This past weekend marked year seven….seven years ago Little Boy came quickly into the world…all 8lbs 2oz…chubby and already needing a haircut. Joy and celebration marked his entrance. We celebrated him with balloons, cake, his favorite foods and gifts. Little Boy is a constant reminder of restoration and that life has many little moments to savor and treasure. And above all else….Joy does come in the morning!
Reflecting on his birth cannot come without reflection on all the other circumstances swirling around his joyous entry. Life seemed to quickly spin out of control with no grace for catching ones breath.
2007, seemed to be a year of much celebration….The husband and I welcomed our third child at the dawn of the new year. We purchased our first home. Along with a huge celebration for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Old friends, and family gathered to bestow blessing and cheer. Four children and their spouses, twelve grandchildren, all dressed in the colors of fall…standing in a row….to witness the renewal of vows that carried through half a century.
Thanksgiving was glorious, complete with snow. White graced the ground that winter. December came and so did the flu. Thinking the stomach bug was lingering a little to long…finding I was pregnant with child number four. A little overwhelmed and excited, Christmas came and went.
January 2008 was all abuzz. Last year was good, business was booming, baby number three came and number four was on the way, a new house….it was going to be great in 2008!
Only after two weeks “great” came to a screeching halt. My dad calls informed me he was taking my mom to the hospital…fever of 104..she was talking crazy.
Running test…lots of phone call…second opinions…breast cancer….stage 4…chemo the only option…she says “no”. Trip to California for other treatment options, mid February. An then both parents coming to stay in Texas for six weeks for alternative medicine. Belly growing bigger…trips to the doctor each day for mom…some improvement…cancer looked to be retreating. My dad decides to go home to prepare for mom’s return. Six weeks came and went, mid July sneaks in the heat, and so does a bad case on pneumonia for mom. It was as if someone flipped an hourglass over and we watched as each grain of sand slipped through, so did her health and life.
By the end of July my emotions frazzled…I started to experience labor pains. August 2 rolled in in the darkness and so did Little Boy. He decided to come in such a hurry without the help of the midwives, leaving delivery up to the skills of my visiting aunt.
Friends came to bring food, gifts, warm wishes and to snuggle with our new bundle of joy. Having a baby around seemed to lift even my mom’s spirits despite her fragile health. And then…. almost as if Little Boy’s birth was a cam in the storm….the winds began to howl and blow…shaking us to our foundations.
Several days after our new arrival, my aunt, Little Girl, who was 18 months, and I went to run some errands. While loading everyone into the shopping cart, Little Girl took a tumble….head first. Weeping…managements concern…no lumps or bruising appeared. Waking the next morning to my dad’s return, not realizing that it would be the beginning of the end. That evening, my mom requesting a trip to the bathroom, was unable to stand…. calling the ambulance to come take her to the hospital…never to move her legs again. Within 24 hours of being admitted, she coded and was resuscitated. Hospital called…the request to please come quickly….change in status, I noticed Little Girl’s eye turning in….unable to straighten it. Finding a sitter, I quickly rushed off to the hospital with my dad, unsure of what we would find. ICU…ventilator…doctors and more doctors…consultations….no hope…should call in family to say goodbye. Bone weary, and emotionally depleted, I went to pick up Little Girl from the sitter. Only to find her eye worse and the sitter extremely concerned. Calling the doctor, promptly finding I needed to take her to the emergency room, CT Scan inconclusive, brain tumor could not be ruled out…needed to schedule an MRI.
I felt as if a hurricane had come to sweep me away…to be honest…at times I wish it would have.
September 8,2008 came and so did graduation day for my sweet momma….suffering complete…good fight of faith fought well….she went to be with the lover of her soul.
The next day, sitting in a different hospital, Little Girl, weary of doctors, gets the report of no tumor but additional testing needed.
As grief and exhaustion settled in, we packed our family, my dad, and aunt and headed to Ohio for final goodbyes.
As I write this, my heart swells with gratitude, for the spirit of comfort and how we were kept through a very traumatic season….this was just a thumbnail sketch. I write this story today, only because today I have so much hope and my heart is filled with joy. There may be someone reading this, who has or is walking through a very difficult season….even a hopeless season. But I want to speak courage to your heart, weeping may be for the night, but joy comes in the morning. You will be better because of this challenge as long as you do not become bitter. I realize that sounds a bit cliché, but it is truth.
History has a list on its resume, of individuals and cultures that faced trauma, adversity. and heartbreak, yet they made their mark in History for the good….not allowing the difficult season to dictate who and what they became. History also has the list of those who allowed bitterness to be their companion and only perpetuated their bitterness in the form of pain and suffering on others.
Let’s be in the ranks of those who rise out of the ashes of past seasons with beauty, and joy as our strength, wearing gratitude and praise as the latest fashion, so we can take our place as encouragement and strength to others who come behind.
Painting by Artful Home