My Dearest Friend,
I would have thought my writing these phantom letters to you would have ceased after this much time had passed. Yet, here I am, writing to you with an urgency that is just as great as the day you died. I can not help but think of you and the joy you brought to my life and wonder if you received the same type of happiness from me.
I hope you did. I pray that you did.
Afternoon storms have become the norm for this season. I can not help but be grateful for them. They mirror what is happening on the inside of my body. The mornings find my insides calm and without pain. I walk with a heaviness that I can not shake. Yet, as the day wears on, and right as the lightening strikes outside my office window, the electricity is turned on inside me and something catches fire. Whether it's my surgical incision, my torso, or just my arms, something feels like it is engulfed in flames. My body becomes tired, worn down from being awake, and every nerve ending I posses becomes angry. They argue, fight, and scream at one another.
On the outside everything appears normal. On the inside I am in pain.
The worst part of all this is my hands. They are always hurting. Sometimes they throb. Sometimes the lightening shoots through them, making something as simple as holding a fork impossible. And this scares me more than anything else. More than the lesion that occupies my kidney. More than the follow up CT scans that I must keep every six months. My hands are my gateway. They are what keep me sane. They are how I write. If I can not write, then I cease to breathe.
The doctor calls this pain Fibromyalgia and is in the process of trying different pain medicine for me. One medicine helped with the lightening that ricocheted throughout my body, but it colored my days a shade of black that I had never seen before. I could do nothing to escape it. Food lost its taste. There was nothing behind my smile. One night I viewed the shotgun that sits beside my bed, not as a last line of defense, but more of something that would allow me to escape all the blackness.
I went back to the doctor the next day. I welcome the pain over the blackness any day.
I try to look back over the past year to see when the pain started. But, it never really ended from the tumor. I can almost pinpoint the moment my hands started to hurt. When the itching started. Sleep is now a joke. I know if I do not take something, I will not sleep. My mind, forever vigilant against whatever goes bump in the night, will not allow any medicine to put me to sleep for eight hours straight. I am constantly waking. I am constantly on guard.
I am constantly hurting on some level.
In the year since you passed, I have become a loner. A hermit. I eye people suspiciously. I am not worried about what they want from me, or need from me. Rather, it is the time they ask of me. Enough time has been robbed of me in the past, that I am skeptical of anyone else wanting more. I am less than willing to share my time with just anyone.
Instead, I spend most of my alone time in reflection and prayer. 'Reflection' and 'Prayer' are terms that I use interchangeably with writing. I do not talk to the sky for God is not there. He does not live amongst the clouds. Instead, He is here. With me. He whispers to me in a soothing manner when I am upset. He sends me His message of hope and reassurance through those I do trust when I need it. He walks with me because He knows I can not maneuver this life without Him. He gives me patience. He blesses me.
I must leave you now. My hands have begun to ache and the children are ready for my attention.