Wednesday, June 05, 2019

I'm clear, you're clear, we're all clear

Seven years ago I had a hard day.

I can say that with quite a lot of confidence because even though I don't precisely recall what happened on June 5, 2012, most of my days seven years ago this month were difficult. June 2012 was an exhausting, scary, overwhelming month.

When Benjamin was getting ready to turn one, I had a hard time being happy. I had a healthy baby boy (now), it was true, but reflecting on his birth was not remotely a fun thing to do.

I had spent the past year experiencing mini panic attacks whenever he nursed (I had heart palpitations the entire time (25 months!) I nursed him; thanks, anxiety), always afraid he was going to choke or that he wasn't getting enough nourishment. He was small for his age. He had severe reflux. He was behind in his milestones. He had not had an easy entry into life, and I didn't find much joy in reflecting on his first year.

I remember wondering if I would ever feel at peace on his birthday. Would I ever "get over" this?!

I'm happy to report that the answer to both those questions is yes.

I don't know when it happened, or how, but this year I noticed that I was...fine. I didn't feel like crying once. There were no hospital alarms ringing in my ears, no thoughts of how things might have been different had he not jumped the gun.

He's fine. He's happy. He's thriving.

I'm fine. I'm happy. I'm thriving.

When I was a lifeguard we had to do AED—automatic external defibrillator—training. It's a little machine that delivers an electric shock to try to get someone's heart pumping again, kind of like a crash cart...but much easier to use. I've never had to use one but the training has stuck with me. We had to say, "I'm clear. You're clear. We're all clear," before pushing the button to administer the shock.*

We're all fine. We're all happy. We're all thriving.

We're clear.

His birth was a really hard thing for a really long time, but we're clear.

And knowing this—that we overcame—feels so good because it gives me hope that years down the road—maybe seven...maybe more—we'll be able to say the same thing about November (and beyond). That we'll be able to pick any given day in November and say, "Seven years ago we had a hard day," not because we'll remember specifically what went on that day but because almost every day that November was awful. November 2018 was an exhausting, scary, overwhelming month.

The days and months since November haven't been particularly easy either, but we're getting through it.

We've spent the last little while going through Karen's things. We pulled about seventy plastic storage boxes out of the storage room (and from the office closet and from under the stairs and from the bedroom closet and—you guys!—we just keep finding them) and sifted through everything.

Mission letters, family pictures, diaries, every single birthday card ever sent to her. Old taxes, old HOA forms, newspaper clippings, bank statements. Cake ideas, craft ideas, FHE ideas, teacher appreciation week ideas, travel ideas.

We've had to decide if things are worth keeping or not.

The files we called her "internet" files were easy to discard because, well, the internet exists now. So we dumped her "pinterest" and "google" boxes into the recycling bin. Old bank statements—from her Durham days (the 80s and 90s)—we also discarded, as well as most birthday cards. But letters we kept, and diaries and pictures, glimpses into who she was as a child, a teen, a young adult, a missionary, a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a friend.

It's been an exhausting process, both physically and emotionally. I'm sure we have many hard, exhausting days ahead of us. I'm guessing November 2019 won't be easy, but eventually, hopefully, we'll get through this to the point where we all feel...clear.

* Though more recent studies are showing that this may no longer be necessary as humans might not be quite as conductive (with the minimal amount of electricity an AED administers) as once we thought.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, hugs! Thanks for letting us know how y'all are doing.