How are you? The three words I hate with my whole being. Why? Because when most people ask this, they expect the default answer of “fine” or “good.” In my case, when I answer by default, I am lying and have been lying for about 17 years now. I have experimented with answering with truth: “I’m tired,” “I’m sad,” “I’m done!” and immediately realize that I have made the receiving person very uncomfortable by my honesty. This then gives birth to some cliché said to me, such as: “God will not give you more than you can handle,” or “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” or my favorite (although not a cliché) “you need a vacation.” At this point, I must take a step back in an effort not to punch this person. I smile and re-submit my phony answer of “yeah, I’m fine, I got this.” This calms all nerves (except mine, of course) and we go about our business.
The Day My Life Changed
So what is my business? Well, let me start by saying what I thought my business was supposed to be. I was very ambitious, top of my class, outspoken yet respectful. Everyone was sure I was going places. My goal: get my PhD in science and be a scientist of some sort. The direction of my life changed radically when I had to quit college to help my single mom financially. I thought this arrangement would only be temporary, so I took a job as a server and waited for my time.
The Real Crisis Begins
The course of my life constantly was changing and I ended meeting the love of my life, who has now been my husband for 19 years. So when did the real crisis begin? When I gave birth to our first-born son who was a mere 1 lb. 15oz. Fast-forward nine weeks to when he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. This disability, throughout the milestones (or lack of), proved to be quite severe. Any mom of a special needs child understands the heartbreak, mourning, and readjustments that we go through when faced with having to raise these precious angels. Not to mention, the strain on marriage, finances, and our view of God. It was a process learning not to stay mad at God (the only source of my strength), not to compare myself to other moms, and not to compare my baby to other children. We were introduced to a whirlwind of specialists, medications, seizures, therapists, and one of the most devastating of events: the day our son’s wheelchair was delivered. He was three and ready to start school. This was like a gold stamp on the contract of our life that states: You have a disabled child! In a wheelchair! Heartbreak and mourning all over again.
My gorgeous son is 17 years old now, and smelly and hairy just like every other teen boy. He is still in a wheelchair, uses diapers and his feeds are through a gastro-intestinal tube—not like every other teen boy.
A New Crisis Strikes
Crisis enough, right? Hard enough, right? Apparently not! A year and a half ago, my husband had a series of strokes, then a major one in May of this year. The search for why he was having strokes at such a young age of 47 led to the discovery of a heart valve defect, which could only be fixed through open-heart surgery.
In between crises, God blessed us with two beautiful daughters whom both had very scary deliveries—but that’s for my next article.
Emotions While Handling a Crisis
Needless to say, I am now an expert at handling a crisis when it comes knocking or tearing at the door. Just a few years ago I couldn’t say this, because I was seriously stuck; stuck in the way it should’ve been, could’ve been, the way I planned it. The beginning of my journey as a caregiver to my son, and then later to my husband, has so easily opened the door to regret, bitterness, jealousy, heartbreak, despair – and the list goes on and on. It is so easy to begin to hate. I hated myself, my body that hurt my baby, so I thought. I hated my husband, well, because he was there and then having the nerve to get sick, neurologically abandoning me to handle this life by myself as wife, mom, and caregiver. The stuff he would do: take the car for maintenance, pay bills, mow the lawn, watch kids while I napped, hold me at night…all gone! It’s all on me now. I hated God, and felt betrayed and let down by Him…. I thought He loved me. I hated all of those around me because “no one understands” and no one could answer my big question: “WHY?”
Warrior Women – We Got This!
So to the mom, wife, caregiver, and every woman who is in the “thick of it” facing a crisis, heartbreak, disappointment, and resentment, this is for you. You are not alone! I get it! Those feelings and thoughts? Normal and understandable – you are human. You can do this one step at a time! You can get through it! If you need to cry, cry but don’t get stuck! Let go of what should’ve been and embrace the path you are on, knowing that you have been called. There is a purpose behind your pain and the ashes can turn into something beautiful!
Onward warrior women – we got this!
By the way, I turned my anger towards God into trust in Him and He has been on my side ever since.
Image via Flickr by stvcr
Her goal is to become the type of woman that when her feet hit the ground every morning, the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!"Right now, she is the type of woman that says "Oh crap, I have to get up!" One day at a time!
Did I mention I love coffee?Please join me on my caffeinated journey!