I drove home after Rhea’s services and was so incredibly lost. It had been two weeks of massive noise and chaos, and yet my world was so still and silent. After having people in my home for days, it was time for the three of us to try and figure out life. This was still at the time that I was living off of string cheese, apples, and V8 Energy. Food made me nauseous, but I had a house, refrigerator, and now a new deep freeze full of it. I was barely eating and sleep was a laughable subject. I had two little girls who needed normalcy, and I wanted so badly to give them that. That was my job as their mom. However, I wasn’t in a position to do that, and I found that out in a very scary way. (I have shared this account only with a few people in my life, my family not being part of those few, because I was stubborn and ashamed that I couldn’t get it together.) We had been home, just us, for almost a week. My lack of sleep caught up with me, and I completely crashed one day, and by crashed, I mean I slept through an entire day, breakfast through supper. Very understandable, except I had a brand new 4-year-old and a 5-year-old at the house. I woke up at about 8:30 at night in extreme panic, only to find my 5-year-old, my sweet Joanna, had completely taken care of everything all day long. She fed herself and her sister breakfast, lunch and dinner, they watched tv, played with toys and everything else. They had pop tarts, fruit snacks, juice boxes, lunchables, anything that she knew how to do. I remember kneeling in tears on my kitchen floor that night and just holding both of them. And my Joanna humbled me once more and said, “It’s okay, Mommy. You were so tired and needed a really long nap.” My five-year-old was taking care of me. This new world I was placed in was so incredibly hard to breathe in, let alone live. But, it was that moment when I vowed to myself, as I sat crumpled on the hardwood kitchen floor with my daughters in my lap, that I would rise from this, for them. That same night, after I put my already too grown-up daughters to bed, I started my search for a counselor, for all three of us.
I’ve made almost every single decision in my life, the past 3 ½ years, with the forefront being what my girls needed. For over a year I gave up half of my therapy session to focus on the girls’ grief and how to help them, moved homes, stopped working to be a better mom, and those were just some of the big decisions where their needs were forefront. This is just what moms do. We put our kids above us. Some days, the absolute only reason I choose to get out of bed is for them, because they need me, because they need to see what living life looks like, because they need their mom. And that is exactly what I needed too. I needed a reason every day to get up and start the day. They’re my reason. And, now...now it’s not enough. I have to be a part of the reason, too.
I’m never going to be able to switch my focus from my girls’ needs. That’s just not possible as a mom. But, I’m trying to add myself into the equation. My counseling is geared more and more towards what still needs healing in me and less on just how to make it through everyday life. I’ve figured out how to make it through days. Now, I’m working on making the days something I want to be a part of, because it’s my life, and I should live it for me too, not just for my girls.
Church is for me, it’s for the girls, too. But, my hour in worship while the girls are in Children’s Church, however so exhausting it may be, is for me. It’s my healing. My counseling is geared more and more towards who I am now, because Lord knows I am not the same person I was 3 ½ years ago, 2 years ago, 1 year ago, 6 months ago, or even last week. And, I’ve been accepted into an intensive therapy program the beginning of November for people who struggle with PTSD . I’ll be learning how to help myself and how to put my focus where it needs to be in my healing.
Last week, a friend of mine left a note on my desk and it said, “Listen to Rise Up.” So, I did. This song has been my beginning and end of every single day for a week, sometimes on repeat. My struggle is deep right now, and a lot of days the ache in my heart is heavier with every single step. I know some may look at those words and think how dramatic I must be. And to you I say that I can only wish that it was just me being dramatic. I cannot express to you how some of my days are purely for my girls, and that in a way, is kind of scary and sad. It is not going to be enough for me anymore. I will move mountains for them and ‘rise up’ daily for them, that will never change. The change is that I am trying to learn to do it again for me, too.
And I'll rise up
I'll rise like the day
I'll rise up
In spite of the ache
And I'll do it a thousand times again