I had a biopsy Tuesday. I was a bit surprised when the doctor told me that I had handled the news that the biopsy was necessary in an appropriate manner – in other words – he was glad I didn’t freak out. This is the fourth time I’ve had to have follow-up appointments when the initial tests revealed unexpected results ATA (after the accident).
I find that ATA I am no longer shocked or surprised by disconcerting news. I’ve just adopted a low-level of expectation mixed with a high-level of resignation.
The nurse told me prior to the procedure that they do a lot of these biopsies and that a cancer diagnosis is very rare. My tongue-in-cheek response was, “Please don’t use that word rare. I’ve found that if it’s rare it happens to me.” Stillbirth is rare. ARSACS is rare. Losing two children in a car accident, while not unusual, is also rather rare among the population.
The biopsy wasn’t as uncomfortable as I expected in spite of finding that the pre-procedure medication hadn’t quite done the job it was designed to do. An additional step was required, which the nurse assured me was NOT a rare occurrence. The three of us, the doctor, nurse and I actually found a host of things to laugh about throughout the process.
As I left the clinic Tuesday afternoon I found myself thinking, ‘This is the most normal I have felt ATA.’ It wasn’t that I escaped the awareness of Bethany and Katie’s deaths. Nor did I forget Gracen’s disease and her prognosis. Those things are simply deeply ingrained in my being. They are ever before me. They have shaped me in so many ways. They color my perception of everything I see, hear and experience.
I don’t really know what made the interaction with my doctor and nurse different than all the interaction I have had with others ATA. Maybe. . . hopefully. . . it reflects that a measure of heart-healing has taken place. I am both hopeful and wary of finding out if that will prove to be true.
It was a period of time in which feeling good (in spite of the fact that I was having a biopsy and all that implies) didn’t feel bad – didn’t feel as if laughing or smiling or enjoying simple conversation diminished the inherent value of my daughters. There was no guilt – no shame – and believe me I found many a reason to feel both of those things!
It was thirty minutes, not of escape, but of the assurance that there could and maybe even would be more moments like this. Moments when each one of my children is a joyful part of me, not simply a bitter or wounded reminder that life is not what I hoped, expected or dreamed it would be.
I fear I’m not describing these moments well at all, but suffice it to say that it was the first time that I discovered that living another day might not be so bad. That I might eventually enjoy life again. Not the naive existence I walked before Cole was stillborn, before Gracen and Katie were diagnosed, before Bethany and Katie died, before Gracen survived even as her health continues to deteriorate. No, it was a glimpse of what might be possible in spite of all those other things.
For thirty minutes of my life Tuesday . . . I felt free.
I felt for the first time as if God just might have some good plan for me in the here and now; not just my eternal future. Believe me when I say that I have long known intellectually that God cares about my here and now as well as my eternity, but it’s the first time I actually felt as if that was true. Finding any single occurrence where my mind and my feelings agree is huge for me.
For two and a half long years I have struggled to find a way to make my mind and emotions agree . . . and I’ve failed miserably. I honestly don’t think it’s something I have any power over. I think that’s the Holy Spirit’s job, so I don’t believe I’m a failure. I do, however, think the Holy Spirit is meticulous and that takes time – more time than I have the patience for.
So for now . . . all I want to do is bask in the thirty minutes of freedom I experienced.
Those thirty minutes were worth waking up Tuesday.
Worth getting showered and dressed.
Worth having a biopsy.
Those thirty minutes. . .
That feeling of freedom . . .
September 8, 2016 at 5:50 am
Janet, I am so thankful that you had those 30 minutes. And you described perfectly the slices of time where I have felt that way but hadn’t known how to put it into words. Moments when my feelings and the truth agree. Perfect! I pray that you have more of them. That I have more of them. That all us waiting mamas have more of them. Not denial of our children or the pain of living without them, but freedom in the truth that it is really only going to be “a little while” and that God has something for us to do while we’re waiting. This was a beautiful thing to wake up to this morning!
LikeLiked by 1 person
September 8, 2016 at 8:30 am
I so hope I have more moments like those I experienced Tuesday. I’m so afraid to hope, truth be told. I’ll not hold my breath! But how I wish the day would come, for you and me and every other brokenhearted parent out there grieving for their child, that the pendulum would swing and we would find that we have a mere thirty minutes of this excruciating agony daily and the rest of each and every day would be filled with moments like my thirty minutes Tuesday. I don’t EVER want to “get over” the absence of the children who simply contributed so much to making this life I live at all worthwhile. I will gladly endure every aching moment because what is life without the bonds of relationship we choose to nurture and share? What a hollow existence to never have had the pleasure of their presence; regardless of how temporary. I’m sure you understand in the deepest levels of your soul exactly what I mean.
LikeLiked by 1 person
September 9, 2016 at 11:25 am
God does have some good plan for you in the here and now! So happy for you and your 30 minutes of feeling “heart healed”. I remember one morning realizing that the cloud was not as heavy. (That’s how I described the way I felt after Philip died.) I pray that for you! That the cloud will lift and last longer than 30 minutes! I had breast cancer after losing Philip and I remember the doctor doing the biopsy said “this will just be a bump in the road for you”. So, I told her about losing my son and that this was just a “bump” compared to that! Fortunately after my lumpectomy they determined that my lymph nodes were clear. I only had radiation treatment…
LikeLiked by 1 person
September 9, 2016 at 12:29 pm
I believe with my whole heart that God has good things planned for me for the here and now; but I obviously don’t always feel that way. Feelings are simply not logical!
I’m so glad to hear your lymph nodes were clear. That your experience was truly just a bump in the road.
I don’t live in expectation of bad news; but I’m not at all surprised by it when I receive it.
Honestly, my concern is not for myself, but primarily for Gracen and of course David. But I think Gracen needs me more. I worry more about her. She is my child, and as such, I want to protect and care for her. She is brave and strong and capable, just like her father, but she will always be my baby. I will always have maternal love and instincts where she’s concerned.
Maybe that’s the key reason the death of a child is considered the hardest loss to survive. Parental love and instincts. And the death of a child, screams aloud, and whispers insidiously, that we have failed the most important job in life we can ever take on. Those screams and whispers are nothing more than Satan attacking our hearts and minds, but oh, in this area more than any other, his flaming arrows strike home. And the shield of faith? It’s so heavy and we, bereaved parents, are so very weary – and vulnerable. “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. . .” Lamentations 3:22
September 10, 2016 at 4:18 am
Andy Stanley has a four part series called “In the Meantime” You can watch it on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBSo9F02IBc
It addresses the question, “What do you do when there is nothing you can do.”
You may find this of value.
LikeLiked by 1 person
September 10, 2016 at 5:17 am
Thanks, Gene, I’ll check it out!