I never gave three days…

125806194609612954500101197_Life_PRETRAILERMy oldest son called me as I was on my way home. He was living in Vermont at the time.

“Mom, you need to have a conversation with her”.

“I am always having conversations with her”.

“Maybe just tell her that if there is something she is struggling with, she can come to you – no matter what.”

My first thought?

Doesn’t she already know that? After everything…doesn’t she know this?

My second thought – Drugs.

Oh bloody hell. Seriously??

I recently attended a funeral of a friend who lost their daughter from heroin addiction.

It was unimaginable from a parent perspective.

“Just tell me what is going on. I don’t want to play private detective. I hate playing detective”.

My son’s final words: “Mom, if she doesn’t tell you in three days, I’ll tell you. But ya gotta tell her what I said first”.

Turns out I played detective.

I never gave three days.

I searched her car instead, looking for clues.

I found nothing inside the car, but in the trunk, I found my camping book bag.

That’s odd.

I wondered why that is in her trunk.

I peeked inside and saw a Walmart bag. I never looked in the bag, but instead flung the book bag over my shoulder, closed the trunk, and headed in the house.

I set the book bag down on the kitchen floor, unloaded my school book bag, and my purse. I glanced over at the camping book bag.

I looked inside.

My heart sank.

A million dreams I had for her shattered in an instant.

I put the bag back down, grabbed a wine glass, and poured a glass.

I grabbed the Walmart bag out of the book bag and my glass of wine and headed to the couch.

I sat there for a minute just processing.

I slowly sipped my wine. I didn’t want this moment to be happening. I didn’t want to be processing this. I didn’t want her to hide this from me. I didn’t want any of this.

I slowly sipped my wine.

I searched for wisdom in that moment.

I took some long, deep breaths and I drank my wine slowly contemplating my words, processing my feelings, and trying to make sense of all of it.  

When I finished my glass of wine, I called her downstairs.

“How long have you been pregnant?”                                                          

“About six weeks”.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I thought you’d kick me out of the house.”

“Duh. Have I ever kicked anyone out yet?”

In her defense, I have kicked one out – not my own child.

“I’m sorry. I was scared Mom. I’m still processing.”

That was the first answer that made sense to me. I understood her in that moment.

From then it was a whirlwind of information being thrown at me.

I stopped her when she said “…emergency room last weekend…some word that started with ‘a’…a cyst…”

“What word that started with ‘a’?”

“I don’t remember”.

It was this moment that my stomach began to hurt. My baby is having a baby.

I explained to her what to say and why it was important.

She called the emergency room that she visited the weekend before.

After numerous transfers and three phone calls later I finally got on the phone with radiology.

“We cannot rule out ectopic pregnancy”.

It was the first thing I thought of when I heard “some word that started with an ‘a’”.

I admit, I silently prayed for an ectopic.

She wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. None of us were ready.

I poured another glass of wine.

I called my best friend. She was an expert on ectopic pregnancies.

She walked me through what tests would be needed. She gave me all the info. She ended with, “You have to take her now”.

I had Sadie drive.

I called another friend, she asked me, “Mom, do you have to?”

I did.

I needed a person to ground me. I explained this and she understood.

My girlfriend met us at the hospital.

My husband met us when he got out of work at nearly 1:30 am.

Around 2 am, the staff came in and explained that it wasn’t ectopic, but the ultrasound from last weekend did not pick up a heartbeat.

More tests needed to be run.

I sat there thinking for hours that my 18 ½ year old daughter would either be having a D&C due to a baby with no heartbeat or an operation removing her fallopian tube because of an ectopic pregnancy.

I thought – Okay, this is will all be over shortly. It won’t be pretty, but it will be a lesson.

I was wrong.

Around 3 am, the nurse came in and told our small clan that they found the heartbeat, it was in utero, and she was about 12 weeks.

My heart sank and a million scared thoughts ran through my mind.

This was really happening. It didn’t matter if she or anyone else was ready. It was happening.

The second question I had asked her in the living room was, “What’s your game plan?”

“I’m having the baby Mom”

To be continued…

© LifeasChristine, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Christine, I hope that if I’m ever in your father’s shoes…

put_yourself_in_someone_shoes

Today, I had supervision during practicum. I rarely write in the moment, but I’ve found myself reflecting on this quite a bit, long after the conversation concluded.

It was technically supervision, but today, it was just life we talked about. Life in the moment.

“Christine, I hope that if I’m ever in your father’s shoes, one of my kids will be what you’ve been for your father.”

It stopped me. Frankly, I never expected such an honest and vulnerable admission. Yet, it wasn’t something new I have heard.

“It’s not about deserving, you know”

He asked me to explain. I did.

I spoke about how we as people are constantly giving worth and taking it away throughout various situations and with people throughout life – those that cross our paths and those that don’t. It’s almost like we have this innate, annoying tendency to measure who is worthy and who is not. Who deserves what and who does not.

I further explained that my father was never perfect.

“Show me a man that claims he is and I will show you a liar”, he responded.

I told him we recently cracked his safe. I found those power of attorney papers, the living will, and the healthcare proxy forms.

I told him about his living will.

“He wants to come home. No matter what…he wants to come home.”

I wondered aloud in his office. I wondered if it was about reciprocity.

Do we do what we can with where we are and what we know?

Or perhaps it’s all about learning what we value and standing up for those values?

I’ve heard “You’re a blessing to your father”, “You’re father is lucky to have you”…etc.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge, I’ve been a pain in his ass.

He has also been a pain in my ass.

We butted heads while I was growing up. We wanted different things for me. I challenged his beliefs and he challenged mine. He later changed his beliefs and I challenged him on knowing what he stood for. Throughout my 20’s and early 30’s, we have had many thought provoking and emotionally-charged conversations. For a guy that doesn’t like to make himself emotionally vulnerable, I knew what this meant for him.

And I do know, that he’s always tried to meet me where I was and I’ve always tried to meet him where he was.

Can we do that for our children?

Can we do that for our parents?

It’s not always easy. I’ll give anyone that. And I get why.

I too have wondered what if I was in his shoes. Would they advocate for me? Would they fight for me? Would they lose patience with me? Would they take it personal? Would they grieve for what they lost, but carry on with what they have? Would they push me? Would they wonder if they made the right decisions? Would they find gratitude? Would they get what they needed when they needed it?

Or maybe this is about him realizing that he can be imperfect and still be loved and worthy?

I’ll never forget the day the neurosurgeon said to me, “If you’re father is the kind of person that is only happy living a perfect life, now is the time to say goodbye”.

Maybe it’s about me not being ready to say goodbye…

Maybe it’s about grace…

© LifeasChristine, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“I promise Dad.”

“Promise me something.”

It was a random phone call in the middle of the night. I am not a fan of random phone calls, but this one was different.

“What?”

“Promise me that you will never put me in a nursing home! Promise me, right here, right now. Promise me Christine!”

“I promise Dad.”

I made a promise to my father a few years ago. We don’t agree on everything, but we agree on nursing homes – they kill people.

Nursing homes take the glue out of what holds families together, isolating and suffocating until the glue dries up crusty and suffers a cold, lonely death. Yeah, I hate nursing homes.

My step-mom spent the last years of her life stuck in a nursing home. I hated every aspect of it. I hated what it represented, what it meant, and what it brought.

My grandmother was placed in a nursing home. She was a strong-willed woman. About a year later, that nursing home broke her spirit and will to live.

I hate nursing homes.

I didn’t always hate nursing homes. I worked at one when I was young. It wasn’t my niche.

As life progressed and nursing homes took on another angle within my life, I began to reflect on the concept of them.

I always wondered why our society embraced this notion. I suppose people sometimes do what they have to, but then again, do they?

Some lessons and values in life are quite painful.

I know this one was for me personally, but I won’t let that lesson go to the wayside.

“I promise Dad.”

© LifeasChristine, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to LifeasChristine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.