There’s a lot more I can say on all of these things, and more will come. But for now, a couple of briefs:
Last week, Jeff and I celebrated our first anniversary. This week, the nightmarish calving season ended with another nightmare as a cow I was given for Christmas lost her calf and twisted her hip after the difficult birth; our dog, Toby, was put to sleep Wednesday night; and my grandmother is in hospice care at home.
In September and October, I wrote a couple of blog posts on how I’d written a story for a contest after losing a very special sheep, the ewe that brought the rings down the aisle at my wedding. I had her in mind as I crafted the tale.
It’s been difficult to sit down and write the continuation of my last blog post because I’ve known what it has to be about. I cannot compose another blog post until I write about this. I have told some of these stories on Facebook, on Twitter, but not here. For some reason, writing it here, admitting here that it happened, makes it even more real than I want it to be. It wasn’t what I planned Part 2 to be, but this is how it turned out.
On September 20, two days after posting Guardian, one of my best friends collapsed during a CrossFit session and died of cardiac arrest. He was three days older than me and seemingly in the best shape of his life.
His name was Rob, and he was one of my teammates during my Indiana FFA State Officer year. Each of us played a role on the team, both in an official capacity and as a team member. Officially, he was stationed by the flag as the reporter, writing stories and taking pictures that would inform others about the FFA. As a team member, he was our encourager, whether he was sitting up late to help us with speeches or giving us directions over the phone when we became lost on a back road. He dreamed up crazy ideas and persuaded us to follow him in implementing them. Rob encouraged us to be ourselves and saw potential in everyone he met.
I asked Jeff a few hours before he proposed what he thought about May 16 for our wedding date.
We knew where this whole thing was going, even though he hadn’t asked me yet to marry him, and I had an idea: have the wedding on May 16 (5/16) because the date uses a combination of our birthdays (October 5 and November 16). The date would be exactly half a year away from my birthday, so we’d always be close to one thing or the other to celebrate something.
Before that, we had talked about where we would want to marry. He had always wanted to have a ceremony in a dramatic location, such as a beach or a mountaintop, and I wanted a gathering close to home. So we combined the two wishes and chose the longest covered bridge in the county, which is just a few miles from the farm, to host our ceremony.
A few weeks ago, as I was throwing a couple of bags into the trunk of my parents’ car, my hat fell over my eyes. I lost the sense of where the trunk door was and slammed my head on it.
Three hours later, my knees gave out when I joined the line at our local fairgrounds for pancakes and sausage at the Maple Syrup Fair. I jolted forward and clutched a vendor’s table to keep myself from falling to the concrete floor.
Last week while feeding the livestock, I walked quickly from the corn wagon to the feed room and caught my foot on the ledge. I crashed onto the concrete. I wasn’t hurt badly, hands just sore, but I couldn’t figure out how to rise. I grasped at feed barrels and sacks before thinking to bring my right foot forward and lean to gain upward momentum.
The rest of the evening, I moved slowly, disoriented.
I’m in the barn on the farm where I grew up, holding the first lamb to be born there in seven years. She’s one of the realizations of a tightly held dream: to be a farmer and shepherd when I grow up.
Ten minutes after this picture was taken, I nearly fell, my knees giving out, suddenly becoming desperate to lie down.
That was nothing new, though. That sort of thing had been happening for several weeks because of weird health issues. Those challenges have continued, but we’re getting closer to an answer. Continue reading “This Is Me”
According to the official National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) counter, I’m 17,693 words behind today. If I wanted to write 50,000 words to win NaNoWriMo, I need to write 24,351 words over the next four days, which is 6,088 words per day.
The good news is, my own personal goal for NaNoWriMo is writing 1,000 words per day: 30,000 total. I am about 4,400 words away from that goal. Reachable!
This has been a much different experience than my previous attempt four years ago to participate in NaNoWriMo. That year, I only made it to 1,500 words. I let many other activities get in the way.