Two characteristics of the old Lori were that she didn’t cry very often (maybe a small leaky eye from time to time, but hardly ever a good bawl fest), and she was hyper-organized. Oh how I miss that girl! Right now, I am so far past the point of being organized that I cannot even form a semi-organized thought. And the crying…..oh for the love of all things purple….it comes without warning and I crumble into a heap of tears and snot. Twice last week alone, I had to excuse myself from the dinner table to try to regain my composure. It's the ugly cry too, you know? The one that contorts your face and is impossible to hide. Beautiful, I tell you.This journey has stretched me into a better person in many ways. I have grown. I have changed. Oddly, I have become softer. I used to think I was a fairly strong woman. Now I don’t know if I ever was strong or not, but I do know that I am somehow evolving into a kinder and gentler person. I am far from strong in this moment. I am weak, angry, sad, scared, confused, bitter, frustrated, exhausted, and overwhelmed. I know that the healthy thing to do is to let each of these emotions fully wash over me; to experience them deeply so that I can cross through them into healing. To hand each and every emotion over to God so He can cleanse me of the negative and nurture the positive. I KNOW these things, but these past few days I have had to fight this odd desire to just cling to the negative.
Sitting in a deer blind on the eve of Thanksgiving, I was in tears of gratitude for how God had carried us through these horrific months and all the lessons He has taught me. Then Thanksgiving dawned and I was M A D. Dare I say I am mad at God? Might as well say it, it’s not like He doesn’t already know. Oh, I have told Him of my anger. He is a big God and He can handle it. He forgives me. I think it is okay to admit being mad at God, we just can’t allow ourselves to get stuck there. We cannot allow ourselves to sin in our anger.
The emotional swings have never been as great for me as they are in this particular period of the journey. I am suffering. The constant stress of knowing death is approaching and yet trying to keep my children involved and active in their own lives while juggling protecting them from experiencing too much of the death process has worn me slick. I am irritable. I catch myself being hyper-sensitive, ungrateful, and selfish
People private message me from our support page or this blog and they say how they “loved every second they had with their spouse as he was dying”, how they “were grateful for each and every moment”. That is lovely for them. Maybe, (giving them the benefit of the doubt here) their spouses’ journey didn’t stretch out as long as our “terminal” has. It is possible they didn’t have to wait for the inevitable death quite as long as we have been waiting. Did they really lie through sleepless nights counting the long seconds between their husbands’ breaths with joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces? (We have made it past 19 seconds now; it is agonizing waiting for that next breath.) Or is it that they live in a false reality of their own memories?
(See, now I am being crazy mean. What is it with my emotional outbursts? Why can’t I just let people have their experiences and allow them to be better than or different from my own?)
I find myself desperately hoping that they have altered their memories to fit the bubble they want their grief to fit inside of,
because right here,
in the midst of my grief, fear, and exhaustion,
I don’t love every minute.
I don’t love it much at all.
Am I grateful for the fact that Tim saw our daughter’s 13th birthday? You betcha!
Am I humbled that God gave us her first hunting season with her Daddy? I am deeply humbled!
Am I thankful for every good day he has with us? I truly am.
Does my heart skip a beat each time I hear our son say “Love ya, Dad”. Absolutely!
But there are also a whole lot of “seconds” and “moments” that are ugly and horrible. I am not grateful to watch him suffer. I do not love watching him grow weaker and more confused. I do not enjoy smelling the tumor 24/7. I am not a fan of having to sneak into our room every hour or so to make certain he hasn’t passed away in his sleep yet. This isn’t “blissful” or “wonderful” for me. I instead find it stressful and paralyzing. It is as if I am stuck in this limbo of in-between.
So truthfully, I really am not entirely a crazy-mean lady. I do “get” that widows loved caring for their spouses. I certainly consider it a true honor to serve Tim in this way. But I don’t love the individual specifics of the situation I am in. I don’t enjoy every moment of the day-to-day stress of this period in our lives. I just don't. And maybe I am nit-picking others comments. Let's just chalk that up to the new hyper-sensitive Lori that I am not the biggest fan of. But when people say, "enjoy every moment" and they "would gladly take the hard moments to have their husband be able to hold their hand again", a part of me wants to sweetly and tearfully understand the anguish of their expressions. And another part of me wants to scream, "REALLY?"; because it is scary for me to attempt to comprehend the fact that missing him will be more painful than watching him suffer 98% of the day. The fact that this will only get tougher terrifies me. I am already at my breaking point. Lots of cracks going on over here, people.I just think maybe someone else needs to hear that life isn’t always peachy-keen here in my world. It’s a lot of heartache and struggle. It has been a long period of just being stuck in the same place.
And the frozenness of it…
grieving for and fearing what is to come;
trying to live in each moment knowing it could be the last;
playing all the different death scenarios in my mind and planning how I will protect the kids from what they see and hear
…it is crippling.
My love for my husband is so deep and so selfless that on his bad days, I wish he were already with Jesus and not having to suffer through the wait. And on his decent days, I feel guilty for wishing he were with Jesus for the three days before. This roller coaster is making me nauseous. I trust God’s timing. I trust God’s plan. And I also, at times, find myself mad at the process and confused by the whole situation.
So there you have it; the current bad and ugly truth of my life. Thankfully, God’s mercies are new every morning.
And evidently, so are my emotions. Wonder what new gems I'll find tomorrow?
In the meantime, I will just keep
bringing my weariness to the One who can give me rest;
laying my bitterness at the feet of the cross;
begging for eyes to see the blessings and forgiveness for my negativity;
and asking for His strength to fill me as I face each new day.