Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When all else falls away

There is a poem called "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I have loved it for so long and particularly the last few stanzas,

" . . .It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away. . ."

I am back to work today. I am weary and bruised after weeks of grief and despair. My recovery has been slow. I know the stress of the fire we are headed into is part of the reason my body has resisted rest and healing. I saw my doctor yesterday, and he explained how much endometriosis he had to leave, particularly on my bowel. I saw the pictures. It is ugly. I need 6 months of Lupron shots. Essentially this will make me feel horrible and act like a crazy person. This isn't dramatic. It just is. He is willing to let me wait until after Danica's surgery to begin these shots, but I must begin them by November. We have to kill the growth on my other organs he could not remove.

We found out yesterday we have to go back to Cincinnati two weeks from today, Septemeber 28th, for an entire day of appointments on the spine side of her surgery. She will have bloodwork and see a pulmonologist and have an EKG. We will tour the hospital that day and hopefully begin to really talk to Danica about why she is having surgery again and what she will wake up to. I asked more questions yesterday. They will make Danica a special carseat for us to get her home after her long hospitalization. She will only be allowed to ride in a car home and then to post operative appointments. A car accident is one of the biggest threats to "ruining" the fusion. When I think about being in this house 3-4 months I just wonder if we will make it. And then I remember, our days were written when there were none of them. We have to make it.

All the details crowd my mind. The calendar and all the appointments here with her pediatrician and there in Cincinnati in two weeks and then before the actual surgery crowd the little squares. I have appointments. I have a million things to do that only a mom can do. No one can cross off these lists for me. The bills need to be paid ahead of time. The mail stopped. Little notes need written for Delaney to find so she will know I love her when we are apart. The list is growing and the days are disappearing.

Danica is turning three years old on October 3rd, two days before her surgery. We decided to have her party this coming Sunday at the Akron Zoo. I can barely make it up my stairs, and I am hosting a party at the Zoo? I don't have plates or napkins or juiceboxes. I know I could have someone else get them, but I want to. I want to make Danica's birthday special. Oh how I am resisting letting go of things I know don't matter in this grand scheme. I cherish celebrations, and we have missed too many.

Delaney turned 8 on Sunday. I got out of bed and took a shower and then I got back in bed to rest. I declared I was going up to Giant Eagle to get wrapping paper and balloons. It's only two blocks from our house. It was the first time I had driven. I forgot the Browns were playing and Giant Eagle would be mobbed with people. So, half way through my little list I start sweating and feeling like I need to pass out. I abandon my cart but no way was I leaving my balloons and wrapping paper. A sweet old lady got me a chair. She helped me check out my things and cut in the long lines and get to my car. The girls let those balloons go and watched them float away, and I was glad I pushed myself, but I knew how silly it was too. By the time I tucked Delaney in Sunday night I was in so much pain and so tired and so grumpy. I bet she will remember the balloons and let the grumpy slide, because that's what we do best here.

It hasn't been pretty. Our entire family has moved back to survival mode. This is something we know. We understand these relationships are built on something stronger than good days. We have loved one another through very hard times before. As we move towards Danica's looming surgery date on the calendar, October 5th, just three weeks from today, everything else falls away. What will sustain us THIS time?

I read these verses yesterday. "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE LIFE, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life." Deuteronomy 30:19-20 I know I have read them before many times, but it was as if God spoke them to me directly. My heart was hard and there was a root of bitterness. This powerful message dug it up in one big chunk and then watered my parched soul. We will keep choosing life. He will sustain us.

Your outpouring of love is part of His plan and purpose in our lives. Thank you. We have been wonderfully fed hand prepared meals for the last 14 days. I don't know why, but there is something so intimate about preparing a meal for someone and coming into their home and saying, "Be full and be well." I have never experienced this before, and I have been changed by it. Your cards and gifts and continued donations to our family are sometimes the way He reminds us, especially on really bad days, He has not turned away. Many of you have asked what you can do to help in the coming weeks, particularly while we are in Cincinnati. I plan to make a post of specific needs when I can. Your faithfulness mirrors His faithfulness.

Thank you most of all for praying. Please specifically pray for continued healing and strength for me. Please pray our family will stay well leading up to the surgery. It is imperative Danica be 100% healthy or they cannot move forward, and it has taken months to get this day set up. She is going to the pediatrician tomorrow for a runny nose and cough, so I am praying it is allergies or something that will pass quickly. After the Zoo on Sunday please understand we will probably stay away from public places and wash our hands even more than usual and hunker down for the storm coming. Lastly continue to pray for Delaney and our marriage and the strength of our family overall. We are praying God will shine through the darkness and get the glory for all He has and will continue to do.


(This picture is a VERY special gift Danica received from Dan's Uncle Ralph and Aunt Joyce, a beautiful quilt with a message. It will be treasured forever.)

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