Monday, November 19, 2007

Ch-Ch-Changes

Yesterday was such a blessing to all of us. It gave us such joy and such respite to help us keep moving forward.

David's mom had flown in 48 hours after David's stroke and was here for 2 weeks; she flew home yesterday morning. We could not have made it without her. She kept this household running, was constantly washing dishes, doing laundry, doing yardwork, grocery shopping, picking up. I am convinced she can do more in one morning than I can in a three month period of time!! Seriously!! She was also constantly on call for transportation needs (a really big deal with 3 kids at two different schools, with lots of actvities and so on) and to free me up to be where I needed to be without even having to think about anything else. THANKS MOM!

On the home front, Mom has gotten us past those early days of shock and uncertainty. Having her gone is going to be a big change, but we are now on much more solid ground to take it from here. We'll see how it goes.

We had not shared this, but I think it's probably an appropriate time to "go public." I'm sure I won't express this well, and I'm not sure I even want to, in fact it's a little scary to do so, but it feels like I should - so here goes:

What has happened in our lives recently would have been a HUGE jolt and change anyway, but there is an extra dimension that most people don't know. A number of years back we had an experience that was just as life-changing, maybe more so, but it was NOT one we felt free to share widely at the time - or since. Due to medication I was on for an autoimmune disorder, I was plunged into a very severe depression that lasted for 4 years (March 1999-January 2003) - until we finally found a doctor who could correctly diagnose and treat me. That experience altered our lives significantly and permanently. At that time David took on EVERYTHING in terms of caring for our children, our home, our yard, continuing his full time work, caring for me, and all else. I have been well for nearly 5 years and am in no danger of relapse, but the roles had been what they were for so long, and we were both so comfortable with them that they never entirely shifted back. David continued to keep up much of what he had been doing, getting the kids off to school, grocery shopping, doing the laundry, making dinner, paying the bills, ETC! Things have not been anywere near 50/50 around here in terms of household roles for nearly a decade, but that has worked for ALL of us. The kids were used to that routine; David was comfortable with it (I think he didn't want to give some of it up again, because he had everything running like clockwork and took pride in that!); and it has allowed me to work AND pursue graduate studies, which benefits our family too but in a different way. That's just all been our norm for a very long time. It's just how we have come to operate. We've now experienced TOTAL role-reversal, and because of that this has been even more of a jolt to all of us than it otherwise would have been.

So we've been in some pretty deep waters not just this once but twice (yet such different experiences!).

I also have a rare sleep disorder that, in addition to what I've shared above, causes our family to operate differently from "normal" anyway (if there is such a thing as normal) in terms of schedule and roles.

I know with God's help and with the support of those around us all will be well with our whole family as we move forward. I am learning something I was never capable of before, and that is taking it one day at a time - one hour at a time. An image of Peter walking on water keeps coming to mind. When he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the waves he began to sink. If I look even half a day ahead, I begin to sink, so I have to pull myself back and just look at the next hour - not looking at all of what has to be done in terms of finishing the semester, but what needs to be done next only, which thing has highest priority - not looking at all of what needs to be done at home, but what needs to be done just right now - and while keeping both of those in mind, keeping that at the back and keeping David and the boys in the front - with God's help balancing it and keeping perspective.

I do feel like I'm walking uphill, but I don't feel like I'm drowning, and it's only by God's grace and the support of those around us that that is the case.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am sorry I missed you on Sunday, but am so glad to hear about your day!
I hope the shorter work week makes the rest of your tasks easier. If there is ANYTHING we can do to help you please let me know.
Take Care, and tell the guys hi for us.
Jerry and Tiffany

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing.
What a huge weight you lifted off of yourself with this post.
P-

ellen said...

You know, as I was thinking about this post I remembered how one of my psych professors at Wheaton said, "Depression can be as paralyzing as a stroke." You and I have talked before about devastating depression can be for one's basic level of functioning. It is a strange twist of irony that while David cared for you when you were paralyzed by depression, you are now picking up the slack as he deals with the effects of a physical stroke.

I don't necessarily find it helpful to ask God "why?" these days, but I do cling to the belief that He will ultimately be glorified through the circumstances in which I find myself. I trust that for you and your family, too. As you face each little challenge, the task that takes priority at any given moment, I hope you are able to feel God's presence and strength.