Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grief...and a few random photos. :)

I haven't felt very bloggy of late. I want to share. I have so much rattling around in my head that I need the cathartic experience writing gives me. And yet, I wince to think of putting some of those thoughts on screen where all can see them and know the mess I am right now.

The weight of Benjamin's upcoming surgery seems to be pressing down on not just me, but this whole house. Everyone is feeling the stress as the calendar days seem to be flying by at an unprecedented speed. My mood is yucky -- and my lifetime need of interacting with people, of getting the energy that friends give me is battling with an immense need to avoid others at all costs. Last week, I forced myself to a lunch date with some amazing women who never fail to speak truth to me. The words one of these dear friends spoke has been rattling around in my head all week -- she simply looked at me and said, "You are pre-grieving."

Photos with absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter...but I can't bear all the type without a few photos to break it up!

The hardest part of moving around the country is that few know all about history, the things that make me me. And though I love my life in the Arizona desert, I am still Southern enough to think that history matters. That people need the whole story before they can KNOW me. But last week, Tracy nailed it. In three words she summed me and my worries up perfectly. I am pre-grieving.

See, when the surgery date arrives on the calendar, I will pull myself up by my boot straps and get my boy -- and this amazing family -- through it. We will find our strength in the One who never fails to sustain us, comfort us and grant us peace in hardships. God will meet us there.

But this waiting season is awful. This anticipating all the things that could happen, anticipating how the recovery will look for Benjamin, how the pain level will affect him, how I will lift him without hurting how how...this is the hard part.

We were playing at Lost Canyon Camp in Arizona while the teenagers had High School Winter Camp!

And giving it a name helps. But even that is hard because I am resistant to even use the word grief. When the boys were initially diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, people immediately wanted to talk about grieving. I was outraged. Incensed, really. Grief? Grief? I knew grief. My wonderful Daddy died at 49 from cancer. I grieved. I barely functioned for six months. I hurt -- and still hurt -- to the depths of my being with longing for one more hug from that wonderful man who had loved me so unconditionally. That was grief.

But my boys were alive, beautiful gifts from God. Grieving was an insult. I did not intend to grieve over a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. Grief was for death. And though life might look different than I anticipated, I refused to speak of GRIEF.

But a quick look at the dictionary, says that grief is defined as "keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss."

And suddenly, I had an aha moment. Yes, I grieved the LOSS of my Dad. But this, this yes, keen mental suffering -- this keeping-me-up-at-night-worry; this need to plan, organize and do as much as I can to control the surrounding circumstances; this gut-wrenching need to simultaneously pull my friends close and push them away so they do not see the weak side of me -- this is grief.

Snow ball fight...

When the hospital nurse left a voice mail last week to schedule the pre-op appointment, my beautiful 15-year-old screamed at the phone, "Leave us alone. The surgery is not until May. Can't you see we are busy burying our heads in the sand over here???"

And we all laughed. But I know she is hurting too. Just as I know Mason is; and even little Cate who doesn't quite understand, feels the tension and has been over-emotional lately.

Cate and Benjamin.


Then there is Benjamin. Oh that dear young man, speaking of it little and yet, I know he must be carrying the burden heavier than any of us.

Finally able to build her first snowman ever!!

So yes. We are grieving. We are in keen mental distress as this affliction we call Cerebral Palsy requires one we love mightily to endure yet another surgery; to endure yet another recovery; to endure another change to his body that will challenge his being. We are pre-grieving.

And in the midst of this storm, we will continue to count our blessings. Day by day, minute by minute, we will relinquish the grief to the One who knows the plan, knows the days ahead and loves Benjamin even more than I do.


NayNayJay said...

Wow - two things stand out to me in this post. First of all, the only other person I've ever heard use the term 'pre-grieving' is a friend who's a Christian mom of multiples and whose personality is similar to yours (adorably sweet, fiercely loving, in need of control over things that threaten her children's safety and well-being...) Second, as this friend did for you, you've provided words for feelings that have plagued me. I deeply need to be fully known, yet I live far away from those who know major segments of my context. Thank you for that simple ministry to me today.
If part of God's purpose for this season is to hone your ability to face challenges that traumatize a mother's body, mind, and spirit, deal with them through earnest, supernatural faith, and express it all in writing that makes others feel we intimately identify with you even if we can't imagine your circumstances, then mission accomplished.

Blessing Counter said...

NayNayJay, you blessed my heart with your comment. Thank you for such sweet affirmation that you "got" it.