One year ago today we moved to Colorado from Texas. Soooo weird that it’s been a year. It has really flown by. Two years ago we started discussing moving. Lots of reasons we wanted to move. As a kid I used to visit Colorado often. My Dad’s favorite aunt and uncle lived outside of Denver and we would come stay with them and go skiing in Breckenridge. My Dad loved it here. My Mom said on her first visit to Colorado (after she was married to my Dad) she arrived in the dark and went straight to bed. When she woke up in the morning she looked out the window and asked my Dad “What is that?”. My Dad just looked at her and said “mountains”. She’d never seen mountains as a kid. When you grow up in Texas with not a lot of money and you’re only “vacations” are to Arkansas to visit family then mountains aren’t really a part of the equation.
I think my Dad always had a connection to Colorado and the mountains and made sure that his kids knew exactly what mountains were at a young age. He took several vacations here with his friends and my Mom and our family. He died here. We were not with him when he died and that SUCKS ASS. But when you are surrounded by these majestic mountains lost in the trees and staring at a sky that is so much closer to you than it is in other places…you’re not really alone.
Texas will always be my home. There is a lot of Texas in me. I say “ya’ll” and “fixin’ to”. I like my tea so sweet it makes a june bug pucker. I know what a fried twinkie is and have had one. In Texas…..lawn chairs are acceptable seats for dining. BBQ is sweet and tangy and always served with beer. Football is a religion. Cheerleading is serious business. Mosquitos are larger than bumble bees. Preacher’s kids are secretly really fun. Any temperature under 82 is considered “chilly”. Trucks are more common than cars. College allegiance is imperative and trash talking someone’s alma mater is grounds for a fight. Texas is home. There is so much I love about Texas. The Hill Country is actually my favorite part of the state. Its beautiful and hilly and the bluebonnets are breathtaking. My family came to the Dallas area FIVE generations ago. Its home. And leaving home is never easy.
Just over two years ago I noticed my husband slurring his speech one day. It was subtle but I noticed it. I thought he was drunk… at 8 am. We quickly made a doctor’s appointment and so began almost two years of seeing specialists, getting batteries of tests run, bloodwork and endless hours of explaining his symptoms and complete medical history to the 5 million specialists we saw. Over the course of that time his speech got progressively worse and in addition to that his balance started to go. My husband has done triathlons, mountain bike competitions, rock climbing and a plethora of other strenuous sports and activities. There was no one healthier or more agile than him. So to watch his balance issues put an end to that activity has not been fun to watch.
I could go on and on about all of the things he has been through and tested for but the final diagnosis is some form of Spinal Cerebellar Ataxia/Atrophy. In a nutshell…his cerebellum is shrinking. Lovely I know. The cerebellum, in case you didn’t know, controls movement and coordination… like balance and speech. As the cerebellum atrophies (or shrinks) you lose coordination, speech and balance. We lovingly refer to it as “brain rot”. Ironic that the smartest guy Ive ever met gets afflicted with a brain disease. I know its not funny. I know that it totally sucks ass. I know how horrific it is for a 39 year old, healthy, athletic father of 2 to get this bullshit disease. I live it everyday. Im aware of the absolute shit that it is. But if I don’t laugh I’ll cry. Constantly. And my blog is not titled “Falling Back on Funny” for no reason. Its how I survive. Literally.
My husband is a very private person. I think he has 11 friends on Facebook and not even one picture of himself on there. He’s the COMPLETE opposite of me. Thank God. The world DOES NOT need two of me walking around. I write about my “stuff”. Its how I cope. I am pretty public about most things. He is not. So for over two years I have honored that wish to be private. And this going public thing is a tad scary and overwhelming and a bit of a crap shoot. Nobody wants people to look at them differently or feel sorry for them. One of the aspects of his disease is that it will not affect his cognitive abilities. So no matter how his physical body fails him he will still be just as smart and witty and weird as he always has been. Crap. I was hoping the brain rot would erase the knowledge that he married below his IQ point. No such luck. Good thing Im cute.
I have my days when Im pretty pissed. Im not sure why nice people get dealt a hand like this and assholes live forever. I don’t know. Honestly if I sat with this and thought about it all the time I’d go crazy. Well…crazier. Sometimes life deals you some shit and you’re only option is to deal with it.
And with all of that we come to Colorado. Life is short. And we had dreamed of moving somewhere beautiful and freeing and laid back and where we could be outside more. And when you look for a sign to see if you should move and you get brain rot Im guessing you should listen to that “sign”. Could’ve gone with a more subtle “sign” but Im no dummy- I got the hint. So we up and moved. We moved our entire lives, our kids, our hopes to Colorado. And I do not regret it for one minute. We are peaceful here and my soul is happy. Maybe I was supposed to be here all along. My husband is happy here. And that matters the most. We take one day at a time. As should you. As should everyone. I really could crawl in a hole. I could be mad all the time. I could be sad all the time and resentful and scared. Truth is- Im all of those things at times. Especially scared. But I love life. I love my life. And damn it Im going to squeeze every ounce of fun and laughter and joy and beauty out of whatever time we have.
He had a book made for me for our 1 year anniversary in Colorado. Its full of pictures he took over this past year. And they are the ones I had told him were my favorites. He’s thoughtful like that. Again…not too sure why he married me. I wish I could share all of the pictures. I won’t. I think Ive shared enough. Except to say that I am stronger than I ever imagined I could possibly be. And so is he. You learn a lot about yourself when the shit hits the fan.
So when I say take a chance or don’t wait for your dreams; go and get them…it comes from a place of knowing what that really means. It comes from a place of having no choice. It comes from a place of fear and excitement and sadness and joy and a realization that we all have limited time. Make the most of that time.