Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sometimes it happens

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 When Alif was in the hospital, I spent many hours staring at his monitors. In the first weeks the numbers were frightening: they were constantly changing, alarms were going off regularly, and we'd learned enough to know what his numbers should be that when they weren't, we were afraid. Most of the time things stayed pretty even. He was in critical condition (even grave at times), but mostly the numbers stayed kinda sorta where they should be.

That's a little like the way life is right now emotionally. We're settling in to life in our "new normal" and for the most part, even though things kind of stink a lot of the time, the emotional barometer stays pretty even. There are even days now and then that feel pretty darn easy. We laugh and talk and enjoy each other as a family, the sun is shining, and we're appreciating everything we have. There are other times that feel harder. We feel the impact of our losses more deeply or a new loss pops up or something that has seemed okay until now suddenly feels permanent and that can be hard to deal with. But mostly, we just carry on. Day after day, step after step, we just - do.

But every now and then it hits. Something comes out of nowhere. I remember one of the early days of Alif's illness last April, I was in his room in the ICU and all I had to go by were those numbers on the monitor. I had grown used to alarms going off, so when the blood pressure alarm sounded I was on edge but not worried. His nurse wasn't around but I was sure she would hear the alarm and come adjust something and the numbers would go back to where they should be. 80/70 . . . 68/65 . . . oh my, I wasn't thinking this was a good sign and I poked my head out to see if someone was coming. 60/58 . . . 55/48 . . . oh my gosh, where ARE they? When his blood pressure went to 41/33 I yelled into the hallway, "Someone come help! His blood pressure is 41/33!" My mind was in TV drama mode, seeing that flat line beeping across the monitor . . . I was really panicked. Several nurses rushed in, adjusted the meds, and the situation improved. My blood pressure went down as his came back up.

I had that kind of moment on the emotional front today. I'd had a beautiful morning. I woke on time, showered before anyone else was awake (a rarity these days) and took the kids to their enrichment classes. Canaan and I love our "buddy day" and I was especially excited today because I'd responded to a post on a homeschooling group to purchase three years of science curriculum for about half what I would have otherwise paid. Imagine how humbled and blessed I was when this sweet lady *gave* me the books. It was just one of those sunshine-in-your-face kind of days. I took Canaan to the park, ran a couple errands, and soon we were headed back to the charter school to pick up the rest of the kids.

And then we drove past Burger King. The last time (and one of the only times!) we ate there was the day Alif got sick. My mind instantly flashed to Alif next to me on the bench, Rudy across from us singing Broadway-style, the kids playing in the disgustingly dirty playgym. That day is crystal clear in my mind, because it was the last day my life was normal. The last time I said goodbye to my husband as he drove off to work. The last day I went about my day as usual, without worrying about Alif.

Tears sprung to my eyes and I pouted. "I want that BACK, God! I want my husband back. I want my LIFE back. I want to go back there!"

My emotional monitor was beeping, and no one came to adjust anything, because they can't. No one can change what has happened in our lives. No one can fix Alif's vision, his cognitive challenges, the constant, constant worry I have that the new valve won't last or that he'll contract yet another infection. No one can make it so that he can work or drive again. These are things that eat away at me when - well, when I let them.

Then the guilt sets in. We have SO much. We have God, each other, our wonderful children, our home, everything we need, really. God has blessed us in so many ways. It's crazy to feel the pain of our losses so intensely when we've been gifted so much. But sometimes it just IS. It's hard.

I'm thankful that these moments don't usually last for long. By the time I picked up the rest of my kids, I was ready to enjoy them and carry on with everything we have going on today. I'm thankful for a God who understands that life sucks sometimes and doesn't berate me for having a hard day.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8


  1. Kristin W.4:17 PM

    Oh, Em, I must be very naive....I had no idea that there were still so many struggles. You are an awesome woman of God, and I learn something about His love for us in every one of your posts. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  2. I still pray for you, Emily. If there is anything we can do to make it easier, please let us know...

  3. Sweet Emily, it hasn't been that long since your "new normal" began. The way you're feeling is totally normal. Just like with any loss/grieving, it will take time to heal. We don't really ever let go of the past & rest in the present when we've lost something or someone....but in time, we learn to cope with the present a little better, and even accept it. Praying for you, friend!

  4. I have so much sympathy for you dear girl. You have endured much with so much poise. I will continue to pray for your whole family as you deal with the stresses that come your way. I will pray for God's perfect peace to envelop you. Remember, one day at a time. And one very special day...we will all be together in paradise with perfect bodies that will never wear out and that is a beautiful thought.

  5. I am blessed that you shared this with us. I want to say to you this morning that I love you and your family. We may not know each other. We will never meet. But your in my heart and my prayers. I ache and know your heart when you say you want to go back. Please feel my love all the way from Louisiana.

  6. I hate that your new normal is so hard. I hate that your heart hurts for what has been taken away. I love that you have not lost your focus and your love for the One who can keep you through this. I wish I knew you in person and I wish I could give you a huge hug... but for now I want you to know that I have been and will keep praying for your precious family. For your new normal to start to seem less new and more normal... if that makes sense. LOVE AND HUGS!

  7. Anonymous10:21 AM

    Emily, I just read this, while I was looking for recipes. Now having new, different recipes doesn't seem that important, as long as there is food. You are a beautiful soul and a wonderful wife, mother, friend and woman of God. I really didn't know the details of how your new normal is, thanks for sharing and I know you and Alif and the kids will get thru it all with God's help and one step at a time! Love you! Prayers being said for you and your family!