Saturday, January 11, 2014

My 500 Words: Day 11 - Restoration

My word for 2014 is RENEW.  I thought that word to be appropriate for the season we are in right now.  We are a little over eight months into our grief journey, having lost Peyton in May.  We are not quite at our "next" yet.  We are in between two vastly different seasons of life.  One filled with sadness and loss and the other filled with hope and newness.

Renewal can be defined in many ways.  One of the most striking for me today is "to restore to existence."  That seems to capture the essence of where I am at right now.  To be restored to existence.  For several years, my existence was Peyton.  Of course it was also for the rest of my family, but when you have a child with so many special needs who is also extremely medically fragile, your priorities shift and aren't necessarily in line with what they are in most other families.  The "me" that existed prior to May 4th no longer exists.

The thing is, right now I am not sure who "me" is.  I am a wife and a mother for certain.  I don't take those lightly.  My life was pretty well defined before Peyton passed away.  I knew what I needed to do for her every single day.  I had the routine down.  Even when it came to hospitalizations.  It didn't matter how long or short it was, I was with her around the clock.  I slept in her room for the past few years because of the needs she had.  It wasn't really optional.  Things could happen {and did} where she would need my assistance during the night.  Things that couldn't necessarily be heard over a baby monitor.  My brain was on high alert all the time.

While I have been a stay at home mom for the past several years, it was out of necessity.  We could not meet all of Peyton's needs unless I stayed home.  Again, there was a certain routine each and every day.  There were no play dates.  In my children's early years, I can probably count on one hand the number of play dates that were had.  What there was was sheer exhaustion.  I was burning the candle at both ends for a very long time.  I don't say that to complain - I would do it all over again if I were back in that situation.  "Doing" for Peyton wasn't a chore.  I only did for her what I was supposed to do as her mother, her caregiver, and as someone who loved her.  If you've ever been a caregiver for a chronically ill person, you will understand what I mean by that "burned out" feeling.

Since Peyton passed, I've been dealing with an ankle injury, blood clots in my lungs, and surgery on that ankle.  The past four months haven't been exactly "normal" in any sense.  In fact, for Ron, he's back in that caregiver mode for me.  After Peyton passed, I had no idea that within a few months we'd be in this situation.  I was struggling to figure out what our "new normal" would look like.  This certainly wasn't what I had envisioned.

As I sit here today, I'm still exhausted.  I'm exhausted from grief, from injury, and from illness.  "I" am not "me" right now.  That is for sure.  I have been unable to participate in a lot of things at church - simply going to church {although I volunteer in our online church} and also participating in our women's ministry where I had been a table leader for a few sessions.  I feel sometimes that life is passing me by while I just sit on the sidelines.

When I read the definition of renew to be "to restore to existence", I felt like it just nailed what I have been feeling like.  I need restoration in my physical well-being.  I am fortunate in that what I am going through right now will pass.  Yes, I'll be on blood thinners forever as a result of this third go around with a massive pulmonary embolism.  I'll have issues with that for a long time, I'm sure.  However, I will be able to return to "normal" at some point.  My ankle will heal...eventually.  I am hoping for a full recovery so I can be back to full function within the year.  All of this healing will be a long process.  Restoration projects aren't completed overnight.  It will take time for this physical restoration.

As I process through this restoration, I hope to learn more about "me" - who I am and who I want to be.  I feel like a lot of opportunities passed me by while I was that 24/7 caregiver.  I missed out on connecting with people or becoming part of groups.  I don't truly know what I missed out on, but I feel like I missed out on the normal stuff that most moms seem to go through.  I know I haven't missed the boat completely because there's still {hopefully!} a long life ahead of me.  There will be time to make connections and be a part of things.  I hope and pray that God will use this time I am in now to restore my health and to help me to have a clearer vision for who it is that He would like for me to be.

{if you're counting - that was 900 words for my eleventh My 500 Words post, for a total of 8,319 this month!}
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