Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In contemplation of 2010

I woke this morning to the sounds of Bert removing his bike from his trainer and was so happy for him. He received all kind of awesome bike gear for Christmas, some of which was designed to keep him comfortable whilst biking in freezing weather. No doubt he is excessively grateful for his lobster gloves and shoe covers right now.

As I lay there after he left my thoughts turned to the year that we're leaving and to say I grew fairly melancholy would be just about accurate. Holy cow this was one hell of a year. It would be ok with me if I didn't experience another one like it for some time. The Spirit whispers "If this is the worst you experience, you've had a pretty wonderful life" and oh boy ain't that the truth? In comparison to some my life is amazingly blessed and cushy.

That's not to say it didn't hurt, though. And it all started way back in January. I feel like the whole year's been overshadowed with pain. May was pretty bad, beginning with the flood. I'm shaking as I remember the night - so dark, the rain lashing down, trying to get to the hospital. We'd drive and the road would be blocked and we'd see scenes like the one in the video in the link, so we'd turn around and try to find a different route and all the while my son's in the front seat and my heart is in my throat. We were transferred to Children's hospital in Nashville just before flooding shut down the freeway and it was completely bizarre to be sitting in that hospital watching the news and seeing fire trucks pumping out the hospital basement...and we'd just have to step outside the door and see those same trucks. Bert had to move the car higher in the garage. When he did so he witnessed a nurse, wading in water up to her thighs, attempting to get to her car to move it. It was surreal. It would be ok with me if I never experienced anything like that again.

And then right after I got pregnant. And then I had to stop running because of the bleeding. So that was grief. And then I lost the baby.

And I can't talk about that anymore.

Mostly now I'm just fine. It's amazing how if you just go through the motions eventually everything becomes routine again. But sometimes I'm hit with a wave of grief. And sometimes any little disturbance in my safe little life will send me careening over the edge into fury and I lock myself away so no-one sees. I used to be deeply horrified and shocked by any kind of coarse thoughts and bad language. At times when the anger gets me the language in my head would shock the old me right out of my socks.

Sometimes - a lot of the time - I feel like I'm broken and I will never be fixed.

This year took me and ripped me apart and I'm not fully back together yet and I long to be that person I was last Christmas but I'm not. And I don't know how to be her again. And I don't know if I'll ever be her again. And I'm so sad, because she was pretty nice really and the me now is torn and twisted.

One of the hardest posts to delete from The Loop was the one about the fish. Do you remember it? Did you see it? I wish I still had it. Somehow that post encapsulated everything and it felt "right." I was running and I saw a man in front of me stop and look at the side of the road and exclaim into his phone "There are fish in a puddle by the side of the road." So I stopped and looked....and my gosh there were. The sun was shining and the water was evaporating quickly and I knew if we didn't rescue those fish soon they'd die. So what did I do? I went to my husband and told him. And he leaped into action, preparing everything we'd need. Then he, I, and Andrew went out and rescued the fish. We took them over to the lake in the next subdivision and released them.

When I think about that experience there's more there than I can comprehend. Firstly, there is pain - my older son wasn't there. Then there was my immediate fervent desire to save the fish...I'm hoping that says something good about me. I could do with thinking something good about me. Then there was teaching my younger son to help others. The Spirit whispers "When you serve and help others, the grief is less." and that's so true. And then there's my husband, to whom I immediately turned, knowing he'd know what to do and that he'd do it, and do it well.

All through this year my husband has suffered just as much as I. And yet while I feel damaged, he has remained true, steadfast, a rock and a support. He has given of himself at every opportunity. Through situations that have made me snarly and furious he has through supreme effort remained calm. He's laid himself down for his family. He has been strong for us. He has raised us up. He has kept going. Not to say there haven't been times when he's broken down and sobbed too, but there was strength in that for him. Through grief and agony he has served others and given...and given...and given....until I'm left in awe at who he is and what he's done. I always knew I'd married up. This year confirmed that in spades.

I need to find a way to leave this year behind as we head into 2011. Please please God let 2011 be a good one. Another year like 2010 might kill me. For Family Home Evening I asked the family to think of positive things that have happened in 2010 and every single one of us struggled to do so. Ben's though, when it was his turn, was one of sincere gratitude to his parents and that was so beautiful. I'm so thankful for that.

So what good happened in 2010?
I need to list some things but am having trouble bringing any to mind. Here we go:

- I made some really wonderful friends.
- I met my goal of running a half-marathon and then some.
- I was pregnant and I didn't throw up.
- I feel more compassion for others.
- I am less judgmental.
- Our whole family became more active and healthy
- Only one child died this year, and we will see him/her again someday

Wow, and that's what it's all about, isn't it? Through the atonement of Christ somehow all this pain and grief gets fixed. I don't know how it's done, but oh my goodness I'm so grateful for it. Which leads me to a whole slew of things I'm grateful for:

- My Saviour
- my testimony
- Hope (that's bittersweet to say, as we'd named the child Hope just before s/he died)
- Grace
- Repentance and forgiveness
- The Temple
- Redemption

The list goes on and on and on....

This is a long post but I could have written it in one sentence:
Holy cow this year sucked eggs, but Christ makes it all better.

If you've managed to read this far, how has your year been? What are the positive things that have happened? And what do you hope for in 2011?

I hope to run an ultra in 2011.
And while I hope to get closer to who I was before, I'm not sure that's possible. Maybe through this refiner's fire I'll be able to forge someone better?

Next time
Specific hopes, goals, and/or resolutions for 2011. Maybe.


Melanie said...

you are a blessing. i lost a baby 10 years ago, and i can tell you that you will never forget. the pain will not be as intense, but it will be something you carry with you for all time. but hold on to the promise that you will be with Hope when you pass from this world into the next.

i pray that your 2011 is a year filled with blessings. thank you for sharing your life!

John Nguyen said...

Funny, that in the list of things you are grateful for, you should list Grace, right after Hope... Because we are naming our 2nd daughter Grace... And really, she was to come right after your child. Now you'll have to meet my daughter someday, and give her a big hug.

Hope is a beautiful child
Like a ray of sunshine
Peeking through the sky
On a cloudy day...

Big hugs to ya, from California... {{{{{{{{{{Keeley}}}}}}}}}

jgf said...

I remember the blog with the fish. It is an incredible memory that will stay with you and yours for the years to come. May you have a truly joyful new year!

Your ever loving Mam and Dad xoxoxoxoxo said...

Your ever loving Mam sends you so much warm love. I hope that it blurs the edges of the pain so that the love we all feel for you eases the pain and makes it smaller and smaller.

ERG said...

I never got to see the post with the fish :( But it sounds amazing.

Keeley, you are an AMAZING woman and I hope you know it!

Thanks for the inspiration and the lesson in perseverance, humility, acceptance, gratefulness- I could go on.

jugglingpaynes said...

I have had a pretty good year.I'm thankful for my good friends and my sense of humor. I actually managed to get a bit more active this year and I hope to keep increasing my exercise in the new year. For that reason, I am very thankful to have your blog to read, as it inspires me to get up and move. :o)

I hope 2011 is a better year for you. You deserve a good year!

Peace and Laughter,
Happy New Year!

bangle44 said...

Keeley, I have no doubt that 2011 will be a MUCH better year for you. Hugs and best wishes from me. I think you're special and karma owes you big time.

Keeley said...

Thank you all for your sweet words, I so appreciate your comfort and encouragement.

John - No way! I thought if I got pregnant again and it was a girl we might call her Grace - how awesome that you are calling your little one that! That makes me so happy. =)