Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pockets of Joy

Something wonderful jarred my memory today, and I feel compelled to share it. Most of you know about Rosemary's struggles though 4 open heart surgeries. Having come out on the other side of it, I can look back and honestly say that there is quite a bit of the hardship that I don't remember. Mostly because I've learned to choose to keep it out of the front of my head and live in the present, which by the grace of God, is absolutely phenomenal right now.

 During our six month stay in the hospital two years ago, I tried to keep my friends and family posted with up to the minute texts informing them of Rosie's status. About 2 months into that six month stay, I began to get sick of my own voice in my head, wondering if I was burdening my loved ones with the constant updates. Then last night, at my cousin's graduation party, my Aunt Jackie gave me a folder with her hand written copy of all of the texts that I had sent to her. Not having read them, I took the folder and burst into tears. It wasn't until last night, right before I laid my head down to sleep, that I opened the folder and read what I had written to my family.

There were specific accounts of Rosie’s pain, multiple chest tube placements to drain fluid, my frustrations in having to live there, not being able to help her or even console her at times, missing my other 2 children, these were all mentally debilitating and felt like knives through this mother’s soul. When she would fall asleep, that’s when I would slip out of the room and find somewhere else to cry. But then a text would come in from a family member or a friend, and it would snap me back into place, give me chuckle, a chance to breathe. Sometimes it was just a feeling of needing to “perk it up” and I found the ability to brighten up Rosie’s day, make her smile, lift her spirits enough to ease her into sleep. She actually lifted my spirits and kept my head above water much more than me doing anything for her. Her smiles, her ability to fight, her resilience and desire to be here…it kept me going.

Those simple text messages recharged me enough to get back into that ring and keep fighting. Those intermittent release valves let just enough pressure out for me to make room for the good stuff. I could feel it. I know that in my darkest hours, my friends and family were praying for Rosie, for me and for my family. I know that’s when I received my pockets of joy. It came out of nowhere, recharged me and sustained me through some very dark times.

As I sat in church today listening to Rev. Keith speak about joy even within the depths of despair, I thought, "I can totally relate." Something lifts you out of the hole you fell into and you gain enough clarity to find peace, to feel joy; joy that keeps your hope alive, and refills your spirit with life again. That reconnection of my head and my heart happened multiple times during that hospital stay with Rose. It’s real. It felt like a “Joy Smack On The Forehead” if you will. I forgot just how dark things were for a while. Today, I was reminded of what it feels like to be reawakened by someone else’s thoughts and prayers for you. So today, I’m sending out my own pockets of joy and sending my thoughts and prayers to those of you who are out there living through some very dark hours in times of a loved one's failing health or anything else that's burdening you today. You’re not alone. Ever.