Friday, August 20, 2004

Songs, Screams And The Girl Of My Dreams

Down the hall from Amy's hospital room is a woman who screams. She screams all the time. I don't know her ailment; I suspect she suffers from a form of dementia. Her screams make no sense, but they are constant and they are loud.

Today Amy and I were walking the hospital hallways and she asked me if perhaps the nurses might allow her to go sit in the screaming woman's room and sing to her softly. Amy worships God by singing...and she sings beautifully.

I didn't know. We kept walking but I got the feeling that Amy was going to ask for permission eventually.

I was able to spend almost the entire day with Amy, which was a treat. In truth, with my work hours, and the stuff that has to be done at home, there are many days I can only stay an hour or two and then we speak on the phone a bunch.

Today though after work, I had Amy sign more papers than we signed for our mortgage for the law firm that will handle her disability claim appeal. I delivered those and some forms for a couple of doctors and then I was able to simply sit with my wife.

Anyone who has read this blog can tell that in recent weeks my mood has changed.

Believe it or not, I'm usually a pretty lighthearted guy. But these days have been tough...there have been dark moments that stretched into dark days...and weeks.

I believe this is the toughest time Amy and I have ever gone through together. So it's going to come out here.

I can't help but reflect my mood all honesty I write for me...not you - sorry if you thought otherwise.

Amy and I sat today talking about how our time of suffering has brought us untold blessings. I know that sounds weird, but it's true. I have a co-worker, with whom I've done a morning show for 18 years. He's the famous one on the show...I'm sort of the third or fourth player down. He knew me when I wasn't a Christian, he knows me now too. We've had a great working relationship, but never much of a personal one.

This week out of the blue he called me when I was alone, at home, and falling apart. He never calls me. He said, "I've had you and Amy on my heart. I don't even really know what is going on, is she back in the hospital?"

We spoke for about an hour about Amy...about faith and friendship. Then he asked, "Would you guys mind if I did a better job of keeping tabs on you?"

The next day he showed up in Amy's hospital room to visit. The other night he called to offer to mow my yard.

I have two brothers I love dearly, but with whom I've never been especially close, even when we were kids.

I mentioned Stan, my outgoing eldest brother, the other day; my other brother, Derek is in California. I talk to Derek's wife more than I do him. Derek is pretty closed mouthed to included. The other morning, while I was at work, Derek called me and said, "I felt I needed to see how you were doing today." He's never done that...ever. He doesn't call me on my birthday, or Christmas...I don't call him either.

I sure did need him to call me that morning though.

As Amy and I talked we rattled off nearly 10 other examples of true blessings we have received in these hard times. I don't mean, "gee, I guess if you squint that might look like a blessing", I mean, "I defy you to give me any other explanation for this besides the hand of God at work type of blessings!"

Over the past weeks I've written about a couple, made vague references to others. There have been many more though, not the least of which is the love we've received from family. There are some I'm not prepared or perhaps not worthy to try to write least not yet.

My dear friend Gordon called me last night on his way to the hospital to visit Amy. He knew instantly I had been through the ringer all, doctors, lawyers, bills...I was weighted down. I had to end the call and attempt to sleep...something I failed at, but at least I tried.

This morning I was greeted by an email from Gordon asking that we set aside time to talk...he wrote in part, "On the drive home (from the hospital), you kept coming to mind. I feel like God was saying, "Amy is in Michael's hands and my hands and the doctor's hands. I need some help holding onto Michael. Can you lend an ear and a hand and some love?"

It was God, so what was I going to say?"

I suppose that could sound like a normal thing for someone's Pastor to say, but Gordon and I have an interesting relationship. I consider Gordon one of my closest friends, who happens to also be my Pastor. I'm certain he sees me as a friend before a member of his congregation or a Deacon. We rarely talk spiritual matters outside of church.

We'll have that conversation though...hopefully soon. It will be good because I will feel comfortable unburdening a bit to my friend, the Pastor who felt God speak to him about me.

I suspect Gordon could be worried that Amy and I have so much to deal with now that it might put a strain on our marriage. I look forward to telling him he's wrong.

There's no doubt that Amy and I are both frayed and fragmented, and each day certainly isn't rosy, but we've also both realized that these last weeks have been some of the best in our marriage as odd as that sounds. We've always had a good marriage, but right now there are no barriers between us...they've all been broken down.

Everything is out there...all the emotion, all the pain, all the worries....and all the hope.

My Aunt Kathy, who took me in as a teenager has been in constant contact with Amy and me. That's not too unusual for her; she's an unbelievably caring soul.

I email her updates on Amy...she calls us both. The other morning I sent her an email telling her the latest and she replied, "You and Amy are my heroes! At the risk of embarrassing you, you are a true love story. I talked with her yesterday (thought she sounded really good) and her number one concern is you. Your number one concern is her."

Amy is making progress. I think we both are actually. She still has some tough times ahead, but my optimism is back now. Amy is growing stronger and more determined.

Besides, how could I doubt that God will help us through all this when I am in love with a woman who, while hobbling down a hospital corridor attached to 3 or 4 different IV's, wonders aloud if she could get permission to sit next to a woman about whom she knows nothing and sing softly about God. A woman she's never met or even seen. A woman she's only heard...screaming.