Epiphany

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This week, I experienced a kind of epiphany.

I was driving back from our local hospital. I had attended an AFO (leg brace) fitting with Carys, during which she screamed holy murder throughout, when in fact, all that happened was that she had plaster of paris smeared over her lower legs. I felt sorry for the old guy having his orthotics fitted in the cubicle next door; I only hope he had a hearing aid and could switch it off (something I often long for, myself, hehe!).

Carys recognises when she is inside a hospital building; too many horrid things have resulted from being taken inside one, needles, surgery, medicines, pain, being pinned down for xrays and scans, it’s all trauma to her. I don’t know if it’s the smells, the lights, the uniforms. I can’t explain to her in a way she can understand that this time she won’t suffer. She has come to expect it, and she reacts.

She had exhausted herself so much with her efforts, that she fell asleep before we even left the hospital grounds. All I could hear was the gentle sound of her breathing, and the wheels on the tarmac. It was a sunny day. The deep blue sky contrasted with vibrant green hills, and the sunshine overlaid it all with gleaming gold. I wondered how anyone could have believed that ‘blue and green together should never be seen’…they were made for each other!

I can’t be absolutely sure of the exact words, because the enormity of what I was thinking didn’t hit me until later, but my thought process went something like this;

I’ve stood on top of mountains on days like this. I’ve travelled, and been to places many people have never seen. I’ve seen things many people can’t imagine. I’ve experienced things some can only dream of. I may never do anything like it ever again, but that doesn’t matter, because I’m so lucky to have done so much already.

I felt content. And free.

Because since Carys came into our lives, I’ve been so busy mourning the things I want but can’t have, the things I still wanted to do but couldn’t, the places I had still left to see, the experiences I wanted to give my boys, even the daughter I had longed for but didn’t quite get.

It was quite a subliminal moment. I couldn’t believe I had been so shallow, so empty. Of course, I’m under no illusion; this was never going to be an easy journey, but at least I am finally starting to let it all go. To work on what’s really important.

I really think I may have set my foot upon the right path.

Later that same day, I bumped into a good friend in the middle of my busy local supermarket.

“So c’mere,” she said. “(another good friend) and I were talking, and we’ve taken some time off work to come over to yours at the end of the month to mind Carys and the boys, so you and Conor can go off and have a weekend, just the two of you…” She continued talking, but my mind had stalled. I couldn’t take in anything else, because what she had just said was still sinking in.

Conor and I haven’t had a night away from Carys since she was born.

And I’m afraid that, right there in the middle of that busy supermarket, I burst into noisy, snotty tears. Because if anybody wanted to give us something precious, that was it. Not to escape from our daughter and our responsibilities, but to have the chance to spend some time with each other and remember who we are when we are together.

Carys is not an easy child to care for. I could never ask anyone to take her on, not even my family. Don’t get me wrong, we have the occasional night out, and are fortunate in having a great babysitter. But a weekend away, well that’s big.

It felt like a reward. In letting go of my negativity, I had found one kind of freedom. Now I was being gifted with another.

But perhaps the greatest gift of all is having good friends. Thank you, you know who you are.

 

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15 thoughts on “Epiphany

  1. Wow you really get to me do know that? I am wiping my eyes reading this. You writing has honesty, strength and dignity.

    Poor Carys – hospitals are ordeals at the best of times but to experience it without understanding just must be awful and even more awful for you as a mum.

    Sounds like you have the friends you deserve – really good ones.
    For what its worth I do think you are as far from shallow as it is possible to get.
    All the best
    Grace

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  2. In my current read I came across the following quote last night;
    ‘courage comes from lots of different places, for lots of different reasons’
    We have only recently started to get breaks away from my son who will be 15 this week! It is worth the wait – enjoy!

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    1. Thank you Steve we surely will! We are as excited as children! 15 years is a long time to wait…but I guess the waiting only makes it more enjoyable when it comes. Thats a great quote…may I ask what you’re reading?

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      1. Hoped I might get away with that – guilty pleasure, it’s a swords and wizards book by Joe Abercrombie, but the quote jumped out. Sometimes waiting for things makes them more precious, although it also puts a great weight of expectation on them too, just relax and enjoy the time for what it is.

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  3. I may not count as a good friend and I have no problem with that! 🙂 Especially since we have only just met online but I do know a gift from God when I see it and hear of it. I believe Carys is still a gift from God, maybe not the one you were looking/hoping for but then God doesn’t always answer our requests/prayers in the way we want. But from the outside looking in, I can’t help but wonder how many parents lives you have touched by your stories of your lives with Carys. How many of those people wanted to give up because they were embarrassed, depressed, tired, exhausted, feeling ‘all alone in their troubles’ and then they could read your stories of being open and honest about having all those same things/feelings and letting those people know, they are not alone. I have not been blessed with children. I had cancer early and it took away those chances for me. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the words from people that were so greatful that I took their children for weekends, weeks to give them an alone time. I couldn’t have done that if I had my own family to focus on, so yes I believe that God does use for a better purpose things that we may not see as the good answer to our prayers. I probably would have had only about 3 +/- kids of my own BUT now I have the honor of having some 20 +/- kids that call me mom AND still continue to see me or keep in contact with me. So was I Blessed in the way I wanted to be, no. BUT in hind sight now, I feel I was more blessed by his answer than by my wish. I am SO happy that you have friends there that are willing to give you guys a weekend to yourselves so you just rest, relax, do nothing but just talk and hug each and be at peace. I am praying that this happens for you & Conor.

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    1. I hope you are right Diane…thats why I share this stuff. Because reading other peoples stories has really helped me in the past and I hope mine will help someone out there in return.

      Im so sorry to hear that cancer took away your chance to have children. That must have been so hard for you. But you dont strike me as the kind of person to let anything hold you back…strong women unite, hey?!! Seems like you’ve more than made up for it and have amassed a large and loving family around you anyway.

      Thank you for your lovely thoughtful comments…

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  4. Wow! I am glowing with you, what an incredible gift and realization! The right path, sounds like you’re definitely right where you need to be. It’s an honor to be one of your good friends… and I’m so excited you and Conor will have some time alone. Seven years without a weekend alone together? You deserve it, girlfriend! 🙂 I am both at a loss of words and overwhelmed with too many things to say. So I will settle for you’re awesome, keep shining!

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    1. Thanks Eilish! Actually Carys will be 9 in December…where does the time fly to? With both my boys the age 9 felt so significant…as if entering double figures was hastening away their childhood. I cant believe Carys is approaching that time! Im not one of those mums who always looks back and mourns the loss of babyhood or toddlerdom…Im ready for the next stage in their lives as I hope they are too, and I enjoy the changes it brings. Cai is 12 but already taller than me and solid muscle…thats strange, watching my boy turn into a man before my very eyes, but on the whole, Im proud of the man hes showing signs of becoming. Hope youre enjoying your weekend!

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      1. Thanks, Ali, it was a fabulous weekend! 🙂 Funny story about nine: I adored being nine, in part because my brothers and I were then aged 3, 6, 9, and I thought this was one of the most magical things that could happen to us. I sensed that nine was a profound age, though I hadn’t an idea of exactly why. Then I turned ten. I cried…lol! So, may Carys come into her own at the transformative age of nine. Kids grow up so fast, I love that way of being with them… not mourning their aging into adults, but celebrating how they grow toward the future.

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