Here we are in the emergency room, a place I try my hardest to stay away from. When you lost control of your eyelids and your eyes shone like glass underneath, I knew I had to make the call. You had been vomiting even after there was nothing left in your system; I knew you needed more help than I could give. Thankfully, after a second try, we found the right medication for your nausea. Now, we’re waiting for the IV drip to re-hydrate your body so that we can go home. This is the plan, but I never know when you might change it.
And change it you did. This morning I’m continuing this letter from your hospital room after you were admitted at 12:45am. Sweet T, my heart aches for your suffering. There is a madness you are living right now. I would call it “tension.”
It’s a place of unknowns and mystery and lack of understanding. It leaves me wishing that you could look at me and speak your feelings, both physical and emotional. Tension is a place of in-between.
My in-between is trying to figure out what is best. Long ago, I made decisions for you based on how I thought you were feeling or responding. Since your responses have slowly diminished, I’ve had to make decisions on intuition. Really, it’s just gut feeling. And honestly, I’m not good at gut choices. I used to be, but after having others guess or frown or ponder my decisions, I gradually have become less confident. Tension.
I’ve had to move from trying to figure out how you feel, to thinking about how I would feel in your situation. It might not make sense to folks who’ve never cared for a loved one who is losing all grasp on life. But the responsibility of making decisions for someone who can’t make their own has never been more all-consuming.
Tension is what results when one parent processes grief and suffering with one set of thinking while another processes a different way. Tension is when one friend thinks one way and the other believes a different way to be better. It’s when there are no hard and fast rules to go by. It’s when the lines of life get blurred and no decision is guaranteed to produce a certain result.
And yet, here you are. Your fingers curled around the stuffed animal given to you in the hospital is a precious sign that your spirit is still alive and well. That even amid tension, your heart is beating, and your lungs are moving air. As long as you are breathing, life has meaning. God provides your breath. His love is inhaled and exhaled each time you breathe because you are His creation.
The tension we both feel in these scary moments won’t be resolved by kind gestures or words. It can’t be relieved with medicine or bandages. While all those things are wonderful and well-appreciated, the only true relief for tension is the presence of Jesus.
Girl, I consider it a spiritual victory that I have not used any foul language in discussion with medical professionals through the last two days. No joke. You know your mama. There’s nothing that makes me more passionate than fighting for the best of my loved ones. Exasperation and exhaustion have threatened me, but when I look at you, the one who has so much more to be exasperated and exhausted over than I do, I’m reminded that this tension puts us in a place we truly long to be- closer to Jesus. He’s using the tension to pull us even tighter into his arms. I’m pretty sure you’re going to see Him face to face before me. I’m throwing myself at His feet again and asking Him to help us feel His hand holding you up and holding me together.
Looks like we’ll be going home soon.
I love you,