Around 6 pm that night, Keith got a phone call. We were outside enjoying the beautiful evening in our backyard, pushing the kids in their little baby swings on the swing set. He walked away a bit and when he returned he had a look on his face that I will never forget. Something was very wrong. We took the kids inside, got their baths, lotion, jammies, bedtime stories, prayers and then put them in their beds. We sat on the front porch for a bit. Finally , he was ready to tell me about the phone call.
That was Dr Evans on the phone, he told me. Why would Dr Evans call us at 6 pm on a friday ????
They've found a large mass in my brain, I have to go to St Louis monday. Just like that, life changed.
To make a very long, scary story somewhat shorter ~ The mass they found was in a terrible spot. They gave Keith 2 weeks. 2 Weeks to live. They would attempt surgery in 2 weeks, they had much to discuss and prepare for, with multiple surgeons that they were calling in, and that is why it would be 2 weeks. They needed time to prepare. They weren't giving us much hope , even with the surgery. But for now, he had 2 weeks to live. Life just stops. All of the sudden, I couldn't get enough pictures of him with the kids. I started thinking about things like finances and how to support 3 babies , alone. We discussed funeral arrangements. I didn't cry. Not once. It was like I was in full on crisis mode. 2 weeks. It's not long enough when you are trying to figure out how to say goodbye.
We were blessed. After an emergency trip to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and lots of blessings and prayers, my husband is very alive. He's just fine. He's a miracle.
After that time in our lives, as soon as the doctors gave the OK , saying he was fine, he was safe, he would be around for a long time, I fell apart. I was so strong during the actual crisis, so very strong. As soon as they said he would live, I fell apart. I had a mental breakdown basically. Suddenly I was terrified to let him out of my sight. I would cry and cry when it was time for him to go to work. I felt like I couldn't survive. I fell into the deepest darkest depression and my anxiety was absolutely through the roof. Keith took ME to Dr. Evans this time... instead of the other way around. Dr Evans realized that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It would take some time and a lot of work on my part, but I could get through it. I began taking medicine. I started seeing a counselor, sometimes every single day, when it got to the point where I didn't want to live with the fear and anxiety that racked my entire soul. I laid in bed 24 hours a day. Sleeping away my fears. I couldn't even handle having the kids in the room with me, I was so terrified that I might disappoint them, or make them sad, I didn't want them to see mommy like this! Keith was able to take FMLA from work and he became both mommy and daddy for 6 weeks. 6 weeks I was completely unable to function. I couldn't hardly even handle it if Keith went to the grocery store. I would cry and hang onto his legs and say, what if you die ? The thought of it paralyzed me.
One day, while laying in bed, sleeping, dreaming, I dreamt of heaven. I was sitting in a beautiful room ~ it looked like the celestial room in the Nauvoo Temple. I was sitting beside a beautiful older woman. She smiled at me, and said do you know who I am ? I looked in her eyes and said yes! It was Sister Marjorie Hinckley.
Oh how I loved her! I had just finished reading one of her books, and I had fallen even more in love with her. In my dream I smiled, I laughed! Yes I know you! She patted my leg, and said, " well then go be a mother." I woke up. It was like I was a new person. I knew that I couldn't live like that anymore. My children needed me. I needed to go be a mother. It wasn't magic, I still had to work hard, I still had times where I needed to lie down and pray and pray. I continued the medication, I am still on that medication to this day, because I don't want to take any chances! I had to work very hard, but I had a goal, I knew that Heavenly Father was thinking of me, loving me, and knowing that if anything in this entire world could bring me out of the anxiety ridden cycle I was in ~ it would be my children and my love of being a mother.
I know some people might say it's silly, but after reading her books, and struggling so much and praying so very hard, begging my Father in Heaven to help me somehow, having that dream, and the sweet cozy feelings that came with it, it was just so special. Do I feel like I saw a vision and that I was truly transported to heaven ? Not really, I feel like I had a lovely dream and it reminded me of my mission in this life, motherhood. It made me feel happy and that I was loved. That feeling can come from many things, a wonderful dream, a Scripture that jumps out at us and we know it is exactly what we needed, an answer to a prayer, or someone just smiling at us and reminding us to be happy. We can be that answer to a prayer to other people ! Just smile! :)
Now, I want to leave you with some of my favorite quotes from Sister Hinckley. But first, I want to tell you, please read her books. You will fall in love with her too. You will love her beautiful personality.
One of the quotes that really resonated with me, during that time, and after she told me ' Go Be a Mother!' was this one :
" Whenever possible say yes! They are only children once."
Isn't that the truth ? I have tried that now, for the past 9 years. Yes it's been 9 long years since the whole brain tumor/ break down. Guess what... it works. My kids are amazing. I'm not saying they're amazing because I say yes whenever possible... but I know that it sure is a great thing. It really is. You should try it :)
Another quote that I love by Sister Hinckley is this one :
" Be a mother who is committed to loving her children into standing on higher ground than the environment surrounding them."
First of all, that is the truth also! What a wonderful goal to have as parents! Secondly, I love how she says " Be a mother" ..... that is what she said to me... go be a mother! I love it. How I love her!!!! And how I love you. All of you reading this. I'm praying for you. We all go through trials, and sometimes we need some extra help getting through them. I pray that you get that help, and you will, if you just ask your Father in Heaven and have faith. ~ JL
( aren't they darling ?? I just love them! Now, go be mothers and fathers! )
What kinds of neat spiritual experiences have you had, that made you want to be a better parent ?
Happy Parenting! Love, JL~