Nick makes it look so easy, doesn’t he? I mean, even I can forget that he’s in a lot of pain and struggling just to do the little things. He’s a hard charger, and life is getting easier, but we still haven’t found the intersection of pain free life, acceptance, and ease of daily living.
I’m not trying to complain, or bitch, or attract sympathy, I just feel like keeping it real tonight. Life is still hard, and will always be hard for Nick. Period. Even the occasional skydives, or trip to the go-kart track, or any amount of Reese’s peanut butter cups can erase this truth. In fact, Nick participating in “normal” activities again only accentuates the fact that life is fucking HARD. Every. Little. Thing. Is. Difficult.
We made a few jumps last weekend and by the end of the day I could feel the exhaustion pouring from him, but I doubt anyone else noticed. He packed his own parachute, carried his gear from the landing area, and fell down on a few landings. He even fell on the packing mat in front of everyone, but brushed it off like it was nothing. That kind of stuff doesn’t embarrass him, but it still sucks. Falling down on his knees not only hurts, but it puts holes in the liners of his prostheses and ruins the vacuum seal necessary to keep his legs secure. He’s going through liners like crazy.
I’m insanely proud of my man. He is pushing through life, trying to grow and progress and gain as much back as possible, all the while navigating the emotions that come with the territory of dealing with a permanent injury. It’s been a year and nine months. We can’t really remember how life used to be anymore. All over our house I see old pictures of our old life and strain to recall a recent time as carefree, fun, or innocent as those times. Our old life feels like a childhood memory, our present life feels like a dream, and the future is a blank canvas with a somewhat limited color palette to choose from.
I’ve printed some photos from this last year and framed them, but they’ve yet to make the wall. It’s one thing to live our new life, to write about it, or talk about it. It’s another thing to frame the proof and look at it on the wall everyday next to all the proof of other good times we’ve had. Not sure why I have a mental block about this, but it’s there.
Nick has been finding meaning through helping people. He’s been back to Ballard a few times to meet patients and listen to their experience. At that stage in their recovery they’re just looking to be heard, to explore their feelings about the future, and meet other people who can prove to them that life will get better. Nick hasn’t been able to volunteer at the hospital yet, but hopefully that program will get running soon. He’s also developed a few good friendships through his desire to help. He’s talked to several people on the phone, and has made a good buddy locally who recently got hurt riding a dirt bike. Last week Nick brought him food, then on the weekend he picked him up and they went to watch moto races together.
Here’s some pics from the last time we went skydiving. I’m trying to get him to prioritize having some sort of fun every day. If he’s going to be in pain no matter what, he might as well be enjoying what he’s doing while he’s hurting. And if he’s having a good enough time, it can temporarily distract from the pain and reality of his injury.