I guess it is time to finally attempt to answer the two question that those that are the really close to me are asking. "How are you REALLY doing?" and "What can I do?" seems to be the questions asked most often in the last few days.
I've attempted to blog several times in the last several days, but the words just haven't come easily from my brain to the keyboard. Normally writing has soothed my soul many days, whether in letters (or novels as I'm sometimes accused of writing!), journaling, or blogging. It's just not happened and it's like it's all "locked" in my brain and getting heavier by the day! For the most part, it's been about the inability to find the focus for long enough and then a small part of really not knowing what I think about things myself.
How am I REALLY doing? I'm in survival mode. That's about the best I can do to describe it. Many have said that I must be in denial or at the very least avoiding reality because I'm still keeping everything together. There has never been anything further from the truth. I'm just pretty good at keeping up appearances on the outside, but on the inside oh my....it's a whole different world.
Just a few short weeks ago, I welcomed the month of November with open arms because we had been through so many struggles and loss in the previous months. I had said that November was going to be "our" month of new beginnings and the month to finally feel like we were on solid ground. I had no idea that just the exact opposite was going to happen. I still have a note written on our foyer dry erase message board written to Kevin about the excitement I had about "our" time finally being here. So to feel that way and feel that God was just about to unleash his power in us and then to have it all ripped apart....is simply just HARD to deal with.
I have to daily, even minute by minute choose to remain strong in my faith and to not blame God. I have to recommit over and over to my belief that our lives are truly in his hands and that He is in control. I won't lie. It's a hard struggle. However, this is ONE area that I refuse to have taken from me. I'm not about to lay down and be completely defeated. I know without a doubt that God has had his hands on us in preparing us for the road ahead. We can see in our own lives how God was already preparing our hearts and that tells me that no matter what we have to face, we will come through it. It's going to hurt and rip us apart at times, but NO matter what the outcome....He is going with us every step of the way.
How am I REALLY doing? I'm frustrated. I'm terrified. I don't know how I'm going to keep everything balanced. At times I struggle with just the most basic mundane tasks. Even standing in front of the washing machine this morning with arms full of dirty clothes, I couldn't remember what I was doing. I don't know how to answer my children's questions. I don't know how to stay on track with school. I don't know how to plan for the holidays. We had planned on a very quiet at home Christmas and were taking an almost all home-made approach to giving, but now I can't even seem to finish a simple task. I don't know to even plan for next week, much less the weeks and months ahead.
On a deeper level, I don't know how to even process the thoughts that keep running through my mind. How do you find the right balance between BELIEVING in miracles and preparing yourself for handling it if God chooses to only heal him in heaven? How do you prepare yourself to watch the man that you see as Hercules, full of strength and SOLID going through this? How can your heart watch someone you love so much and have depended on for your entire life watch her husband struggle so deeply with all of this? How does your heart prepare itself to watch poison being pumped in someones veins and all of the side effects? How do you sit back and watch those around you love struggling so much with their own emotions? How do you balance in your own mind that an amazing man who has spent his life doing good for others devastated by this while others around you with NO REGARD for Christ or love for others seem to have nothing wrong going on in their lives? How do I handle the reality of the fact that he JUST was getting ready to his live HIS dreams and have HIS turn to enjoy life? How do you handle seeing all of those projects of his dreams just sitting there, especially when your own children have dreams of enjoying it with him?
How do you handle the fact that you can't keep it all together? How do you handle it when your kids see you break? How do you handle the fact that you need the world to just stop for a few minutes so you can catch your breath? How do you handle the fact that people are already treating you different? How do you handle watching family and friends that are struggling so hard with all of this that they have already hardened their hearts? How do you just for one day separate yourself from the struggle and just be a "normal" family? How do you still focus on God and not question his judgment? How do you drown out the words of the doctors and believe that God is in control?
All I can say to answer those questions is...I don't know. This is all NEW ground. This is truly a taking one minute at a time scenario. I don't like not having answers and I have few to offer. What I do know is that I am surviving. Many minutes it is nothing short of a miracle and I know that there are many people praying for all of us. It has already happened many times that someone has said JUST the right words minutes after praying a prayer for help. He's used so many of you in so many different ways. I just have to keep believing that He will continue to do so. When I can't go on and it is just too hard to face, I know He will find a way to carry me.
Trying to balance it all isn't working. I am working to find a new balance. I am having to let go of so many expectations that others have on me, but most especially those I have placed on myself. I'm having to find ways to get through hard moments in a HEALTHY manner. I'm having to find ways to keep my body physically strong and to keep lupus flare-ups from hitting back to back. I'm struggling with maintaining my personal God time without it turning into a sob session. I can NOT let that time go or lose it's priority or I won't have the ability to handle anything else. I have to work HARD at telling Kevin what I'm needing and feeling instead of shutting him out. I struggle with seeing him broken and his personal struggles with this whole situation.
However, though the rawness of all of this hurts beyond ways that words can describe, it has also brought some of the most precious tender moments. Priceless, beautiful memories are being made. Relationships are being made stronger. Love is being shown in new ways. God has revealed himself in some of the most amazing, touching ways. I'm just holding on to those with all I have and some moments it's that holding on that gets us through.
No matter what happens in the coming weeks and months, I am going to hold on to the amazing moments of this past weekend. To say Thanksgiving was hard, is to make an extreme understatement. God somehow provided some superhero strength...that is for sure. He allowed me to soak in everything around me and to say and do things that were out of my comfort zone. I was physically exhausted and in pain, but he still gave me energizer bunny strength to take care of things that needed to be done. I wanted to make sure that Teresa had every second she could with all the friends and family that were there. To be honest, at times I had to just be BUSY to get through the day...but for the most part, it was to just take the load off of her. Though many memories were made that day, the ones that I'm holding onto are the ones that were made at church that morning.
The most important thing to me was to make sure that I was with Dad and Teresa at their church. My heart is full aware that Dad may have attended church for the last time Sunday or at the very least he may be physically too drained to attend for a long time. I HAD to be there with him. It was also the first time he had been since his full diagnosis. Because he had a very difficult time on Saturday, I was so afraid that he wasn't going to be able to attend. God provided! When we got up Sunday morning, he was already fully dressed and sitting in his chair ready to go! Not only that, he ended up having the BEST day he's had since all of this began.
I was a nervous wreck walking in those doors because I know he is an EXTREMELY private and strong man and that it was going to be a hard emotional day for all of us. I can not tell you the pride I felt as I stood there as each person greeted him. They were loving on MY DADDY and I had never been more proud to be his daughter in my entire life. A special person in his life drove in from another town and surprised him by being with us. I felt the spirit of God from the first second worship begin. Tears rolled down our faces from the beginning to end. Dad had to leave for part of the service and it worried us, but he was able to return before the end. Church was just being dismissed when one of the members being obedient to God came up and stopped everyone from leaving because she felt it was important to have Dad come up and have hands laid on him in prayer. It had been avoided earlier out of respect for his privacy (though they had been having special prayer for him at different times). Dad didn't hesitate (thankfully!). No matter what happens, I will always have the memory of those amazing God-filled moments as the entire church gathered around all of us, anointing Dad with oil, and pleading for miracles and strength for all of us. MAYBE that is the moment that God begin his miracle! If nothing else, it gives us all strength and unity to face each and every obstacle ahead of us. The only negative thing about those moments was that Kevin couldn't get get through the crowds to stand beside me...but I know he was in there somewhere! However, my BIG little brother (who may be 13 years younger but TOWERS over me and I'm not short!) did a pretty good job of standing in his place!
I said in an earlier post that sometimes I may not be able to put thoughts into words and others I may write novels.....so I guess this counts as the novel!
So the answer to "how am I really doing" and "what do I need" is practically best answered as I don't really know!!!!! I do know that God is going to provide what we all need in one way or another. I'm just holding on and putting one foot in front of the other as we wait on him. I just need people to keep loving us and praying us through these days. I need grace for the days I fail and non-judgmental attitudes. This is new ground....one I'd give anything to not be on, but since we are....just love us through finding our footing.