Okay. So. Let’s recap.
Cee’s arthritis is eating away at her joints, and the only straws left to grasp at are in Cincinnati at the children’s hospital there. Their office will call us randomly in the future to let us know when we’re in. Then we will rearrange everything in life in order to make whatever date they throw us work at a moment’s notice.
That pretty much sums up where we are.
I find myself walking around, perpetually feeling like I’m on the verge of sneezing. You know the feeling…that sort of pinched “am-I-going-to-or-not” feeling.
Except it’s not a sneeze. It’s a tsunami of tears.
I’m not sure how to get past this “about-to-sneeze-ish” feeling. I think it involves some sort of full-body sobbing experience, but I’m not exactly sure how to facilitate that. I keep telling David that I think I need to sit down and have a good cry. It’s sort of hard to schedule such a thing, though.
Oh– the kids are all asleep. Now would be a good time to release the tsunami.
Then…no tears. Nothing.
When the tears do bubble up, it’s always at the most inconvenient time. David and I were about to teach an NFP class last week. As we waited for the students to arrive, David and I started talking about the meat of our situation– not just logistics like how we’ll handle Cincinnati, but the meat– like what the H- E – Double Hockey Sticks is going on with Cee.
The tears came but were promptly squelched down, because nothing says “NFP is awesome” like a sobbing teaching couple.
Squelch. I have to do a lot of squelching. Cee knows the facts and our options, but she doesn’t know how devastated we are. How we have no control. How there’s nothing we can do for her. Squelch. This conversation happened today:
Cee: What was all that bone-on-bone stuff you were talking about at Mayo?
Me: Well, in between your joints you have cartilage. It’s like the stuff your ear and nose are made of.
Cee: Yeah. So?
Me: Well, your cartilage is all gone in your hips.
Cee: (confused) How did that happen?!?!
Me: You know how white blood cells work?
Cee: They attack germs and bacteria in the body.
Me: That’s right. But they also attacked your cartilage. That’s what your arthritis can do. It attacks stuff it’s not supposed to.
Cee: (nonchalantly, picking up a book) Okay.
Me: (to myself) Good talk.
Unfortunately the more squelching that happens, the less control there is over it.
My Sunday Best involves a mini tsunami because of all this squelching. Here’s the obligatory outfit picture.
Top: Dia & Co.
Bottom: Dia & Co.
Shoes: Lands’ End
Cee and I went to Mass together Saturday nigh, and we left pretty quickly afterwards. After Mass someone approached me (after I juuuust hit my head on our van’s hatch-door loading Cee’s wheelchair) to offer sympathy and support.
I wasn’t on my A-game with the unexpectedness and the head trauma. I went from fine to sobbing in 10 seconds. (Hey! I think that makes me like the sports car of crying, or something.)
There might be less glamorous places to release a tidal wave of tears, but the parking lot is pretty high on the un-glamorous list.
My head filled with two thoughts: 1. Squelch this now and 2. Boy that felt good.
I squelched. Cee was in the car.
And it dawned on me: I’m squelching to protect the people I love. And acquaintances. And random people at the grocery store. And the general public. I don’t want them to feel what I’m feeling. I don’t bring it up because I don’t want other people to be uncomfortable. To be honest, I’m protecting myself, too, because it’s the worst feeling in the world to be broken down in front of someone who doesn’t really care.
The second reading this week from Second Timothy started with this thought:
Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
It’s like those words were meant for me. This is the path I am on. I will bear it as best I can, but I will not be able to get through the next month…day…hour on my own strength. Somehow I think that’s connected to the squelching.
The strength that comes from God– I don’t imagine that comes like some fiery lightning bolt. The strength will come from the people around us, helping to bear this hardship. This heartship. I only need to bear my share. Not everyone else’s.
I am not responsible for protecting everyone else from this pain.
Pretty sure I’m still going to do it. Because I’m a people-pleaser. And a mom. It’s what I do. Maybe I can be more discerning with the squelching, though? Save the squelching for the UPS guy or the pharmacist. And let it go with everyone else? Maybe. Yeesh. That sounds scary.
I wish people had big signs or pins or buttons or something. That would make the squelching discernment easier.
“I am a safe place.” Anyone who can handle emotional diarrhea could get a button saying that.
Some could have buttons that said “Just asking questions for my gossip bank” or “Not interested.”
There is another group, and their buttons would say “I care, but I’m not in a place to provide emotional support.”
The gossipy people are pretty easy to pick out, but it’s harder to peg people in the other two. Most people are concerned, but not everyone is in a place to help bear someone else’s hardship. That’s the problem. I assume that everyone is in the third group.
There’s no shame in the last group! If someone is going through deep stuff of their own, it’s unfair to unleash more on them from the outside. There are awesome, generous, lovely people who just don’t handle emotions well. They would fall into this category, too. This group is probably the biggest, but it’s not fair of me to assume everyone is there.
If for us the “strength that comes from God” is going to involve other people, then I’m not going to get far lumping everyone together in the last group. I am not responsible for protecting everyone else from this pain, but I can share it wisely. Buttons would really make that easier.
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