Friday, July 29, 2011

A Broken Heart Even the BeeGees Can't Mend

If you've been visiting me for a while, you've heard a thing or 2 about how 'dangerous' I am on anesthesia.  IV morphine apparently has as impressive an effect as well. I remember little of the next 2 weeks.  Quick snatches here and there emerge from time to time.  Before I was loaded onto the EMS van, I made sure that my sister would take my then 6th grader and see to it that he finished his schoolwork for that day.  I remember telling Son #1 that he should go on to classes as there was nothing else he could to for me. What a hero he and his brother had been that morning.  He finally relented and tried to collect himself enough to be a college freshman the rest of that day.  I will always fear that I destroyed what was left of his 1st semester of college. Maybe my inner fraidy cat rules the roost on that one?

 Once the IV took effect, I began to shake violently and continued to do so for several hours. The paramedic apologetically asked could he do anything for me when I cried out in pain. I asked him to hold my hand.  I remember I kept saying, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry..." to no one in particular.  I guess I had said it a bazillion times because he finally asked me why.  I told him that we couldn't afford the expense or inconvenience of what I had just done and that I couldn't believe I had been that careless. I know I managed to see to Son #2's school work in the days between the fall and the surgery that would put enough hardware  in my leg to guarantee my reserved spot in a TSA body scanner.  I guess the rest was like labor. I forgot it as soon as it was over.  I am sure that drug induced ignorance is bliss in this case.

They patched me up and sent me home to await surgery on October 30th. The otherworldly sobbing began.  I remember sleeping.  I was vaguely aware that my husband got home from Tennessee, but it was as if he was a dream. I remember knowing he was there. I remember knowing he took me home from the hospital after surgery and headed back to our new, never to be home, in Tennessee. Other than that, I'm clueless.

A few weeks ago, Son #1 and I were reflecting back over that day and that week.  He said, "Mamma, I've never seen you cry like that. You cried and you cried and you cried. I don't just mean you cried. I mean you BABY cried....just like a little baby. You'd doze off for a while and then wake to insist you had to call Becca. We'd tell you that she had been there, and you'd talked to her. You'd dose off and wake again only to have to be reassured again."

 It's been almost 2 years.  I can look back at those early days with a little objectivity now. Not much, but some.  I'll tell you about that 'baby cry'.  I think the IV pain killers, and the oral ones that followed, opened the flood gates of my wounded soul.  All the stress that I had held back between 1999 and 2009 finally had a way of escape. I wasn't crying out of the pain of a broken leg as much as I was crying out of the pain of a broken heart and spirit. When I could finally get to a window to look out at the scene of the 'crime', I couldn't. It was months before I could bring myself to stare out at the spot because I knew my broken heart was out there still waiting to be reclaimed.

The Becca I had asked for over and over again had rushed dinner over to my family that night.  She was the 1st of an army of friends who put food on our table 3-4 times a week for 7.5 weeks.  Their thoughtfulness extended to Jeff even tho' he was 6 hrs away. When he came home every 2 weeks, we had frozen 'TV dinner' type meals for him to take back to his new home. It wasn't a fresh out of our own oven home cooked meal, but it would have to do for a family living in 2 states. And, it was beyond what we deserved or could have hoped for.

One of my BFF's, Sally, came 2-3 mornings a week to bring breakfast and coffee from our 2nd level down to the 1st where I lived for most of a month.  She has Rheumatoid Arthritis and came even when her condition flared and damp, cold weather heightened the flare. My sister was there every single weekday from October 27th until Dec 22nd. She helped me make the arduous trip up 2 flights of stairs so that I could shower.  When I could joke a little bit again, we'd laugh about me having bat wings of steel that could be registered as lethal weapons before my ordeal was over. Another group of friends came twice and cleaned a bit. My boys were doing ok in that regard, but you know how it don't clean like a mom does. My brother helped keep Son #2 occupied as did another BFF, Anne and her boys. Our next door neighbor mowed our lawn when she mowed hers.  All in all, it took an army to make up for my careless, hasty decision to go where I had told everyman not to go.

Looking back, the faithfulness of those folks still amazes me.  My head knows they were God's hands extended and that their blessing upon my family was incalculable.  I often told myself my situation was temporary. I would walk again.  It would be 6 months before I stood alone on my own 2 feet, but I would walk again. Maybe, just maybe I'd run up the stairs again.  Funny, after I had mowed our 3/4 of an acre the day before I fell, I had spent a lot of time patting myself on the back for being such a tough old broad.  Son #1 said, " know what they say...pride go-eth before a fall." Sigh...apparently, the saying, "From your lips to God's ears" also applies when we least expect or want.

Even tho' my head knew all these lovely and true things about my friends being God's hands extended, my heart...was not in the game anymore. I looked at my bookcase full of treasured books by Elizabeth George, Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, Donna Partow and all the others.  I looked at my multiple translations of the Bible.  I couldn't bear to look for long. I could no more make my way to that bookcase using my walker than I could get out of the house without help. I have never, never felt so lonely, forlorn, and abandoned in all my life.

The cheerleader in me was scathing.  She poked. She prodded. She cajoled. She sermonized.  She berated. I was numb, and her words had no effect.  I had lost my heart and my good God, and I not only didn't know where or how to look for them, I couldn't even work up the gumption to try.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
"God, we had just started over. We were finally free of the monster that had hidden in the shadows of our marriage all these years.  We had a home to call our own again. For the 1st time in our marriage, we had the ability to work together as a team to fix it up. Now he lives there, and I live here.  How can we recreate a marriage that never was living in 2 states? What are you doing to me? To us? What have WE done to you to deserve this? What are we too stubborn to learn?  Why do we need a post-test? I'm so tired of being the flannel board story of faith in everyone else's life. Do you hear me? I'm tired.  If you are out there, you are going to have to come find me. I've looked and looked and looked for you, but you won't let me find you. Have I ever been anyone to you? I wanted to be your chiefest cheerleader -- the one that could tell everyone you would restore all that you had taken away when your time was right. Why can't THAT be the story I tell instead of this sorry tale?"

What about you, fraidy cat?  Where is/was your breaking point? Everyone has one, I think.  I used to think my life was so weird that no one could understand. Then, I went to the writer's conference and heard stories that make mine pale.  In fact, a former runner up to Miss America told how her own brother-in-law had shot at her only a short while before the conference in 2010.  Hah! I didn't get the chance to meet her, but I didn't have to. I knew she'd 'get me' in a skinny minute. Another keynote speaker told us, "As a writer, I don't have crises, I have anecdotes."  Lord knows, I've got a million of  'em, I feel like.  I am humbled that you keep coming back to share them.  Some days you come in droves. Some days you come in a trickle. But come, you do. And, I thank you for it.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I'm writing my way back to God.  I hope before I'm done, we will all know something about him that we can't even imagine now.  In fact, I'm desperately depending on it.  I want my heart'll keep writing. See you tomorrow?

Ezekiel 36:26  (KJV c. 1769)
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

No comments:

Post a Comment