5 words that turned trauma into a gift…

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

This entry was posted in anxiety, blog, brain cancer, christianity, depression, fear, Glioblastoma Multiforme, grief work, guilt, healing, hope, inspiration, love, mother daughter relationships, motherhood, ptsd, recovery, spiritual healing, therapy, trauma. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to 5 words that turned trauma into a gift…

  1. daylily2011 says:

    How wonderful to hear your mom say she knows you love her. It was the right thing to say just when you needed it. I can understand how that calmed you because you are worried she feels you are not with her at all times but she has your love always. And you will always have hers, too.

    You are stronger than you know.


  2. My heartfelt hugs to you…xo

  3. My tears are rolling! This is powerful on every level possible. I actually feel jubilant reading this – jubilant! You have allowed your readers to see the pain, frustration, fear, anxiety, anger…..all of it, turned into courage, confidence, strength, encouragement….peace with your mom, yourself, and God – and awe of what really is important. This is faith. I know this is ongoing, not a quick story happy ending, so my prayers, in whatever form I can make them, are with you. Blessings, BLESSINGS to you! Diane

    • The fact that you feel jubilant is proof of God’s grace. It’s all Him. He is working this horribleness for good just like He says He will. Thanks for your encouragement, Diane. Looking forward to many more emails and connections with you.

  4. Denise Hisey says:

    You are such a breath of fresh air! I can so relate to much of what you say. This really hit home “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.” Amen, sister, Amen.

  5. What a beautiful story of love and grace and hope. You openness and search for meaning has rewarded you in special ways. Thank you for sharing of yourself.

    • Thanks, Vicki. You know best what a trial cancer is and how much fear can stalk us in the unknown. I love reading about your growth and perspective, especially since you went through it firsthand. Your wisdom is invaluable and very inspiring to me. Thanks for your support and encouragement. It means a lot to me.

  6. God bless you – Hugs – Patty

  7. optimisticgladness says:

    What a great way to look at things. I’m so glad your mom knows you love her and that she told you. I think you really needed that. Thank you for the post.

    • Thanks, Lisa. I keep thinking about your phone call and the beautiful prayer you prayed shortly before my mom’s fall. I can’t help but to think God placed me on your heart because He knew I’d need His supernatural power to hear His prompting to go to my mom and the grace I needed to help my mom. Thank you for following what He put on your heart on my behalf. Blessings to you.

  8. utesmile says:

    I know exactly how you feel for this gift, and I am glad you could hear those 5 words. I felt the same when I visited my dad who is 89 and was delirious and hallucinating (from drugs I guess), didn’t recognise us ( his family) anymore and I was sitting at his bed in tears, holding his hand firmly, stroking him. I kept talking to him and told him that I love him. He then said my name and told me he loves me too. It was the best moment and I felt at peace. Fortunatley he is better again, and I can tell him that Ilove him more often again!
    Wishing your mum better and all of you a blessed new year!
    Ute x

    • Oh, I’m in tears! What a blessing for you to have that moment with your dad and then have him be restored to you. If it’s not too personal I’d love to hear how that moment affects your relationship with him now. Thank you for your comment and for visiting my blog. Blessings to you…

      • utesmile says:

        I am always in tears (like you) when I tell this to someone, even writing it to you now. I have always had a great relationship with him and I always loved him, but I needed to hear it then, as I thought it was the end. He is almost blind and hardly hears, and he loves my cuddles and affection. I am the emotional and affectionate from us two sisters and he shows me more that he loves me now, with his gestures too. He is a great man!

      • What a wonderful daughter you must be to your dad…what a blessing.

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