I’ve been a little absent in the blogosphere this last week, and today’s post is a little bit of an explanation why. It’s unusual for me to get super personal on Free Stylin’, and I hope you’ll excuse me while I deter from our regularly scheduled programming of home decor and thrifty ideas in order to share a few of the thoughts on my mind.
What many people don’t know about me is that I have an estranged family member…one that, if you were to hear His place in the group, you would automatically assume He’d be at the Thanksgiving or Christmas table. You’d think exchanging birthday presents and weekly phone calls were a given. Going a week or two without seeing Him would be understandable.
But, unfortunately, not in this case.
Because we haven’t seen each other in seven years. Seven. Since Pickle was a baby.
The whole situation is a sad, messed up story. One full of regret and guilt and good intentions and broken promises…on all sides. I’ll spare you all the details – because no one is in the right, and no one is in the wrong. It’s just not been the textbook relationship most would assume you’d have with Him.
A couple of Christmas cards have been the only correspondence in the last few years…I wanted Him to be able to see the boys growing up even if they hadn’t met. Living in Florida for the last three years has also made it a bit hard to get together, but, to be honest, the relationship has always been…just…hard.
I’ve never loved the way things are with Him. I’ve always wanted more – more happiness, more fun times, more memories. It just hasn’t been that way. No matter how any of us try. Blah.
As you can imagine, it came as quite a shock when we got a phone call the other night saying He was in the hospital an hour and a half away.
He is paralyzed. He is very sick. He is dying.
This was not on my radar. It came SO out of left field.
My tears for the next week were from a million different places…anger, sadness, guilt, regret, fear, relief, gratitude.
All the conversations the evening we were called were surreal: Why have we not heard sooner? Will we make it to the hospital in time? Will he recognize us? Are we planning a funeral this week?
We went to the hospital. I was honestly so scared…scared of what I’d find, scared of how I’d be received, scared of what was happening.
But, as we walked into the room, it was as though the fear, the negative emotions, the frustrating memories, the sad times were all stuck outside the door. They couldn’t come in. Instead, there was only peace.
Peace and love.
That’s not to say that the other emotions didn’t greet me at the door when I walked back out…I didn’t just forget or ignore them. Because they are a part of everything. And they’re real. But I wasn’t burdened with them while I sat next to Him.
We spent the day with Him. We talked, we laughed a bit, we cried. Again, it was surreal to see this person you’ve known for so long in such a state. His soul was the same, His smile was the same, but His body…his poor body, was not the same. He is so small. And tired.
As we left, before some of the roller coaster of emotions hit, I specifically recall feeling gratitude: for the chance to see Him again, for the good visit, for the positive things that have come from our relationship. Gratitude that I’m able to live near family again so I can be present for this. Gratitude for other family members to share the same feelings with – to know none of us have to go through this alone…including Him.
I will be going to see Him every week now. We have no idea how long He will be with us, but I’d like to see if, again, there is a way to try to push the past aside. “We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” Charles R. Swindoll
So that’s my thoughts for now. Thanks for letting me take a few minutes to get my feelings out. This has been weighing heavy on my heart, and I didn’t feel like I could continue talking about projects and crafts and such before I addressed where I am…right now…in this place. Out of respect for Him, I didn’t want to just act like none of this was happening…even on my blog.
Thanks for listening,