Not in the Happy Ending

I read something somewhere this week about the story of someone’s life not being in the happy ending, and it resonated with me strongly.  I try not to focus on the happy ending.  I really do.  But I always feel the need to have something I’m working towards, something to gauge my progress, or a milestone or event that should bring me ever closer to things being ‘easier’- whatever that means.

I once continued to date a guy way past when it was clear that he was not the one for me, simply because I thought I’d invested way too much into the relationship to not believe there would be a happy ending.  I’ve spent a few years at a job (several times) really enjoying it, but always thinking of how it would help me toward long term goals.  I’ve maintained a positive attitude about the search for Austin, because I knew there will come and end one day.

Newsflash Anita!  There may not be a happy ending for every situation.  Or the happy ending may not be what I hoped for or expected.  And even when there is, that isn’t where the story is.  They story is in the daily details, the ups and down, the good and bad, the joy and the pain.  And when we focus our own lives on the happy ending we expect, we miss out on our real story happening. Or at least I do.

Chill as he waits for surgery

This week, like most, we’re going through the not so fun trials of normal life for us.  Last weekend, Michael was sick and home in bed for much of it.  Tuesday, Drew had minor surgery and spent most of the week recuperating.  Austin’s birthday was Wednesday.  Today, Drew is doing another not so fun medically necessary activity.  I could have so easily been stressed out this week, because between all of that and working and hosting a party this weekend and preparing for travel next week, it’s just a lot.  But I kept taking deep breaths and remembering these things.

Michael was able to enjoy some of the weekend and is doing well now.  Drew’s surgery means that he should have relief from the constant sinus problems, asthma and headaches.  Austin’s birthday is a day we can celebrate his life.  Drew’s day today will go a long way towards solving some other issues he has going on.  A party to plan means we have friends to love.  My busy work schedule means I have a good job to provide for us.  These are good things!  Sometimes it takes looking at the flip side, to see the good through the junk.

There is one thing going on that I just can’t see the good side of this week.  32 years ago Wednesday, God gave me a brother.  28 years ago, God gave me more brothers, though not by blood or marriage.  One of them is in the hospital after a stroke, at just 37 years old.  It’s not his first stroke.  His kidneys are also not doing their job well enough, and different specialists are all involved to help him.  There’s nothing good about this happening.  But I do know there is this to be thankful for in his story:  He has been blessed with a wife that takes care of him with such strength, and is such a good partner.  He has four kids that love him and need him.  He has family who feel the same.  He has good doctors who will figure this out.  He has good therapists helping him work towards recovery.  For all that I am thankful.  For not knowing how to help more, for that I am lost….

I still hope for happy endings for us all.   But they may not come as we want them, or as quickly as we want them.  So for now I’ll keep looking into our stories, seeing all the good there is.  And praying for strength for the times it’s too hard to even see that.

Because our story is not in the happy ending.  It’s in the life in between.

~Anita

 

This Week’s Randoms

Random things from around my week:

**My silly child who kept saying he wasn’t sick and was fine as I rushed him to the ER last week, became a hot mess this week over a skinned knee. He limped. He cried. He whined. He seemed to think he was dying.  He can apparently handle not breathing better than a bit of blood. (Oh crud, do I do this? No. Yeah, pretty sure I handle our big crisis’ with grace and then flip over the minor stuff. Should work on that.  Someday.)

**Drew has surgery scheduled in a few weeks for chronic sinus problems, that causes asthma issues and headaches. He had so many days of bad headaches last 9 weeks that he missed a TON of class and had to work hard to catch up. He’s always been a bit of a brainiac and good grades come easily. It was nice to see him take on the challenge and finish with A’s and B’s. (Being my kid, its pretty logical he’ll have a life of challenge more than an easy ride. So seeing him persevere encourages my heart!)

**We were goofing off last night and Ben did something that prompted me to jokingly say, “Ben, you’re my smartest child.” He immediately replied very genuinely, “No, Daddy is your smartest child.” We laughed forever. Many people say I have three children, I just didn’t realize Ben saw him as one of the kids. (Michael actually is wicked smart. Drives me nuts. He is also pretty much a rock star on anything he puts his mind to. Drives me more nuts.)

**A fabulous group of ladies I know only online did short video hello’s this week. It was so great to see them in more than just photos and hear their voices. So I thought I’d bring the same idea here and post a video intro soon. Hoping to connect with more readers and figured a proper introduction would be a great start. Come back soon to check it out!

Tonight we have what’s quickly becoming my favorite night of the week- LifeGroup with three other families we’re growing to love. Then we’re spending the weekend in Daytona Beach for baseball. Can’t wait to hang out with some cool parent friends and watch our kids play ball and bond as a team.

Hope you have a great weekend too!

~Anita

Painful Days

Doctors gave up on a cast after he removed two

Growing up, Austin and I didn’t get sick much.  But we more than made up for that with injuries.  You name it, we hurt it between us.  One of my parents first challenges with that was when I was burned severely at a young age.  It might have been a sign of things to come, and maybe even prepared them for having two kids who always found a way to get hurt.  Austin started young also, with a fall out of a shopping cart when he was about 2. It ended with emergency surgery to his finger.  Austin always stayed calm though, and the doctors were shocked when they were able to do it with only local anesthesia.  I however, sat in the waiting room crying the whole time!

As we grew, we continued to mount the falls, scrapes, bruises and breaks.  I was training intensely for gymnastics, and Austin played various sports.  We also spent free time playing with our friends on the land around our house, traipsing through woods, and generally making mischief.  I broke the growth plate in my elbow and spent almost a week in the hospital with an infection after surgery.  I sprained each ankle, wrist and knee more times than I can recall.  But I was pretty tough, and kept getting up when I was knocked down.  Austin was even tougher.  He was playing football in the yard when he heard a pop and had intense pain in his knee.  He was only about 8, but by now we all knew how tough he was, and when he cried about his knee day after day, there was no doubt something was wrong.  After pushing doctor after doctor to find the problem, he finally had surgery which gave him a few years of relief.  It turned out that he had more serious lasting knee issues than we realized, eventually in both knees.

A few days after surgery

Just to prove how tough he really was, he decided to fight a strand and barbed wire and lost.  But no worry, he never cried, even as they decided that he must have nerve damage since the damage to his face was so severe.  He wasn’t quite as emotionally tough we learned though, because the few tears that did fall were because he heard Dad might have gone fishing without him.

As a teenager, Austin’s knees had reached the point of needing more surgery, this time on both.  One of mine had also reached it’s limit, and we each had surgery, just days apart from each other in hopes of finding some relief.  That was the most painful time of our lives, as we were also coping with the recent separation of our parents, and our first Christmas away from Mom.  We had a pretty rough holiday, in physical and emotional pain, and unsure of what was ahead.  I was in college and didn’t like leaving him when that break was over.

During the next several years, we faced the family challenges and dealt with the pain, sometimes together.  But Austin was always a private person, so the glimpses into what he really felt didn’t come often.  The knee pain grew (as did mine, I eventually had one more knee surgery plus a few others), and he became more private.

Sometime around 2005, Austin and his girlfriend were hit while he was driving her car.  Their injuries weren’t life threatening, but for a guy with so much joint and general pain trouble, it was bad.  When Austin’s knees went into the steering column and his back took the impact it did, I believe a dark time began.  Soon after, the girlfriend broke his heart, and the the pain continued to grow.  He didn’t find much relief from the emotional or physical.

Austin had a job he loved, in a field he had been going to school for.  He had people around him that loved him.  But the pain was too much.  As the physical pain grew, so did the emotional, and trying to cope with both was too much.  We might never know how deep or real that pain was, and we may never know how we could have helped, because though we did try, he kept it hidden.

I’ll forever have pain over losing him, that can never touch the physical pain I’ve ever felt.  His whole life, Austin could take any pain, which leaves us to wonder even more, how bad it really must have been.