Why Women DON’T Hate Flowers

February 15

9:00 am, I quietly roll over, basking in the lushness of the down comforter provided by the Hilton Hotel,  lovingly beholding the man I married three years ago, fondly remembering the day before, February 14, a day of passion, wine, and fine dining.  A day saturated in romance with massages, dark chocolate, and red roses.  A night ending in all night passionate love making and “I Love You’s” whispered late into the evening, a day of pure bliss,  A day of complete imagination and

A TOTAL CROCK. 

Reality Version

Aggggghhhhh……  honey….. “ I roll over, holding my sensitive stomach, and glance at the time which declares the truth that it is indeed 8:00 am and time to get our rear ends out of bed after surviving a long night wrought with darkness and vomit.   The day after Valentine’s Day.  A day in which statistically more people search for a divorce lawyer than any other day of the year.

February 14, 2014

The day before, St. Valentine’s Day, the day in question, began innocently enough.  Ryan and I started in plush accommodations, Hilton accommodations, our last leg of accommodations sought out after an adventurous journey home from what was generally a restful and relaxing vacation for two.  That morning I awoke with the feeling of being punched in the gut, the breath being taken out of me once again, for probably around the 500th time since coming down with an undiagnosed illness in the Dominican Republic, having one of the longest nights of my life in the tropical wonderland after eating something or coming in contact with someone that obviously did not set well with me. “

Uhhhhhhhhhh…. I muttered, glancing at the clock blinking 8:30 am, “Ooooooooooooo……. I murmured from the Netherlands as my stomach retched with pain once again indicating that today, as it was with the previous two days, going to be a day of agony.  Although I had an appetite, I paid for it dearly every time I attempted to put something into my mouth which would in turn then unfortunately travel down to the digestive regions of my body.

My dear, loving husband, eyes closed, muttered, “Stomach still hurting honey?”  As I slowly eased my body to the edge of the mattress, waiting for the pain to pass, contemplating the price I would pay by ingesting a cup of coffee to offset an oncoming headache.  “Um hum” I responded and saw through the corner of my eye that my husband had quickly beat me to making it as the coffee machine began to gurgle with life. 

We managed to make it in time for the complimentary breakfast offered with about 20 minutes to spare.  Looking over the selections of waffles, eggs, hash browns and danishes, I decided on the practical choice of yogurt (to combat the unfortunate side effect of a UTI, caused two days after my unfortunate bout with the complete crashing of my immune system) with an accompaniment of a side of bacon, because heck, it was Valentine’s Day, and I should be allowed to celebrate with something red, or pink, or whatever, right?  

We left for home immediately after breakfast, because one, I still had homework to complete on the two hour drive home and secondly, we had to pick up groceries to replenish what had been used while we were gone.  We found a grocery store, a Publix to be exact, and ventured in, ready to get our fill of produce, milk, bread, and something “special” for dinner that evening for the two of us.  We ventured up and down the aisles, getting a feel for the space, surveying the goodness and the redness and the balloons and the candy and the red roses all around, and then the dear man beside me suddenly turned white, sweating slightly as he began vaguely recalling what day it was, THE DAY, and frantically took it all in, as a deer in headlights, looking to and fro as the tragicness of the situation began to descend upon him.  He did the only thing a man in his position could possibly do and declared very intentionally,  

“Honey, do you want to pick out some flowers for yourself for Valentine’s Day?”  

Me  “Uh….. I’m good, but thanks.”  

And then it went quiet.  Dead quiet as the various loaves of French bread beside the vast array of flowers absolutely became the most interesting thing either one of us had ever seen in our entire lives.  

We finished our shopping, a quiet despondency having fallen upon our conversations, an embarrassed attempt towards an explanation about how we lived out in the middle of nowhere and people don’t want to deliver that far, etc, etc… and we headed home, again, actually stopping at the doctor’s office first where I had to have blood  drawn.  The nurse, the sweetest lady, asked innocently whether or not we had big plans for the BIG DAY to which I sarcastically replied,

“I’m not sure, but I don’t think flowers are involved.”

The room goes quiet…

ha…. ha…. ha….

So funny……

She replies, “Oh I hate flowers, they always just die!”

And as she gradually depleted me of life saving, bright, red blood, I turned, slowly, methodically, towards my beloved who stood very quietly in the corner, avoiding the conversation completely, and I mustered, with every ounce within me, the biggest eye roll possible.  

He gets the point.  

Once in the car, the two of us, well, technically one of us, digresses at length on the philosophical, spiritual, and emotional reasons that any woman would say she hates flowers and how, in fact, it’s a total crock, an avoidance  of sorts for women who have become so disappointed and frustrated throughout the years, women who in fact have just given up, women who have disillusioned themselves into believing that they actually hate flowers when in fact, no woman HATES flowers, and especially HIS woman doesn’t hate flowers, and any woman who says she hates flowers just says this to hide the fact that she does actually want something special,  anything special, to show that she is remembered and treasured on this day, this stupid Hallmark day, which in reality is no more special than any other day but by golly, we do want you to buy into the commercialism of it all if only for our sake. 

We finally arrive home exactly one hour before the kids are set to make their appearance.  The groceries are unloaded, the dishwasher picked apart as Ryan tries to fix it, the dryer looked at (which also broke while we were gone) to no avail.  The appliances are broken, straight up broken.  The investigation around the house continues, most appears to be intact, and the children finally arrive, along with the babysitter who bursts into the door declaring loudly, 

“JOSH IS PROJECTILE VOMITTING!”  

Me, “Where is he? Is it all over the car????”  

Her, “He’s in the car and I think he’s done throwing up.”  

Me, under my breath, or maybe just in my head, “welcome home mama.”  

Five strung out on Valentine’s Day, red dye, spiked sugar levels beings slightly resembling humans come bursting through the door,

“MOM AND DAD, YOU’RE HOME!!!!!!!!!!” 

Immediately we are wrapped in sticky love, numerous candy bags, cards, school work, and gold fish thrust upon us.  

fish

WHAT?!?! 

“WHO GOT A GOLDFISH FOR VALENTINE’S DAY?!?!” WHAT IN THE WORLD???? 

I declare, probably not in the sweetest, I’ve been gone for a week and it’s so good to see my children voice, but I was in utter shock.  Who gives their classmates a goldfish for Valentine’s Day?  Is this one of those Pinterest fads that I missed?  How did I miss this?  But us? The Ronne family?  We can hardly take care of the human beings in our home let alone a goldfish who is sent home without any food,

HE WILL STRAIGHT UP DIE, AND WE SHOULD SAVE HIM THE AGONY BY FLUSHING HIM NOW 

“This can’t be real” I mutter under my breath, and then I do what I do in stressful situations and jokingly yell out,

“HONEY!  Mya brought home some fishing bait for you!”

Ha, ha, ha…..

Tate, the child who 100% gets my humor, cracks up in the corner.  

Ryan, rolls his eyes as he passes from one broken appliance to the other, showing me that although he is head to toe stressed out with having to fix the dishwasher and the dryer, he does stand with me in solidarity in agreeing that this is a really ridiculous idea for us to have a gold fish.  

The kids, Josh excluded who is passed out on the couch, have a delightful Valentine’s Day meal of Campbell’s tomato soup and grilled cheese.  The dinner time conversation revolves around Mya relying, like the good little second mother that she is, the offenses of each and every family member that occurred while we were gone.  Jada is not eating…. Not a good sign which will prove prophetic in nature as the night wears on.  Four of our children are in bed at 7:00, by choice, that’s how exhausted or sick or whatever they are.  Ryan and I start to relax, pouring ourselves a glass of wine, cooking and devouring our romantic meal for two including steaks and asparagus, reading for a bit with the boys, finally allowing our bodies, soul, mind, and spirit to embrace a certain sort of perceived calm and relaxation when BAMMMMMMM –

SPITTER, SPATTER, CRACKLE, AND WHRILLLLL…..

LIGHTS OUT BABY!

Really, seriously, we are going to do this today? On Valentines Day? No dishwasher, no dryer, one child projectile vomiting, four exhausted children, pukey laundry everywhere, dirty vacation laundry still in the luggage, tired, grumpy, painful stomachs, and no flowers day – we are really going to do this today as well?  NO POWER???  
Indeed we were, the 14th of February, was going to be a no power, no rest, no flowers type of day.  

Ryan is a supreme candle lighter in this type of situation and within 5 minutes we had close to 50 candles romantically lit around the house.  The kids were checked on, everyone accounted for and fast asleep, as my dear husband poured two more glasses of extremely rare, extremely treasured Franzia boxed wine on ice, we sat, looking intently at one another, searching for something in each others eyes and finding exactly what we were looking for… love.  It was always there, on this Hallmark created day full of exaggerated expectations and false hopes, flowers or no flowers, it was there in all the crap of the day that made us a family. It was there in the pot of coffee, in the quiet admonishment and agreement of the eye rolls, it was in the steak dinner lovingly prepared amidst the chaos, still there in cleaning up the puke, there in fixing the dishwasher and the dryer despite an incredibly long, stressful day.  It was there, among those 50 beautifully, bright candles, in the laughter of, “SERIOUSLY??” Is this our Valentine’s Day?  It was there in the attempted explanations about the flowers, it was there.  It is there.  It will always be there.  It is our love story.   It was our Valentine’s Day.

I love you honey.

Lauren’s Messy Story

I’m posting a series called Messy Stories.  These are stories from others detailing pain and heartache; they are stories of cancer, death, divorce, betrayal, and disease; they are ultimately stories that bind each of us to one another in this messy thing known as life.  If you have a messy story,  anonymous or not, I would love to hear about it and post it for others in order that we all might gain insight and understanding from our different journeys.   Send me a message at jessplusthemess@gmail.com

Cancer.  People get this horrible disease everyday and we feel bad for them, we pray for them, then..we somehow seem to forget about them.  Not because we don’t care, but simply because we get TOO busy with life.  You never think it can happen to you.  Something so horrible.  Something so deadly, so painful.

Last Easter, my 39 year old aunt was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  The doctors said that this type was very fast acting and that it was rare for a female to get it and especially at her age.  It was usually found in older males. She started chemo as soon as we found out what it was and she was transferred to Vanderbilt as soon as there was a bed available.  A few weeks later she was in what they call remission, where the cancer cells were less than five percent.  We were all thrilled.  We thought, “Yes, we can do this!”  The doctors thought she would be back to work in just a few months and that all was going to be well…We did too until she relapsed just a few weeks after that.  They tried a stronger chemo since she was young and they thought her body could handle it.  She went into remission for a second time.  Again, we thought, “Yes, we can do this!” We then got the news she had to have a bone marrow transplant.  We thought this was the end of the world.  How? How could this be happening?  Out of millions of people on the registry and there is no match???  We hosted a bone marrow drive at a local church and spread the word so everyone would know to come out and sign up.  YOU COULD BE THE ONE TO SAVE A MOTHERS LIFE..A HUSBANDS WIFE..A DAUGHTER..A SISTER..A AUNT…
 
She came home and started having really bad headaches along with vomiting.. She went back to Vanderbilt and they found that it had spread to her Central Nervous System and that she had relapsed for a third time.  We felt defeated and like giving up.  Like all of our hope was gone. We took a deep breath, prayed harder, got back up, and began the fight one more time.  The doctors told us it was basically like treating two different types of cancers and that she couldn’t have a bone marrow transplant until both the bone marrow and Central Nervous System were in remission.  They would treat the bone cancer with the chemo like they had and for the Central Nervous System, they would have to treat it through the spine.  The spinal cord has to have so much fluid in it.  To treat this, however much fluid they take out, they put that much chemo into it.  All was well..well we thought it was anyways, until we found out the doctors could try ONE more round of chemo to knock out the 30 odd percent that had built back into her bone for a fourth time.

My uncle was staying with her at the hospital at the time and realized she didn’t move her legs for a couple of hours.. He woke her up and asked her what was wrong..she told him her legs were numb and that she couldn’t move them.  The doctors came in and did tests.  Come to find out the chemo had damaged her heart and paralyzed her from the waist down.  They thought they could fix it with a steroid shot if it was inflammation.. They sent her home with nothing left that they could do.

She came home with hospice.  Yes, when you hear the word hospice, you think, “close to death.”  We all thought it.  We all freaked out.  Instead of the steroid shot cutting down with the inflammation, it made her produce more blood, which made her produce more leukemia cells.  We watched her lay in bed and hurt for four and a half days with nothing we could do but pray for a miracle.

She died last Tuesday and went to be with Jesus.  Never in my life have I watched someone hurt so bad, suffer so bad, but fight so hard.  Never one time did we lose faith in God.  There was not a day that went by that we didn’t pray for Aunt Lisa.  My family isn’t a normal family.  Aunts and Uncles are like parents and cousins are like siblings.  We come from a strong, christian home who serves God, who believes in miracles, and who stands together through rough times and good.  Losing Aunt Lisa didn’t just do something to her husband and children…it wounded all of us.  It wounded the community.  How many souls could have been won over to Christ if she would have been healed when the doctors could do no more?  How many lives would she have continued to have touched if she could have stayed?  What is her husband going to do?  How are two beautiful children going to grow up without a mother now?  How will our lives ever be normal?  What will holidays be like?  What will everyday life be like?  How are we supposed to cope?  When will the hurt go away?  I don’t like hearing the phrase, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” GOD WILL GIVE YOU MORE THAN WHAT YOU CAN HANDLE.  YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO COPE.  YOU HAVE TO COME TO HIM FOR PEACE, FOR JOY, FOR COMFORT, FOR REST. He gives us peace. 

I don’t like hearing, “well there is a reason for everything..”  Well what is the reason for my Aunt Lisa dying?  How is any good going to come from that?  We stood on God’s word.  We quoted scripture after scripture of healing and faith.  We had faith.  Never one time did we lack it.  Even when she was taking her last breaths, we still thought God was going to heal her.  I am angry.  I am sad.  I am mad.  I am hurt.  I am confused.  I have so many emotions that I don’t know how to deal with.  I don’t want to face the world.  I don’t want to hear, “oh, you look like you are doing fine.”  Well, truth is I am NOT fine.  I am not okay with laying my 39 year old, precious Aunt to rest. I pray to God everyday for peace.   I have to get up, put on a fake face, and try to be normal again..but what is going to be normal now?  I don’t doubt God.  I simply do not understand.  I don’t understand why there has to be cancer, why she couldn’t have been healed.  I praise God though.  I thank him for the time I had with her and I thank him for putting me into this family and onto this earth.  I will continue to serve him and pray that however he uses this, that he will receive ALL the glory.

Just Keep Livin