Healing: a summer of thanksgiving

October 21, 2016/#embracinghard

I’m beginning to get emails asking if everything is okay so I know it’s time to write! I’ve been silent in this space for so long that I hardly know where to start. Silence isn’t always a bad thing and in this case, it’s a matter of prioritizing certain tasks over public writing and taking the time for emotional healing… I spent a lot of the summer working with clients in addition to preparing two different life coaching workshops for local professionals. It is truly a joy to work one-on-one with people. {shameless plug that if you are looking for someone to walk through a life change or goals with you, contact me. I have a few spots still open.}

Because I worked more this summer than in the past, I also spent a lot of time being fully present with my kids… being purposeful of how and what we did and remembering how different this year was than last.

Many of you know that the summer of 2015 was a difficult one for us. Ryan (finally) had a very complicated and very important open-heart surgery to improve his body’s oxygenation. We spent about five weeks away from home, most of it sitting in a hospital room recovering.

I have felt pain in my life -terrible, indescribable pain, but nothing compares to watching your child go through terrible, indescribable pain. A six-year-old doesn’t understand what it means when you say things must get worse in order to get better. He just doesn’t. And there’s no way in the world to take away the hellish torture of moving in bed to find a more comfortable position, when there is no comfortable position. Everything hurts.

Ryan and Piper, Family Vaca, Chicago

Ryan and Piper, Family Vacay, Chicago

So I spent a lot of this summer thinking, “Wow, this time last year we were in the hospital.”  And it made me smile. It made me grateful for life every morning even when the kids were grouchy and the last thing I wanted to hear was, “mom, I’m bored.”  Because last summer I was more likely to hear my older girls say, “Mom, we miss you. When can we see you again and when is Ryan coming home?”

There is pain in the healing.

Sometimes we think that if there is fear, frustration, pain or HARD that we must be doing something wrong. Our vision of “better” is a life without resistance. The reality is if there isn’t resistance… we probably aren’t moving forward.

Ryan and Piper at Ryan's Heart Clinic appointment

Ryan and Piper at Ryan’s Heart Clinic appointment

I don’t wish a heart-defect or long-term hospitalization on anyone, but the truth is, these experiences that produce depth are there for everyone. They are true of those who move cross-county to follow dreams or jobs or spouses, when what they really want to do is put down roots and stay in the community they love. They are true for someone who has to start over after a relationship has suddenly ended through death or rejection when what they really long for is continuity and love. These experiences come in so many forms, that to list them all would take all the silky ink contained in cartridges and all the paper of all the trees yet to be cut and formed…. Because pain is universal, but so is healing and growth.

It’s through these experiences that we come to understand the truth of grace and resilience. It’s through them that we become grounded and grateful. It’s through them, that we’re able to offer a more compassionate and realistic view of our neighbor who might be going through their own private summer of hell.

Me and the girls at The White House this summer

Me and the girls at The White House this summer

This summer I spent most moments in silent thanksgiving…

… for the outdoors and the ability to watch my kids run through the yard and play in the pool.

… for the bright nights, that lasted well past bedtimes and made kids cranky or sleep in late the following morning.

… for date nights and family days spent in heat that will make you melt like a marshmallow on a stick, but gosh-darn-it if we weren’t all melting together. I was incredibly grateful that we were all able to walk around able-bodied, sweating ourselves to death instead of huddled up in winter clothing in an air-conditioned hospital room.

… for family vacations – – seeing and visiting loved-ones that we missed last year.

…. and for the everyday nothingness of sitting around, relaxing, getting bored, and doing it all over again the next day.

Everything tasted that much sweeter due to the bitterness of the pill we ate the summer before.

Girls with their travel buddies at The Sculpture Garden, Wash DC

Girls with their travel buddies at The Sculpture Garden, Wash DC

Now we are mid-way through fall – celebrating pumpkins and spice and all things nice… planning for birthdays, vacations, and pleasant cool nights spent with friends.  I’m still incredibly grateful for our uneventful summer…. Incredibly grateful for my husband and kids and the opportunity to see through knowing eyes that things could be different…. So very different. Grateful for the depth of knowledge that puts me, and others like me who’ve know what it means to almost lose someone, at an advantage for taking a step back and realizing that most of what we get upset about in life really doesn’t matter. Perspective really is everything… and my perspective at this moment is one of thanksgiving…  

Comments (5)

  • Becky / October 21, 2016 / Reply

    so happy to see your post although I figured that you were enjoying your kids this summer and had checked on you via face book a couple of times. As I sit here packing a box for my deployed nephew your post has hit home a bit more than usual today. May today be a day of joy for you Becky

  • Debbie / October 21, 2016 / Reply

    Great post and reminders to be thankful. As a fellow “heart mom” I totally relate to those hard experiences, as we spent “only” 10 days in the PICU this summer for surgery. God is good even in the hard times, and His faithfulness reaches across the skies. very happy that you had a season to have fun and enjoy the little things in daily life!!!

  • LeeAnne / October 21, 2016 / Reply

    It’s so good to see you back and know that all is ok. As we get so, SO busy during the summer months, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in it and kind of forget the simpler things and take the time to really be thankful. Thank YOU for the great reminder! Your kids are just adorable and getting so big. Thanks for sharing!

  • Linda Hogeland / October 21, 2016 / Reply

    Great to hear from you and get an update on everything! What you wrote is so, so true! It is great to just sit back and be thankful sometimes!
    Love to you and yours!

  • Wendy / November 1, 2016 / Reply

    Great to see you back to writing. I have found that those who travel the hardest path in life, tend to be the most grateful. Love all the pictures! Your kids look so cute and Piper is getting so big.

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(c) 2016 Leighann Marquiss