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Distance makes the heart …

The family – Margaret T. Hance Park – Phoenix, Arizona – March 20, 2011

It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve posted to this blog … lemme open a new tab on the browser and check … almost a month to the day since I posted anything of substance.

I apologize, really. Life has been all catch up and emergence. It’s like nothing you can prepare for, really, emerging from the depths of such a severe illness – one that threatens to take so much away from you and then, a few weeks later, deposits you on the shore and says, “well, there you go. That’s that.”

It still doesn’t all make sense.

I went somewhere dark, you know? A place where fear rules your life. It’s like the movies, where the bad guy is hiding behind the door, with the gun to the victim’s temple. And the victim is saying something into a phone – “yes, transfer the money into that account” – that they don’t want to say. Or maybe, “don’t want to say” isn’t the right phrasing. It’s that they don’t have control.

Something is driving them. Something scary. Something bigger. Something menacing.

And when you see that; feel it’s cool steely grip on your veins, it takes a while to rub that feeling off. It’s not like a shower, or a warm night sleep, can make it go away.

People have all kinds of ways to cope with things like that.

***

I went on a binge.

The funny thing – for those who’ve never been through such an experience – is that you don’t really know you’re on a binge until you’re long out of it.

I guess in some cases, people go so out of control that their family is forced to confront them; and that in others people spin much, much further out of control – losing family and friends and property and all sorts of stuff.

I’ve never binged like that. No, like all things “Ed-in-his-30s,” I tend to binge in moderation. That means two nights of heavy drinking and excessive eating after crappy, long, tiring work days, instead of 4, 5 or 7.

My binges often involve drinking beers that most people wouldn’t even buy – cask-condition rarities that run upwards of $15 a bottle (that’s not a typo). My philosophy: if you’re going to get drunk, it might as well be on something good. And while that sounds all highbrow and fancy, it’s actually double the stupid. I can’t afford to be getting ripped on $15-a-bottle beer. Not while a series of hospital bills are set to pour in.

Getting drunk for me also means cooking elaborate meals. I’ll spend hours in the kitchen, whipping up dishes packed with calories. I’ll shut everyone else out; turn up the music and get lost.

Sounds okay?

Well, those are the good binge days.

The other ones might look something like those ones on the commercials for self-help centers. Me, alone, lost inside my brain, trying to put all the pieces together; trying to control the future, when tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Cigarette butts – yeah, those cigarettes I’ve quit 2,000 times – swirling in an empty bottle.

You have to wake up and face yourself the next morning after that.

I’m really good at wearing the disguise.

“Hi, I’m Ed, I’m not ‘A Perfect.’ But I play one on TV.”

That’s me.

***

But then again, it’s not.

Because here we are today, tonight. And all is clear. And that mist has passed.

The mist passes faster and faster these days. That’s one of the gifts of age.

I don’t like the binges. Hate them, in fact.

And, in truth, what doing endurance racing has taught me is that the difference between wanting to do something, and doing it, is simply making the decision to do it, and then following through.

It’s a matter of taking action. I’ve gotten good at that.

***

But enough about me. Most of you tuned into this blog because you cared about our family, and more importantly Beckett.

Beckett has made incredible progress and he is almost 100 percent recovered. His occupational therapy concluded today, with full strength returned to both of his arms and hands. One of his legs and feet – I can’t remember which – is also fully recovered. The other is close.

He has returned to school full-time; and is participating in recess and physical education. He is caught up on his studies; and looks poised to pass the first grade with no problem.

His recovery; and his ability to slide back into his life, relatively unscathed, has been a miracle. Truly. And we have many of you to thank for all the help, thoughts and good wishes you’ve sent our way.

Our life has been slowly returning to normal. Last week, we really hunkered down and spent a lot of quality family time together. Three straight days in fact, of pretty much just us, being together outside, at parks, at meals. It was the most peaceful three days I think any of us have had in months.

And it’s rolled into – despite being extremely busy – a mentally peaceful week. I’ve slept eight hours or more each of the last six nights. That, in and of itself, is an incredible blessing.

Tonight, we went to a press screening of the new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movie – a film based on a series of books that are Beckett’s absolute favorite.

***

What happens from here is anyone’s guess. I guess we keep trying to repair. I’ve gained 12 pounds since Beckett’s gotten sick – that is certainly not good. So, I’ve signed myself up for another race.

Back into training mode I go.

On Thursday, Heidi and I will celebrate our actual, real 10-year wedding anniversary. We’re going to do it right. I got us reservations at Kai – what many argue is the best fine-dining restaurant in the Southwestern U.S. I figure a milestone like that is worth celebrating.

Without Heidi, without her undying love and constant patience with me, and everything that surrounds this family, I’d a 1/20th the man I am today. Probably less than that.

***

So that’s that; or that’s where we’re at, anyway.

Is this the end of Bacon and Candy? Most assuredly not.

But I hope it’s the end of Bacon and Candy and the talk of sickness.

Beckett’s lead neurosurgeon has warned us there’s a 20 percent chance of recurrence; which is high, but at least we know, and we know what to look for.

I do feel like we’re closing a chapter, though. Or maybe a whole Part to a much longer book – get sick, get diagnosed, get healed, people send out love, miraculous recovery occurs, dad loses his marbles and gets drunk, dad sees he’s insane and gets better, kid cures 100 percent, mom and dad celebrate with 10th anniversary – yeah, that’s too much for one chapter, definitely a part to a bigger book …

Life calls; the unpredictable march awaits.

Or, in my case, work calls.

At 4:30 a.m. tomorrow.

With love,

Ed, Heidi, Beckett and Brody

 

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3 comments on “Distance makes the heart …

  1. Deb Beaton

    Hi Ed and Heidi,
    What can you say after such a revealing outpouring of recent experiences. The good things to take away from this horrible time in the Baker family, mount up like a pile of snowflakes in a snowstorm. Yes, I said good things.

    You walk, maybe limp away, with a greater understanding of what REALLY matters in this life. Because you’ve experienced it. The love of family and friends, the unmeasurable bond between parent and child, the fact that nothing in life is guaranteed and more importantly some bullets hit their mark.

    But, with grace and faith you face what comes and try your best to survive it. And when you do, you celebrate everything. Just as we should every single day, with vigor.

    The experiences you’ve gone through to date, will help you handle the next challenge and the next. And you can be sure they will come, because that’s how it happens. But remember to celebrate and love in the meanwhile.

    Love to you all.

  2. Thanks, Deb. That was incredibly beautiful and very well put. I appreciate your words of wisdom. And kindness. With love, Ed

  3. Kathleen Worgo (Heidi's cousin)

    Hi Heidi and Ed,
    I think about you all often! Wish I could hop on a plane and come see you. What a wonderful gift you are to each other. Your description of your experience moved me so much. I’m proud of you for recognizing your emotional process and facing it.

    Your description of the darkness of fear rang too true for me. I lived in that space for 1 and a half years with my own illness of anxiety. I couldn’t even find my God who always comforted me before. Fear is so debilitating. I learned many useful tools for changing thoughts and keeping in balance.

    One thing I know for sure is we have to allow ourselves to experience our emotions and not push them away. Then choose what we know is good for us and follow through…like you said. With love of Spirit, family and friends and openness to healing, we can survive and even blossom more fully in our lives.

    Thank you so much for sharing…it reminds me of what I learned too…to appreciate all life has to give us every moment of every day!
    Love and Hugs to you all!

    Kathleen

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