I’m saying goodbye to two old friends today – friends that have served me well for 15 years, and which saw me from grad school through single-woman-in-Brooklyn-dom and on into marriage and 2 kids.

Today I say farewell to Yellow Ikea Chair and Unique Upholstered Loveseat Sofabed.

Folks are coming to get them before noon, when we will leave for Green Acres to drown our sorrows in hot chocolate and snow tubing.

And I am more than a little sad. They have been good, old friends – but it’s time to let them go. Neither fits in the living room and both need (badly) to be reupholstered.

I would just remake the slip covers, as I have several times before, but the padding in each piece is getting so thin that you can feel the wooden frame.

And Gerry has much LESS padding these days.

Besides, I got an amazing price on two new padded chairs on clearance.

Part of me is sad because I’ll have no place to sit until the new chairs arrive; part of me is sad because we’re sizing down to smaller pieces of furniture, which means less snuggling and crowding onto the loveseat or oversized chair. But mostly I’m just sad to see them go.

But it’s time. Bargains like the one I found don’t come around every day. We’ve (I’ve) known for a few months that these pieces just aren’t fitting. But I kept putting off thinking about it because of lack of funds and much more important issues. Now the situation has presented itself to resolve this easily and frugally, so I will.

However, the new chairs will be the lions’ share of our Christmas gift giving (at least between Gerry and me) and they’ll make the living room more comfortable and homey. So we say goodbye.

I’m on antibiotics for this cruddy infection thing (lung infection, bronchitis, the doc said it was good I came in because it was moving toward pneumoni) so I’m feeling a bit more worn out than usual. I went to bed early last night, but hovered online, reading blogs off of Gerry’s laptop that I don’t normally read.

Multiple Myeloma blogs.

And I was surprised to find my own blog listed on a few pages as, “Gerry’s Wife’s Blog” – which is definitely what it is. Yes, less knitting – but more life.

I read about folks with this disease, spouses who are dealing with it, and – perhaps not wisely, but necessarily – spouses who are dealing with being alone.

This disease is such a mystery. One blog written by a young mother (early 30’s) surprised us when we realized that she and Gerry share a doctor at Mayo. She was diagnosed years ago, but is just NOW undergoing her stem cell transplant.

What we’re discovering (which we had been told, but I hadn’t quite processed) is that Gerry seems to have a rather aggressive form of the disease.

The huge amount of spine disintegration at such a rapid pace is unusual, and it seems that generally the disease is a little slower in other folks.

Or not. It’s such a singular experience, this Myeloma thing. As in any important life passage, comparisons to others can be as confusing as it is helpful.

Everyone has their own experience, with their own way of coping and their own saturation levels. We can come together (through blogs, among other more face to face venues) but ultimately we’re solo on this trip.

Reading about other spouses who had their moments when they’d have to face the fact that no, we probably are not going to go ‘poof’ in the exact same moment as each other when we’re 88 after a long and happy life, is helpful. Really.

Yes, it’s devastatingly sad, but it’s less lonely than dealing with the folks who haven’t experienced something like this, but insist – sometimes cavalierly – “Oh, Gerry will beat the odds, they’re just statistics!” They mean so well, and they are so kind, but their kindness is terribly expensive in how much energy it takes to absorb it and not scream.

Yes, statistics are nothing to hang hope – or fear – on. And every case is different. But refusing to face the worst that could happen, and calling it ‘Positive Thinking’ is as unhelpful as saying that being Brave means never being afraid.

And this is a terminal illness.

Folks have commented on how well our family is getting through this. But I think it’s because we haven’t lost sight that MM, like life, is terminal (to quote Elizabeth Edwards)

I’m afraid – and I’m brave. I’m facing the future, accepting that the worst could happen, but I’m hopeful and positive. Perhaps holding these complex feelings together in one mind is hard for folks who’d like live simplistic single-emotion-at-a-time lives, but I can’t do that. It’s not how I’m made.

And we’re all different.

So if I’m chatting someone and they tell me that everything will be fine – I’ll agree with them. Everything will be fine. But I may not mean the same thing that they mean.

They may mean, “Gerry will make a full and perfect recovery, he’ll live to be 105 and you’ll have to legally change his name to Methusala!” They may try to cram our current experience into a single-emotion perfection that is easier for them to comprehend.

I will mean, “Gerry will live until he doesn’t, but he will LIVE until he doesn’t. We – his family – we’ll live, too. And we’ll use the love we share to pull us through the hardest parts.”

Which is different. We – life – won’t be perfect.

But we’ll be fine.

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