Drifting thoughts of a snowflake

Friday, April 16, 2004

For the past 5 years I have spent one weekend in April riding my bike from Houston to Austin. They call it the MS150, but it’s 180 miles. Liars! When the hubby got MS about 6 years ago, we decided to start participating.

The ride represents so much to me. I want to lend some support to him, and to others with the disease. What’s a little pain to me, considering he goes weeks without any tactile feeling at all? It gave me a way to have some control over an uncontrollable situation. I can’t imagine the frustration or fear of living with that disease. As a partner to someone with the disease, your life becomes one of constant worry. If he can’t use his legs, will I be able to take care of him? If he looses his eyesight, will we be able to make ends meet? On and on the worry cycle goes. And most days, nothing happens. You sit and you wait for it, like an old man waiting for the bus. And in the back of your mind, you wonder if maybe it doesn’t stop at this dime sized town.

It’s different this year. He asked me not to ride it. He asked my mom not to come and set up tents. In some ways I am relieved not to torture my body. Drinking and smoking isn’t the best training program out there. And I’m happy not to explain our situation to other people, and feel like they are judging me. I can imagine what they’d say, “Poor poor hubby with MS, and just look at her. Shirking responsibility.” Or worse, maybe they’d be sympathetic. Either way, he’s right. It would be too hard.

However, I will miss going down those hills at 40 mph with tears sliding off your salty face. The feeling of accomplishment when you get up a 90-degree hill. I’ll miss the buttercups flopping along the roadside cheering us on, and the quiet conversation at mile 168. I’ll miss looking over and seeing him smile at me, and hearing him sing “On the sunny side of the street” while the Texas sun beats down on our backs. I’ll miss our friends laughing and riding past me smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. I’ll miss the10 year old who rides the whole thing, and the parent beside them who look likes they’re dying. And I’ll miss the signs on people backs; you know the ones that make you cry. They are the pictures of wives, husbands, children, and friends who they ride for because they can’t anymore. But most of all, I miss it being us together happy and without worry.


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