She's the bravest person I know.
I think about her every day and pray for strength like hers.
She fought breast cancer (and is still fighting it) while pregnant. And gave birth to a beautiful, baby girl. I mean, that's like super human strength.
Anyways, one morning while she was visiting, we went to the farmers market. We mulled around, ate like pigs and laughed at ridiculous people. (because lets face it, people can be ridiculous).
We walked down to the beach, and I asked if she wanted me to take a few pics of her in front of the ocean. She mumbled something about looking terrible, and I said "Yeah... you're like the most amazing person I know- you deserve your picture in front of the ocean. And you do NOT look terrible." (or something like that).
And then we stood for awhile just watching the waves. I'm taken in every time I visit the ocean. The vastness; the sheer power it contains blows my mind. I love standing where the ocean meets the shore; that place where the waves pull and suck back what belongs to the sea. It's grounding and I've had many a deep thought while digging my toes into the sand, trying to maintain my position, the ocean tugging at me heels.
I noticed she was crying. At first I wanted to just grab and hug her; like somehow my grounding, my footing, my "all togetherness" would steady her.
I asked what was wrong. And she said something that will forever stay with me. "I can do this. I can have cancer. I can go through the pain. I know I'm going to heaven. I'm not scared. But my kids can't do this. And my husband can't. They didn't sign up for this. They can't handle this."
At the time, I thought "RIDICULOUSNESS!"
"Your family loves you more than anything! And its an honor to stand by your side while you go through this. Yeah its hard for them to see you hurting, but there is no other place they'd rather be. Trust me."
And our conversation ended.
But it's always stuck with me; the selflessness she displayed. In the midst of her battle, not a single worry about herself... just for her family. That's true beauty. I knew she was beautiful inside and out already, but that just reaffirmed it.
It was so easy for me to say those words to her: "Your family loves you! There's no place they'd rather be, than right by your side!"
Fast forward to now: Sunday night in the ER, as my husband was nodding off in the chair across from my bed, I was getting text updates on how the kids were. "Stella isn't sleeping, is that okay?" Yes... she won't sleep until 10 PM. She's our night owl. "Henry is asking for gatorade- okay or no?" No.. he knows only water at bed time.
I whispered to Ryan, "Hey, come here. I have to tell you something."
He was groggy; it was late and our ER visits have become too frequent.
I waited for him to get close enough to fall into him. For my face to be completely buried in his shirt. And then I just cried. "I'm like a lame horse. I'm no good for anyone. I can't take care of my kids and I'm ruining your life. I mean, we've been in the ER TWO times this week?!?! We're 30 years old! This is NOT how we should be spending our time! Seriously. I am like the lame horse who broke its leg in a race... its like I need to be put out of my misery... it's not fair for you guys."
He said something like "that's the most awful thing I've ever heard..." blah blah blah. I was too absorbed in my emotions- he could have said anything and I'd still just want to cry and be angry.
This week has been a really difficult week for me. In all honesty, its probably been one of the hardest since I had Maeve. I'm struggling. My parents, and my amazing sitter have stepped up and taken on what I can't; my kids.
This is both absurd, and mind blowing to me. My kids. They're my life. They're the reason I move and breathe and work and dream. They're my universe. And I can't take care of them. I can't open a pack of fruit snacks for Stella or tie Maeve's shoes because of my stupid left hand. I am so tired- and I'm not just talking "Hey I'm a mom of 4 and tired!" I'm talking, "Put me in a room, leave me to sleep for four days and I might be able to lift my head up and give you an answer about what to watch on the television." I mean- my brain- its gone. I'm beyond exhausted. To see my mom come in our home, and dress my kids, pack them up and take them for the day is killing me. It's the most gut wrenching stab; my one duty here, to take care of these amazing kids and I've flunked.
Thursday morning I was explaining to Maeve that she was going to nana's again. She (and the other kids) are totally fine with this; they LOVE my parents house. But as I was telling her, I started to cry. I grabbed her close and said "Mommy is trying so hard to be better. I am trying so, so hard baby. You know that, right??" And of course, she's crying now because she's almost seven, and knows what's going on. She nodded, her lip quivering. And I felt like I needed to overcompensate for the pain I just caused her so I rambled on which probably just caused more upset. But I'm clueless with this. I am absolutely lost.
When my sister came to pick the kids up, I was in the kitchen, a crying mess. They want me out of the house; they want me to go out and do things. But I have no footing. I've lost my grip on everything I thought I knew and I'm free falling.
I have all the faith in the world that I'll be okay. That eventually, we'll all be okay. But right now I'm blindfolded, poking around in the dark.
After the kids left Thursday, I ugly cried (a good ol' ugly cry is always nice) and that's when I remembered my conversation on the beach back in December. The words I told my friend, and how I looked at her, thinking she was out of her mind if she thought for a second this was burdening her family and friends. My words came full circle.
God works in funny ways like that.
That conversation I had on the beach in December, the one where I was the comforter, speaking the truth had reversed, and come back to embrace me.
I realized those words applied perfectly.
No, my family didn't sign on for this. My kids shouldn't have to see me struggle with using the bathroom or buttoning their dresses, but this is life. It's not a life I ever expected to be living; but I am certainly living it. We are living it.
This week I started an "MS" diary, documenting episodes or symptoms. Here's what happened:
- left leg went out (like someone had kicked me in the back of the knee)
- major bladder issues (what's new?)
- left hand has no strength
- couldn't drive 3 days this week due to eyesight
- spasms (PAINFUL) in my left flank/back area and left leg
All of this crap happened. It's happening. And guess what? Nobody loves me less.
The beautiful, resounding truth in all of this is the love that brought us all together. The love that created our family and fills this house... it doesn't just fall away when something life altering happens. It's too strong; and if anything, I believe it strengthens us, reinforcing weakened walls, holding up broken pieces, shedding light in darkened places.
So... yeah, this week sucked. It was tough and there were a lot of tears.
But it was through those tears, through the weakness that I learned one of the most important lessons in my life thus far; God's love is powerful, and when His love is entwined in our relationships, our footing will never fail. It wont quit or give up. It wont grow tired or old.
I am human. I am going through a trial. I am also a Christian, and because of that, I have hope and a promise.
Love and life.
Thank you for the prayers- the lack of sympathy (PLEASE PLEASE keep it that way!!!!!!! I cannot stand it when people are "sorry" for the sick girl). and the love- that sweet, slow and easy love that continues to fill my heart.
Let's have a better week, and love more. :D
For people interested in what's going on medically:
-neuro appointment June 11th
-urodynamics (my dad asked, "Is that like push ups for your bladder?" ) had to be cancelled because of the bad infection I have right now... as soon as the infection is cleared up, urodynamics are back on! HAHA :)
-cystoscopy tentatively scheduled for end of June
-BEGGING nephrology to blast my stones (7 total at the moment) so I don't have to pass them... but so far, its a no go. "Yes I understand they're small enough to pass... but I'd rather not, thank you very much."
OH- and important NON-medical things:
-we're moving into a house! YAY!!! Just a rental... but praise GOD- we will have a yard! :D
-Ryan booked a dream vacay- we joked forever about "when I hit platinum" we'll go and stay like royalty at the Grand Floridian... ummm.. he booked it. We're going. Mind. Blown.
-My sister is getting married in 2 months- I'm the photographer for it. I was going to be in it... but I was so scared I'd have a leg bag (foley cath) and be in this short little dress... so I'm giving them my gift of photography :) Another one of those tough life things... but its for the best.
-#lemondroppers are taking over... just sayin.