Small sweet sandals.
Good morning from sunny Vermont.
So I had this goal–that she’d be better in a year. After a year of learning and decoding what worked and what didn’t, her suffering would abate and she’d be on her way back to school, and things would resume as they had before for us, a daughter in college, a daughter heading into high school.
But after an intense email and a followup conversation, I realized I was looking through the wrong lens. Turns out that Serena isn’t concerned about school right now, or about catching up to her friends. She knows that she’ll be in school for years for her new chosen profession, but that will all come about later. Right now is about listening to her illness and respecting its lessons. About tackling the Pushmepullyou of Lyme pain–the balance between doing too much and doing nothing. The balance between treating too much and treating too little. About understanding the environmental effects of toxins on the bacteria she is trying to wipe out. And about practicing yoga instead of studying. About learning to stop.
I am afraid. Afraid that my legs will give out on me the next time I traverse the stairs. Afraid that as a caregiver I won’t last, and instead I’ll pack up my yellow car and run. That our family will disintegrate under all the pressure and stress we face every day. That this will be our life until we die.
At my lowest moments, that’s when they tiptoe in–the sudden, unbidden images that are so clear they must be real. There’s Serena on a road trip to the coast with her sister. The windows are open, their long hair is blowing around their faces, and they are laughing hard and the music’s loud. And there’s Serena walking up our driveway, holding hands with two little children who are wearing worn, soft corduroys and sweet, small, sandals. There she is again, welcoming an anxious patient into her office. “Yes, I will help you,” she says.
Perhaps you’ll say it’s all in my head. It’s my overactive imagination providing me with safety valves. But tell me, what else is there in our situation but faith? I’ve put the lens down. I’m pulling back on my plans for her, saving my energy to continue to witness her pain and cheer her on. I’ve set aside the school calendar. I too must learn to stop. When have you set aside your lens?
Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.