I've been looking back at the archives of this journal to see exactly what went on this year. Because if I rely on memory alone, everything centers around Cliff's heart surgery in April, and his remarkable recovery.
Up to the time of that surgery, it seems the world revolved around our Honda Gold Wing. We started out with a New Year's Day ride (temperatures were in the 50's), and rode every time the weather permitted after that.
In January, I see I was posting lots of pictures of my dog, Mandy. She had gotten over most of her irritating puppy-like behavior and was becoming a good, laid-back farm dog. Then on January 27, her life ended, leaving a hole in my life that is still there. Most of the time I try not to think about her, because if I do, I cry.
Cliff insisted we go get another dog immediately, and that's how Sadie came to live here. I didn't choose her, she chose us. Every time we passed her cage at Wayside Waifs, she'd rub against the bars of her prison as if to say, "Take me, take me!" With all her energy, we may as well have gotten a puppy. She's good for us though, because if we tarry too long in the mornings before taking our walk, she nags us by whining, until we go. She LIVES for that walk, and for fetching the sticks we throw.
I see that no month went by without a few horseback rides, or motorcycle rides... until that fateful day in April when Cliff was told he had to have heart bypass surgery immediately. We didn't have time to worry about it; the doctors put everything into fast-forward.
That was the scariest time of my life. Even now I am affected by it: I heard Cliff groan loudly in his sleep awhile ago, and I woke him up to make sure he was all right.
While Cliff was still on medical leave, we made a trip to Branson, and spent a week in Colorado.
I spent the two or three
months following Cliff's surgery worrying that he
was doing too much... which he was. But he survived. I did too, but
He was unable to ride the motorcycle for three months, and when he did get back on it (long before the doctor wanted him to) he found out he was really too weak to handle 800 pounds of Honda. But he rode anyhow, and started working out, to build up his strength.
Our son made his annual trip here in July, and shortly after that, Cliff went back to work.
Last week Cliff had an appointment with the heart doctor, who released him to do anything he wants to do, no limitations. That good news was tempered with the news that, indeed, a lower portion of his heart was damaged... but doctor says his heart is compensating for it, so he's fine.
No matter how much I read over the archives of my journal for this year, I can't seem to focus on anything other than how close to death Cliff was, for who-knows-how-long; he was having angina every morning when we went for our walk, and we didn't recognize it.
2006 could have been the worst year of my life. It turned out to be one of the best. I still have my husband with me. Thank You, God.
Our attitudes have changed: In the past, Cliff took all the overtime he was offered, at work. It was extra money for his projects, you know. Now he not only turns down overtime when it's offered, but he frequently takes Fridays off, if the weather is nice enough for a motorcycle ride. We figure five years from now, if we're both still around, we wouldn't remember what we did with the money he made working overtime; but we might remember the good time we had on a little road trip we took that day.
Happy New Year to all my readers.