Monday, December 01, 2014

Dark memories

There are moments from my past that I look upon with great grief. It wasn't that I necessarily did something wrong in those moments. But rather, something happened to me that I'd rather forget.

Our first year in the Azores is one of those memories that causes me great grief. Parts of it are colored so brilliantly. My friendship with my dear neighbor Carla and the relationship that our four boys fostered with one another is just one example. There were many wonderful people and many precious memories of walks along the beach and ice cream at the Red Cafe and cows and green grass everywhere you can see.

My heart, however, has trouble seeing those in my dreams. 

Generally, this year is one that when I think on it, causes me to remember things I'd rather forget. As I prepared to do an IVF transfer for the baby that would ultimately be Hannah, the medications I was on spiraled me into a depression. As I tried to claw my way out of that depression, I lost twenty pounds and found myself pregnant and terribly sick. I don't know why this pregnancy caused illness so much greater than my two pregnancies prior. It may have been starting off on such a bad foot. Or the hormones I had to take for the first 13 weeks to assure my body didn't reject our new life. 

But either way, it happened. I dealt with intense anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and of course pregnancy sickness that caused me to feel nauseous nearly all day long. The only way I could sleep was with sleeping medications, and each new day left me feeling no better than the day before. I went to bed each night knowing I would wake up feeling the same -- if not worse.

My husband and I knew we loved each other, but we did not feel that we loved each other during that year. He became my counselor and physician -- not my husband. I cried myself to sleep every night (yes, for a year!) as he tried to talk me down off a cliff. I truly believed that the Wendi I had always been was gone forever.

I started doubting my ability to parent, homeschool, move to a farm ... everything we had planned for years. I took care of my children like a robot might -- with very little feeling or emotion attached. I was unable to do anything that I normally enjoyed. I could not watch TV or exercise or read due to the nausea and spent only mandatory time on the computer. Talk about being stuck in your own head.

I hung on for dear life, praying that when I delivered, this dark veil would lift.

My husband reminded me every single day that this was a chronic illness. That people dealing with illness often got depressed. And that I would bounce back. He promised me I wouldn't feel this way forever. But I couldn't comprehend feeling better. 

In the midst of that we received word that JB might have to deploy two different times. One of the times he couldn't even bear to tell me until after he got word he wasn't going to go. The other time, we waited together facing an unknown. I was in another country on a cold and wet and rainy island in a big house that didn't smell or feel like home to me. And then I was told I might lose my only true rock -- my husband.

The moment Hannah was born, I began to heal. It was as if the moment she was removed from my womb, the slate was wiped clean. It took time, of course, for me to completely feel like myself again after the damage that year did to me. But within a matter of weeks and definitely within a matter of months, I was back. 

My husband and I quickly began working to repair what a year of no communication can do to a marriage. Today, I can honestly say we are back to where we were before that year -- deeply in love and a united team.

But recently I confided in him that I can't think back on that island without a flood of dark memories of that rainy island in our cold, marble house. As much good that happened there, I can't even think on that place in fear of rousing up all the bad. The thought of visiting it or seeing it again, makes me tense and overwhelmed.

JB told me that that is normal after a year like that. And then he send me the lyrics to a song. 

YOU'RE ON FIRE -- By MxPx
 
You're old enough to know it's not your fault
You're strong enough to face your darkest conflict
Now you've woken from your nightmare, and now you're fighting back
And nothing can survive when you attack
This road to healing, hurts more than anything

Now that you're on fire, your voice is like the wind
Now that you're on fire, let life begin again
Now that you're on fire, a new day has begun
Now that you're on fire, you are like the sun
Now that you're on fire

You've spent some time along this lonesome road
With no one waiting for you back at home
Just breaking hearts and living free and easy
Times have changed and now you're not alone
This road to healing, hurts more than anything

Now that you're on fire, you're voice is like the wind
Now that you're on fire, let life begin again
Now that you're on fire, a new day has begun
Now that you're on fire, you are like the sun
Now that you're on fire

More than anything I'd like to see
Better brighter days for you, for you and me

Now that you're on fire, you're voice is like the wind
Now that you're on fire, let life begin again
Now that you're on fire, a new day has begun
Now that you're on fire, you are like the sun
Now that you're on fire, now that you're on fire 


I pray that if you, like me, have moments of your life you'd rather forget, that you can remember how big God is and how capable you are of rising above the sadness and living again!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness Wendi, this touches me so deeply...you have been through so much and I thank GOD for His unending LOVE in your lives and for the strength HE has given you and John and your family! That farm is just the right spot for you all..it will be a place of Love and of healing! God Bless, xo N

Anonymous said...

thank you...with tears...and gratefulness to GOd...I love you so much my dear niece! Tante Janet

AW said...

I'm so sorry Wendi. :-( I am grateful that you have found relief. Depression is a terrible beast. I've struggled with deep depression all the way back to my childhood. While I've been delivered from it about 75% of the time, I still struggle with it when my health goes haywire. (Right now since last week, in fact.) I have come to terms that the Lord will not release me of this completely. He can heal me. But for whatever reason He chooses not to. At least now. For 35 years now. I don't know why and it takes a lot of work to not take it personal...why me? Haven't I lost enough? So like our infertility and other struggles, I pray for a time where I am completely FREE, truly FREE of this. It does take a toll on a marriage. My husband is one of the most loving, patient men I know to continue loving me when I'm the robot. I know it's hard for him. But it is an illness that has drawn me closer to the Lord and strengthens my faith.

betsy trogden said...

I so know what you mean. I have been diagnosed with chronic depression and it was the worst when my 2nd son was born. His first 3 years of life are a blur to me and I feel so guilty about it. It's hard to remember the good times without watching video of them. It's very sad for me to think about. Know you are not alone!