Grieve and Rebalance

Heather D. Nelson | 7/11/2013, 4:41 p.m.
You know the surprise things you learn about yourself as a parent are never ending. I remember when my first ...
Heather D. Nelson

When my son was first diagnosed, I’ve talked about how overwhelming it all was for us. So fast, so chaotic, and such a sense of urgency unlike anything we had experienced before. There was no time for learning curve. It felt as if we had to know EVERYTHING right away, and we didn’t really have the best teachers so we spent a lot of our time researching, reading, talking to other parents, and just doing what we could to find our footing. A couple of months and several ER trips later I had to have a massive surgery and then three weeks after that we moved across country to beautiful Texas. Seem fast….trust me, to us it did to. But it was our life. My surgery couldn’t wait, and when our house sold we couldn’t postpone the move. The best doctor’s we knew of were in Dallas and we HAD to get our son here so we sacrificed. We sold things, everything nearly, and we had friends and family throw our belongings in a truck and we packed up our, then, 2.5 year old and twin 13 month olds and off we went. Talk about nuts. Bag-O’-Cat’s-Crazy kind of nuts. But once we arrived in Texas things didn’t magically fall into place as we anticipated. Due to unforeseen situations, we ended up living in survival mode with family for nearly 10 solid months. Hubby had to change jobs, and our life went into this cocoon of just trying to Fit into a place that wasn’t really built for us. We had to switch doctor’s too, of course, and the first month or two I was still recovery from my surgery much less trying to help my children cope with the adjustment so it was a bit of a haze in those early months.

As we made a plan and pushed forward to reestablish our lives we found a new church home. Began to pick up a few things for the new place, and would often visit the construction site and get the boys excited about our “forever home” as we named it. I stayed constantly busy with builders, doctors, packing, financing, doctors, kid stuff, doctors, etc. And then…THE BIG MOVE. FINALLY after 10 long months we were going to be in our own place again. YAY. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF.

Or Not.

You see, moving into the new house only proved to shine a blaring light on what we sacrificed. All the things we sold. The innumerable things that were ruined and/or left behind in our move. Each box I would unpack would find something broken or water damaged. Furniture scarred and foodstuffs had to be tossed. Our first night in the new house, we had to drop hundreds of dollars that we had not planned just to have sheets and pillows and blankets and shower curtains etc. But it was done. It was ours. And we were grateful for it. I remember VIVIDLY coming downstairs that first morning to have cup of coffee and declaring the stair landing as my favorite spot in the house. I could hear the upstairs noises, and SEE the downstairs calm. The morning sun streaming in the back windows made for a picturesque setting each day. But there was a darkness there too. A sullen feeling, a fear…it was invisible and yet it was nagging at me. I couldn’t figure out what it was or why I couldn’t just fully breathe that cleansing sigh of relief I was waiting for. It finally took speaking to a marriage mentor couple at our church to pinpoint what I was feeling. This husband and wife team had been trained for years to work with other couples thru marital shifts and changes. I made the appointment determined to make sure our marriage was intact and my dutiful husband knew better than to disagree with me. They sat us down and began to ask about our story, what brought us to them. As we unfolded the previous 3 years they were silent and the woman finally picked her jaw up off the floor and spoke. She said, “you haven’t even had time to grieve yet have you?”