Grief, Silence and lots of stomping.

Sorry for the silence… Old-man grief came out of his hiding place to surprise me once again. I don’t know why I’m surprised – it’s Christmas after all.

I think what really did me in was going to Stone Mountain… My mom (being the extremely generous mom that she is) gave us a trip to Stone Mountain for Christmas… so we packed up and headed east for a one night’s stay at the Stone Mountain Inn for a bit of (fake) snow fun.

We spent a weekend at Stone Mountain in May 2009 – one year before the accident. Anne loved it.

On top of the Mountain in 2009

Anne climbing on the rope's course in 2009

Anne in all of her cuteness in 2009

I know I shouldn’t compare. It’s fruitless and worst of all… it’s painful. I just miss that Anne so much sometimes.

I’m still struggling with acceptance… I’m just not at peace with this new life God has called our family into. I don’t like how difficult it is; it’s tough living moment by moment… and right now I just feel like a whiny, cry-baby. I don’t know how to get to acceptance*. I think it has something to do with giving up control, releasing expectations, trusting that God is good, trusting that God will help me with this huge responsibility He’s given me – all the while continuing to fight and push to provide the best care to help Anne reach her maximum potential (*paraphrased from Stephanie Hubach’s book, Same Lake, Different Boat).  No wonder I’m struggling with acceptance – that all sounds impossible! Thankfully – God (alone) can do it for me.

All things considered, our family had a good time at Stone Mountain in 2011. It was just very different from 2009.  God still has a lot of work to do in my heart, but I’m grateful that He is faithful to finish what He has started in me… and in Anne. Our Anne is precious – and I am grateful for all of the parts of her that work well – and even the parts that don’t :-)

Stone Mountain 2011

How can you not love this girl?

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Still… Relentless

For Thanksgiving, I wanted to bring back a post I wrote a year ago…  about the relentlessness of disability. Out of all I’ve written in these last 19+ months… this is one of my favorites. Thankfully, Anne has improved in the last year, but the heart of this post – both my own desperate heart and God’s ever-faithful heart – are still the same. Thank you for praying for us so faithfully! And Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

November 23, 2010
I’ve been a bit discouraged lately about something (that will probably sound strange) …Anne’s feet. I’ve always taken feet for granted. I find myself watching people’s feet now – how without even thinking about it, people can place their feet flat on the floor – without their ankles rolling or without going up on their tiptoes. I watch Kate jump – and I’m just amazed at the complexity of the brain – working the muscles and controlling the balance just so – to actually jump and land – solidly on flat feet.

Anne’s feet are always pointed in and down. She can’t stand without braces to hold her feet at a 90 degree angle and to keep her ankles from rolling. It takes a minimum of 10 minutes for me to stretch her feet to fit in her braces. I can’t just get Anne out of bed and stand her up – no, I have to carry her everywhere until I have the space in my day to stretch her feet out.

Why do I mention this? Well… Anne’s feet represent to me the relentlessness* of disability. It never ends. It’s constant and always with you.

As I was complaining about Anne’s feet to her (awesome) PT this morning, she gently reminded me to be thankful for Anne’s feet… “They’ve improved, Kathryn.” She’s right. I should be thankful :-)

But here’s what I’m really thankful for. I’m thankful that I have to care for a child with a disability. I’m thankful for the relentlessness of it – because it is a physical manifestation* of who I am and who I have always been – completely dependent on God.

Before the accident, I could deceive myself and live as though I didn’t need God – live as if I were not broken and completely dependent on God. We are ALL broken and in need of a saviour, but it’s so easy to live independently of God.

Grieving and caring for Anne is so challenging that rarely am I not aware of my need for Him. And you know what is amazing? Yes, Anne’s needs are relentless – they are always there, but God is more relentless. He pursues me. He comforts me. He comforts Anne. He gives us strength, joy and perseverance. He helps us stay in the moment and not be overwhelmed by the future. HE IS OUR EVERPRESENT HELP IN THIS TIME OF TROUBLE. He is near. He is my God. That is what I am thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving :-) -kathryn

*A few thoughts from this post came from Stephanie Hubach’s book on disability called, Same Lake, Different Boat . I borrowed the word ‘relentless’ from Stephanie’s book. I really resonated with that word… Also the idea of disability being an outward representation of our inner brokenness came from Same Lake, Different Boat . Thanks Stephanie!

I’m tired.

I don’t know why I’m so tired today.  My energy level is usually pretty good (for which I’m extrememly grateful).  Usually, when I get tired I can look forward to a time of rest or relief…  BUT when caring for a disabled child, there really isn’t any rest or relief.  It’s constant; it never lets up.  To borrow a word from Stephanie Hubach…  it’s relentless.  So I get especially discouraged when I’m tired.  I guess I should turn things around in my head and thank God for the high energy level that He usually gives me.  Maybe that’s what I can look forward to – God’s perfect provision of energy for me.  And sleep tonight.  Yes, sleep sounds nice.

Relentless

I’ve been a bit discouraged lately about something (that will probably sound strange) …Anne’s feet. I’ve always taken feet for granted. I find myself watching people’s feet now – how without even thinking about it, people can place their feet flat on the floor – without their ankles rolling or without going up on their tiptoes. I watch Kate jump – and I’m just amazed at the complexity of the brain – working the muscles and controlling the balance just so – to actually jump and land – solidly on flat feet.

Anne’s feet are always pointed in and down. She can’t stand without braces to hold her feet at a 90 degree angle and to keep her ankles from rolling. It takes a minimum of 10 minutes for me to stretch her feet to fit in her braces. I can’t just get Anne out of bed and stand her up – no, I have to carry her everywhere until I have the space in my day to stretch her feet out.

Why do I mention this? Well… Anne’s feet represent to me the relentlessness* of disability. It never ends. It’s constant and always with you.

As I was complaining about Anne’s feet to her (awesome) PT this morning, she gently reminded me to be thankful for Anne’s feet… “They’ve improved, Kathryn.” She’s right. I should be thankful :-)

But here’s what I’m really thankful for. I’m thankful that I have to care for a child with a disability. I’m thankful for the relentlessness of it – because it is a physical manifestation* of who I am and who I have always been – completely dependent on God.

Before the accident, I could deceive myself and live as though I didn’t need God – live as if I were not broken and completely dependent on God. We are ALL broken and in need of a saviour, but it’s so easy to live independently of God.

Grieving and caring for Anne is so challenging that rarely am I not aware of my need for Him. And you know what is amazing? Yes, Anne’s needs are relentless – they are always there, but God is more relentless. He pursues me. He comforts me. He comforts Anne. He gives us strength, joy and perseverance. He helps us stay in the moment and not be overwhelmed by the future. HE IS OUR EVERPRESENT HELP IN THIS TIME OF TROUBLE. He is near. He is my God. That is what I am thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving :-) -kathryn

*A few thoughts from this post came from Stephanie Hubach’s book on disability called, Same Lake, Different Boat . I borrowed the word ‘relentless’ from Stephanie’s book. I really resonated with that word… Also the idea of disability being an outward representation of our inner brokenness came from Same Lake, Different Boat . Thanks Stephanie!