Tomorrow is never promised

It’s been awhile and for good reason. First of all, following my last entry, my son is doing so much better. He is healthy, happy and managing his alcohol at an acceptable level for now. It wasn’t because of rehab. He just decided to pull himself together.

I am also doing better and not only because he is doing better. I had a very serious medical diagnosis and I did a lot of reflection, a lot of praying, and it finally hit home to me in a very real way that all of the worrying I have basically done my whole life has changed nothing. It has had a very negative impact on my health and well being and that was all that I gained from it.

I found out I had a brain tumor in late May of 2019.  I saw a neurosurgeon in early June and had craniotomy surgery in late June of 2019 to remove the tumor.  I didn’t know what would be the outcome. So after the diagnosis, I basically had one month to get my shit together.  My whole family pulled together and became my great support system. I prepared my will and my medical advance directive and did a lot of praying.

I thought I had always prayed the “right” way and at least in words, gave my family over to the Lord’s care. But you know, I said the words but I couldn’t cross that line of actually believing they could be in the Lord’s hands and would be okay without me. Until I was faced with my own possible demise, I never really took the step back to look at our family dynamics objectively. I had to take a lot of steps back and take a long hard look. I did a lot of praying and really releasing them from deep within my heart and into the hands of the Lord was not easy, but I did it. I gained a sweet peace when finally giving them over completely to the One that knows and loves them best.

I had three life changing moments that I want to share with you.

One, although I wanted the best probable outcome, through prayer I found peace that no matter what the outcome, it was a win/win situation for me. If I survived the surgery (which was risky due to the location), I would wake up to see the faces of my family. If I didn’t survive surgery, I would wake to find myself worshiping at the feet of Jesus. I could not lose!! But, I did pray that if it be at all possible, I would like to spend more time with my family. Even if I lived to be 100, time on earth is so short compared to Eternity. It was a selfish prayer I guess. But, since I am writing this right now, it was one that was answered. I cling to the peace that I have found in knowing, fully knowing, that my eventual death will not be anything to fear.

Second, I asked the Lord to send an angel to be by my side during surgery. Very clearly, in my thoughts, He replied: “oh honey, you won’t just have one angel, but a whole operating room full of angels”. And I saw it all in my mind. Me, on the operating table, and angels slightly behind each person on my medical team, whispering in their ears and guiding their hands. Other angels were behind them with their arms crossed over their chests, guarding. I remembered those words and that scene as I went into surgery.

Third, as I was being wheeled away to prepare for surgery, I looked at my whole family and realized that they would be okay without me.  We all had stood in a circle with our hands together in the waiting room and prayed. They were facing the possibility of that being the last time we might see each other. They were strong, they had each other and they were prepared.  That moment brought home how the dynamics of family changes.  To me, my husband and my children are my everything. But to them, they have gone on to have their own children and families and those people are their everything.  And, that is how it should be for them and I’m glad I raised them to love their families with all their might.

In closing, my surgery was a complete success. My neurosurgeon said there would be residual but he got all he could physically see. With residual, I would need follow up radiation and the post mri would show how much we were dealing with . My post MRI showed the tumor was successfully removed with no residual. Praise God. I will have another MRI in January of 2020 to see if there is regrowth.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story.

May you find peace in the midst of your own storms.

 

Give Up or Give Over

I’m finally back to my blog. My previous post was about my son, his depression, his failing marriage and my questioning of God.

I’m still floundering a bit. I seem to have this overwhelming need to “get it right” and if I get it right, all will be well. What exactly is “get it right”? That’s a very good question and one that I am still trying to find the answer.  If I get it right, will God hear and answer my prayers, will my children be healed from depression, ptsd and alcoholism? Will every day bring forth a new exciting revelation of hope and joy? This is ridiculous and I know it but I can’t seem to stop feeling like if I just tweak my parenting and praying and so on, all will have a fairy tale ending. In my mind I know that my driving desire to do all things right to get the best outcome is (1) somewhat self serving (2) putting myself in God’s shoes and (3) not wanting to accept the answers God has given me. And yet, I stop short of criticizing myself at being selfish or having selfish motivation. I just want my family to be healed and with that healing to have joy. I would give up my life for that, for them, so I don’t feel like I am being selfish.

Well, my son came and stayed with us for two weeks. He was very depressed and turned to alcohol which fed his depression which led to some suicidal thoughts. My only criteria for him staying with us was that he would not bring alcohol into our home. He agreed and kept that promise.  The first order of business was for him to see a doctor and he made the appointment within two days of coming to our home. He is trying a new anti depressant. Also, during that two weeks, we sat down with him and looked at managing his finances due to loss of a second income. That was enough for me to be depressed for him!! He makes enough money to pay his house payment, car payment, insurance and gas to drive to work. That’s it! No money for food, doctors, medicines and etc. So the first order of business was to explore options of earning additional income and he also came to the full realization of needing to find employment elsewhere. Progress. He is at his own home now.

So now, here is where it gets sticky. Al Anon says don’t be an enabler. But, I feel like we are dealing with more than alcoholism. We are also dealing with depression and suicidal tendencies. So, we (my husband and I) are in total agreement that with this quandry, we would do the very basics that Jesus tells us to do which is feed the hungry, minister to the sick and love.  So, when I thought about this from a Biblical perspective, I thought of a scenario of someone walking down the street and seeing a homeless person who was hungry and destitute. Would Jesus want that homeless and hungry person to be questioned about why and how they got in this condition and then the questioner decide if they or their circumstances  deemed them worthy of being fed? All are worthy. We will provide food and/or provide meals to our son as needed. He is always welcome to stay with us as needed. We will pay medical and doctor bills as needed. We will not give him money.  We will continue to provide guidance and encouragement in how to better his current financial state.

With all that being said, he is doing better and is figuring out a plan. He is preparing and fixing up his home so he can put it up for sale. After he sells his home, he has more options as to whether to relocate in a totally different geographical area or to stay in this area. He is getting job applications and seeking better employment. He is pushing himself to make more positive choices in interacting with people and doing activities instead of sitting home alone.  He has been to the doctor and is trying a new anti depressant.

I went through a long period of feeling like God had abandoned me. I still feel that way at times. But something in the core of my very being still believes and will always believe in God. I came to the realization that “giving over” to God was not the same as “giving up” on my son. Something inside of me has never been able to accept this seemingly simple but complex difference. Until recently.

Dear reader, may the God who provides peace during the storm, provide you with a feeling of peace, contentment and even joy.  I will always believe in my God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

 

36 Hours and Counting

Read Dysfunctional Thanksgiving, if you haven’t already, and then we will pick up from there.

36 hours from Thanksgiving Day and I don’t know what to expect. My sister sent a letter to my mom explaining why she feels the way she does. It really opened the door for reflection and reconciliation.  My siblings and I got a copy as proof that it was not mean spirited or hateful, which was most assuredly the accusation that would be hurled from the receiving end. The letter was very well written and had not one negative or hateful word. It was written in honesty and grace.

There was a bit of an instant messaging frenzy taking place between my mom and sister after the letter was read. Mom stating she was not invited to Thanksgiving, which the letter clearly states she was invited. Mom stating she never talks negatively about us, but which she does and so on and so on and so on.

Then, something in the air completely changed.

Within the span of just a few hours my mom went from angry mom to victim mom to martyr mom to super mom. My head is swimming but I like super mom. It’s a nice change. I hope she stays there. So, for now, I am just going to sit back, enjoy the show and pretend that this switch is real and forever and that we will have the perfect family relationship from now on. I know the switch will reverse itself in time from super mom to martyr mom to victim mom to angry mom but for now, I will just settle into this little happy spot and enjoy it. It feels like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day or being wrapped in my husband’s arms. Contentment.

My mom’s health is extremely bad and I would not be surprised if this is her last year on earth.  So, even though our relationship is extremely dysfunctional, I am thankful that she is with us, that she is trying to be less critical and that she is super mom today.  So, if your family relationships are a little rocky, try to see just one positive attribute of each person. Just one and then focus on it. It won’t fix everything and maybe not anything, but in the long run, it will help your own well being. God bless.

 

Aim high

My son asked me to make him a stained glass window. Eight years ago, I took one stained glass class. I said “sure, I would love to do it” because he rarely asks me for anything and I love him.

So, I just invested $400 in supplies and equipment.  I figured it was a good investment and maybe, just maybe, I’d get really good, sell my work and be independently wealthy. I thought I’d start out slow so I made teeny ornament with a total of 4 pieces. I was frustrated with it. Soldering just didn’t come natural. I gained a tiny bit of confidence, two burns and four cuts to my fingers.

Now, you would think I would start on another project with maybe 5 pieces so as to work my way up to the window. That is not how I do things. Project number two had 18 pieces and was 10 times larger than the ornament. No cuts or burns so I must be getting better. It took me a long time to complete it and I no longer have illusions of future wealth.  I figure I would make 50 cents an hour if I put it up for sale so I’m keeping it. It is hanging on a hook in my kitchen window and I am looking forward to seeing the sun shining through it in the morning. I’ve checked the hook four times. If the stained glass piece is laying broken on the floor in the morning, I will have a major crying fit.

I sent him a picture of  the 2nd finished piece via text.  He sent me a message back stating “I knew you could do it!” I feel so happy that he has faith in me.

Encourage one another at every opportunity. His words of encouragement make me push myself a little harder, not so I can please him by fulfilling his request, but because he believes in me.

Good night all and God bless.