Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Over the past 6 months I have been trying to be better in tune with my emotional health. I learned through acupuncture how different people's bodies will manifest stress...especially when it is suppressed. I learned through counseling that being sad is OK. I learned what happens when you don't eat for several days. I learned about shingles. And I have also learned that no amount of study, research or focus will prepare your body, mind and heart for grief, loss and mourning.

I found this picture and I have saved it in my phone. It was something that I could look at on a hard day or moment and check over to the left column and just realize that I am in the "right place"... This whole left side of the slope has just become my life, and that is frustrating. I wanted to accept that I am in a tough spot, but these words just didn't seem right. Denial is quite different than faith. I have had faith in knowing an earthly healing could happen any day at any moment. Some days I have had more faith than others, but thankfully my God isn't concerned with my simple ways. Somedays I am angry at everyone who does not have a sick spouse. Somedays I am angry at my sick spouse for being sick. Somedays I am mad at ME for being mad at him for something so far out of his control! Somedays I feel very alone...but I don't want to be around anyone. Somedays I want to be around people and feel normal, but the hovering cloud of reality is just too thick for me to see through. Somedays I am actually in a great mood. Somedays I feel very in control and organized and somedays I can't find anything, get anywhere or accomplish anything. 
Thankfully, His majesty is far greater than my mood swings. 

This picture began to make me feel really frustrated and crazy and helpless. I have the most incredible community, but I recognized that I needed specific empathy from someone in a situation comparable to mine. Where are all the 30 year old women with little kids and a hubby on hospice?!?! Stop hiding and come have coffee with me! 

So, I joined a Well Spouse caregivers group. It is basically just a facebook group where people gather to vent, share, get advice and share experiences. The first few days were really helpful. I scrolled through pages and pages and pages of Well Spouses introducing themselves and spouting off the various diseases and stages of illness of their loved ones. It was oddly comforting. There are 700 members and everyone has a story. The posts vary big time. Some people are there to rant and vent about how inconvenienced they are. Some are there to share the dreams that were crushed due to having a sick spouse. Some people are there to encourage or share articles or funny pictures. But, everyone there is bummed out that their spouse is sick. Whether they are happy about it or not (and some people are very evidently NOT) these people have chosen to stick it out and take care of the person they exchanged vows with. 

I have learned through this group that it is very typical to have gone through the grief process of losing your spouse BEFORE your spouse is gone, because many ill spouses are no longer who they once were. There is guilt associated with this and that is hard. Because, it is not something that any of us asked for. And I very clearly recall saying "in sickness and in health" - which is convicting and at the same time very stabilizing. It is comforting to know that on the most important day of my marriage (our wedding day), God planted roots in my heart. The vulnerable moment of standing up in front of everyone in a white dress and making promises to the man you love most...those roots that He planted were significant and meaningful beyond my wildest imagination. Those roots are sturdy and deep and planted with truth and love. The worldy yuck, grief, sadness, hurt, pain, loss, disease, and helplessness...well they just don't stand a chance. Because NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ (romans 8:39). 

The caregiver experts say that grief doesn't wait for death... and even worse, anticipatory grief can spiral you into a constant state of panic and fear and leave you in a state of emergency for an indefinite amount of time. 

I don't know about you, but that doesn't leave me with much room for HOPE. 

There isn't a Facebook group or caretaker with a similar story that is going to make me feel better. There isn't a blog or article that is going to make sense out of all this. After all of this time in trying to fix myself, understand myself, prepare myself and do a good job at this wife and mom thing....I am right back where I started. On my knees begging Jesus to fill me up, reminding myself that I can NOT do ANY of this. It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for (ephesians 1:11). I am living for HIM, and right here is exactly where I want to be. Unfortunately, I just forget that a lot and need big fat reminders. Grateful for His very constant yet unexpected reminders. 

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