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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'll be there...

Sometimes we take things and people for granted when we don’t even realize we are doing it. When I do this and then come to my senses, I feel guilty for being so selfish. That was my case last week, when I tried to implement a part of my plan to maintain my sanity as Riley makes sanity more difficult to achieve.

I knew that there been some problems in Carrot’s life, but they never anything that was major. I knew of a few health issues for her and all the other typical problems that a couple has concerning, house, home and family. But nothing major. We had been planning for her to visit me for quite some time and her husband supported her in making the trip. But, we had been waiting until things were a little more “settled”. Well, if that’s the criteria, we will probably be waiting a very long time.
Carrot doesn’t read my blog every single day. She waits for a quiet time and then reads a month’s worth at one sitting. She doesn’t feel the necessity for a daily dose because we talk on the phone about once a week and therefore, knows what’s going on.
I couldn’t reach her by phone over the past couple of weeks and I really needed my friend. I knew she hadn’t read the blog because if she had, she would have called to check on me. In the back of my mind I was thinking, I really need her now. So, I started looking for airline flights from California to North Carolina that would not require using my great-grandson as collateral. When I found the perfect non-stop flight, I punched in her number on my phone. She answered immediately.
“Hi! Are you OK?” she asked – I told her I was fine. “Well, I’m kinda busy right now, can I call you back in a few minutes?” – I started to answer, but the background noise stopped me from saying that I really needed her.
“Where are you?” I asked.
“Somewhere between Chico and Yuba City, I’m taking Hubby to the hospital.” She sounded out of breath.
In the process of the phone call I discovered that her husband had had a heart attack and that she was in the ambulance that was transporting him to the hospital. The only way they could get Hubby to agree to go to the hospital was if Carrot never left his side. He was frightened and was clinging to his wife for comfort and support. Hey!! Wasn’t that why I was calling her?!? For comfort and support?!?
My focus shifted from what I needed to what Carrot needed. It was as if someone had just walked up and slapped me in the face to get my attention. She called me back the next morning to let me know that Hubby was doing much better, but he would be going in for another surgery in a few days. She never said that things didn’t look so good for Hubby – but I knew. I listened between the words and heard what she wasn’t saying. She would never say she was worried or frightened – to not say it means you don’t want to acknowledge it. She wouldn’t ever give herself the luxury of being so self-focused. There was no time for her to indulge her worry or fear.
I felt guilty that I was indulging my own worry and fear and was so self-centered that I had not contemplated that maybe she needed me more than I needed her at that very moment.  We had never discussed a plan for this scenario. I checked out airline flights in the opposite direction of what I had searched previously. I could leave here in about seven days for the better prices, but the big question still loomed ahead of me. Would I be able to find someone to check in on Riley? The answer to that was a resounding – NO!
Since the ambulance ride, I’ve been talking to Carrot at least daily. Hubby made it through the surgeries and is being discharged sometime in the next few days. His kidneys are not doing so well – but they are better than they were. He now has a stent in his heart. He is on the mend.
It was a good thing I didn’t end up going to California because Hubby’s kids flew in from out of state and Carrot’s kids were there with her. Sleeping space would be difficult to find in their quaint little house.
The thing that really got me was that during each phone call where I was trying to be comforting and supportive, she always managed to ask how I was doing. She wanted to know how things were in North Carolina and what could she do to help. I always told her not to worry, things were just fine out here in the country. But, she has always been able to listen between my words as well. She knows. Without me saying anything she knows. She also knows that if I could be there – I would and just as much as I know she would be here if she could.
I’ve taken Carrot for granted. I’ve always thought that she would be here at the drop of a dime if I asked her to come. The truth is she would be here – if I asked. Oh!! She’d never leave Hubby while he was sick. I would never ask her to do that. But, I almost did without thinking. I almost asked her before I knew what was happening. I must not do that again. I must not forget that I’m not the only person in everyone else’s universe.
Sometimes, in all the insanity, I forget that there is a world outside of this chaotic circle. People are living their own lives complete with issues, chaos, and problems. Sometimes my issues are really manageable where other peoples may not be at that moment.
Hubby is a great guy. I love him because he loves Carrot so very much. He makes her happy and that’s something she hasn’t had a lot of since my brother died and left her alone. He’s not an alcoholic or addict – except maybe for chocolate. He’s just a man who was nicknamed Hubby because he’s so proud to be Carrot’s husband. He’s an intricate part of our family and I want to see him get healthy and stay around for a very long time.
I hereby relinquish Carrot from her pact that she made with me to drop everything and come to each other’s aid in a moment’s blink. We have a new pact that allows us to be there if we can and when we can. That makes a lot more sense.


Syd said...

I'm glad that her Hubby is doing well. It's good to have a friend like Carrot. Someone who has your back no matter what. Those are few and far between.

ADDY said...

It is perefectly understandable that in the midst of your own insanity you often don't think others may be going through something bad too. It is good that you have a ral good friend to lean on, just as she needs you right now, and I am sure that when Hubby is feeling much better Carrot will be there for you again.

The Zombunist said...

One of the beautiful things about being human is how, two people can have their own heavy burdens, but if they share those burdens, they aren't quite as heavy anymore. The burdens don't change, but there's some kind of alchemy that happens when a friend reaches out to another.

Anonymous said...

You should both set up a SKYPE account..It is Free---You have sound and live video with you both having video cameras either built in computer or external,,Just look up SKYPE on the web. I talk to people free in Europe and USA. It is easy and you are there.