I (Amy) hate admitting I need help. It's awful and it's humbling. Recently I had a friend (you know who you are!) who loved me enough to confront me on this very subject. She lovingly rebuked me for how I pretend I can hold it all together and not be direct with people to tell them, "THIS is what I need." And she is so right. I think we all struggle there. But maybe it's that I just want to appear like I've got it together, or maybe it's that I don't want to burden anyone else with my problems (people have enough of their own anyways!), or maybe it's falling into an old stupid stereotype of what a "pastor's wife" should be... I'm pretty good at admitting that things are pretty hard right now, but I wouldn't go as far as to actually ask YOU to help me with it, you know?
In this process (which will be a year in November of when Caroline's first hair started falling out), recently I think I have reached somewhat of a "numb" state emotionally. I've gotten in a routine, I know what foods Caroline can and can't eat for now, I know what that means whenever we try to go out anywhere, and I'm surprised at how our life as a family has just sortof morphed into a new "normal." There are things that we used to be able to do that were so easy back then, (like running out & grabbing food while we were out) but everything is just different now. Besides, this has been SUCH a roller coaster ride of ups and downs that I think I'm just finished with getting on the ride altogether if I can avoid it.
But as we're preparing to take Caroline down to a pediatric gastroenterologist at Duke next week and I'm busy making timelines of this past year and pulling out old pictures to show them the progression of everything, (yeah, I'm that mom) I've been taken out of my numbness and it has hit me again. Hard.
Words cannot describe my feelings as I saw an old picture of my precious daughter with dark, curly hair. (it is WAY too painful right now to hunt one down to put on this post) It is utter sadness. It's longing for another time. It's wishing the present weren't really happening. In some ways it's been a death of a dream that I didn't realize I had, you know? She's supposed to be DARK! She's supposed to have dark brown hair, dark eyelashes and dark brown eyebrows with beautiful olive-complected skin. I'm supposed to be able to shampoo her hair in the bath. I'm supposed to teach her how to use a brush. I'm supposed to be putting it in ponytails or bows. I'm supposed to be able to walk into a public setting without fear of how she'll be perceived if she's not wearing a hat. This is NOT the way things are supposed to be. Period. And as I have slipped into this new normal of a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, yeast-free, blah blah-free life with a bald headed child who is as thriving, growing and active as ANYBODY'S kid, I've found myself just DOING what I need to do for her without looking back.
Until I have to, like the past few days. When I look back, it's heartbreaking. And when I look ahead, it's terrifying. (so I think I'll take the numbness of the present back, please??)
The past few days, even though her poop has actually been going great, (sorry, I know not all of you wanted to know that...) MY emotional state has been crumbling. I suppose there are just "those" times through grief and major life changes that things hit you all over again. I've been crying at the drop of a hat and feeling the weight of the emotional stress combined with the demands of a day. Everything just feels like a large weight on my chest sometimes. There are times I just want to lay down, hold up a white flag, and say, "Okay! I give up! I can't do it!" (but instead, I go write a blog post like this one! ha!)
Finally got to a point last night where I knew I needed help. And right away. So this morning I hesitated before I picked up the phone and started calling a few precious families in our church who I knew would be warm and welcoming... and through tears, I asked for help.
Well, wouldn't you know... my friend was right. People want to help. People want to share your burden. People don't know what you need or when you need it. But gosh- when you actually TELL them what you need, it's amazing how much help is available out there. There are so many families in our small church right now going through painful or difficult times, and I think about them on a daily basis. I hate it that I am not in a position to be able to serve them well like I would want to. I do what I can, but it is soooo lacking compared to what I WANT to do for them. I just can't right now. And I HATE that. I don't want to be the sufferER right now, I want to help bind up the broken-hearted around me. I want to take meals, hold babies, offer babysitting for other families, and sit in living rooms with folks that are struggling.
But for whatever reason, the Lord has given ME a season of life to be the one who needs help. And I'm sure He's using this to grow me WAAAAY more than I ever would have had Caroline grown all the beautiful, flowing locks in the world.