It’s hard to believe that these were taken three weeks ago.
Before I was wheeled into the OR, Jake whispered, “I love you” one last time into my right ear. Hearing those words in that moment gave me a last boost of courage to face what I knew was going to be a very rough 24-48 hours. When I woke up from surgery and looked at the clock on the wall, the entire wall fell to the side. This happened every time I opened my eyes. It was nauseating. Yesterday I walked three large laps at the mall with my mother-in-law and today I walked around our block on my own. It is amazing how quickly our brains can adapt to major change.
I’ve been reflecting back on the last three weeks a lot lately. So much has transpired in such a short amount of time. I had brain surgery and was discharged from the hospital three days later! That blows my mind. When I left the hospital, I was still dizzy, and not completely balanced, but mostly capable of walking on my own. That blows my mind. The prayers and emails, texts, and blog post comments continue. That blows my mind. (And also makes me smile.)
There have been a few people throughout this ordeal who have told Jake that they started praying for me after not having been to church or praying in years. Others have shared that reading about what my recovery has entailed has caused them to “reset” so to say and not take for granted the simple things in life that they are able to do without thinking twice – walking, picking something up off the floor, driving kids to and from. I’ve even heard that kids have told their parents they are praying for me (without any prompting.) <Insert my tears here.>
After I was told I had a brain tumor last fall, I began to pray for healing. It seemed like a logical prayer request. Little did I know I should have been more specific. God saw it fit to start healing areas in my life that I didn’t realize needed healing. It took facing Norman to bring me to a place where I could see that my perspective on certain relationships needed a major adjustment and helped me realize areas in my life that were broken. It has been hard – probably the hardest six months of my life, and I know He’s not done with me yet. But I’m grateful for the chance to see how God is using it all – my diagnosis, surgery, and recovery, in ways I never imagined.
Shckelet#3 and Shecklet#4 have had a worry of Mommy not feeling well, and not knowing when she is coming back after she leaves. I have had a few bedtimes with them when one or both of the little ones were sad about Mommy’s surgery. I know that some of this behavior was them stalling or feeling extra tired. I also know some of this fear came from them because they truly love their mother and don’t want to be away from her for any amount of time. They both kept talking, thinking, and worrying about the day when Mommy was to leave. Shecklet#3 didn’t want Mommy to have to endure pain. Over the weeks Veronica and I worked to try to help them think about and talk about when Mommy is going to come home. They really responded well to this and have found hope in anticipating that day.
Before we left for California I had a number of conversations with Shecklet#2 because I was worried that he had unrealistic expectations. He kept insisting that his mom would come home and there would be nothing wrong. I thought that I needed to help him understand that there are dangers to the procedure and that the expected side effects would be hard. I was frustrated that he wasn’t hearing what I thought he needed to hear. He was probably frustrated that I kept trying to talk to him about it. He was persistent in telling me that he wasn’t worried and that Mommy would be OK. I eventually started to realize then and I am more confident of it now that he doesn’t care about the side effects he isn’t worried about the burden of helping with extra care for his mother. He has faith that the woman he loves will always be with him and he will love her the same and she will love him the same. He is right in more ways than I first realized.
After we told the kids about Veronica’s diagnosis we carefully watched how the Shecklets responded. We wanted to be available for them as they worked through the thoughts and emotions that they felt. I wasn’t sure how Shecklet#1 felt, and he didn’t indicate having any sort of strong emotion. It made me anxious not knowing what he was thinking, or how to help him. He has this slightly awkward pre-adolescent thing where he stands near Veronica and waits for her attention then asks if he can give her a hug. When he was younger he would just run to her and hug her, but as he has gotten lankier it is hard for him to give her affection unannounced without bumping into her or knocking into her glasses. I have noticed that over the last few months he has patiently waited and kindly asked Veronica for hugs much more often. I am proud of him for realizing that he wants to be close to his mom and advocating for their relationship and expressing his love for her. When I encouraged him about this he told me that he knew that Mom needed more hugs and he likes to give her hugs.
As for me, at my core, I have a very small faith. It doesn’t come out in song, or scripture quotes. It doesn’t leak on the floor leaving a trail. It is small but unwavering and solid. When all else fails, it is there. This is one of the many gifts that my parents have given me. This week I am so glad that they have.
I’m turning another year older in a few days – and it’s a “special” birthday.
My friend, Michelle, planned a get together at a local restaurant and a great group of friends showed up to help me celebrate! I wish I had had our server take a group picture of everyone, but one of my friends did capture these pictures for me. (The lone color one is of the ladies I know from our old parish – several who have known me since before we had kids.)
In the invite, Michelle offered to put together a spiritual bouquet for me. On the vase that held 40 roses are the prayers she collected. I can’t tell you how much the love, support, and friendship of the ladies who came tonight (and many others,) means to me – especially as I close in on the “T-2 months til surgery” mark, which coincidentally is my actual birthday. I am truly blessed to have so many beautiful women supporting me in the rough times and celebrating with me in the joyful times. ❤️
A friend of mine in my women’s group at church was recently telling me about how there have been times in her life when she has known she needs to go THROUGH something to get to the other side. There’s no going around the circumstances that have come my way or my family’s way lately. We can only go THROUGH them.
It’s been an extremely difficult week and a half. Probably one of the hardest to date. But I’ve clung to my faith (even if it was by a thread at times,) and have caught a glimpse of what my friend was talking about regarding going THROUGH our challenges. Then I saw this in the restroom at church today. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
I came home from picking up Shecklet #4 from preschool and someone had hung a red bag on the front door handle. (Going off a hunch, I did figure out who left me the thoughtful gift. She’s a sneaky one!) Inside the bag was a little box containing the Divine Mercy image. I have been repeating the phrase, “Jesus, I trust in You,” these past two weeks when my nerves or mind are spinning out of control. Now I also have the visual of Jesus’ mercy on my kitchen window sill. I am grateful for the way I have been able to see God’s comfort and consoling during this time of waiting and pray it continues.
Our Christmas Eve tradition of having my parents join us for mass and then soup supper continued another year. Shecklet #2 and I went to the church early enough to get enough pew space for us to sit in this year. (He selected our spot and sat on the end so he could see 🙂.)
After mass, we were able to get a few family photos, which are always so fun to look back on.
Tomorrow afternoon we will head to my parents’ house to celebrate with Tony and Kristin and their kids. It will be fun to have all of the Cimperman cousins together.
Shecklet #4 sang her heart out at her preschool Christmas program this morning. The teachers do such a great job teaching hem the songs and actions to go along with each one. It was so fun to watch her up on he risers – no stage fright for her! She did great!
Peg doll saints lined up on the window sill.
All good things must come to an end, isn’t that how the saying goes? We packed a ton of fun-ness into a few short days and made a ton of fantastic memories. One final one was a visit to the Cathedral Basilica, complete with a tour given by our friend. We had been in the Cathedral before, but this time we had a chance to take in the beauty and detail of this amazing church.
We had mass as a family in a very special chapel this morning, with our friend presiding. The boys read the readings and assisted as servers. As a mom, it was an awesome experience to watch. And I hope they realize just how special it was for them to be part of it.
After mass, we ate breakfast and went to what I can only describe as one of the craziest places I have ever been – the City Museum. We had been told wearing pants was smarter than wearing shorts and that you could spend an entire day at the place. Both statements are true. We spent all afternoon there (again closing the place down) and still didn’t see it all. The photos we took don’t do the place justice, but they do give you an idea as to how unreal it is.
After one final side, we headed to the house of our friend’s friends, on The Hill. There was a bike race going on and they were hosting a pig roast. They kindly invited us to join them. Afterward, we went out for frown custard at Ted Drewes. Yummy stuff! (The boys played “Statue of Liberty” with the dry ice that was keeping the custard cold.)