Andy asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to write a blog post about how I have been feeling this past month. I was excited to share my perspective, but as I sat to write, my mind went blank. With all the feelings and emotions that we’ve gone through, how do I even put it into words? I could either write an explosion of words that most likely won’t make any sense to anyone or I could simply put,
“I’m feeling fine.”
The week before Oliver had his heart surgery, our family and our friends and their kids stayed at a beach house for a few days to relax before the storm of the surgery. Most of the days were very enjoyable, but one morning, I just decided I couldn’t get out of bed to face the day. It’s like when you are a little kid at night, if you throw the covers over your head, the monster can’t get you, right? If I didn’t get out of bed, I wouldn’t ever have to face Oliver’s upcoming surgery.
Andy graciously let me sleep, which did help me immensely, but even when I woke up, I still had that feeling of doom. I decided to go for a run/walk along the beach. I say run/walk because I was trying to run, but the tide was up, and running on the dry, soft part of the sand makes it impossible to look cool. Actually, at one point, I was so lost in my own thoughts, that I very nearly ran into a sand castle being built up by a dad and his two kids. I skipped to the side to avoid a collision, but at that moment a foamy wave rolled up and I ended up splashing in it for several steps soaking everything up to my knees. I looked up to see the dad looking at me like “why the heck are you running in the water?” and I tried to make it look like it was a completely natural thing to do.
Anyway, I slogged along and I got to a place that was devoid of people and I stopped…
And I cry.
I cry for Oliver and the pain and suffering that he will have to go through, and not knowing if this will be his only heart surgery or if there is more in his future. Will he have to deal with this problem for the rest of life? He doesn’t deserve that. It’s my job as a parent to protect my baby from as much agony and hurt as I can, but I can’t protect him from this. In fact, he needs it to save his life.
I cry for Clara as I feel like I haven’t been able to focus on her and her needs as much lately. She is so amazing and loving to her little brother, and I would spend all day holding her, cuddling her, and kissing her beautiful face if she would let me.
I cry for Andy as it seems the weight of the world is on his shoulders. This is a struggle as a parent and although there are parts that Andy and I can carry as a team, there are still other things that are personal and that you have to go through yourself. He is an amazing father and he cares so much for his kids. It’s hard to put your heart out there if you think that it’s going to get broken, and at that point most everything was still an unknown.
And I cry selfishly for me. How do I stay strong? How do I physically let my boy go to the doctors so that they can cut him open? How do I stand it while I can’t hold him close or nurse him to sleep or merely kiss his tears away? Why do I have to go through this? Why was Clara born so healthy and Oliver not? God, just tell me that Oliver will get through this! Please!
And as I sat there with tears on my face and the sound of the waves crashing on the sand, a small voice popped into my head, “He will be fine.”
Do you mean it, God? Oliver will be ok? Again, I felt this phrase, “He will be fine.”
I started walking back to the house. He will be fine. Oliver will be fine. Thank you Lord! I found Andy at the beach house and told him what had happened. As I was explaining I started to think, “Was there anything particular with God’s wording?” Why didn’t I hear, “Oliver will come through with flying colors or Oliver will bounce back lickity split?”
He will be fine. Does that mean that it might not be a smooth time for us?
As we went home and prepared for Oliver’s surgery, my mind put that thought away. I was focused on my children’s needs and I just wanted to get this over with. From there you know what happened because of Andy’s previous posts.
This experience has been crushing. At times I felt like a robot going through the motions, because my heart was beyond its breaking point. I cried at the drop of a hat. I still needed to be a mom to two little kids, but I could barely take care of myself.
I had several loved ones tell me that God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. And what I’m going to say next is not a dig against them because this is a phrase that I know I’ve said to other people and to myself over the years, but now I feel like this phrase is false.
There are things in life that will happen to you that are more than you can handle.
That’s the point. I need God to carry me. I can’t do this alone. I could barely put one foot in front of the other. In fact, this is exactly how I felt:
God came through. I did find the strength to do what was needed to be done, and the love and support from friends and family has been extraordinary. Looking back now on what we faced, I shake thinking how in the world I got through it? But in the moment, I just knew I could. That’s God.
Now, we’re still not through everything. We have another surgery to fix his ostomy and Oliver’s little body still has lots of healing to go through. But…
“God has not promised skies always blue
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through
God has not promised sun without rain
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain
But God has promised strength for the day
Rest for the labor, light for the way
Grace for the trials, help from above
Unfailing sympathy, undying love…”
-Annie Flint Johnson
Oliver will be fine.