Saturday, June 6, 2015

It's always 20/20

So, seven months ago, when we were packing our house to move here, I felt the beginning of a panic/anxiety attack.  At the time, I was packing suitcases for moving/living out of them for two months. While my husband and I were packing and I was feeling so overwhelmed, my heart was acting funny.  It wasn't beating fast.  It was beating HARD and super SLOW, but I felt out of control and panicky.  It was getting harder to breathe and my mind was screaming, "just STOP!"

I looked at my husband and said, "I need to stop now."  I dropped everything, laid down,  and tried calm down with deep breaths (thank you natural labor classes!) and used Balance blend oil.  I think I just stuck the bottle right under my nose and inhaled for at least ten minutes directly from the bottle.

At the time, I had no idea what I was feeling.  I described it a few days later to a friend, who then said, "it sounds like a panic attack."  What?!  I'd never had one but she described the few she's had and well, it sounded so similar to mine I couldn't disagree.

Fast forward to yesterday.

I am packing my house for our extended stay with his parents.  We have to pack up all our personal belongings because we are hoping (pray we can find good renters!) we will find renters while we're gone.

But looking at the enormity of it all...I guess that's my downfall.  I sometimes lack the ability to see small details when the big picture, all of the things that have to be done, are so overwhelming.

It started bad in the morning when I went to change a ticket for my best friends wedding in July.  I will spare you the details, but two tickets to the West Coast from his parents (which should be less than $1000) were going to cost us $2K.  Nope. Nope. Nope.  I cried on the phone.  I begged.  That poor lady really wanted and tried to make it right with the circumstances but just didn't have the authority.

Then I tried to pack stuff in the house into plastic tubs...and I shut down. My heart started beating harder, my breathing picked up, my mind went blank, and I was not functioning.

I got on my knees and cried.  I begged for help.  While I was praying, my sweet children, one by one, came wrapped their arms around me, until it was a big bear hug.  The oldest two cried.  The youngest two gave me sweet kisses and kept asking why I was crying.  That was my calm in the midst of the storm.

Our sweet firstborn picked up and fed her siblings leftovers when I was more or less checked out.  I am so grateful for her and that she took the initiative.

I took a nap hoping it would get better and it got worse when I got up to do stuff.  It had been hours of calm and storm and now the storm was winning.

I was texting my husband, who was really worried at this time, and had my good friend come over and check on me.

She asked me questions, and all I could answer is "I don't know" to everything she asked.  I just sobbed.

My friend gathered my kids and stuff and kept them at her house for a couple hours.  (I am so grateful for them or it would have been really bad when The Hubs came home.)  I stayed in bed for another 90 minuted before I could get all calmed down, took a shower, and then I tackled part of the dirty dishes.

The Hubs got home and got me out of the house that evening.  I came home much better from our date, but I still very much feel the lingering effects today.

So, like I put previously, I like details.  Now that I look back on this, and other experiences before, I realize that uprooting my life, changing things, causes me great anxiety.  This is particularly hard in this case, and completely worth it.

Now that I have 20/20 on this, I told my husband that our original career plans may not be such a good thing.  It required a lot of moving and at this point, I don't exactly have a great record with handling it well.  We've been leaning that direction for a while, so it's not a surprise for me to say that.  It just became very clear where we need to be when we're done here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Miracles, Part I

Preface: Please remember that all of these posts are from MY PERSPECTIVE.  This is my way of coping, my way of dealing with this situation.  All of this is my opinion and I fully accept responsibility for what I say.  Do not assume or think that this is how my family feels also (aka "she said this... so her family must feel the same".  That would be a negative.  We all cope with grief differently.  Mine is getting it all out there on paper.  Some how for me it makes it real and makes me face what it is.

First off, thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.  I know we have felt the love and support from all our friends.

 I suck at brevity.  I like to tell detailed stories; it is part of me and it's what helps me be a good storyteller.  (Also, editing helps when the stories get too drawn out.)

The last three weeks have been shocking.

They have also been miraculous.

Right after The Hubs told me about his Father's initial cancer diagnosis (after he was diagnosed with a second, different advance-stage cancer) and his father's wishes to avoid chemo and radiation, I sobbed.  I went outside and cried when my husband took a phone call, a very, inspirational, perspective-giving phone call.  I just ugly cried and called my Mom.  And cried some more.

And then I came in and we talked some more.  I knew at that moment we needed to get on our knees.

I didn't know what to do, where to go, what to think. So, I did what I knew was best. I got on my knees and send up a prayer of desperate pleading and peace. I asked for the Lord to put a path to follow in front of us and we would step.  We would follow.  We needed more than just guidance. We had so many emotions and thoughts but not a defined place we had to go.  I was lost in all my emotions and I was way over my head.  So I prayed for both of us; as we held hands, kneeling on the hard tile floor, begging the Lord to help us.

I had no idea that He would answer our prayers like he did.  He has put a path, a straight path, directly in front of us and we stepped.

The phone call he got helped us focus and do research; we found there were limitations on our ideas so we had to shift them slightly.

My husband has a great employer.  He loves his job.  We knew it was an option to have him transfer to a different office, the one closest to his parents, for 30 days and then extend it by 30 days to a max of 90 days.

Okay, we thought.  If that's all we get, we are okay with that.  It is better than nothing.

So The Hubs went in to talk to the assistant regional manager, who shared that he had lost his Dad years earlier to cancer and gave him some really good advice.

Then he asked him to put a timeline for his transfer, "what kind of time there are you looking at?"

The Hubs said, "well, I was, um....well..."

The manager said, "Put six months.  You need six months."

The Hubs said he was really shocked and thanked him.

He then called me.

To which, I sobbed and could hear The Hubs was on the verge of crying.

It was one of the tenderest blessings I didn't know specifically to ask for and one that you just don't hear about employees ever receiving.  Most of his co-workers have been really shocked to hear the time he got.  And they're also so happy for us.

There have been subsequent others, including finding someone to rent our house here.  This one hasn't been fulfilled yet, but it will.

A friend that gave me a book, Tuesdays with  Morrie, that has completely inspired me.  "To die is to learn to live."  It helps me look at this whole situation with a completely different perspective.

Our nephew was born at 33 weeks yesterday.  This is a miracle because his two other brothers were born at 26 and 28 weeks.  (Sorry, if this is not exact.  I can't remember exactly.)  So the fact that my sister-in-law could hold on and sacrifice herself to be on VERY STRICT bed rest impresses me more than she knows.

I have found two, long-time friends that are confidants because there is empathy there, not sympathy.  Those two women, I know were in my life always as my friends, but now it's more than that.  I can't explain it.  I just know it.

And the amazing group of women that surround my family and are so willing to help take care of my kids, bring us dinner, and just listen to me.

This whole process is miraculous.  I am sure there are other miracles we will see.

We will see so much life in this process.

In one week, we will be back home, back with family.  And it one week, I will miss here.  I will miss my island family.  I will miss it more than I ever knew I could. My heart hurts thinking about it, but we will be back.

Miracles happen and He delivers.