It’s been cold, rainy, and just plain miserable for the past two weeks. The brief respite prior to our Texas trip, where it was summerlike for a few days did nothing but remind me that May in Ohio is fickle. You can be sitting outside, sipping a cold beer in the sun one day, and the next, you’re protecting plants from frost and bundling up in winter coats.
Still though, this has been an exceptionally cold and wet month. The coldest in 12 years, and the most rain since 2011. We’re itching to be outside, but frankly, it just sucks.
Fairly often, I struggle to find something poignant or meaningful to write about on these Tuesday mornings...today is no exception. The thing that is circling my mind though, is the weather in May of 2011..the year Megan got her transplant.
You see, she received it in January of that year. By late February, she was up and moving from the surgery. As April came around, the weather had warmed, and we began taking walks outside. Then...May.
All of the excitement of her being able to actually go outside and be active was quickly replaced with the same frustration Sarah and I are experiencing now, 6 years later. We were forced indoors, back to cleaning house and watching TV.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
But Megan, honestly, had valid concerns. Her immune system was shot all to hell by the anti-rejection medications. She couldn’t do anything TOO active, for fear of damaging the incisions and sutures from her recycled parts. She was “waifish” to say the least...tipping the scales at 90 pounds. Keeping warm and dry was an actual health issue.
Now? Well, I’m just being a hermit. It’s “uncomfortable” outside. I’m totally making myself grumpy with the clouds and the rain and the cold for no reason other than it sounds like a good excuse to stay indoors. I don’t know if I was conditioned to that because of Megan (probably not), but I’m for damn sure justifying staying indoors based on my experiences with her. I haven’t went fishing in a month. The car I spent 2 days meticulously washing and waxing in April is covered in dirt and grime. Our concrete pathway we were working on has sat unfinished, with 4 feet left to go, for weeks. I haven’t even taken a hike in at least a month.
Did Megan cause this...this apathy about a little rain and chilly weather? I dunno. It could just be the fact that Sarah and I are pretty busy too. All I know is that it’s starting to feel “off”. I NEED to be outside. It’s part of my very being. It’s a place of respite from the day-to-day grind of things...whether it be illness or dirty dishes. Where I could once go somewhere and not hear an oxygen machine humming away, now I can step outside and not think about work, my dad’s health, or bills.
So, I’m “going postal”. By that, I mean "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds".
I have a rain coat. I have warm clothes if needed. I need to stop making excuses or justifications for not going outside. It’s the place where I’m not a caretaker or IT Manager or widower or any of the other titles that have been bestowed upon me. It’s where I belong based on my own desires. It’s where I can grieve, ignore, escape, heal, ponder, breathe, and live.
Going out in the cold and rain is something I can do now, and I need to remember that. I’m not stuck indoors because of someone else...only because of my own mind. It’s a silver lining I have to take and run with.
So today, at lunch time, I will go outside. There’s a national park three-quarters of a mile from my office. I have no excuses, and I refuse to find more. Then, maybe tomorrow I’ll do the same.
If I had a “soap-box” moment to pull from all of this, it would be to suggest that everyone join me in going outside. Go take a walk down the street, or a trail, or even just around whatever building you may be sitting in while you read this. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” should stay you from doing so. FORGET where you came from for just five minutes. Then, when the time seems right, REMEMBER where you came from. Allow yourself to cry, or get angry, or just watch a bird fluttering around in a tree.
Remember that the person(s) you have lost would probably love to be there with you, even if it’s raining.
Go outside, remain.