Three days later, I hopped on a party bus, killed a Budweiser and watched my sister get married to her best friend. From the front aisle, my mother mouthed me instructions: "Take your glasses off! Pick up her train! Don't look at the baby, she'll want to come to you!"
I smiled anyway. The pain was mostly gone. My sister and my brother in law said their vows, they kissed, they kissed again, people clapped, and a-ha! A marriage was made.
Three days before this, I knew I would make it. I would have signed myself out if I was told to stay in. I mostly felt guilty; after years of planning, it had come down to the week of the wedding, and I'm hospitalized. For the first time in 370 days.
On Halloween, I begged for an early release and it was granted; we put Sadie in her zebra costume and took a walk in the neighborhood. And on November 2nd, we had the party of the year.
It was truly the best night of my life. Everything came together seamlessly: I had a fun date, my friends were there with me, my cousins and family smiled, and we all danced together in one, happy, sweaty pack on the floor. I delivered my speech and people laughed.
And I was so proud of my family, so strong together, so unbreakable. I am proud of my sister, of the woman and mother she has become. And I am grateful for Cliff, for being the man she deserves.
On the night of my sister's wedding, I saw joy and hope and family and...I saw outside of myself.
I saw outside this haze that I've been living in for years. And when I cleared the windows of my bubble, I saw love. I saw family and joy and bad music. I saw hope and happiness.
It felt so real to me, more than any of the misery I've known these past couple of years.
It felt so possible.
It was astounding, in its strength. In its width. In the sheer enormity that was that feeling, that was that night.
It was perfect.
And I felt renewed. I've looked outside myself and wanted more than what I have. I deserve more. This shelter has too many walls, and I want to break them down.
I just returned from Hawaii, another magical trip, and I'm hoping to make it to Vietnam in May. I am dreaming again, and when I do...
I see it all.