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Hello.

I am Leah and I have Bipolar Disorder. To make life even more interesting, my husband, Dan, has Stage IV Cancer. He was diagnosed at 37 and has  been in ongoing treatment for 4.5 years! We also have a healthy and rambunctious 7 year old. So follow along as we try to manage our life together and strive for love, gratitude, and joy.

Where Life Takes You

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There have been places on a map where I have lived. Washington, Illinois. Goshen, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois. Moments of growth or disappointment moved me. I visited a place or two in Europe. Small trips took me across my country. I have photos. I have memories of where I slept, the streets I walked, who I was holding onto. What was joyful, what was learned, what was scary, what was mine. There were also maybe-places, hope of living here or there. Lists of locations and contingencies. I wrote Oregon down in my heart when it was so very broken. I should have never written it down. It symbolized too much, it should have escaped my grasp. Then I met Dan and we broke it open to a new world that I couldn't have ever imagined. 

But now, it becomes "a place where." A memory. I hole in my heart. I can't change my drivers license. Close the bank account. Throw away the library card. 

Let go.

I am grieving.

A few days ago, I drove across a bridge as I headed into Peoria at dusk. I caught a glimpse of a white softness in the sky above a building and I believed that I was home and catching that friendly glimpse of Mt. St. Helens. I don't know what will feel more difficult--these moments of false recognition or the moment where there is no more confusion.  At some point, my mind will simply follow what it firmly knows. 

 

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My hope sustains me. A belief in myself and my judgement. I had a vision that a life in Illinois could give us something new, something growing and ready, familiar but also open and unknown, and full of generosity. It had to be so generous because the change, over and over again, the change--it is rigid with its shock and wonder.

I must watch my son grow: learn, move, become. He thrives! He is a healthy, beloved young boy. He will continue to begin--over and over. New to smells, questions, behaviors, excitements, and lessons. He is a creature I thought that I could imagine, yet he is beyond--living and breathing into every day much more than I could have ever grasped. I teach, mend, praise, ask, offer, and throw my hands up in the air. Hail Mary. He is my boy, he is young. He still does not know what all of these doctor appointments mean.

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I must watch bodies fail. Suffer, break, unhinge. We all age! My friends with their silver streaks of hair, my father nearing 80 and quietly letting go of rigorous chores. Appointments for vision, trembling, aching, hearing. I visit my mother and speak loudly, slowly. Often I clean her folded flesh and massage her hands while she can't remember what day it is. And my beautiful husband, hurting--over and over. Bearing bacterial infections on his skin, a gate that shifts and slows, forgetfulness, blistering acne over his back and arms, weight loss, and vertigo. He is so content and at ease, he takes his meds and endures treatments, hospital stays, and limitations with a shrug of his shoulders. He is reading, listening to music, staying at home with Raine, drinking coffee, cooking dinner for his family. These things are his treasures. I question, let go, assist, push, work, remind, kiss, listen, hold, pleasure, scold, and throw my hands up in the air. Hail Mary. He is my husband, he is mortal. I am aware of how fragile we are every moment.

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Friends, please keep near. I miss writing to you. I will share my thoughts more often. Comments and messages are welcome.

<3

 

 

 

Housewarming

Our First Date