I was given an incredible gift today and I just have to share it with you. It wasn’t wrapped in Christmas paper, and it didn’t arrive in a UPS truck. The gift was given to me in a phone call with my mom. And as long as I live I’ll never, ever forget it.
If you read my last post you’ll remember last Saturday was an awful day for my mom. I found her unconscious on the floor of her hospital room and held her while she had a 15 minute seizure.
My anxiety has been out of control and the flashbacks of finding my mom have sent me into a 6-day tailspin. The old doom and dread came back. The panic attacks threaten me constantly. My appetite has vanished and I’ve been having difficulty concentrating. My mind has been on auto-pilot playing out a myriad of scenarios and disturbing stories based on what I saw and experienced with my mom. All signs that my PTSD has been fully engaged.
I’ve been praying my heart out, I visited my counselor, I went to a couple kickboxing and MMA classes, I’ve dusted off my old notebooks about recovery and trauma, and I’ve read wonderful articles and listened to inspiring talks about God’s faithfulness during our trials. All my tools are sharpened to fight this reaction, but it’s been years since I’ve struggled like this. I think the trauma affected me more than I thought it did, and I haven’t bounced back like I’d hoped I would.
I’ve always believed there are special gifts we’re given in the storms of life. Gifts that exist nowhere but in the hardest times we are forced to endure. Gifts like compassion, perspective, service, joy, strength, gratitude, wisdom, insight. These gifts are the result of pain and they last a lifetime. I’ve experienced them before, but beyond my mom not having any bleeding in her brain, I never dreamed anything good would come out of her fall. I thought I’d just have to get passed it and move on, and just chalk it up to another one of brain cancer’s companions.
But earlier today I called my mom and we spoke briefly since she was still exhausted from the seizure and all of her chemo and radiation treatments. When we said our goodbyes to each other I said, “I love you, mom.” She replied, “I love you, too. Thanks again for helping me when I needed you. I’m sorry you had to go through that, honey. ”
“Oh, Mom, I’m glad I could be there to help you. I wouldn’t rather it be anyone else. I love you.” I quickly added.
“Oh, I know you do.” She said as we hung up the phone.
Oh, I know you do. Those 5 little words deeply affected me. Wow. She knows I love her. Those 5 words helped me turn a corner in processing what happened with my mom. Those 5 words have freed my spirit and have given me the most precious gift I could ask for with my mom. She knows I love her.
If you asked me what kind of person would be best suited to handle the shock and trauma of seeing her mom on the floor unconscious and holding her during a 15 minute seizure, I would tell you that a girl who’s recovering from PTSD would be my last choice. Of course you’d never put a girl like that traumatic situation. She can’t take it. She’s too raw. Her emotions and stress levels are too shaky and unstable. She needs years of recovery before her adrenal system could tolerate such a blow.
When my mom fell and was knocked unconscious, she needed someone to help her. And God allowed me to be there to help my mom in her most vulnerable moment. That experience, as horrific and terrifying as it was, has bonded us more than any other moment of our lives. It has helped redeemed the years I kept my emotional distance from my mom, and it destroyed the remaining blocks left in the wall that divided our hearts.
That’s a gift. And I’m very thankful for it.
I know God will help me process these flashbacks and triggers. He’ll restore me to where I was before the incident. My anxiety and dread will dissipate, and all of this will just be a part of my story. I know I’ll be ok.
But I also know I’ll never be the same. I’ll be different. I’ll be stronger….way stronger. And I’ll have peace knowing that my mom knows I love her. That’s the most precious gift I could receive. And God knew it all along.
“God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28