Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hitting the bottle

This has been a year. For any of you that have been following my blog you know what I'm talking about. We started the year finding out we were expecting our third child (surprise!) and then 8 days later we lost my father in law suddenly and tragically. Just weeks after that we began our 23 week bed rest journey with a trip to the ER when I hemorrhaged and we thought I had lost the baby. After losing his father just weeks before my husband had to hear that he could lose me and/or the baby. Thankfully this was not the case. But that trip to the ER set off a series of events that kept us busy trying to keep our baby, our home, any form of insurance, and any last bit of sanity we had. You'd think that once our son was born the weight would be lifted but the hits kept coming when the baby & I were involved in a car accident caused by an under aged drunk driver. A few weeks after that I had surgery to have my gall bladder removed. Busy, Busy, Busy.

I'm, surprisingly, not complaining about any of this. I am grateful for each of these things as God has provided grace in each of these circumstances. My Pastor recently said that God does not give us our circumstances but rather He gives us the means to overcome them. A message I needed to hear this year and the truth in that statement is abundant. Now that we are past each of these circumstances I can see the lesson I learned in each. The strength we have gathered and the love that was provided to us by those around us so that we can survive it.

There is one exception. My father in law's death. Each of our other circumstances had an expiration date. Pregnancy ends with healthy baby. I'll find another job. Physical therapy heals the wounds from the accident. And surgery takes care of the bad gall bladder. But the sudden and extremely unexpected death of someone you love dearly is something that doesn't have an expiration date. It's something that we now have to learn to walk with. It will be with us forever. Especially my husband. His father was his best friend. They talked several times a week from across the country. We video chatted, emailed, texted, and visited regularly. My father in law was so excited about the new baby. He loved us and we loved him.

My husband was able to head to Tennessee right after it happened to help arrange the funeral and help settle affairs. And I am so grateful for that. But the issues with our pregnancy started so soon after that my husband refocused his energy and emotions. He was not going to lose me and the baby too. He spent the whole pregnancy tenderly caring for me and our other two boys. He cooked, cleaned, drove, attended appointments, disciplined, and held me when I cried. He was my hero. All of this kept his brain busy and he took all of the mourning for his father and stuck it in the bottle. Then after the baby was born healthy and strong, we got hit by a drunk driver and his focus stayed on us. More went into the bottle. Just as things were settling down I went in for surgery and my husband was left caring for me again. The bottle is getting pretty full.

Finally I recovered and I am able to help take care of our family and lighten my dear husband's load. But there's a few more things lurking around the corner. They say that the first year after a loved one dies, the survivors experience "The year of firsts". Between October 12 and Jan 23 my husband will have endured his 40th birthday, Veterans Day (his father was air force), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, our son's 4th birthday, and finally the anniversary of his father's death. These will all be the first time my husband has faced these occasions without a phone call from his father. POP! The top is off the bottle!

So how do we navigate this? How do I ensure that I am the wife he needs me to be? How does he say goodbye to his father without feeling like he's letting him go? I feel as though each of our vows has been tested this year. But we will prevail. My husband was an amazing example of love and husbandry this year for me. So I will support him, cry with him, talk with him, listen to him, pray for and with him, and love him with everything in me. We will learn to walk with this. We will learn to live despite this. We will always love his father and each other. God is good and He will provide.

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