The World kept on Turning

June 27, 2016

“I have been in Pennsylvania with  my family for four days. I did not bring any of the kids but Judah. It has been so hard. My family both here and away has been so supportive. I just continue to feel like a failure. Taking care of Judah twenty four hours a day has been so hard. I have not taken care of any of my children for a full twenty four hours since Judah was born. I went to see my best friend from high school on my second day here. Their new house was amazing. My friend was adorable and pregnant with her first baby. Life looked good for them. When I left, I began to cry and called her to apologize for not acting like myself. She was so wonderfully understanding. I cried the entire way home. I hate being sick and I hate being reminded that I am.

Yesterday we went to my aunt and uncle’s pool. It was lovely, my aunt didn’t know I had tried to commit suicide until I was there. Afterwards, she told me she heard a pastor say that suicide was the most selfish thing you could ever do. It hurt me to the core. I just never thought anyone could ever think that about what I did. Her friend was there. She was such a blessing. She lost a sister, had depression , and had contemplated suicide. She defended me. What a praise! 

Today, I woke up feeling depressed and like a failure.”

The road to recovery is rocky. You never know what each day will bring. Some are easy and smooth, others harder. Even when the meds are working, there will be bad days. Bad days were so hard for me. They scared me. I was constantly worried about a replace. Never knowing what the next five minutes would hold or where triggers would come from was paralyzing. 

Seeing my friends and family moving forward with their lives was crippling. It wasn’t their fault. They were just living their lives, but when you experience trauma, your world stops.  You go into survival mode and the world keeps turning. People get married, have babies, buy houses, graduate college, get raises, go on vacations. It feels like punch to the gut to see others blossoming when you are falling into the pit. Those two years, are almost completely lost in my mind. If it wasn’t for my journal, I wouldn’t even remember them. I even lost the first two years of my baby’s life. Someone just asked me yesterday whether he was a good baby, an easy baby. I can’t remember. It was as if time froze for two years, and when I opened my eyes, everything had changed. It was almost as if I was living someone else’s life, when I got back into the real world. My friends babies were now two, jobs had changed, people got married, people moved, people were pregnant. 

It was so hard to know how to plug back in. People didn’t understand what I was feeling. They didn’t know how to react. They some kind things and some cruel things. It was hard. I felt outcast, like I didn’t fit in anymore. Though, I couldn’t remember if I ever really had. My life had changed, I had changed, but the world had kept on moving without me.

Failure

June 12, 2018

Failure. It is a word that has been plaguing me. I feel that I am not alone in this. My heart wanted to reach out to you. To see if you can relate. To tell you that the Lord sees you. His face shines upon you. To encourage not only you, but myself, with his word. 

There are so many seasons of life that are hard. They are weighty. We can collapse under the burden, if we are not careful. It seems that life is pulling in all directions. Everywhere I turn, I see more that I could be doing, or that what I am doing better I could be doing better.. Life and people are so quick to remind me when I do not measure up. Right now, it is my family. I have lost my job, due to my mental health and transitioned to a stay at home mom. This has been so hard. I feel like I should have been able to handle it all. The death of my brother, a fourth baby, post partum psychosis, and work. It didn’t work out that way. The Lord took my job from me, because he knew better than I did. I miss it, however, I was good at it. I showed up to work on time, performed well, served my patients. They gave me positive feedback, others told me they were impressed with my profession, my bosses even encouraged me. I felt I had purpose.

When I got sick, it felt like everything was stripped away, and I was in chaos. I was loosing grip on all that I held dear. My standards for my success were torn back. I was left with myself, and Christ. Overtime, I have let what I deem as failures define me. It is overwhelming. I was even creating lies in my own mind about ways I had failed. They were not from the Lord, they were not from those around me. They were from the enemy in my mind. This sense of loss of self began to over take me.

It all came to a head this past week. I had gotten up early to get everything ready for my day. I prepared in advance, my list of things to accomplish. I rolled out of bed and got going. The plan was to get dinner in the crock-pot, get things packed for three of my kids to go to an water park, get the house straightened for friends coming for dinner, and get out the door to meet friends on time at the water park. As soon as I woke up, my daughter was complaining. She was going to theater camp and would be missing the day at the water park. She told me how horrible I was that I would be going without her. I felt defeated. I felt like I was trying to me her needs and my boys needs and no one was happy. Then, my sweet husband decided to go into work late. He wanted to spend one on one time with me. This hadn’t been in my plan. After shifting some things around, I could give him all of five minutes. He told me how hurt he was that I couldn’t just stop all that I was doing and be with him. This is a legitimate request, but I just couldn’t do it. I was trying to meet my friends at the water park on time and get Caroline to camp. I broke down. Everyone in my immediate circle was unhappy with me. I, honestly, was most unhappy with myself. I was exerting all of this energy for people that weren’t satisfied. My husband saw my hurt, and corrected my feelings. He said he didn’t see me as a failure, but it was too late. The enemy planted that lie, that lie I already believed and it was growing at a rapid rate. I was a failure. I believed it, I embraced it.

I got in the car and put on a podcast to fill my heart with some truth. The Lord spoke to me in that moment. He revealed that I was embracing the title of failure. I wore it on myself like a large “F” that everyone could see. However, that is not how he saw me. He saw me with an “R,” redeemed.  As I contemplated that I needed to write a  post about women feeling like failures, he drew me to John 8.

“but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

This woman was dragged in front of Jesus condemned by the world. She was wearing the failure on her chest like a badge. She saw the people waiting in the wings to tell her what a failure she was. That she was undeserving of love, that she hadn’t earned it. But then Jesus, saw her brokenness and pain and responded with grace. He saw the brokenness of the accusers. They were all wearing the letter “F.” None was perfect. However, despite their imperfection, the weren’t condemned. They were justified by their faith. That is how the Savior sees us. That is how he sees me. The world wants to label me as a failure, for me to live under that burden, but Christ wants me to be free. He wants me to walk upright as a child of the True King. He came to set me free from condemnation, not to embrace it. 

If you are wearing the badge of failure, let me remind you today that Christ sees you as free. You are justified and redeemed. Your best is enough because Christ fills in the gaps. We do not have to walk this path alone. Our worth is not determined by our actions but by the redemption of our hearts. Walk upright today. Stand uncondemned. Let those around you that want to cast stones fall away until you are standing before the King of the Universe, fully known and fully loved. You are not a failure, you are worthy.

Martha

June 6, 2016

“We just returned from a weekend together at Dollywood Dreammore Resort. We spent three nights and it was great. We went to Splash Country twice and Dollywood once. The kids had a blast! We had sitters come along to help. It was much needed. With all four, Brian and I got little to no sleep at all. That is par for the course. Having these little ones so close together can be a little chaotic. Extra hands are always welcome. 

I used to enjoy that people said, “I don’t know how she does it, or, You’re supermom.” I have learned that while it takes great stamina and a “go getter” personality to achieve being able to do things alone, what’s the payout? I had accumulated physical, emotional, and psychological exhaustion. Being placed in a mental health facility. It takes courage and humility to admit you need help. I am learning there is nothing wrong with it. I know God designed us for community and raising our families should be in community.”

This was one of the bigger lessons I learned from being sick. I am grateful that the Lord let me hit rock bottom, so I would no squander the rest of my life. I had bought into the lie that so many women do. “You have to do it all, do it alone, and look good doing it.” Almost all of the women in the facility with me had the same problem, we were overachievers. This is not biblical, it is from the enemy. Without margin in our lives, Satan traps us. He isolates us, takes our time away from focusing on the Lord, and leaves us utterly exhausted. Unfortunately, with social media, it is easier than ever before to believe that this is what normal should look like, believing we are not fulfilling our duty as a woman unless we are maxed out.

Luke 10: 38-42 is a beautiful picture of this. It is the biblical history of Jesus meeting with Mary and Martha. Martha was busy preparing the house, cleaning, cooking, etc. She was doing it all on her own. She even believed that what she was doing was the best choice. Performance was the stick with which she measured her success. She, however, was tired. She needed help. She was so consumed with what she was doing she didn’t stop to rest with Jesus, she wanted to push through and for Mary to join her. At the feet of Jesus she found her truth. 

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Don’t we often do what Martha did? We are overwhelmed and weary. We are consuming ourselves with doing. When we need help, we don’t ask for help so we can take a step back, we ask for help to bring someone else into our overwhelming circumstances. 

The Lord showed me what he revealed to Martha. What Mary already knew. If we consume ourselves with the doing, and the island mentality, we will miss out on the Savior of the universe. We will push through our days. We will not stop and cling to him in every moment of our lives, we will not be surrendering to him. We will begin to believe that we need him less than we do. We will begin to slide ourselves onto the throne of our lives and push Christ aside. Martha was in Jesus’s presence and all she could think of was duty. The next thing. She was more concerned with impressing the Savior of the world than learning from him, than resting in him. 

I wonder what happened next. The Bible doesn’t tell us. Did Martha fall at Jesus’s feet? Did she change her ways? Did she repent? We don’t know. But the question is not as much about Martha as it is about us. What will you do? Will you hear the call of your Savior to created margin in your life? Will you say “no” to more and “yes” to less? Will you sit and snuggle with your kids, turn off the TV, listen to the silence, enjoy your child’s birthday rather than trying to impress the guests, play more games, throw away the “to-do” list, observe the beauty God created? When people ask what you are doing, will you be content to say, “nothing?” Will you stop today and rest at the feet of your Savior. Not just for ten minutes during your quiet time, but as a discipline? There is a more full, better life waiting at the feet of Jesus, waiting in the margin, the quiet still moments. It is filled with rest, peace, and joy. When did you last feel these things? If you don’t know, maybe you are being like Martha. Pray and ask God to reveal to you what resting at his feet looks like. Don’t miss it.

Forgiveness

June 1, 2016

“This journey is so long and tiring. I am overwhelmed at times but my mood is stable. My medications are helping so much. I think we finally found a great combination of medication. My fatigue comes and goes. I am finally spending more time with the kids. I am so glad.

Hunter’s autopsy report came back. I only read the summary. I decided to wait on reading the full report. It was traumatizing for Brian and my family to read. I don’t want to retraumatize myself. On Sunday, at church, I finally got to the place where I forgive the doctors and nurses who were responsible for Hunter’s death. The reason being a report from one of our missionaries in the Philippines. The missionary shared that little girls who had been sold by their parents to do sexual favors for men in the Philippines. The very men who were supposed to be helping them. These girls were forgiving these men. If these precious girls could forgive someone that brutalized them, I can forgive the people that killed my brother. I suspected, however, I may change my mind after reading the autopsy. So, I decided not to read it.”

Learning more details about Hunter’s death was what I believed held the key to my healing. I thought the more facts I had, the better off I would be. The more time that passed, I realized that the answers weren’t the key to my recovery. It was my forgiveness of these people and the forgiveness of God that would lead to that freedom. Others have forgiven people for far worse. Forgiveness, I also realized, wasn’t something that would happen all at once. Forgiveness would be more progressive. It would come in bits and pieces. Honestly, it wasn’t based on others at all. I used to think I could forgive, if I knew that these people were sorry. In the end, it wasn’t true, it was me. My ability to forgive was intrinsic. It was a letting go, a trusting.  It was ultimately between me and the Lord. I had to trust him that his plan was perfect and better than my own. As well, I was forgiven. I received my salvation and freedom through forgiveness. My sins were blotted out as far as the East is from the West. It wasn’t based on how well I performed or a list of qualifications. My forgiveness was based totally on my heavenly father’s unconditional love for me. If I was forgiven much, I must forgive others much. Someday, I hope to see some of the people that killed my brother and to be able to forgive them to their faces. I want them to walk in freedom and to experiences the peace that comes with that. If they ever read these, I want them to know they are forgiven completely. 

My Puzzle Piece

May 19, 2016

“Another time in the Ingles parking lot with a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato. Today is Maddox’s Creek Stomp field trip.  I am so grateful I feel well enough to go today. Praise be to God! I hope and pray that this continues and that Latuda continues to work well. I am so thankful for the time to spend with the Lord. Time for healing that my husband and family has been a part of. I am worried about Judah. He has been fussy compared to usual. Two days ago he vomited three times. He fusses with his formula but drinks lots of pedialyte. It leads me to think he may be intolerant. I want him to feel well again and I am praying for healing. 

I am grateful, today, for life and the love of my Savior.”

May 23, 2016

“Dear Hunter,

I miss you more than I have missed anything in my whole life. I feel like I fell asleep and woke up to half of my body missing. It is traumatizing, hard to understand, painful. I am loosing you. I can’t feel you. It is like the movie, Back to the Future. I feel like Marty McFly looking at the picture of his siblings in childhood and they are slowly fading away. You feel just beyond reach. My love for you is just as big as ever. 

I love you everyday, every moment. Everything reminds me of you. I am scared of the future without you. I wish you were here so we could grow old together. I love you so deeply, in a way I see others don’t understand. I am torn between being grateful for that love and aching from the pain of that love. I hate that getting to see you again means never being a part of this world again. The trade is not right. I am still needed here. But, so are you. What do you think about what is happening? Do you agree with the trial over medical malpractice? How can we gain from your loss? I wish I could understand God’s plan the way you do now. I wish I could embrace you one last time. I know I will recover but not seeing you one last time will haunt me until the end of my days. 

I wear you now. You travel with me. I have to be your now. I represent you to our family. We are like two puzzle pieces. I cant be you but my edges match you. You are seen because I am marked with your form.”

Getting better and improving on my medication was a breath of fresh air. It gave me hope that there was a future for me. Transitioning away from breastfeeding to formula was hard. It was emotionally hard on me and physically hard on Judah. My kids all have significant dairy intolerance. I felt robbed. I felt angry. It was another way the doctor’s and medical staffs mistakes took from me. In their mind it was a singular mistake. They couldn’t see the ripple. The way their mistakes spread like a toxin, hurting everything in its path. It would take forever to come to grips with my grief and anger. I knew I had to forgive the people that contributed to his death, but I was not yet there. I will say the anger gained me nothing. Forgiveness would be freedom, freedom to move forward and heal. That still, however, felt like a betrayal of Hunter. I owed him that anger, as irrational as it sounds because he wasn’t here to be angry for what was taken from him. I was trapped by my pain, I would have to let it go.

The abyss inside my soul was still there. I wasn’t carrying his memory. I was consumed with it. My life drastically changed. I felt like I took on a  new roll with his death. I was, now, an only child. All of my parents hopes, dreams, and fears fell on me. I longed for another sibling to confide in. People often forget about the sibling. Everyone was consumed with my parents grief and my sister-in-laws grief. People note it, address it. Rarely do people think about the siblings. They sit on the side, in the shadows. Broken, never the same. They take on the weight of their lost siblings identity. It is such a pressure. Their grief hurts their parents. So, they feel the burden of needing to act like everything is okay. They feel the need to put on a brave face, when they are breaking inside. The stress and pressure to be all things to all people to fill in the void left by their sibling is suffocating. 

I am glad I chose to feel my pain. So many push their pain aside. They try to move forward because others think that they should. They feel pressure to be okay or to grieve the right way. I grieved terribly. It was all consuming and life taking but it was my way. I didn’t act how I believed I should, but I felt every aching moment. I am not glad for all that I went through but I am glad I grieved my best way. I can look back at the journey and see the fingerprints of God, sitting with in my pain all along the way.

A Starbucks Employee

May 12, 2016

 “I am doing horribly. My mood has dipped from anxiety into depression. Brian has become short with me and I can not take it. I don’t want to do this to my family again. I don’t want to go through inpatient again.  The thought literally takes my breath from my lungs. The pain and darkness sneaks up so quickly. I really thought I was going to be healed. Now I feel hopeless. I don’t want to go through this again. I am upset because I was doing well, then we changed my meds. Now, I am worse. I am angry. Why wont God heal me now?”

May 18, 2016 

“I am just sitting here and writing in the Ingles parking lot. I got myself Starbucks. It is so crazy that the Starbucks employee named Hunter is gone. I first noticed him on my first night of Grief Share, when I stopped going to Grief Share, he was no longer an employee. 

I have switched to a new medicine called Latuda. I feel a lot better and more like myself. I started it on Saturday night. My taste has returned. I can taste sweet things again. My body feels more calm again. I don’t feel as anxious. My weight gain is under control again. 

I am able to pray and begin growing in my relationship with God again. I am so glad. I am in a place where I feel God molding me into a better version of myself. I feel more peaceful, emotionally invested, and desiring to focus on others. It is a good place.”

What a difference a week and some new medication can make. It demonstrates the effect of being on the wrong medications. Trust yourself, when your medications aren’t making you feel the way you know you should. There are different drugs and better ones. No one can predict what medication will work for what person and how. Only time and trial and error will help. Make sure you are with a psychiatrist who understands this and is willing to work with you.  Latuda was such a great medication for me. I knew I needed a mood stabilizing medicine after such an improvement when starting Risperdal. Saphris was an absolute disaster. Latuda became my drug of choice. I would remain on it for the duration of my treatment.

Grief Share was such a great experience. The first night was so scary for me. I drove to the church and turned around. I decided I wasn’t ready and went to Starbucks for a coffee. My barista’s name was Hunter. He even looked like a high school version of my brother. I don’t believe in coincidence. So, I took it as a sign that Hunter was with me and drove back to Grief Share. Grief Share is a program that can be found in many churches across the country. The curriculum was written by a couple that lost three of their children.  The now run retreats across the country to help parents that have lost a child. I didn’t fit in well at Grief Share. It was mostly widows with a few parents who lost older children. However, my story gripped these people. A few precious widows drew around me and gave me such great support. It was such a blessing. However, as my mental illness developed I found  that I couldn’t keep going. I wanted to withdraw from social situations. So, I stopped going. The last night I went, Hunter was no longer an employee of Starbucks. He had worked every shift during my time at Grief Share. It felt like my journey with Grief Share was over, at least for a season. So, I said goodbye and moved along on my journey. 

A Misplaced Zero

May 11, 2016

“The past few days have gone well. I feel like I am starting to get back to myself. We went to church on Sunday. It was wonderful. I do feel healing is coming. It will take time. My heart aches over Hunter’s death. I still cant believe he is gone. It feels more tangible now that I am recovering. It makes me want to push back. The void is too great. 

We found out there was a mistake in Hunter’s chart. Hunter was receiving 2 mg of Dilaudid instead of 0.2mg. The doctor didn’t write the “0” first. They, also, pushed it all at once, instead of over 5-10 minutes. His BP was dropping in the hours before he died, but they ignored it. Heartbreaking.

Symptoms: 

10lbs. weight gain since starting Saphris

loss of taste (as it dissolves orally)

memory trouble

constantly thinking of new projects

racing thoughts

increased anxiety

wanting to work out for hours

wanting to buy everything

I am stressed out, anxious, and not doing well. After I got home from the Griffith’s (dropping off the kids), I was not doing well. All day, I had been working on tasks around the house, moving busily from one thing to the next, not wanting to think obsessively about projects, vacations, or financial needs. Right before Brian got home I weighed myself. I had gained almost 10 lbs. in a week and a half. I tipped my mood. I was anxious and wanting to stop eating and go exercise. I don’t want to stay on a medicine that damages my ability to taste and causes weight gain. I decided to use the elliptical for 30 minutes, after an hour and a half of yoga. Then, I went to take care of the baby. I can feel my mood tipping from anxiety to depression. I am fearing going back to UNC. I am afraid I might not get better, though I feel like the Lord revealed to me heal me.”

Changing medications and finding the right combinations is incredibly stressful and anxiety provoking. Each one giving hope of feeling better than on the last but also waiting until it reveals what side effects it will give you. Psychiatric medication prescribing is not a science. It is not as cut and dry as other specialties. There is so much trial and error. As well, the medication is chemically changing your brain. This leads to your entire body reacting. The side effects are sometimes tolerable and other times distressing. Saphris was horrible for me. It was more distressing than tremors and not being able to walk. Uncontrolled weight gain with loss of taste and not enjoying food was terrifying. I couldn’t wait to get off of it. Luckily, my psychiatrist saw how it was affecting me and changed my medication immediately.  To anyone trying to find the right combination of medications. Be patient, document symptoms and side effects so you can really see how things are affecting you. Be honest with your psychiatrist or medical provider about how these medications make you feel. Their job is to help you find the right combination so you can begin healing. I know it can feel so distressing that you actually feel worse than before you started, but the right combination will give you the life you dream of, push through.

Finding out some of the truth about Hunter was both refreshing and crippling. In the months to come, we would find out details that would let us know that the perfect storm of events had taken place to lead to Hunter’s death, However, it was sickening to find out the misplaced zero was all it took to take my brother’s life. As a nurse, they give you tests where all you have to do is write in a zero to remind you how important it is. That someone could be so careless when writing the prescription and reading the results led me to such frustration. As well, his blood pressure was decreasing and they ignored it. It confirmed what we had thought, his death was preventable. If you still have more questions about what happened, you should. It would take months for us to find out all of the details. 

The Canaanite Woman

May 8, 2016

“Today was Mother’s Day! My gift was some friends of ours coming over and giving our back deck a makeover. They put pads on our chairs and bench, added flowers and planters, and an outdoor rug. It is gorgeous! This morning we went to church and dedicated Judah. It was wonderful. Church was on the Cannanite woman. She begged Jesus to just give her the tinniest amount of attention, though she did not deserve it. I have been her. I have begged God for help and desired just the scraps of his healing love. I felt the pull on my heart, as I approached the altar to weep and pray. I felt God say, “That is why the journey had to be so long and so painful. I needed the pain and severity to be so great that event the greatest doubter wouldn’t be able to explain the restoration of your life. It is complete and now begins the healing.” I believe. I believe that now restoration will come.”

It was such a blessing to have friends draw around me and give me something I couldn’t give myself. Having this gift of a nice outdoor space to go and get away was wonderful. So many people, during this season, just abandon us. They didn’t call and check in. They weren’t in the messy days. They simply went back to their own lives, when our lives became messy. It really broke my heart and made me angry with The Church as a whole. Christians were supposed to emulate Christ and get down in the trenches with the broken and hurting. However, we so often want to stay in the comfortable. We don’t want to be inconvenienced by other people’s struggles. We want to stay in our ivory towers where things look easier and prettier. Those, however, weren’t the people that brought healing to my life. They weren’t the people who showed me the love of Christ. The people who saw my pain and responded with authentic love. Those were the hands and feet of Christ that reached into the dark places of my heart and shined light. They were the ones that gave me hope that I wasn’t broken beyond repair. They were the ones who helped bring me out of the pit. To them, I am grateful.

Mother’s Day was, also, a hard day. I felt like such a failure. I was sick and making life harder for my own mother and my children. I felt unbelievable guilt. But I tried to push it aside, to go to church and truly hear the message that day. I could relate to the Canaanite woman. She believed in Jesus’s power. She didn’t come front and center demanding it. She was humble, begging for even the crumbs. She knew that anything Jesus could give would heal her demon possessed daughter. I have been there. In the hopeless state of illness, believing there would never be healing. However, the crumbs gave me hope. I knew it wouldn’t take a lot to heal me, even Jesus crumbs would be enough. I would sit and wait for the crumbs of his light and love to fall down upon me. He gave them to me that day. Hope. I would forget about this day, overtime. As he didn’t tell me he had healed me that day. That day was later. Much later. There would be more struggle to come before being released from my pain. It would be almost two years to the day before the healing came. But that day, I was given hope that this might now last forever. I held onto my crumbs, grateful for every one.

A Hole In My Heart

May 6, 2016

“There is a hole that cant be filled. It resides in my heart and my soul. It is Hunter’s place. All I have left are my memories, pictures, and movies. I can’t fathom that I don’t get to see him again until I die. What a joyous day that will be. Suicide is hard to let go of. The pain is there. There is no escape. I know I am needed here and I want to stay, just without the pain. God has a purpose to all of this. However, I still feel blind. I can not see.”

In the early days after coming home, things were such a roller coaster. I never knew, when I woke up, whether today would be a good day or bad. It was so hard to surrender to the fact Hunter was gone. I fought against it with every bone in my body. I didn’t want to accept it because it made it real, true. I held onto the pain so I wasn’t moving on. I felt that to be a betrayal of my brother. I felt that, if I didn’t get better, I was betraying my family on Earth. I felt that if I let go and moved forward, I was betraying my brother. The not getting to say goodbye was what haunted me most. I never got to say those final words. I never got to know that he was aware he was dying and was okay. I didn’t know what his last moments were like. It haunted me not knowing if he was in pain or scared. I blamed myself for not knowing what was going on with his medical care and not intervening. The words “If I had only known….” haunted me. That and the fact that days before he died I begged him not to have the surgery. I told him that he didn’t really need his tonsils removed. I reminded him of the risks of anesthesia. As usual, he reminded me that I was over reacting and he would be fine. If we had only known.

Suicide was something that was so hard to give up. It was like an addiction, it was something I cringed to for dear life. Ironic, I know. Knowing it was an option kept me going. I knew that if things got too bad, I could make it all stop. It was a source of control. After the hospital, it was used against me. I knew that if I tried again, it was likely I would go back to the psychiatric hospital. I knew if I cut, I would loose my family’s trust and they would continue to view me as broken. So there was this inner turmoil, always at the back of my mind. The back and forth and stress was maddening. My mind was a whir of thought at all moments of the day. I had started to loose track of what was sane and what was not. The days ahead would be long and hard.

May the Fourth Be With You

May 3, 2016

“The morning has been really hard. We changed my medicine last night. I doubled my Saphris (which I had changed to eliminate my symptoms on Risperdal). I dropped my morning Lithium. I was doing well and then started becoming agitated. I, then, became tired and went back to sleep. I am feeling a bit better now. I am journaling, did yoga, and prayed. I am feeling a bit foggy. 

Hunter’s birthday is tomorrow. I am a little nervous about how the day will be. I miss him so much. I want to hug him tomorrow. I hate the firsts we have to go through without him. It reminds me that I will keep aging and he will not. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to get older without a sibling. It takes my breath away to think about it. I want a moment for us on his birthday. To feel our bond and know he is okay. 

Psalm 139:11-12 – “If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

Reminds me of how limited my perception is to God. He doesn’t see my circumstances as I do. He sees the whole picture. I may feel I am in such pain and darkness but he sees through it all.

Psalm 135:3-4 – “Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession.”

The Lord chose Jacob. He knew Essau would trade his birthright for food. He knew Jacob would capitalize on his brother’s weakness. He knows what will happen to me. The Lord vindicates us and has compassion on us.

May 5, 2016

“Today has been a good day. Yesterday was harder. It was Hunter’s Birthday. We went to yoga class. I bit off too much with the class I chose. Brian and I kept looking at each others with each new pose. We all wore Star Wars shirts, released white balloons with letters tied to them, and ate dirt dessert. To cap it off we watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Changing medications to try and reduce side effects was exhausting. Each one would change how I felt, possibly bringing on new or worse side effects. It was a constant rollercoaster. Each change gave me hope we were about to find the right combination. However, I had no understanding of how long this would take. 

Hunter’s Birthday was May 4. It was so hard to face that day. I couldn’t handle the fact that I was aging and he had stopped. I kept seeing visions of myself looking in the mirror as an old woman and his picture sitting there with his twenty five year old image. Never getting a single day older, never getting wrinkles, never having more children or growing a family. I mourned aging, not for myself but knowing he couldn’t.

I wanted to do things, that day,  that reminded me of him, but had to be careful not to overwhelm myself with grief. Yoga was super helpful, but I decided to increase our intensity level. That is a pitfall of my personality, when something is enjoyable, I have to crank it up a level. Sometimes this gets me in trouble. 

We went to Disney Store to get everyone Star Wars shirts. It was so fitting, as Hunter loved Star Wars. He was born on May the Fourth, so what can you expect. Reaching back for good memories from happier times was a positive experience. It was great to write him a letter and explain how I was feeling. The kids and I tied the letters to the balloons and took them outside to release them. When we let them go, a huge gust of wind came. The balloons we lifted up along the roofline and went down the backside of the house. When we got to the back of the house to see them float away, they were gone. We never found a single one of the balloons. It was as if they really did go directly to him. The Lord was faithful to provide me comfort during these days and to remind me that he saw me right where I was, in the midst of my suffering. I was not there by accident. He had placed in that exact moment at that exact time.