Monday, March 29, 2010

Coping With Personal Disaster

Let me just tell you, in case you don't already know, what it's like to truly feel yourself falling apart: You don't want to sleep but are exhausted. Your heart feels like melting wax. You just want to get to tomorrow, even if there's nothing to look forward to. You feel like you can laugh when something strikes you as funny, and yet you know that you could crack and end up bawling while you are mid-chuckle. You feel like you can't put sentences together so you can't really say what you mean. You wonder how any of this will ever get better.

This sums up my weekend of waiting. My husband and I felt it was finally time to share this dismal news with our large families. Considering that the two of us combined have a total of fifteen siblings, not including their spouses, this was going to prove difficult and filled with emotion. I knew that as tough as it was, we needed everyone to understand the situation.

Throughout the weekend and into Monday, I had witnessed many different reactions to our news. I saw fear, denial, curiousity, hope, pity, sympathy, and many more. But the one reaction that I longed for and didn't find was empathy. In order to truly experience and convey empathy, a person must first go through the same situation as another. I knew people who had children with special needs, and I knew people who had received bad news regarding the health of their child in-utero. I didn't, however, know anyone who could honestly relate in every way to what I was going through. I searched the internet for information on resources and support for families in our situation, but to no avail. I looked for books that had been written by someone who knew what I was going through, but I couldn't find them. And even though I had plenty of people around me who cared about me and Caleb, at times I felt utterly alone.

Let me just say that when people tell you that they know "someone" who's friend or relative was faced with a menacing fetal diagnosis and their baby turned out "just fine", that does not help a grieving mother one bit. The reason for that is simply that my child is unique as is every other child on earth. God chooses certain people to bless in different ways than others. God chooses to perform miracles on some people, and others are simply meant to be the way they are. My son is who he is. I love him no matter what is "medically wrong" with him. If the Lord chooses to perform a miracle on Caleb, that is wonderful. But I need to be ready to face the reality of whatever lies ahead of me. Believing in the miracle that happened to someone else's child does not give me hope for mine. My hope is in God's will.

As difficult as it was to accept this situation, I was able to overcome the grieving process. I am so thankful that we have the prayers of so many. I asked my family and friends to spread the word about Caleb because if no one knows, no one will pray. I asked God for the strength to accept His will and the guidance to turn to the right medical providers and support groups. I do not ask God for a miracle, because He has already given me son's life.

All of this grief took place over the weekend of Palm Sunday; how appropriate a time. I can honestly say that I could feel the strength of all the people praying for us. I did have difficulty sleeping and functioning, and I did shed plenty of tears, but I knew in my heart that God was holding me and comforting me in His Holy embrace. I somehow managed to let the news settle in me and I knew that I had to pull myself together for the sake of my 3-year-old daughter. She still needed me to be her mother and I simply could not let myself slip into a deep pit of depression. She was one of the elements that forced me to bundle up my feelings and get on with my life.

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