Never would I have imagined that something so horrible would bring about something so beautiful. I have to say how grateful I am that I had a happy and peaceful upbringing. My husband and I say we never came with baggage. Maybe a few carry-ons but not the luggage that some of us can bring from childhood scars and experiences. My mom has a lot to do with that. Obviously. She is kind and consistent. She was my every present supporter on the sidelines come rain or shine. Not so much a screaming cheerleader hopping up and down with pom poms, but I knew she was always for me. As a kid she got me into gymnastics and tap dance and music classes. While away at college, my mom sent me a letter every week. She attended the birth of all my children. And she was a prayer warrior like nobody’s business. Especially as our family grew, however, it was rare for us to have a conversation without endless interruptions. I am not saying I wasn’t close to my mom or didn’t have frequent interaction. It’s just that this experience brought us to a whole new level.
One night we went out to see a movie, “Frozen”, if I recall correctly. Being in a movie theater with so much stimulation was a challenge for me to say the least. I did my best to hold it together, it was so much work. Trying to sit still when your insides are scrambling and running in circles is a full time job. By the time the credits were rolling I was out of my mind. As we filed out of the theater I was crying and saying, “I just can’t do this”. I can only imagine what people thought. I didn’t care.
We went back to my house and I sat with my mom at the kitchen table pouring out what was going on. I was just entering into this new season that would last almost two years. I had analyzed myself and tried to come to some conclusions of what had happened in my childhood, some reason that I was the way I was and getting worse. Mom and I sat there for an hour, holding hands, talking one on one. I can’t remember the last time we had done that.
My mom is a very stable person. I only remember her crying on two occasions. Once when I was about 4, she was at the kitchen sink, crying. I have no idea why. Then when her father died, understandably. She wasn’t cold or emotionless at all, but just not as expressive. Being an only child maybe, or just the way she was wired. She never had a day she can remember being depressed. Ever.
When you’ve never experienced anxiety or depression you come to some interesting conclusions. One is the idea that people should just get over it. Will yourself out of this state of mind. Think happy thoughts. It’s not their fault really, it’s just all they know. One way to change that is to experience it yourself. The next best thing is walk day in and day out with someone you love as they fight this battle. Mom was my fellow soldier. I know she would have gladly taken this whole thing upon herself to spare me my pain. It was agonizing for her. She put her life on hold.
Because I was so fragile and growing worse, I could not be alone. I needed to know that if I was going to have a panic attack there was someone in control. Mom took the lion’s share of this duty. She would come over in the late morning and stay until John could get back home from work right before dinner. Having her there comforted me. It also gave us a chance to talk and pray and cry and grow close. As strange as it sounds, I am grateful for this time. It’s a picture of redemption in so many ways. How God works things out. He takes even the very worse moments of our life and brings good out of them. The word redeem is from two latin words that mean to buy back. To take something meant to bring evil and buy it back for good. I see him do this over and over. I wasn’t seeing it yet, not at this moment. But it was coming.
She also was our driver. I had more appointments than you can imagine. She drove me everywhere; sat through doctors’ appointments, attended counseling sessions, took the kids to their classes. I will forever be indebted to her. As if we aren’t always indebted to our mothers, but this was beyond the call of duty…way beyond. I know she felt helpless as she watched her once enthusiastic daughter, waste away. I was just the shell of that person. Looking into my eyes, you saw vacancy. But she also carried hope.