It was heartbreaking work to go through my things in Oregon. It was particularly rough to see the things that had been in my hospital rooms but that we left behind when we flew East. I still can’t look at my picture board. We brought it home and one night I took it from its resting place from being unpacked in the hall and put it in MommyDaddy’s room with the pictures facing the wall. Nothing was said about it, it just magically disappeared. Thanks, Mommy!!
The hardest thing to see, though, was the calendar I had used in the hospital. I routinely tried to convince people upstairs and downstairs that this hadn’t really happened while I was at RIO (3rd hospital). It became apparent that although the people caring for me were extremely proficient, they were (for the most part), not prepared to engage with the level of confusion I was displaying and “daring” them to dispute.
Are you confused about the date? A nurse asked me.
Okay…I figured “Yes” was the easiest answer. So they posted big signs on the wall with the date on them and had Mommy bring my calendar from home. The March and April had my old handwriting on it – my siblings’ birthdays, when I was going to Burundi, my meeting with my church to ask them if I could be a missionary. And then May is blank. When I got hold of that calendar in the hospital I somehow wrangled a pencil and scrawled (I was learning to write again in OT) in the month of June the word, “home” on the date they said they were aiming to let me fly home.
That was all I wanted. To go home. To the house where I grew up, where I learned to drive and cook, and where Mom and Dad were.
I didn’t know that I was looking for a feeling, not a place.
I learned that the hard way.
Now, almost 4 years and buckets of tears later, I’m ready to put words around this. In fact, I want to clarify this since I’m planning to share my video with you tomorrow, and it’s definitely a statement on my part – and it will make more sense in the context of this post.
Last year I came home from Oregon and Boo Boo’s house and was terrified to see Trainer D and Coach R again. We only had a few months of Training under our belts then, and I was thinking to myself, Don’t make me say it, please don’t make me say it.
When I returned to The Running Gym Coach R just looked at me sideways and said quietly, Is there anything I need to know?
Wow. Great line, that. It gave me the power to choose what I wanted to disclose.
This time around I went to visit Boo Boo and was gone for a few weeks and when I returned I was thrilled that I wasn’t scared. I was just glad. The difference? Now all my peeps know pretty much all there is to know about my situation. I’m not hiding anymore. Which is not to say that talking about important things isn’t still difficult, and sometimes (extremely) reluctant on my part. But overall, transitioning to the Full Disclosure Model was such a fantastic idea.
The thing is that I hid it for three years. I had found confirmation of it while I was still in the hospital, but it was too much for me to think of, so I just sat on it and pretended like it wasn’t there. Although transitioning to the FDM was immensely freeing, I also felt very “other” – this is a rather lonely path by definition…a terribly isolating experience…I’m just sayin’.
I used to keep my eyes closed all the time in the hospital because my vision had changed and I didn’t know how to deal with it except to simply shut my eyelids. But although I didn’t choose to get sick, I chose this life (a public recovery) with my eyes open.
And you know what? I found out that the Lord had planned such wonderful things for me that I have been shy about talking about them. I said at the Christmas Tea that stuff has happened that is so good it makes my teeth hurt. And it made me think the Lord was telling me He knew He had asked a lot from me humanly speaking, but that I could trust Him with my happiness.
Like the circumstances of my injury, everything that has happened has been way too pointed to be coincidence. When I was ready to receive the blessings He had planned for me, He graciously changed my heart so that I don’t feel so “other,” after all. It turns out that even though some really crazy stuff happened in my life and I’m remembering all these hardcore experiences I had blocked out, I’m not as different as I had feared – for the first time the “feeling” has materialized full force to match what I knew was the “correct response” to this situation.
I’ve been working up to this for a while. In the midst of this whole PTSD thing I have been simultaneously horrified by the things I now remember, and thrilled at the vastness of God’s grace. That’s why I posted Overflowing before I told you I had been diagnosed.
Soli Deo gloria.