Count Your Blessings…

I’ll be the first to admit at times I feel sorry for myself. The last couple decades it’s been about my hearing. Or lack of it I guess. 99% of the time it’s because I assume. Too quickly. I misjudge what’s been said. (In my defense this is usually done by someone behind my back-literally! I didn’t catch what was said to me because it’s all mumble-jumble when the person is not facing me. And I always answer wrong or say something totally inappropriate, trying to guess what was aimed for my ears-and missed rather miserably). 

I do feel sorry for myself at times. Lame I know, trying to change my ways…

When this happens, the person frequently repeats their comment. Often times quite fast. If I still don’t understand or look at them with a huge blank stare (that’s where the ‘duh’ from Duh-Neese comes in) on my face, I can see their patience has run its course. They turn away with a ‘never mind’ and I’m excluded. Whether it was important or not. At first I feel a hot flash of anger, which quickly turns into unworthiness. For this particular conversation, joke, or comment, I’m simply not worth the effort. Holy shit, you can’t believe how bad this makes me feel. Thin skinned I guess. Like I can help my deafness. Think I asked for this? Not hardly. When I start feeling negative about myself, God always comes through for me. With a gentle slap to the side of my head. A wake up call. To give my life perspective. Again. 

I’ll just call her ‘Sue’. We met 20 years ago through a mutual acquaintance. A few years older than me, she sure didn’t look or act it. Slim, blond, athletic and smart as a whip. A college graduate with a money-business-stuff-degree. We saw each other socially occasionally, but Sue lived in another city, so our friendship was sporadic, but endured. 

I began to notice a slight difference when Sue moved closer and we spent more time together. She just didn’t seem as sharp. It was harder for her to find the right word when we were conversing. Or she asked me the same question within a short time frame. She was retired but still actively played sports, held volunteer positions of importance. But something just wasn’t right. She had a couple of silly fender benders and seemed to have an awful lot of doctor appointments. 

Then we moved to Jackson 2-1/2 years ago, and I was no longer in Sue’s circle. Caught up with fixing our new little crib, plus getting my fabulous part time job, I completely dropped the ball. Saw less of Sue’s posts on Facebook and she never emailed me anymore. Or responded to me when I wished her a happy birthday. Called her a few months ago when I was in the area, but the conversation was disjointed. Wasn’t surprised to hear she’d been in another car accident, had been hurt but doing ok. She had company staying with her, so we made no plans to get together. But in the back of my mind, I knew something was very wrong. And that feeling never went away. I’ve thought of Sue a lot and made the decision to stop and see how she was doing the next time I was in town-with or without a phone call first.

And then along comes God with that gentle slap along side my head, acutely minimizing my silly disability. Stupid hearing loss. Pffft. Nothing. At all. Not a blip on the radar screen. Inconsequential. I figure it’s been about 2 years since I’ve seen Sue-face-to-face. You could have knocked me over with a feather after I rapped on her door. Stooped over, shuffling slowly towards the door, my heart just sank. Tears formed and I swallowed several times. I hope to God I recovered quickly. Can’t say for sure she knew my name, but there was a flicker of recognition on her beautiful face. “Hi Sue, I hope you remember me, it’s Denise.” “Sure. Sure I do, come in.” 

Miscellaneous small piles of “stuff” were scattered throughout her lovely home. Pictures with and without frames, recent mail just waiting to be put somewhere else. She’d had some work done on the house since I’d last been there and I complimented her great choices on the decor. Her home looked fabulous. I asked her how she was doing, and she said simply, “I don’t even know where to start. It’s such a mess. I feel like I’m in a prison.” I grasped her hand, pulled her to me and gave her a hug, which felt kind of lame. This must be hell on earth. Sue’s own hell on earth. I can’t even imagine. Holy cripes.

From our short visit, I believe Sue is on a huge precipice. She still fully realizes what’s going on with her mental and physical health and knows it’s down hill from here. Hell. She told me she has a guardian who takes care of all her finances. She no longer drives (which didn’t seem to bother her very much but really surprised me) and has several caregivers who attend to her needs and take her to her various appointments. (If I were still around I’d certainly bring her supper a couple times a week and take her for a ride). It gives me a lump every time I think of this savvy businesswoman reduced to this in the prime of her life. Hell.

I told Sue about a story I wrote, highlighting our mutual friend when I first started blogging. She asked me if I would read it to her? She no longer uses her computer. I found the post and read it to her. She nodded several times and smiled. Looked at the pictures and asked where I found them? After I was done reading, she asked if I could send her the story? I sent it to her via message. I was showing her how to find the story on her phone when I noticed she had 6,000 plus emails in her inbox. Over 6,000. Yikes. She’s never noticed. I suggested she ask one of her helpers to get rid of a few thousand of them for her. Don’t know if she’ll remember when they come back though. 

For me, our visit was gut wrenching. I wonder how Sue felt or if my visit bothered her? Sure hope not. She asked me to come back. I keep going over everything we talked about. I’m just sick about what’s happening to her. Hell. Sometimes it takes something significant in your life to serve as a wake up call. This was mine. How very fragile and fleeting good health is (along with piss-poor hearing, annoying at best). How lucky and blessed I really am. And I need to be more grateful, thankful and appreciate what God has given me. I’m gonna try to let those who choose to exclude me from a silly conversation after the fourth try sluice off me like water off a duck. Get thicker skin. Try and curb the negative feelings that accompany those minor details in my life. I have been blessed far more than I deserve. It’s been humbling but exhilarating to realize how very happy my life is. God is good. My blessings keep adding up. I’m still counting. Thanks God…

Words to hold dear…

2 thoughts on “Count Your Blessings…

  1. ….this was a tough one to read…so sad… but exactly what I needed to be reminded. Yours is hearing loss, mine is spinal stenosis and screwed up spine and pelvic bones….every frickin' step is painful and off kilter. I too, get pissed off cuz I can't keep up or do the things I want.. or do what everybody else is doing, like say, taking a hike, or hang out shopping for the day..it makes me cranky, depressed, embarrassed, and feeling sorry for myself. But in the scope of things, my life is so full of good things and good people ..and I still can do a lot of fun things..and then, there are those four beautiful little ladies 7 and under..and now a sweet little man as cute as a button at 11 days! Life is good!Great blog Neese! Thanks..I needed that!

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  2. Aww Ellie, I had no idea your spine issues were so debilitating. Guess it’s lucky we’re not perfect or there’d be no living with us! But looking at the big picture, we’re both very lucky to have pretty good health physically and mentally. Plus that whole grandchildren thing. Isn’t it just the best? Thanks for reading and commenting…

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