The Good and Bad in Goodbye

There are many ways to say “Goodbye”.  It can have many different undertones.  It can be sad or even happy in some cases, and other things in between.

My brother has hit a milestone in recovery from his work accident. After 46 days in the hospital, he has been transferred to rehabilitation in Boston. There, he will get his first prosthetic and soon start walking again.  We have been preparing for this day since he was out of the ICU.

J.J. doesn’t remember much of the ICU.  How could he?  When they first brought him in, he was hooked up to multiple machines and had 19 different bags of fluids hanging from what the nurses called his “Christmas tree”. As they days went on, and specifically after the amputation, periodically the nurses would come in and trim the tree. And soon enough he was down to barely a shrub.  During his stint in the ICU, those nurses were his lifeline.  They were our lifeline.  They barely left his room.  We relied on them for everything.  And they never did disappoint.

The day that J.J. was moved from the ICU to a regular room was one of those confusing types of goodbyes I’m talking about.  We said goodbye to our lifelines, and cried a little.  It was tough.  The uncertainty of it. What this new floor, with the new nurses was going to bring.

These men and women were every bit as amazing as the last bunch.  The nurses seemed to love J.J. like a member of their family.  Some brought him in homemade food. They hung out with him in the middle of the night when he couldn’t sleep.  They checked in on him even when he wasn’t assigned as their patient.  J.J. loved them too.  He had a system, how he liked things. Certain pillows in certain places on the bed.  All the nurses knew this secret, sometimes unspoken system, and obliged.  If they were ever bothered or annoyed by his requests, they certainly didn’t let on.

On Friday November 18th, J.J. was told that he was ready for Spaulding. He would leave Monday morning.  I asked him a few times if he was excited.  He response was always the same.  “Yes and no.”  I know the decision to leave CMMC was a hard one for him.  But his case worker assured him that Spaulding was the place to be.  That Sunday, we said goodbye to a couple of our favorite nurses.  Shelby, Kristen and Abby.  I started to cry, and so did they.  J.J. said “way to go, Darc.”

Monday came, more goodbyes were said.  I’m sure there were fewer tears considering I wasn’t there. They loaded him into the ambulance and headed to Boston. He’ll be at Spaulding for about 4-6 weeks.  The facility is amazing.  It’s a state of the art, futuristic looking place right on the harbor.  While the first day was tough, just getting accustomed to their way of doing things, J.J. knows this is where he needs to be.  And in time, saying goodbye to the people here will be just like before.

To all his nurses at CMMC, we miss you terribly!

 

 

Macedonians in Maine: An Interview

I met my husband, Krunoslav on Match.com.  He worked 7 days a week and I worked at a busy Irish Pub.  We both had odd schedules that didn’t afford either of us many opportunities to meet a potential girlfriend/boyfriend.  He sent the first message, I noticed his name was not an American one.  He said he was from Macedonia and that he liked soccer.  I made up a story about needing some info about soccer for something I was working on for the pub. And within only a couple of messages our first date was arranged.  It went well.  So well in fact, we met again the next night.  He watched “Glee” with me and I helped him deliver papers at midnight.  And as they say, the rest is history.

The first time I met his parents was when they made the long trip from Macedonia to Denver for our wedding. Their names spelled phonetically are Nikola and Kruno’s mom is Blageetsa. His mother speaks english “little bit” as she says.  She speaks it better than she thinks.  And his dad can say a few words.  It’s amazing what you can tell about someone without speaking.  Just by observing a single moment.  As I walked towards them coming out of the international arrivals gate, I knew that they were lovely people.

Well, the In-Laws have arrived for another visit.  We have been looking forward to it for months.  For the last few days I have been thinking about what to post.  And this morning it came to me.  An interview with my in-laws.  I wasn’t sure how the request was going to translate.  But, they agreed and thanks so my wonderful husband and his translation services, it went very well.

Q: How did you meet?

B: We met at a party at a restaurant.  We were introduced by friends.

Q: Do you remember your first date?

N: Not the specifics, but it lasted awhile.  It was the next day after the party and we had our first kiss.

Q:What is Skopje, Macedonia like?

N: It’s very historical (dates back to 4000 b.c.) . Similar to the Old Port portion of Portland.  Our house is in the Suburbs of the capital, Skopje. It’s a very tight-knit community.  Learn more about Skopje, Macedonia Here.

Q: What are some customs or traditions of Macedonia during the holidays?

B: On Christmas Eve (usually on or around January 7th as they use the orthodox calendar), we make a loaf a bread and put a coin in it.  When we sit down to dinner we each take a piece, and also have a piece for family afar and Jesus.  Whoever gets the piece with the coin, it will be their lucky year.  For us Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about family and emphasis is on the meal with family.  On August 2nd, we celebrate our Independence from Turkey. It’s like your 4th of July.

Q: What is the biggest difference between your country and the US?

B & N: How friendly people are here.  Whenever you go into a shop or store.  People greet you.  They say “hello” and “how are you”.  People don’t do that in Skopje.  The other thing, is that people seem so busy here.  We work either the same or more hours per week back home, but aren’t always in a hurry.  We have time to spend with family and friends.  Back home, families only have 1 car.  Here, everyone has a car to get where they need to go quickly.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Macedonia?

N:  Family.  Not just the family as in people but the sense of family and community.  Kruno added – Our country was recently in a way.  It went though a very hard time and what got people through that, was family.  It’s very important there.

What is the hardest part of international travel?

B: Being bored on the long flight.

N: Blageetsa being bored on the flight.  She kept getting up and moving around.

~ They did add, that being in the last row was nice.  It seemed a little less cramped then the other flight.  I asked if they minded the long wait to disembark the plane.  They both agreed that it wasn’t a big deal.  They are far more patient than I.

What has been your favorite thing you’ve eaten while in the US?

B:  Yummy Chicken (A family recipe of mine, find it here)


 

It’s interesting how a short visit with someone can give you so much perspective.  How different families and different cultures go through life.  I always thought that my family was an affectionate group.  We pale in comparison.  The love my in-laws have to give is immeasurable.  When they said during the interview how important family is, it was an understatement.  They love with their whole hearts, their whole being.  I can’t count how many times I’ve been told “I love you” Or “Kristinia (kruno’s sister) says she loves you”. And it’s not just me.  It’s to all members of my family, and friends.  People they have only met one, maybe two times.  Their second day here, they asked to go see my brother in the hospital.  They talk about him everynight.  They’ll ask how he is doing today, if I’ve talked to him. They’ll tell me how much they love him and that they pray for him. They share memories of their first trip here and the people they met.  How our friends are lovely people, and how nice they were, how much love they have for them because they are our friends. The language barrier is tricky to navigate, but when sharing a feeling they are able to communicate with ease.

I knew it the first time I met them and I know it now.  They are some of the most kind, generous and loving people I have ever met.  And I am so very lucky to have the Petrov family as my in-laws.  I couldn’t have asked for better.

 

 

 

img_1630

The Petrov’s First Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Bravery in the blogging world.

Well well well.  Today marks 2 weeks of blogging.  To most that doesn’t mean much, and I’m sure in a few months, it won’t to me either.  But today, right now, it feels like an accomplishment.  I’ve gotten over the initial hurdle of nerves and worry about putting myself out there.  I feel like I’ve set a stride that’s comfortable but challenging.  I don’t post if I have nothing to say. But try to take a few minutes everyday to just sit and think.  Think if there is something that I’m going over that I could put down here, and if that would help free up my mind a little.  Today, there is.  There is this one thing I’m kind of hung up on.

How much is too much info?  How personal can/should a post be?

I had lunch yesterday with a friend and I mentioned the blog to him.  Like I have done to literally anyone who would listen to me these past 2 weeks.  We started talking about how difficult it is to write about some personal experiences. And about how much bravery it takes to write about your life.  At first, I thought, it doesn’t take that much.  It’s not a big deal.  Then I thought about how this  populates to my Facebook account.  While that’s a setting I have chosen, it does cause me to second guess somethings.  I hesitate before writing and posting.  The fear that people you know may read something very personal about you is, in fact, really scary.  It’s not the strangers or the once-in-a-while glancers, but the people you are friends with, or even the people you see on occasion.

That leads to the next question that I’m surely over analyzing.  How much bravery in the realm of blogging is an acceptable amount?

I certainly would never write something with the intentions of offending someone or to purposely make someone feel uncomfortable.  But one of the primary purposes of a blog is to share your life with others. Not just the pretty surface stuff, but the tough stuff that can sometimes be ugly and heavy.  The kind of stuff that maybe could help someone through a difficult time or situation.  Or even sharing a particular story that could potentially connect you to someone who’s been through what you’re going through and offer insight.

I’ve had a post in the hopper now for a few days that I’ve been wanting to publish (I hate that term, it makes so unnecessarily official.  But that’s what they call it).  And every time I’ve looked at it and wanted to hit the button, I’ve hesitated.  And I’ve gone back and forth on whether to post it or not.  I worry that it’s too much.  Too personal. As people and social media evolve things that were once taboo, are becoming the norm.  Things that would once send a religious person straight to confession are commonplace and barely warrant acknowledgement. 

So, here I am.  Asking you.  What’s your opinion on the matter?  What are you comfortable writing and reading?  I need some guidance.

“Writing is both a mask and unveiling” – E.B. White

 

Superstition ain’t the way. Or is it?

I’m superstitious. I can’t help myself. As I get older it seems to be getting worse. The other day it  was raining pretty hard and a co-worker asked to use my umbrella.  This co-worker has been known to leave an umbrella open inside to let it dry. I don’t approve and have voiced that opinion. He tries to appeal to the logic of it, and I won’t have it. Anyway, I was nervous about him using it. It was a surgery day for my brother.  I watched the door for him to come back in. He came back with it closed and I breathed a sigh of relief. He brought it back to my desk, and I forget exactly how it played out but I thought he was going to open it to dry. I just about came out of my skin. I yelled at him a little bit. “Are you crazy?!?  JJ is in surgery! Don’t you dare open that in here!” Did I overreact? Possibly. JJ’s procedure went fine. Had the umbrella been opened indoors, would it have changed anything? Who knows… I do. Of course it wouldn’t have. But my feeling is generally – let’s not take any chances.
And when it comes to the NFL season, it is even more prevalent.  I’m a Cincinnati Bengals fan. There, I said it. I love ’em. Can’t get enough of Marvin Lewis and the whole gang. I have done the organization a great disservice this season. You see,  I have drank coffee out of the same bengals mug every Saturday since my husband bought it for me 4 seasons ago (side note, the bengals season has gotten better since then) A few weeks ago, when the accident happened it really screwed up my coffee drinking schedule. I wasn’t able to drink out of the mug for a few Saturdays, resulting in a couple of loss’s. So, to the entire Bengals organization. I’m sorry.

I also wear bengals attire on Sunday’s. but, weeks like this pose a dilemma. The Bengals play on Monday night. What’s a super superstitious gal to do?  I went with my gut. I drank out of the mug yesterday, wearing a bengals t-shirt today and will wear my jersey tomorrow.  It’s the only logical thing to do.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere” – Albert Einstein.

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

It’s been a month.  One month today since the accident.

When I got the call that my brother had been in an accident.  I immediately left for the hospital.   It was the simultaneously the slowest and quickest drive there has ever been.  I arrived, and found my way to the ICU floor.  I was met by 2 nurses, later they said they knew who I was by the look on my face.  They sat me down and explained the situation.  It was bad, labeled as critical and life flight was used.  I excused myself and waited for other family members to arrive.  Later on, while at the ICU door waiting to get buzzed in, someone came up next to me.  They had a loved one that had been in the ICU for a few days.  I was looking down at the floor and then I heard them say “The floor here reminds me of the yellow brick road.  Ya know, from the ‘Wizard of Oz?'” That’s my favorite movie.  From that moment on, I thought about the similarities between the movie and the situation that we were in.

I was the Scarecrow.  Asking for a brain to figure everything out.  Trying to learn the medical terms, which monitors meant what, blood pressures, oxygenation, medications.

I was the Lion. Asking for courage.  Courage to be strong when others couldn’t be.  Courage to help my brother with the unknown.  Courage to believe that everything is going to be just fine.

I was not the Tin Man. My favorite quote from the movie is “hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable”  My heart has felt more this past month than perhaps my whole life combined.  It has been broken, mended,  but mostly filled will love and gratitude.

And then there’s my brother, J.J..  Unfortunately for him, he is a girl in this analogy.  He’s Dorothy.  Wanting desperately to find his way home.  He’ll be there soon.

“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself”