I'm not really sure where I want to begin or even what I want to say right now, but I'm going to start writing and see what comes out.
The past year, 2010, was the absolute hardest year of my life and Chris' life so far.
In January and February he dealt with the long diagonsis and surgery to remove 15 bladder stones that were in his bladder at the same time and had been there for quite some time.
In March Chris' brother, Patrick, passed away very unexpectedly.
From May - August Chris was on antibiotics of various types for a urinary tract infection that refused to leave his system.
In September Chris developed a small pressure sore from sitting in his wheelchair that started to decrease his ability to sit up in his chair for the long days that school and studying required.
From October through December Chris' pressure sore deepened intensely and he was confined to bed 23 hours per day by his wound doctor's recommendations - 9 1/2 weeks straight and then a few days throughout December as it healed and then reopened a few times.
In December Chris' grandmother, Memaw, passed away after a long battle with health complications.
And that concluded 2010.
So what does 2011 bring? My prayer and my hope is that 2011 will be filled with time for Chris and I to process the past year of hurts with the Lord and with each other. So far Chris has worked hard to find ways to do that in the healthiest way we can. I'm so thankful for his insight in knowing that we will work through these hurst much more smoothly if we have others walking along side us to share the pain and hold our hands as we listen to their wisdom.
We have joined a grief/share group at church which is a 13 week course for people who are grieving loved ones who have passed away. We went to the first session this week and both of us cried for 2 hours. It was relieving and a safe place to really let out both the emotions that we intentionally hold in and the emotions that we don't realize are inside. I'm looking forward to learning more about grief and allowing the people who are in our group to speak truth and honesty to us as we move through such an unknown world for us.
We have started seeing a counselor who specializes in marriage counseling for persons with disabilities which I believe will really help us work through the medical situations that we've lived through as a couple. We both know that the circumstances we have faced are pretty intense and severe. So why should we assume that we have the strength and wisdom in and of ourselves to know how to love each other through the suffering? That seems like an unrealistic expectation. We both want our lives to be filled with as much joy as possible so we are super-excited to talk to someone who knows a lot about spinal cord injury and the medical complications that arise in addition to knowing about a marriage relationship and the need to work together as a team. We both choose to love each other every day and this counseling is another step towards making our relationship all that it can be. And for that I could not be more grateful.
We have also started meeting monthly with one of Chris' professors who taught a marriage class that Chris and I took in the fall. He's an amazing man who has lived a full life and who loves the Lord and loves his wife. To be able to absorb any amount of wisdom from him will be an amazing experience.
The Lord has allowed a lot of pain and challenges in our circumstances but we know and we see how faithful He is to walk us through those challenges and then love us enough to bring healing, restoration, and a deeper understanding of ourselves as individuals, as a couple, and as children of the living God.
So I'm encouraged and comforted by the fact that we now have outlets and ways to work through the emotions, thoughts, and questions of the circumstances that we've lived through. Only the Lord can place such an amazing network of supports in our path at this exact time.....He knows what we need, when we need it.