We Are All Broken; Writing Picks Up the Pieces...
Years ago, when my young husband Kevin was dying of ALS (or Lou Gehrig's Disease) a co-worker gave me a book, The Blessings Of Brokenness. It wasn't until Kevin had lost everything, his ability to walk, eat, hug, speak, etc.... that we turned to the book. The book talks about how we all have a true purpose, a reason to be on this planet, a job to do. We can't understand that purpose, or maybe we won't admit to that job until we have been stripped down to the bare minimum- a human soul. While my husband lay dying, I didn't have time to digest this concept or even the grocery list. I was stripped down to the bare minimum- a human soul wanting to give my husband everything possible- love, hope, dignity, compassion. When I met Kevin, he was strong, incredibly handsome and funny as hell. In his death, he was skinny, sunken and unable to do any human function independently. A ventilator did his breathing, a tube provided his feedings, I was his hands and voice. But, after six years of tending to his every need, the Blessings of Brokenness was apparent. I was made to be his caregiver- my purpose on this EARTH was just that. I felt like God made me for Kevin and is was all easy for me. I was a nurse without a day's training. I even changed his trach tubing- something not recommended, but done out of desperation to provide less stress on my sick husband. No drive to the hospital, no rude doctors, no ER fear. My husband died in his home surround by family and love, with me holding his hand and all he said was, "I just want to see my beautiful wife." And I have advocated for ALS patients ever since... added another important role in my life as a compassionate human being. If you read my last blog, All I Want for Christmas Is a Midline I.V. you know that I am battling LYME disease. I am home on i.v. antibiotics for six weeks and while I may be an amazing caregiver, I truly SUCK as a patient. I am antsy because I can't do the things I want. It's Thanksgiving, then Christmas (the 25th is also my 45th birthday) and I don't feel up to either one. My left arm looks like it belongs in a hospital with tubes and syringes and I'm frustrated because my list of things to do is neglected. The i.v. will be a part of me even as I welcome in the new year. And so, I write and read. As I devour the pages of other writers and their experiences, I realize that we writers are all broken. Our experiences carry us into bigger roles, not yet known. Our roles as writers may change lives- add comfort, provide laughter, end lonliness... We may become public speakers and advocates and really get things shaking! This pain in my ass (eh,arm, sorry!) is just another way of being broken and picking up the pieces. I will write those pieces into paragraphs that advocate for LYME patients everywhere. And without being broken (countless times), an advocate I would not be.

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  • Marwa Elnaggar

    Beautiful, honest writing, Jodi. I find it incredibly freeing when we say it out loud - "We are broken". It takes courage but gives back strength. Thank you for this post.

  • Sunny

    I can relate to a lot of what you mean about emerging from "brokenness" with greater insight. My blog is about my experience of my husband's infidelity and sudden death. It has been exhausting, but has also changed me for the better in many ways. Most relevant to my presence here being my love of writing that had gone untapped before my ordeal. I feel for you in dealing with Lyme's Disease. I do not suffer from any physical illness, but the fatigue and depression that accompanied my experience has been an added burden. I can imagine how an Illness like that could really try your spirits in the day to day. Hats off to you for keeping your spark and perseverance in light of it all. You rock!

  • Marjorie Robertson

    Thank you for writing this blog. My heart goes out to you.
    I look forward to reading more of your blogs.