It’s been a few weeks since they cut me open and took away my womb. Weeks have passed since I woke up there in that room, realizing the significance of that day and all our days to come. I remember the searing pain of my body and my heart and the hot, hot tears upon my face, streaking down my neck, an indication that I was in fact living the nightmare.
Since leaving the hospital, I can’t say much has changed. The pain is still great. My surgeon said it will take at least 12 weeks to feel a significant difference. So my wounds, my scars- They will wait. Physical healing will take time. I will have to be patient. My regular clothes will have to wait. The swelling, it will last for a couple more months and physically I will still hurt, a reminder of all I’ve had to endure.
Menopause, that ugly little thief is here. She has taken my sleep, my sanity, my ability to make decisions. My ability to remain a certain temperature. She is my enemy and her and I will fight for six months without any hormones in me to rid myself of this awful disease I am fighting. Then I’m sure we will go a few more rounds, years I suppose. I imagine Nate would like to take a couple punches at her when her mood swings come and leave me crying for no reason or cussing at Hallmark commercials. She’s an irrational beast. I definitely dislike her. The word hate comes to mind.
In matters of the heart, we are completely depleted. The wounds are raw, the pain is searing. The tears have not stopped. When asked how we are doing I am filled with guilt that I can’t answer with a response of “better” or “improving.” Unfortunately, it’s just not our truth. Right now we are just in the midst of too much pain to have moved from this place just yet.
The other day on social media, I saw someone post, “Out celebrating God’s answers to prayers this year for our company…blah blah so on and so forth.” As I read it I thought, wow. Have they got it all wrong. They aren’t celebrating God’s answers to prayers. They are celebrating the “yes’s” they received to their prayers because is it not true that God answers all of our prayers? What would people’s reaction be if I said, “Mourning over the fact that He didn’t give us the miracle we prayed for. I hate his answer to prayer this time around.” #hesaidno
We sat talking about this Sunday morning with our best friend Simon, who came to mourn with us, and we continued to mourn with him at the tragic loss of his sister whom he lost earlier this summer. How sad it was to us to see how confused our society and Christian community is about our God and how he provides for us. As painful as it is to say, sometimes his provisions are in the midst of our most painful times and require the most painful of circumstances in order for us to see Him clearly.
Now of course this negates the country song “I thank God for unanswered prayers.” It just means we are thanking him for not answering our prayers in the ways we wanted them to turn out. I’ve heard time and time again that God answers all of our prayers. It’s either “No, yes, or wait.” And for all the years I’ve been married to Nate, we’ve been praying for our own baby. One that he and I made together. The answer to that prayer from God is no. Maybe one day I will celebrate that but the truth is I don’t think I ever will. I think maybe it’s a little more reasonable to think that if Nate and I ever get to the point of adoption (which we aren’t sure we will) and that is in God’s plan and he allows that for us then I will celebrate that answer to prayer. I think I will always mourn the “no” I found here.
This December is a hard one for Nate and I. Last year, following the death of my Robby, was just as hard. It’s a month that I think both of us wish we could completely avoid. Thanksgiving, I don’t even remember. I was in an anesthesia haze and that quickly followed with my birthday that I couldn’t even imagine celebrating, my hurt heart too much. This Monday, the 22nd, is Saint Nate’s 30th birthday.
If I could share with you one thing it is how hard it is to see your one true loved one ache through this journey. Last night, we had a doctor’s appointment and we had to go pick out one last gift to send to his family and throughout the entire night we kept running into a man and his young son. When we came home, I was in immense pain and just burst into tears, wanting the Christmas season to be over. Wanting my heart to not be broken, etc. Nate, came and sat by me and he said, “you know what broke me today? Seeing that young Hispanic man and his son. They were everywhere. When we went to the bathroom. They went to the bathroom. They were in the elevator, they were in the store. I will never have a son that matches me. That looks like me, like the two of them did. Running Christmas errands. Just being with me.” I looked at my husband and I just had tears streaming down my face. Nate has had several moments he has shared with me. All of which have brought me to my knees.
We both wish we could hide under the covers…for maybe a year, maybe more- but especially through this season. I haven’t done our Christmas cards yet. I know, I know. Sue me. But when I tried to think of the words I would put on them nothing felt right. Until today.
I remembered that Emmanuel means God with us. That’s what we need. That’s probably what a lot of us need. Whether the answer was yes, no, or wait. O come, O come, Emmanuel. Meet me here in the midst of my pain, in the midst of my scars. Be with us in the brokenness. In the miracles that are crushed and in the dreams that are unfulfilled. In this mess of absolute pain, and in spirits that struggle to celebrate, Nate and I still get Emmanuel- God with us.
We thank you for being with us in this long, hard journey. We hope your holiday season is just Emmanuel.