I'm going to go ahead and say that this Christmas was not a great one. My husband was in a very, very bad place, unable to pull himself together for more than a few minutes at a time. I spent the entire night from Christmas Eve through to Christmas morning holding him and offering any comfort I could while he cried out all night, in gut wrenching agony. The words and sounds of pain coming out of his mouth broke my heart over and over and over. That level of grief scared the shit out of me. I've never experienced anything like it and I never want to feel that again (although I'd be a fool to think I'm safe from it now) I felt truly scared. Scared of what, I couldn't put my finger on exactly but I had an overwhelming feeling of being absolutely terrorized.
Ok, maybe I do know what I was scared of... I was scared that there was nothing I could do to fix this and that we'd have to just experience it - as awful as it is. I was scared I wouldn't be strong enough. I was scared of what was to come. I was scared of this much sadness. I was scared that I was too close to being able to imagine what it would be like to lose one of my children.... (there, I said it) Why that thought kept crossing my mind I have no idea.
Christmas day after opening gifts we packed up and headed out to see Steve's dad in the hospital. It's an hour's drive from our house. On the way, I felt that we were given a sort of a sign... It's probably going to sound a bit strange coming from me but here's the story...
I'm currently reading "The Shack" by William P. Young. When I picked it up a month or so ago I had NO IDEA what it was about, and didn't realize it was so spiritual but I've been in a rough place lately and figured I would give it a go, who knows maybe it would provide me with a bit of guidance or some sort of light. I won't get into all the details of the book except to say that in the book the characters refer to God as "Papa".
As we were driving down the highway towards the hospital in a state of absolute despair, a white van pulled up beside us and then pulled ahead. Written on the side of the van in giant, bright red letters was "PAPA". Now, it was some sort of plumbing company or something but I couldn't help but to feel that maybe someone was with us and helping us through a very difficult day and that we weren't facing all this alone without any help from... above(?).
I tried to relay it to Steve but I don't think he was in a place where he could process it. I also mentioned it to his mom and my parents and nobody seems to have the feeling that I did and maybe they all think I'm a little bit crazy. Perhaps they're not far off.
But I believe in that sort of thing.
And if it can help me a little bit, then I can help Steve a bit and we're all a little better off.
Related perhaps slightly to the above story - or more likely to the fact that my antidepressants have started to kick in (thank goodness I got those when I did!), I've been able to get myself to a slightly better place. I've decided to make the best of this horrible situation. I've decided to that we were given a gift on Christmas eve in that we were notified that we have limited time left with a loved one. I'm grateful that he wasn't taken from us suddenly, leaving us longing for things we wanted to say, things we wanted to do, hugs we wanted to give and get. I choose to make the absolute best out of the time we have left with a special man and I will have no regrets when he does pass. I want to make sure that my children get to spend as much time with him as they can. I want to be as kind and helpful as I can to my mother in law.
My heart breaks to think that my kids will not have him in their lives but I will do whatever I can to make sure they hear lots of stories about him and make sure they know how much he loves them.
Things have also picked up a bit for Steve. He's reached out for help which is something he's never done before. He's getting some grief counseling through his company's employee assistance program and he's called some friends to let them know what he's going through and everyone is coming together to help each other.
If nothing else, I think this tragedy will help bring us all closer.
I can't allow our lives to be destroyed by this - and Steve's dad wouldn't want that anyways. There is going to be a new "normal" once again. A difficult "normal", but we need to make the best of what we are given.