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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Mourning

This is why I hate crying. Especially right before bed.

My head hurts the next morning and my eyes look the Purple Pumpkin-Eater’s.

I just couldn’t help it last night. The silence and serenity of the dark leave my brain poised for thought. Thoughts that make me feel like I’m having mini panic attacks. And I HATE it.

Every night, when I turn off the light and snuggle into my down comforter, I think about the precious little girl snoring in the room across from mine. I think about her relaxed and free, sprawled out in her bed, hugging Elmo and Winnie the Pooh. I wonder what she dreams about. And my heart, for that second, is warm and soft because I know that Ellie is safe and secure and the world is right.

But, that is the calm before the emotional storm.

The more I think about Ellie being safe and happy in her bed, in her room, in her house, with mommy and daddy only a few feet away, the more I realize that the morning will come and we will have to face a not-as-safe world. Although *this* morning doesn’t concern me very much, as I know she will be gloriously happy and wonderfully cared for at daycare, it’s thoughts of the next morning that make my heart palpitate. And by NEXT morning, I mean the mornings of next year, of the next decade.

One morning Ellie will be too heavy for me to carry. On Friday, we have an occupational therapist coming over to assess our house for “modifications” (the fancy term for “having to renovate your house to make it handicapped accessible”). The only way the government is going to give us any reno money is if their representative sees the need. The only way she’ll see the need is if she thinks Ellie will be in a wheelchair. As thrilled as I am at the possibility of getting financial help to put in new flooring and widen the hallway, the reason behind the monetary approval tears my heart out.

One morning Ellie will go to school. I can’t be with her at school. I can’t ensure that kids treat her nicely. I can’t shelter her from rude questions. I can’t be there to smack the kid who says, “What’s wrong with you?” I can’t force kids to be her friend. I can’t ensure that the teacher pays her enough attention to see her potential.

One morning Ellie will ask me why she can’t walk. Or, perhaps worse yet, she WON’T ask me that question, because she doesn’t have the cognitive ability to understand that she’s different. I don’t know if I’m ready to answer that question. And I definitely know I’m not ready to fully accept the sort of mental delays that would keep her from asking it in the first place. These thoughts alone send me into panic mode. Clammy hands, fast-beating heart, wet eyes. Either option sucks and I don’t want that morning, that realization, to come.

When my heart starts thumping wildly, and my tears start flowing uncontrollably, I try to calm myself down by referring back to that creed:

Start from what you know.

Last night, though, it felt like I knew nothing.

I don’t know if Ellie will walk. I don’t know if Ellie will speak understandably or articulately. I don’t know if Ellie will be able to keep up with grade-level school work. I don’t know if Ellie will be made fun of. I don’t know if Ellie will be mad at the world, at God, for her differences. I don’t know what her, what OUR future looks like.

All this unknown makes for a chaotic brain and a tumultuous heart.

And a post-crying headache.

So, maybe I need to sleep with the light on. Maybe I need to go for counseling. Maybe I need to be given a swift kick in the butt, because somewhere in the middle of the bedlam, I DO know that it could be worse. Maybe I need to be told over and over again that I have to stop dwelling on the negative “one morning”s and shift my nighttime wandering thoughts.

One morning Ellie might get out of bed on her own, grab her walker, and go to the bathroom like any other 7-year-old. One morning Ellie might ask me if she can have a sleepover with 10 of her BFFs. One morning Ellie might be all excited to go to youth group and talk to her peers about how God’s held her hand and enabled her to rise up despite her physical challenges. One morning Ellie may receive an acceptance letter from the University of Alabama.

So, how do I reconcile hope with reality; possibility with dashed dreams?

Maybe one morning I’ll have it all figured out.


Anonymous said...

Go ahead and turn the light on - metaphorically the same as "stop dwelling on the negative".

Choose your medicine - choosing alone will make you feel better - empowered. Your options list is very good.

1) counseling. Writing the blog probably helps, too, but having a trained-ear nearby is a stronger dose. Include your spouse if you choose this medicine. A few supportive comments here might make you feel better, too. Commenters are unlikely to provide medicine no. 2.

2) a swift kick in the butt. (Well, except me.) Read my latest post if you want medicine no. 2.

I do believe you have the capacity to adapt to your child's unfolding development. What really matters is whether you believe it.

Merry Christmas!

Barbara said...

Beautiful post. I wish I had words of wisdom for you but I don't. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. I share so many of the same thoughts, fears and feelings.

Sunny said...

Sweets you know I am here to listen, encourage and to just be. I am praying and believing AND holding your hope. Wrapping my arms around you now. I wish I could carry it all for you for a while. LOVE YOU!

Patyrish said...

My friend who also reads your blog told me I HAD to come and read this entry.

It brought me to tears. I couldnt have said it better but everything you said and thought I think on a daily basis. Some nights I have the same tears when I am laying awake thinking too much. The only way around this "mourning" for me is to refuse to think about it and to look to far scares the hell out of me.

I so get you.