The plan was to read a few blogs and hit the hay for the night, but I guess I hit on the wrong blog, or maybe it was the right one. I am not sure which yet.
This post is me, me being as honest as I can be and I have wanted to write it for months, maybe years even. I have kept it hidden in the deepest parts of me, believing I was wrong to think it, wrong to need it, I have been eaten with guilt, that I am a horrible, selfish Mom who makes things all about me. That is the lie that I have been sitting with for a long time, and as the last few months of played out, the lies have become stronger as the desire grows in me to say the truth. Then I read that post.
A woman writes about how her husband had an accident, he was left with severe brain damage, he changed, they nearly lost it all, he was angry, depressed, tried suicide, all because he had damaged an important part of his brain. Needless to say they were on the verve of losing it all, the house, the business they had worked hard for years to build. She was at the end of her rope and doing her best but it was cutting it. Her husband would have some lucid moments, when he would ‘return’ and in one of those moments she shared with him the truth of their situation. They were desperate. He quickly went and put all the vehicles on the large front lawn (they lived on a farm) with a giant sale sign. Not long after that he received a call, not from a buyer but rather a neighbor who called to berate him about the way the ‘sale sign and items’ made the property value drop, he threatened to call the police if he didn’t take it down and so and so forth. The husband, still lucid, sad quietly listening. At the end of the call the husband responds with this, ” “Sir,” he said, “There was a time in this country, in this community…when if you drove past your neighbor’s house and saw every single thing they own was for sale in front of their house…and that their lawn had not been mowed for weeks….that you would stop and say….WHAT IS GOING ON, SOMETHING MUST BE TERRIBLY WRONG, WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU?”… the man was quick with an apology, and offer of help. That’s the gist of the story. That’s not was evoked such a raw emotional response.
Through out the posting she talked as well about wearing signs… ‘I haven’t eaten in 3 days’, or ‘my child has cancer’, or ‘I am doing the best I can’… this went on. She talked about wishing that she could wear a sign, one that read ‘my husband is recovering from a brain injury, and under all of this he is amazing and my heart is broken, please be gentle with us’
I wrote a few posts back about Josh’s scars, his proof of life. Through out that post there is a second post, one that is read between the lines because I just couldn’t bring myself to write the words for the world to see, not when I couldn’t even say them out loud to myself. I feel like though Josh fought that war, he battled through that pain, it was him on that table, it was him who was forced at 6 months, 2 years, 3 years and 5 years to be braver than I have ever dreamed of being, it was him who toughed it out through literally hundreds of different appointments, therapies and tests. He’s the hero… he wears that badge of honour… but I wish I had a sign too, a scar, something that could tell the stranger ‘my son has a broken heart, and it’s breaking mine. Be gentle with me’. I don’t want the sign so that I can get special treatment, or recognition… but there is a part of me that feels very alone in a crowd some days. All the faces in the grocery store, all the strangers I pass each day, they look at me and yet they can’t see me, they can’t understand what has happened in our home for almost 6 years. Just as I can’t possibly know what they would write on their own sign. It feels selfish, it feels wrong and guilt over these thoughts has been eating at me for YEARS. It was Josh’s battle, God’s victory, I was merely the cab driver. I don’t want this to be about me… that’s not what the sign is about, I just want (for me, and for others who feel the need to hang their own signs) for the world to see those signs and be more compassionate, more patient, more ‘gentle’.