Tuesday, January 5, 2016

When Life Demands a Cave

It's a new year, and somehow the propensity to write has returned. Given the gaping lapse of posts in November and December, it's clear that my writing mojo has been missing in action. While life has handed me an abundance upon which to reflect (some leading me deeper into the mystery of the heart of Christ, some making me want to lay down in defeat), the words just wouldn't come when I sat down to write. Grand feelings and emotion. Zero capacity to express them in coherent, non-Neanderthal language. "Unga dunga" just didn't seem to cut it for a post.

For those who don't follow me on Facebook or Instagram, let me catch you up. I'm sorry if what is to follow is more of a narrative of events and less reflective. I'm still truly working through all that has happened in the last month or so. Last we left off I was battling a wicked first trimester with little Jojo. Yes, Jojo! We found out early through blood tests I had done that we are indeed having another baby boy...and he wasn't shy about showing himself at the most recent ultrasound. Meet baby Jojo:

(No. I won't share the other snapshot. That's for his baby book later.)
So there I was, sicker than I've been with either of my other two and utterly exhausted upon any activity. That was enough to keep me away from writing, sadly. Unfortunately, that was not all life would throw at me. 

The night before Thanksgiving, we got a call from my mom's neighbor that she hadn't been  able to reach her all day and that she wasn't answering her door though the television was on. Long story short, we arrived to find my mom on the bathroom floor (the Hubs went in first while I stayed by the car with the kids). She was responsive but not entirely coherent. After we called an ambulance and insisted she go to the ER, we found out she had a massive hemorrhagic stroke, and without surgery, would die within a day. 

Eventually consenting to the surgery (that's right - she refused twice first), we spent  much of that night in the surgical waiting room. Much of our Thanksgiving and the two weeks to follow would be spent in ICU waiting for her to regain full consciousness. 

That was a very long two weeks, friends. There were moments where I didn't think she would make it. There were moments where I wondered if we made the right decision to keep pestering her to have the surgery (we did). I am so blessed to work for an organization that let me take whatever time I needed to be with her. I am forever grateful that my job was never on the line. I know not everyone has that certainty.

She finally made it out of ICU and into inpatient rehab, but she was definitely in bad shape. They didn't keep her long since there was no plan of her returning to her home. I was so overwhelmed with the fast pace at which I was needing to learn what our options were and the gravity of the decisions I was going to be making. 

Christmas Day looked a little different this year.
The kids aren't quite sure what to make of it all.

Mom never wanted to be in a facility in her old age. Independent or dead. That was her plan. Of course, we all know how our plans work out. Since her discharge from the hospital, she's been in sub-acute rehab and receiving intense therapy. She is improving, albeit slowly.  Her mind, though, seems somewhat gone, which is not surprising given the severity of her stroke. Having a tennis ball size clot form in your brain after a bleed is bound to have an impact. Mom now lives in a world where people from her past visit her (like my dad and her dad, both of whom have been gone for quite some time). I'm not sure if we call it dementia as no one has actually diagnosed her as such. I don't know if it is permanent, but it's the one constant that doesn't seem to improve since she woke up. 

We are now diving head first into getting our house ready to put on the market so we can move somewhere that opens up the possibility of mom coming to live with us if she is able. With a new baby on the way and the possibility of having mom living with us, I can't dwell too long on how different my life may look in the next six months or it becomes entirely overwhelming. 

The one thing that people keep reminding me is to take one day at a time. That's a challenge for a rabid planner like me who'd be entirely comfortable with giving God my life plan and having Him rubber stamp it. Yet it seems everywhere I look there is a reminder that He will carry me...carry us. He gives us grace that is sufficient for the day - no more, no less. In this year of mercy, He shows me over and over how tender and new His mercy is - not just every morning, but in every moment and each minute detail. Nothing is too small, and nothing is too big. Just when I begin to despair and sink into the darkness of the situation, He brings me hope and light. 

I don't know how all this will turn out. While mom is improving, I don't know if it will be enough for her to be able to live with us safely. I pray that's the case, and that God would have mercy on her too. I do know that the road isn't going to get easier anytime soon. There are legal issues to contend with to be able to provide her with the best care, and there is just the reality that my energy only lasts so long. I am an only child and can only do so much. I have to rely on the expertise and kindness of others to help us through, to be there for her when I cannot (and let go of the guilt of not being able to be there at all times). I have to let go of the guilt coming from her emotions of boredom and loneliness. I have to remember my vocation in all this and give myself to my own family, two of whom are too young to fully grasp why mommy leaves so much. 

We will all be okay in the end. I know this. I trust Him in this. While last year was my year of empty with God, this year may well be the year of surrender and trust. I cannot do this. He can. This certainty carries me through the waves of grief, exhaustion, and despair when the darkness pulls me under. 

I cannot, You can. It's all Yours, Lord. It is all Yours. She belongs to You, we all belong to You. Have mercy on us. Give us strength for the day and allow us to rest in You. All is Yours. The good, the bad, and the ugly. All. Lead the way and let us follow it instead of running in frenzied circles. You alone see all as it should be. Make it so. 

I hope the holiday season in your own families was far less eventful, and that the new year brings with it much joy and hope for what is to come. I'm back for now, though I make few promises about the regularity or content of my writing until some of these uncertainties are settled. Thank you for keeping me company through all of this despite my absence.

With love and blessings from our family to yours,

1 comment:

  1. I just don't even know how you are doing it girlfriend. I really don't.. you are in my prayers and your witness is important.