May I fall apart now, Sir?

Life happens sometimes to fast and to often. We get going at a speed often thinking we are comfortable and able to handle all that is coming at us, putting things in their proper places or on their proper shelves and I don’t mean physical things I am talking all the mental.

Recently my family went through one of the hardest things I think I have ever went through. I was faced with holding my family together during a time when I didn’t even want to hold myself together much less anyone else. It’s something I have always know about myself, the ability to find strength and push through even the hardest of situations. It is how I was able to lay my mom to rest for the most part by myself, at the age of 25, and it is how I was able this time to rise up and care for myself, my home, and children after my husband attempted suicide on August 11th 2016.

I have known about this demon my husband battles since the moment I fell in love with him 15 years ago and it is something I chose for better or worse when I said I do 13 years ago this November. Mental illness is no stranger to me, it is something that has plagued people I love for as long as I can remember, many of them trying to combat and fight it only to find themselves slaves to another demon altogether, addiction. There is a pride that comes with seeing how hard my husband has fought all these years; because this disease has tried to take his life on more than one occasion. Yet on this night, one action, one thought, everything changed with just one decision.

We don’t have much support or guidance in way of parents, a lot of his pain comes by way of saying goodbye to his mother and father just 3 years apart beginning in 2008. When you lose the two people that are responsible for putting your fleshly body here on this earth it can do something to a man’s heart and way of thinking. Well in complete honesty we don’t have much support at all. You truly find out who your real friends are when your husband is in a lock down unit for 6 days in the hospital. When you are left with handling everything from taxiing the children, to school supply shopping, not to mention the practices and school functions. The beautiful thing about it all is that you also find out you had friends in the most unlikely places and sometimes that is how God loves on us. He uses these heartbreaking times to build a new friendship or build a bridge between a strained relationship. However, with every good side there is a bad side and you also see who isn’t your true friend.

I know that most people in general just don’t know what to do when someone is in crisis so the go to statement is “please let me know if you need anything.” I learned sadly from experience that when you are in crisis you more often than not don’t know what you need so you can’t tell people how to help you so you just go about doing the next thing. In the 7 days after my mom died and in the 6 months after her death I would have loved to have been able to tell people what I needed, but I did not know so how could I tell anyone. In the 6 days after my husband tried to kill himself I would have loved to tell someone what to do to help me with my 4 kids, but I was in autopilot. I was just doing the next thing. What I am recognizing now is that people know how to rally around him because it is easier to identify how to help and support him. I am the strong one keeping it all together and holding it down. I didn’t know and don’t know how to really ask for help or what to even ask for so no one really helps or even just stops by to be my friend, but they know how to help him. There has even been a few situations where I have suffered some negative consequences for his actions. I feel like I have been failed by those that should have showed up the most. My wall is up, I am shutting down and that is why I am able to survive.

The truth is this, I don’t ask for help because I am a fighter and survivor. I have fought my way through life since that fateful day in May 1982 when I was ran over and began to fight for my life. I fought through my parents drug addiction, through a bad childhood riddled with poverty and abuse, I have fought and survived my own physical aliments and obstacles and endless surgery’s only to come out the other side an amputee and will continue to fight every day the rest of my life for things that most people with take for granted. I am a survivor and a fighter and us survivors don’t know how to ask for help or what to even ask for, we just do the next thing.

It is only now that Brian is home and that we are in the rebuilding phase working on putting our family back together and healing from this life altering experience that I start to fray. It is only now that I start to look at doing a few things for myself and work on some serious healing in our marriage that I look to the heavens and I fall to my knees and I ask my heavenly father is it now? Is the time now?

Because when you have four children and a husband with a fragile heart and soul. When you have no mom to call upon and no soft spot to fall, when you know that you are the survivor and always the fighter and everyone looks to you for strength, it’s up to you to know the right time to look to your savior and ask……

May I fall apart now, Sir?

Just One Second, This Second

I have felt this grief before, I have felt this deep longing this deep deep ache that seeps down all the way to the pit of my soul. So deep that I can’t catch my breath. I literally can not take a breath in that moment. I felt it the moment my mom took her last breath. I walked out into her front yard and with my friend in front of my and my husband behind me, I exhaled. I released the pain that was anchoring me in that moment. In that moment I wanted nothing more than to have my mama back but I knew nothing on earth would change the fact that mere moments before I had laid next to her, held her in my arms as she walked in the arms of Jesus.

The next time I felt that grief was the moment I woke up from my 8th surgery. The surgery that I knew before I laid on that gurney would be the one that would take my foot. The nurses said my body was racked with sobs before I was even fully conscious. Just like the night in my mama’s front yard, there was that pain that had become so familiar, that ache that had made its home deep in my soul. I wanted more than anything to have my foot back but I knew nothing on earth would change that mere moments before I was a whole person and in that moment I laid in that bed less. No longer 2 feet but 1.

In that moment it was just one second at a time, that second.  4 days later I would have a revision to form my stump so I would lose even more of my leg, but it didn’t matter because nothing would hurt more than the moment I woke up from that 8th surgery and couldn’t take that breath. It’s been almost 10 years since my mom died and I still get those moments of deep grief where just for a moment, that one moment I want more than anything to have my mom back. I can’t catch my breath but I tell myself “just one second, this second.”

The last few days I have been having those moments. No matter what I do, no matter how bad I want it, I will never be able to grow a new leg. There is no hope for a cure when you are an amputee. On days like today when all I wanted to do was get up and walk around the church with my husband. I wanted to stand in front of the church back drop and take a picture. I don’t want to live another day in this chair. I look down at my one foot of painted toes and just want so badly, Father God please I just want my foot back. Yet I know that will never happen. And there it is, I can’t breathe, but just one second, this second is all I have to do.

If only people could understand that having and wearing a prosthetic isn’t that easy. If only it was as simple as some think and make it out to be, it’s an ok second choice if I could get into one that I can actually wear. Having one and not being able to use it is like a constant reminder that just out of my reach is freedom that I can’t have. But just breathe, one second, this second.

These collection of seconds are what get me through each day. The days when I just want to pull the blankets over my head and cry. Days like today, but I try to remind myself that everyone has something they struggle with and although it may be different for them it is just as serious to them as my amputation is to me. So I pray that their seconds help them get through their days a little easier. They being whoever is in my life dealing with something.

I miss things, I miss going on water slides, and wearing jeans. I miss doing things without having to worry about handicap accessibility. I miss walking beside my husband instead of always having him behind me pushing me.  I miss just feeling “normal.” I pray that my collection of seconds become less about that deep pain that takes my breath and becomes more about living life and capturing memories. I am tired of sitting on the sidelines, of letting that breath seizing, time stopping, soul pounding grief hold me back, I want to fully step in2 my destiny.

Phantom: Yet Real As Ever

Invisibility isn’t a real super power, right? Well guess what I have it. I have an invisible limb and I still feel everything about it. The only difference with it is that I can’t use it. Most day I feel like I am going out of my mind because I feel things with my left foot and the stupid thing isn’t even there anymore. I truly believed that as the days went by the feelings and pains would get less and less but they haven’t. They are just as strong today as the day they cut my foot off.

I have been told that because the injury to my foot occurred 32 years before my amputation and I had suffered with the damage and pain all those years that I would probably always suffer with pain and discomfort from the severe nerve damage even thought my foot and lower leg were no longer there.

March 24th 2014, the day of my first surgery for the amputation I expected to have some phantom pain afterwards. I was warned, my foot would itch, it would hurt, I would feel things on it even though it was no longer there. The physical therapist taught me that in order to move specific muscles I would just move those same muscles in my mind. so for example in order to still flex my calf muscle I would need to still need to flex my foot in my mind of course because there is no actual foot to flex. All of this takes so much more work then you actually realize because when you have all of your limbs etc. these things come natural. You have muscle memory so most things are done without thought at all. How does one convince your own mind to pretend the limb is there in order to move muscles you need to yet then remind your mind that it is gone so that you hopefully, possibly will have some relief from the crazy feelings and pains that plague you from a part of your body that doesn’t even exist anymore.  

From the 24th to the 28th I was mostly numb because the surgery was done in 2 parts. So I can say I was slowly released into the phantom world but it didn’t matter because the twitches, the burning, the cramping, the full on pain hit and hit hard and has not let up since. I don’t even know how to explain what it feels like to constantly hurt in a part of your body that isn’t even there anymore. Sometimes I truly feel like I am going to go crazy. The muscle spasms can be the worse because when you get a spasm in your calf muscle and you can’t really flex your calf to work out the spasm can feel like torture. It really does work at your mind.

I think after two years I am just trying to learn to block out the pain. Remind myself that the foot is gone therefore the pain can’t be real, remind myself that it is ok to feel what I am feeling and that the pain will pass. Most of all I am just trying to be patient with myself. I am just trying to enjoy my superpower of invisibility and try to find a cool way to use it to help me to Step in2 my lyfe.

 

Deepest Hole of Life

   Sometimes the darkness from these holes of life consume him so quickly and take him so deep I am not sure I will ever get him back. It’s black, so black and he goes so very deep to a place that even after 15 years I still struggle to understand. This disease is a dark place that even in this day and age where we have 12 and 13 year olds killing themselves its still taboo to talk about. Depression and Suicide, Yes I said it, Mental Illness.

   Everyday people, people that most of us would never expect deal with this illness. Most people hold down jobs, have long relationships, and are raising children. They suppress their feelings, put on a happy face and do what needs to be done. In a month and a half my husband and I will be together 15 years. I knew from the beginning that this was a disease that he battled with. He fights everyday to get up and go to work to provide for me and our four children. I have never had to work and working after my amputation became especially challenging but it was never an issue. Its a disease that is so misunderstood. “Snap out of it, get over it, just be positive” Those are just a few of the things that people that don’t understand this illness say so often, I myself am guilty of this. However, here is the truth behind what really happens, and it is nothing like what people think: There is a constant feeling of doom, not feeling good enough, no contentment with what one has. Most of the time not wanting to die but wanting the pain to stop and feeling like the only way to accomplish that is by death of the flesh. Feeling abandon by God, “If he loved me why would he continue to let me suffer with this?” Not wanting to continuously hurt the ones they love. Hating life so badly that truly just wanting to die seems the only answer.

butterfly

   I don’t know exactly what words to use to explain the pain I feel watching my husband go through this day after day. Trapped so deep in this hell of his own. Fighting so hard to stay above the waves that he always feels are crashing down upon him. He is drowning and there is nothing I can do but I throw him the only life vest I have at my disposal, prayer and faith of our Heavenly Father.  This disease has stolen so much from me. Before my moms death she spent years abusing drugs to try and escape this disease, guilt and depression has stolen the relationship I could have with my dad with the years he has left but we couldn’t be more distant from each other, this disease has stolen my brother, my only living sibling and he is lost in the throes of addiction.  Now it steals days, hours, and minutes with my husband and I fear one day it may steal his life.

depression

   This disease is real, it needs to be talked about, with our children, spouses, parents, friends, and anyone else who will listen. One more life lost is one more to many. Tonight my heart is heavy and I think about the staggering statistics and I pray for all of those struggling with the Deepest Hole Of Life that most people are afraid to talk about. Right here is a safe place and anyone can come here and express what they need and get love and support. Today I am stepping into my Life. I hope each of you are to.

 

When there is nothing left to do!

  So I share, not even sure if what I have to say is anything anyone actually wants to read.  See the problem is I have so much inside me to get out that I don’t even know where to start. I have tried this once before and I blogged pretty regularly for awhile, then I just stopped. Everything seems so complicated and I really want to be able to write and inspire and at this very moment I am just writing to clear the ball of anxiety and emotion that is sitting in my chest. I can’t inspire others when I don’t have the ability to inspire or uplift myself. I have to carry the weight. The weight of my children and of my husband and of my own health.  Right now I need to reprioritize, reorganize, and revitalize my mind.

   So from here on out is where you see me begin healing from this life and begin this new journey, a journey where I find myself. This school year is coming to an end. My first born daughter is leaving middle school and entering high school. My first born son is leaving elementary and entering intermediate school and my baby is starting school and going to kindergarten. For the last 14 years I have always had a child at home and in 5 1/2 months all of my children will be in school. I have no idea what I will do or even who I am, who  I am supposed to be. Yes, this is going to be a journey all right and I admit I am scared and nervous about what the days will hold.

    I know that God will work it out and I am all in.