Blog Introduction

This blog is the story of how my husband and I faced the illness and death of two of our children. Each blog post is essentially a chapter in the story, so in order to truly understand it, you are going to benefit by starting at the beginning.
I hope you find our story touching, and in some way find comfort and hope through it as you face your own storms in life.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rage and the Return of Dreams

She could see herself standing outside at the corner of a large stone building.  Repeatedly, she drew back her arm and flailed it against the wall- harder and harder each time, as if she was trying to knock the building down with each blow.  She could see the tears and anguish on her own face, but they were not due to her arm beating, for her arm never broke or hurt. She felt no pain. But what was the need? She didn't want to hurt herself, or knock the building down for that matter, but the image kept coming to her. Tears, flailing arm, pervasive anguish...

A short time after my dismal defeat as a prayer partner, another conference speaker came into town.  Given my previous performance, I was no longer asked to participate. The leadership knew I was not doing well, and mercifully kept me from additional pressure. Instead, I sat with my friend and her kids, preparing myself to simply receive what the speaker had to share.  He began talking about his daughter and how even before she was born, the doctors had warned them of serious problems she had; problems that would likely be fatal.  He shared how he and his wife had needed to work through the shock and grief anticipating their beloved child's impending death.  He told us how they had prayed for God to give them a miracle, but also how they had braced themselves for the worst.
To me, this was amazing!  Someone else was standing in front of a crowd telling our story!  This guy really knew what we had been through; he understood my pain.  I was listening.  Maybe he would be able to offer me a solution to the torment I was feeling. 
He then shared about his daughter's birth. Slides of his daughter in an incubator right after she had been born were projected onto the large front wall of the auditorium.  Glaring pictures of death waiting to happen as he proceeded to tell his story.  More pictures, more story.  I was relating, waiting to hear his solution to my situation.  There had to be hope...there had to be.  But then his story took a twisted turn I had not expected.  He began to share how the doctors did not find any of the problems anticipated with his daughter; in fact, she had received a miracle and was completely healthy!  He even had his daughter in the audience with him; a beautiful young woman in her teens.
My emotions took a huge swing. The glimmer of hope dangled in front of me fled, and the sullenness I had felt before not only deepened, but partnered with intense anger.  Raging inside, I envisioned myself storming out of the building we were in, grabbing hold of a sledge hammer, and literally beating any nearby car into a pile of scrap metal.  Raising the hammer over my shoulder, then forcefully swinging it down with all the strength I could muster; over and over and over and over again until tears and exhaustion took the place of anger and hurt.  My babies died.  Why didn't I get a miracle?  What did I do that was so bad I didn't deserve at least one miracle?  The anger over my perceived rejection by God was overwhelming.  On numerous occasions I could see mental images of myself standing next to the corner of a large building.  In these images, the tears would be flowing; tears like one who had seen a loving parent suddenly turn aside, refusing and denying their own offspring. Tears of utter and complete abandonment.  As the tears would flow, I would see myself flailing my arm repeatedly against the wall of the building.  Over and over the arm would swing and hit the solid stone wall. My inner pain persisted.

The dreams continued as well.  Some were so strange, but all seemed to involve death.  A kitten killed before my very eyes; babies lost, then found dead; all pointed to the root of my current condition. The unresolved grief over the death of my children, along with all of the suppressed pain was being pushed up, wanting and needing to be confronted.  I wanted to feel better, to feel whole again, but I also knew that to confront the issue meant feeling the pain of death.  The misery I had perceived at the time of their deaths had been horrible enough, yet I knew that in spite of those experiences, I had never allowed the real agony to truly be felt.  It had been stored up and locked away.
I had another dream which clearly showed the struggle I was in.  I saw myself in what appeared to be a high school.  Lockers lined the hallways, just like in the school I had attended.  I needed to go to my locker to get the answers I needed, which were stored inside. I  definitely could remember the first of the combination's numbers, but the second number was a vague memory. The third number was completely unknown to me.  I was very frustrated in this dream.  I knew I wanted the "answer" to my problem, and it was obvious from my frustration that I had previously known all the numbers to get into my locker. I should have been able to get to the answer, but for some reason I could not solve the problem and get to the solution.  My struggle continued.

In spite of the fact that I knew I was in trouble and wanted help, admitting the need for help was nearly impossible.  I needed to be in control of my little world.  To relinquish any aspect of it, or to admit weakness or failure, would have compounded the guilt and sense of unworthiness I was already immersed in.  I had always been "the strong one", the stoic one.  I was fighting hard to hang on to those titles, although deep inside I knew I was in a losing battle. I was at war with my inner demons, and they were winning.
Convinced that no one was safe to share with, I withdrew inside myself even more. Efforts by Peter and Kristina to get me to talk were met with resistance, and their frustration grew as well.  I wanted to talk; I wanted to be free from the voices which harassed me, but I could not pull myself out of the inner cave I was cowering in.  The walls I had erected for years to keep pain and suffering out, had now become the walls which held me in; a prisoner in my own mind.  In spite of the fact the entrance to the cave was open, I could not make myself leave the dark tomb-like structure.  What laid outside those walls terrified me more than anything.  Death was waiting for me.  In order to be healed and made whole, I would have to face the pain of death head on, and I couldn't. I was immobilized with fear.

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