Where I’ve been

March 3, 2013

If you’re just here for photos, feel free to enjoy these shots from my niece’s birthday and skip the rest. It’s kind of a bummer.

abby_2013_002

I’ve been fielding some “Where’ve you been?” questions, from some unexpected people. As it turns out, some people keep up on my nonsense here, and on the Facebook, and they notice when I’m gone. So for those of you wondering what’s up with all the crazy belated posts, and the semi-radio silence on the facebook, here’s what happened.

My father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer just before we got married, so either ’06 or ’07. It was a big factor in why we moved back to Brownsville (in the house next door to his, and later, into the same home with him) once I finished grad school. But up until recently he was, as his doctor put it, “the healthiest sick person I know.” Over the past year, his health was declining, and last September, his doctor recommended that he stop treatment.

Around that time, we put our heads down and went into crisis mode. With help from family and visiting nurses, we took care of him at home. He didn’t want to be in a hospital or a long-term care facility, and I’m happy that we were able to mostly do that for him (he did have a week or so long stint in the hospital, and we traded off sleeping in the spare bed next to his there). Caring for a sick family member is difficult. Watching your best friend lose his dad is heartbreaking.

And so, things slip. All of your energy – mental, physical, anything else you can scrounge up – goes toward the crisis at hand. Toward the end of the year, we were rarely having conversations that didn’t revolve around healthcare anymore. Someone needed to be with him at night, and for about a month we traded getting to sleep upstairs, and hanging out on the couch downstairs. We’d sleep every other day, and go to work in between. We had a necessary “handle your own shit” policy, and when I had chest pain last November, my parents had to take me to the hospital. John’s dad needed him more than I did.

The reason I even bothered going to the hospital at that point, was because we were worried about my PICC. Some of my regulars here know that I have Lyme Disease, and I was on my fifth round of IV antibiotics at the time. (I shot about 90% of my weddings and events last year with the PICC in, including all of the festivals I covered). One of the complications can be blood clots or embolisms (which cause chest pain), so into the CT scanner I went. It turned out to be just bronchitis. They also informed me that I had gall stones, and would have to meet with a surgeon. I informed them that I didn’t have time to get surgery.

A few weeks after that, in early December, my father-in-law passed away. At home, with his son, like he wanted.

I feel like we’re just now getting back to our lives the way they were before. As difficult as all of it was, you get used to a certain way of doing things. We’re digging our way out of the pile of things that weren’t important enough to warrant our attention since then. We’re still feeling like it just happened yesterday, and like it happened forever ago. It was actually 3 months ago today, but that doesn’t seem to sound right.

I tried, amongst all the stress of his illness and my own, to keep the business running smoothly. Editing photos while I ran an IV infusion, or responding to emails on my phone from an emergency room in the middle of the night. I didn’t always succeed, and I’m grateful to those people that gave me a pass when it took me a week to respond to an email, or a few extra days to get proofs posted or a DVD mailed out. I’m grateful to family that brought Thanksgiving dinner to us because we couldn’t go out, friends that sent flowers, and anyone that genuinely asked how we were doing. We have great people in our lives, and it made this all a little less terrible.

Things are starting to get back to normal here, so you can look forward to some more posts from 7 months ago. Wedding season will be here soon enough, and this year I’m kicking it off in Vegas. Should be a good one.

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