“What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
As you may be able to tell from some of my recent posts, I feel like perhaps I am healing, little bits at a time. Like any major or traumatic life experience, time is by far the best healer but other things must also fall into place. It took me a very long time to heal completely from my divorce and the death of my grandparents, but this has been different. A few weeks ago, when I was having a rough day and got angry and burst into tears at something somewhat small but still a proverbial straw, KSP looked at me and asked me if I thought I would still be as bothered by certain things or upset about our experience if E had been ok. I looked at him, and with utmost certainty said probably not, but that was not to be our fate. Throughout our journey, I have lived in fear. I am not sure I could have properly articulated it even weeks ago, but today I sit here and can say it was fear.
The best way to describe it is to compare it to be caught in a blizzard in the forest. I was provided with all the things I might need to survive but the outcome was hazy and unclear.
– With my compass I knew the direction we needed to go, forward. (Intuition and self-education)
– With my warm clothes and shoes, my outer shell was protected. (Our many blessings of a home to live in, cars, to drive, a job, etc.)
– With food and nourishment, I could continue on day to day (support from friends, family and E & Q’s medical family, advocacy with March of Dimes,and this blog)
I knew we would somehow make it out, but I didn’t know when and I didn’t know how.
Each day seemed to bring a new animal or obstacle. I was scared to take them out, scared to let others in, any germs, sickness or set back could set us back.
Each day, we would figure out something new, how to live with oxygen tanks in our home and how to go out with one. How to apply medical supplies to E’s face so she could breathe. How to innovate to assist Q and E to do the things they needed to do (like tying E down into a papasan to sleep), how to navigate medical systems, insurance companies, and government agencies. How to collapse a stroller and install a car seat without daddy, and how to ask for what we need or represent our family to others who aren’t sure how to interact with us based on our situation. These were the wild animals in my forest. Unpredictable, sometimes aggressive, yet they could be tamed with patience, understanding and education.
It was a blizzard, until this:
On Saturday as I stood over these cupcakes, a feeling of safety washed over me. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at them and thought about what they symbolize. It had stopped snowing, the sun was shining and although the trees were still around me, they weren’t as dense as before. It wasn’t as cold, and I knew we would be ok.
The rest of the day was filled with joy, warmth, love, family, security, and acceptance. This was our journey. Q and E are our greatest blessings and we have been so blessed for all the people that have stood at the edge of the forest cheering us on. Sometimes you would come into hold our hand but it’s hard to enter when you aren’t fully let in because the forest is a little too scary to talk about and to say how you really feel or what you really fear, just might make it so.
Yesterday, hundreds of people came in to wish Q and E happy birthday. They called, texted, Facebooked, wrote here, tweeted, it was amazing. We crossed some sort of invisible finish line in a marathon I am not sure we knew were running and you were all there waiting for us, clapping, cheering, hugging us with your love and support.
Our journey of course isn’t over as E’s therapies and needs will continue to be a focal point of our journey, but we feel safe. I can breathe without the cold air stinging my lungs and for that I am ever so so so grateful. So thank you to you all.
Getting through challenging life experiences is often described as seeing the forest through the trees, which is exactly what Dr. K said to me on the day I have birth. “Remember to see the forest through the trees” as you go through the NICU. I have not forgotten this, and it’s so very appropriate. Doing this can most definitely help remind us all to make each day ‘ournewfavoriteday’ and that things will happen that feel overwhelming but remember you merely lost in the trees for a little or a longer while but if you can remember that, you can also look around and see that the forest is a beautiful place and if you can be there in good company and it’s not snowing or traumatic, you can be ok for today.
I wish you comfort, safety, and gratitude for today as whether you are temporarily caught in a blizzard or if the sun is shining. I am so grateful to have been and be here with you. Happy ‘newfavoriteday.’
Here are some photos from our party…pure joy.