|2012 as I'll remember it|
I spent most of 2012 grieving and, worse yet, denying I was doing so. What's there to grieve when you're home and holding your baby again? Somehow I was doing both.
I grieved in tears, in sleepless nights, in visions and nightmares, in hives and panic attacks, in headaches and laughter that turned back into bawling. I grieved in silence and in exhaustion and in the midst of powerful, endless gratitude.
|Gratitude beyond words - but I tried anyway.|
I grieved in months and months deleted by the wide-eyed, glazed over, "just shuffling my feet" kind of living recovery required. I grieved in conversations I'll never remember and days that went by without my noticing.
I grieved my expectations, what I thought our life would look like. What Mary Brooks' blissful baby days would be filled with, easy and sweet as they had started. How my life would continue as I'd always known it, focused on daily concerns and only occasional, manageable roadblocks.
I grieved my innocence. The 'floating through life' feeling I had for 30 years, coasting along on a whim.
I grieved the pulling back of some unknown veil, showing me what the depths of hurt looked and felt like. And how the world was filled with more of it than I'd ever realized, busy as I was with my floating.
I was an unwilling beekeeper, scrambling to pull that life-saving veil back down and keep everything out. I wanted to take the world in through that gauzy cheesecloth again, blissful in ignorance.
I had my dukes up most of the year, bracing for another impact. I felt the constant rush of adrenaline you get after a near-miss car accident; every tiny thing made me jump, left me wanting to crawl out of my skin.
I hadn't known unbridled pain like that existed, what I felt when I came face-first into my inability to protect Mary Brooks. My inability to run the world and care for everyone I love who lives in it.
I thought I really might have died from the sheer awfulness, from the consuming ache. In the hospital it welled up and burned in my chest, leaving me tearless, wordless - scarred.
In the months afterward the pain came and went - when I thought I was out of the woods (and trumpeted the news widely), it swooped in to prove me wrong.
But I couldn't let myself say the words, let myself admit that, despite the joy I wanted to exude, there was a gaping puddle of sorrow.
I know now they can coexist, grief and thankfulness. And the more you admit you're hurting, the less it aches.
I'm sorry for not telling you. For being more concerned about sounding boring or self-absorbed than I was about being authentic. For not shepherding even one person who might come across these pages in a similarly difficult moment.
I feel tremendous relief in the starting of a new year, the rolling over of a calendar and a fresh era for our family. I feel it all rising.
The upside to losing six months of memories is that we'll celebrate a second "first" Easter, Mother's Day, Fourth of July, beach trip, start of the school year.
At the end of the summer Bradley left his job, the one that kept him from us more than 100 hours in his final week, and a weight was lifted immediately. (And another one added, but I'll get to that.)
I was able to fall asleep before 4:00 am for the first time in ages, to share the daily duties of running our life, to start forming memories that lasted more than an hour or two. We began the real, slow work of recovery then.
|My sweet girl|
It took months of prayer and discussion and weary conversations (mostly dead-eyed stares over our dining room table, sleepless as we were) to make the leap. I'm so proud of him, the hard worker and constant provider, for making this big transition. For putting aside what makes sense to the rest of the world and setting a tremendous example of obedience and faith.
So here we are, five months later, and the future is unclear in that arena. Better hours will require a career shift of sorts, and we're praying about the details (tiny things like insurance, resumes, interviews, encouragement, provision) as we go. For a planner like me, it can be unnerving - but I'm making a moment by moment commitment to surrender.
My prayer is that the Lord tells a big, wonderful story through our family, just as He did last year, despite my
We have seen so much confirmation of our decision, and God has richly blessed us with gifts I can't begin to name. (Being able to string words together without crying, for instance, and growing my business in ways that both excite me and help our family.)
Bradley has been busy, though not in the way he first expected, with a side project that I look forward to sharing with you, too.
|Merry Christmas - and it really was.|
For now, just know I'm back. I can't wait to discuss what matters with you - and to discuss royal babies, Downton Abbey, and every other mindless diversion I've missed.
Thank you for keeping me busy on Instagram (heaven help the folks who don't enjoy seeing pictures of my kids), Twitter and in real life. For being patient and prayerful. For emailing and calling and texting. For wading through all this.
I feel a weight off and a light at the end of this tunnel. Welcome, 2013!