didn’t know much about his health problems. One thing that stood out was an off-hand comment about needles he made during a horror movie that hinted at what he had gone through, but even then, it was something that never needed to be fully addressed. My first memory of what Daniel being ‘sick’ really meant didn’t come until after we broke up when I got a text from him saying he was in the hospital. I’d been pretty sheltered up until then, and no one else I knew had ever been in the hospital like that before, so it was a big deal for me and proved just how real and scary Daniel’s health problems could be. Over the next year, he was in the hospital three or four more times and by that time, it was no longer something extraordinary or scary, but something almost – normal.

But this time, a year and a half later, was different. While his previous stays were only for two or three days, one – two – three – four weeks went by this time and he was still in the hospital. I visited him every week, and seeing him again made me remember just how much I liked him when we dated before, and just how much I still did like him. His health problem, which I had then identified as Evan’s Syndrome, had become harder to manage and led to a splenectomy. Not long after he got out of the hospital, we started dating again.

Entering into our second round of dating, we knew this time was different and would last a lot longer. Early on, we learned that Daniel was a candidate for a bone marrow transplant and had several good matches. This terrified the hell out of me and while Daniel was definitely on board for when the time was right, I was scared about what this meant for our future.

Fast forward to now. The bone marrow transplant happened about two years after they found a suitable match and now we’re a year past his bone marrow transplant and a month and a half into our marriage. Not long before our wedding, we met with a young couple that had also gone through a bone marrow transplant a few years ago. One thing I have been holding on from them is the fact that after about two years, his health normalized and now, it is no longer the focus of their life. After seven years, they have days where his health is no longer at the forefront and they can go days without thinking about that. That just sounded so unreal to me, that this thing that is so big and all-consuming now, could slowly fade into the background. That is my dream, and at times it seems so close that I can hardly believe it.

But, that dream that I have been holding onto, took a serious blow this week. Daniel heard from his respirologist that, if his lung function continues to drop, nothing but truly drastic measures might help. We didn’t get much more information than that, but that was enough to send us into a tailspin. I’m scared, and Daniel’s scared, that our life together will be cut drastically short and it’s hard not to feel cheated.

Now back to the article I read about not marrying someone who is sick. I’ve wondered what I would say to someone about to start dating someone who is struggling with their health, or even to my younger self. A part of me would say “stay away, there’s a lot of pain there”. But deeper down, I also know that saying that implies that there is a choice involved, and I guess on the one hand there is, but why should there be? Daniel didn’t have a choice and neither did his family, so why should I? If I really wanted, I could have walked out of those hospital doors three years ago and never looked back. But I didn’t choose to fall in love with someone who is sick, I chose to fall in love with Daniel, and yeah, there’s a lot of pain and heartache, but there’s a lot of love and joy and fun along the way as well. And looking back through our history together, I think I always would have fallen in love with him and would have had to make a choice to NOT fall in love with him. I wish he was healthy now and I wish it was easier, but he isn’t his health problems and neither is our relationship. We’re so much more than that and even in the midst of all this crap, he still manages to put a smile on my face and he happily returns it. So, looking forwards now, we’re going to live. It might look a bit different than we first planned, like more trips instead of moving overseas or having lots of pets instead of kids, but we’ll be together and we’ll do it our way, with smiles on our faces and always ready to laugh.

Thank you all for reading! I hope to write a bit more often and you are more than welcome to bug me to write, because it’s something I enjoy and (usually) never regret once it’s done. Enjoy your fall and Thanksgiving season as the cold draws us closer to those we love.

Laura

Laughter

Well, it’s 2014, the start of a new year. I’ve tried at least three times to write a reflection on 2013, specifically the second half. After those multiple attempts, I’ve given up trying to pack all of the jumbled emotions and experiences into a single paragraph, ending in some moral that will magically transform the last six months into some worth-while life lesson. At the moment, that ‘transformation’ seems more like a hurricane that has left me scrambling to pick up the pieces of my life.

So, instead of dwelling on 2013, I want to look ahead to 2014 and all of the potential it holds. Inspired by a few different blogs, I’ve picked a word for the year: Healing. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, healing is defined as “the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again”. This one word sums up what I want 2014 to be, a journey of restoration rather than a constant state. I wish for healing for Daniel as he continues his recovery, for broken relationships around us at the moment and for my self-esteem. I also chose healing because of the active and passive nature of the verb as expressed in the definition. Healing is something we can make happen, but there is also a lot of grace involved. Sometimes it’s out of our control and we just have to let ourselves heal. So as 2014 progresses, I want to let go of 2013 and allow healing to happen in my life and the lives of those around me.

Now onto the title of this blog: Laughter. One way of helping the healing process along has been moving in with one of my close friends. In the fall, it seemed unlikely that getting a few months sharing an apartment together would be an option. However, December came and I moved in. After a few weeks adjusting to living together, this has turned out to be exactly what I needed. We’re ridiculous and it’s perfect. We buy cheesecake and shepherd’s pie, watch multiple Disney movies in one night and when we finally stumble into our beds, we’re usually still laughing at something or another. Things are still tough as I’m still sorting out job stuff, future stuff and health stuff, but coming home and being silly and laughing has helped me begin to get things back on track. Slowly, I’m noticing a difference in my outlook and I’m starting to like myself a little bit more again. I’m so grateful for crazy friends and the laughter they bring. I look forward to laughing my way back to a healthy frame of mind with a little help from my friends!

As always, thanks for reading!

Laura

In an Instant

This crazy week, filled with ups and downs, is a prime example that everything can change in an instant. Lately, with our instant information world, one text is all it takes to make me jump for joy or (what seems to be most common lately) bring the world crashing down around me. Both of those have happened this week, and will probably happen again before it ends.

Monday, filled with potential for a good week, went into a tailspin upon a text from Daniel that he was going to be readmitted to the hospital after being out for little over a week. What appeared at first to be left over effects of sinusitis now appears to be something much scarier. His room was filled with doctors Monday and Tuesday outlining their suspicions and multiple tests necessary to rule out certain things like infection, blood clots or Graft vs Host Disease.

Tuesday brought with it more doctors and speculation as well as some good news! My persistence paid off and I heard about an interview for a position I want so badly!! I don’t want to say what quite yet, because I’ll be devastated if I don’t get it, but it’s basically every girl’s dream job ;).

Wednesday, today, was interview day! I think it went well, but I’m not sure. I really hope I hear soon. As soon as I got to the hospital, however, all thoughts of the interview left my head. While Daniel looks ok, he’s on oxygen constantly and just getting out of bed winds him. The possibility I’m scared of came up again and the Internet did not help. I am so thankful for everyone on that ward! My favourite nurse on the ward was there to talk me through it, grab a doctor to explain a few things, and the doctor even grabbed another doctor to clarify! The main thing they stressed is that they still don’t know and whatever it is will be treated aggressively to prevent it from worsening. All this is just a reminder that while Daniel may seem to be ok and stays in the hospital are quickly becoming old hat, it’s still serious and really scary. The day ended with a good talk with Daniel, checking up on each other in the midst of everything and providing words of encouragement for each other. I love him so much.

So, looking forward to the rest of the week, I’m scared. I’m scared of rejection and bad news. All I can do is wait. I’ve been doing a lot of that this fall and I don’t think I’m getting any better at it. But in this time of advent (see what I did there? Oh holiday themes proving very fitting to real problems!), the reminder that everything can change in a moment, not only good to bad, but bad to good, gives me some hope for the unforeseeable future. Hopefully all this waiting will pay off!

Thank you for reading and not tiring of my small worries. The gift of your time in this busy season means so much to me.

Laura

A Weekend in Ontario

I know it’s been a while since I last wrote, but my last few posts haven’t been the happiest and I’ve been waiting for something good to write. If I’m being entirely truthful, I’ve been waiting for a very specific good thing to happen and so far it hasn’t come. But I also know that my life is not void of good things, so instead of focusing on everything that is wrong and unhappy and has not happened yet, I want (and need) to pay more attention to all the blessings I have been given. This past weekend was a great reminder that this past year hasn’t been all bad; in fact, most of it has been pretty awesome! I got to go back to Ontario for the weekend and celebrate a host of different things!

Friday, I graduated with my Masters Degree and got to see most of the friends I made last year during my year at McMaster. My time at Mac was a whirlwind and it was so good to have a great group of friends around me going through the same craziness as me. The ceremony was extremely boring, especially at 9:30 in the morning, but I couldn’t have been happier to be surrounded by friends and familiar faces, laughing at grammatical errors and word mix-ups in the speeches, as only English Masters would. Sadly, that was probably the last time we’ll all be together, but I’ll never forget the last year and the words of encouragement we all had for each other when a paper seemed unwriteable or a certain professor marked a paper as “unfortunate”. To any of my Mac friends who may read this, thank you for your friendship and please please please (!!!) keep in touch!

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So glad I got to go back and celebrate with these girls!

Saturday was another exciting day marking another exciting event: the wedding! My dress came in and I got to stand in it for an hour and a half for the fitting! My feet were very sore after standing in my new yellow shoes for that long, but I loved every minute. We added straps to it and by the end it really felt like my dress – even my mom likes it now! I couldn’t have asked for better service at the bridal salon I went to, and it’s been really special to go with both my mom and my grandma.

I am thankful for my short trip to Ontario to focus on my accomplishment of the last year and the promise of the future to remind me that there is more than the present challenges to focus on. Wedding planning has proven a good distraction and I’m happy we have enough time that I can plan slowly without getting stressed and enjoy all the different steps and tasks it involves.

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I can’t put up an actual picture of my dress, because Daniel will see it, but I can’t help but say that it looks something like this, haha.

Christmas is now well on its way as well (and my birthday with it!), so I wish you all happy holidays full of laughter and food and good memories!

Laura

Leviathan

Before I begin, I just wanted to thank everyone who passed on their kind words and thoughts after my last post. That was a difficult post to write and much more personal than I usually am, especially in person. Thank you for supporting me and taking a moment of your time to read my often mundane thoughts and for some, leaving messages of encouragement. They meant so much over that week. 

Today I want to write, not about something I’m dealing with right now, but something I dealt with through last winter and this past summer. It may seem cliché, but with Daniel’s daily struggle with his health which affects every aspect of his life, I had my own version of the “why do bad things happen to good people” question. This was always highlighted by how easy things have often come to me. I’ve excelled in university without too much trouble, never struggled to find a job before this fall, and despite going to a small university not recognised by many other educational institutions, I not only got to study at Oxford for a summer, but got straight into a Master’s program at McMaster University. Occasionally, someone mentions how ‘lucky’ I am, or how this must be a path laid out by God because everything has worked out so well for me. Instead of finding these remarks comforting, they often irk me as I reply in my head “What does that mean for Daniel? Why is everything that’s easy for me so hard for him?” If my easy life is a sign that God is watching out for me, does that mean that God is not watching out for him in the same way? The disconnect between Daniel’s struggles and God’s presence in his life was something I felt deeply and struggled with for a while.

Eventually, one night before the transplant, my anger and frustration boiled over and I turned to Job. Instead of sleeping, I read all 42 chapters of Job in about an hour and a half. At first, it was incredibly different than what I was expecting. I remember learning in Sunday School and Religion in high school about God and Satan basically making a bet over Job’s faith. However, this Greek/Roman structure is only the framework for a radical questioning of the contemporary beliefs about what causes our struggles. I was surprised to find that Job was such a real character. He doesn’t simply trust in God, he questions, doubts and fights his friends over God’s relation to our daily struggles. In chapter 38, God answers Job and the rhetoric of God’s response really hit me in a few places. The stream of rhetorical questions not only challenges the worldview of the period (represented by Job’s friends) but reminds us that there is more to the world than humans. God reminds Job (and me) that his worldview includes everything, and there are sacrifices that have to be made.

The passage on the leviathan in chapter 41 really struck me, probably because I had just finished reading Moby Dick not long before. Instead of reading the passage as a comparison between God and Satan, I read the leviathan as a sperm whale. Much like Melville spends pages and pages describing the terrifying greatness of Moby Dick (ex. “The Whiteness of the Whale”), the leviathan of Job is built up as something that cannot be conquered by humans, but by God alone. In conjunction with earlier passages from chapter 38 which emphasizes God’s connection to animals (Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? Or fill the appetite of the young lions when they crouch in their dens? 38:39-40), the passage on the leviathan, to me, illustrates the interconnectedness of us all. In order for the lion to survive, an antelope has to die. It doesn’t mean God hates the antelope and loves the lion, merely that we cannot always flourish or survive. The same goes for the leviathan (keeping in mind I’m talking about it as a whale). While it is a terrifying figure which cannot be conquered by hunters (as both Job and Moby Dick state) it too is humbled by God in death and in turn, feeds and supplies us. 

Coming back to Daniel and my original question about why everything is easy for me and not for Daniel, reading Job (and Moby Dick) helped me remember that there is more involved than just Daniel and me. There is more at stake than just Daniel’s health. His illness and quest for health will hopefully help further developments in immunodeficiencies and bone marrow transplants for others with auto-immune disorders. As has already been proven, life isn’t always so hard, and sometimes, things go smoothly. For me, I hope I can keep my perspective when the inevitable struggle hits. If I need a reminder, I’ll put in The Lion King and sing along to “The Circle of Life” a few times. 

Thanks again for reading and putting up with my first attempt at some sort of analysis since leaving Mac!

Laura

Hard

Hard. It’s a word I’ve used a lot lately, more than I would like. I haven’t written lately because I have no clue what to write about. While Daniel gets stronger each day, everything only seems to get harder. I’m rather ashamed of my feelings lately and wish I was stronger than I am. (I’m reminded of a line from a song I love which states “I’m tough enough to be a flower” haha).

While I know it’s awesome that his energy is up and ‘cabin fever’ is inevitable, I feel a little unneeded. It feels like so much has changed and while I am trying to let Daniel focus on recovering, I miss us. It’s hard to feel close when kissing tastes weird to him, his hands can be sensitive and shaky and he needs a lot of space. Both of our emotions are really close to the surface at the moment as well, which only amplifies every minor frustration we have. The result being that we have had more disagreements this past week than we have in the whole of our two and a half year relationship. However, I am thankful that in the face of this challenge, we continue to talk and work together to get through it. We went to a movie in the afternoon, the first thing vaguely resembling a date we’ve had in the past month and we definitely both needed the time out of the house (and hospital) and just the two of us. I’m looking forward to a time when Daniel is no longer taking 10 medications multiple times a day and illness will no longer be an obstacle or stumbling block for us.

Thanks for reading. I may write these things and invite you to read them, but I usually assume (or imagine) that no one reads them, haha. I always worry that the more people get to know me, the less they will like me and this post feels more personal, so I hope you won’t think any less of me!

Laura

Little Things

So I don’t really know what this post will end up being about. There are a whole lot of thoughts roaming around in my head and I’m overtired to the point of finding everything hysterical, so this may become a bit like herding cats. Read on at the risk of your own sanity!

I guess the big thing going on in my life right now is Daniel’s transplant. He has been in the hospital for going on 18 days now and it has been 10 days since his bone marrow transfusion. It sure has been a roller coaster for everyone involved and the majority of my time is spent at the hospital. It’s kind of gotten to the point where I’ve woken up at home a few times expecting to be at the hospital and then don’t know where I am. Things with Daniel change so quickly that I hate not being there all the time. Just when we thought he might not lose his hair or feel the effects of the chemo too badly, everything changed. I left Saturday night to a Daniel who, while his throat was almost unbearably sore, could still talk, eat a little and had all his hair. When I arrived little over 12 hours later on Sunday, half his beard was gone, his mouth was so swollen he couldn’t properly open or close his mouth, talking was almost impossible and swallowing even a tiny sip of water was impossible. It’s been hard to watch, but even harder to be away and see such a change and know I wasn’t there to help him through it. I have to be reminded often that I can’t be there all the time, and getting a sore throat and not being able to visit for two days because of that was a reinforcement of that hard truth.

Everything that is going on is really a forceful reminder to take nothing for granted, especially the little things. With Daniel feeling so sick and exhausted most of the time, I don’t expect him to worry about or even pay much attention to me. But in the midst of everything, he still manages to try and take care of me, whether at the end of a sleepless night for both of us, he turns his head and whispers a voiceless “thank you” before letting exhaustion overwhelm him; a soft kiss on my nose when his mouth is too sore to open and close let alone eat, or always apologizing less than five minutes after snapping at me out of frustration with the current circumstances. It reminds me of a deeper fear that this experience will be so life-changing that he won’t need or want me anymore, that we won’t make it through. I had this same fear last year when I left for McMaster and we began a year-long long distance relationship. But while that year was hard, it never brought our relationship even close to the breaking point, and as these small gestures demonstrate, this year’s challenges will not break us either. In the meantime, I’ll be at the hospital supporting Daniel in whatever way I can, which at the moment means reading Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince to him as he falls asleep. While it’s hard to look too much into the future at the moment, I look forward to better days, and especially, our wedding which is in 11 months today!!

Thanks for putting up with my slightly scattered thoughts!
Laura

Something to Look Forward To!

It’s been an emotional few days, preparing for Daniel’s time in the hospital and now adjusting to what the next 6 weeks are going to look like. One good thing is that I don’t have to gown up to visit Daniel and can curl up next to him too! The chemo isn’t supposed to hit him until 5-7 days after, so the transplant and chemo will hit him at the same time. All this is an adjustment for me too as I’m trying to figure out how much I can handle and what I need to do in order to keep myself sane and healthy over the upcoming weeks and months so I can best support Daniel. 

But today, I want to focus on something exciting that Daniel and I are both looking forward to: Our Wedding!! We’ve gotten a lot planned over the last few weeks and we’re starting to get really excited now that it’s a little less than a year away! So here are some details we’re super excited about!

  1. My dress! I bought my dress while I was still in Ontario with my Mom and Grandma. I love it and cannot wait to wear it again! Sadly, no pictures or too much description in case Daniel stumbles upon this site, but it’s gorgeous and really works with our venues. 
  2. Our Venues! Assiniboine Park has been a huge part of our relationship as well as my favourite place in the city, so it only makes sense to have it at the centre of our wedding. That means we’re having our morning ceremony under the arbour in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden and a brunch reception at Terrace 55! (Daniel always laughs at me when I tell people we’re having a morning wedding, haha)
  3. Time and Date! As I just mentioned, we’re having a morning wedding, a Sunday morning wedding to be specific, and it has been the best decision we’ve made so far! Neither of us are big dancers and alcohol is something we want to downplay as well. We’ve saved $13,000 alone on Terrace 55 by having a brunch reception instead of dinner and got our fabulous photographer for half price as well based solely on the fact we’re having a morning wedding!
  4. Our Photographer! We’ve gone with Melissa Johnstone of Sugar and Soul Photography and are so excited about it! She brings an energy to her work that will help both Daniel and I to open up in front of the camera and is just as quirky as we are!
  5. Rings! Daniel bought me a gorgeous engagement ring, but that’s not what I’m talking about. He’s been almost as excited about finding a ring for him as I was about getting an engagement ring! Because of that, I planned on getting him his ring for Christmas. However, when we went into Vandenberg’s to design a custom band to fit my engagement ring, we found the perfect ring for Daniel too! I went back the day after and got a sunflower (which I drew!) engraved on it in order to surprise him with it before he went into the hospital. He loves it and will wear it on his right hand until we’re married next August! So if you see us, ask to see Daniel’s ring, he’ll be happy to show it off!

Thanks for sharing in our excitement! All this planning has also helped give us something to look forward to as we spend our days in the hospital. 

Lessons in Serenity

I probably sound like a broken record, but this has been a busy week! Daniel goes into the hospital in little over a week, and his transplant is less than a week later. With such little time left, noticeable steps have started taking place. Asides from the many appointments he has, on Sunday, we had an open house for family and friends to come and show their support for Daniel. It was amazing to see such a wide group of people be there for Daniel however they can. After, there was a family dinner, after which everyone got an opportunity to cut Daniel’s hair!! I think I was more nervous than him as one cousin gave him a bald spot right at the very front, and the craziness continued when his sister began cutting our initials into the top of his head. Once everyone left, he went and shaved his head completely and now looks similar to Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender, haha. The next morning, Daniel went and got a mainline IV that comes out of his chest. These have both been drastic changes that make it very hard to ignore what’s going to happen in only nine days! 

Throughout all of these big and scary changes, I can’t help but admire Daniel and the strength he possesses. It really makes me wish I could be stronger as I can’t help but feel that I’m slowly breaking into a million pieces. I don’t know what’s going to happen and there’s nothing I can do to shape the outcome of his transplant, and in part, it’s that helplessness in the face of the unknown that has left me feeling especially small and weak. In all of this, I’m reminded of one of my favourite prayers, the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

I’ve never been very good with waiting and patience. I live in the future more often than the present and being with Daniel has continuously been a lesson in serenity as plans I make for next month or next year can get blown to pieces because of his health. It continuously reminds me that I can’t anticipate what’s going to happen, and instead of trying to plan the unknown, I need to take a deep breath, take a step back and try for serenity instead. While serenity is much harder, hopefully I’ll have Daniel around for a long time to continue to teach me. 

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Before, after cousins and after he shaved his head. These were all taken the same evening! Pretty crazy!

 

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Our initials which Bridgette cut into Daniel’s hair. While it makes for a great picture, I have to admit that it makes me cry inside a little, haha.