Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feelings and Attitude

I apologize in advance for my lengthy post.  Writing is my therapy.

I'm starting to feel a little better about Lucy's diagnosis.  Don't get me wrong, if someone suddenly told me we had a choice in this matter I'd back out in a heartbeat.

Last week's gospel spoke to me.  It was about suffering.  In his homily our priest spoke to the way the American culture seems to think we have a right not to suffer.  We're told we should avoid it at all costs.  We're told suffering is evil.

But suffering doesn't have to be all negative.  When I look back at the times in my life when I was in the most despair, it was then that parts of my character began to bloom most beautifully.

When you lose something you learn never again to take it for granted.

I watch how wonderfully Brian fathers our two children and how those two children adore him.  I think of his future with them.  Father daughter dances.  Coaching Little League.  Walking our daughter down the aisle at her wedding.  Becoming a grandfather.  I think of my own deceased father and how those milestones are left to my imagination.

When I gave birth to Lucy I took every contraction head on without pain medication.  And when that pink, wriggly body finally emerged from my own I kept her by my side all night long.  I didn't sleep a wink.  How could I stop staring at that beauty?  When William was born he was whisked away and he wasn't mine to sleep beside until ten days later.

Yes, in the end William turned out to be one healthy little motormouth.  And I have faith that when this is all over Lucy will be just as beautiful and smiley and wild as she is now.

But the end result isn't all that matters.  How easy it seems to gloss over the pain and suffering and tears it took to get there.  That part matters too.

Friday, the day after Lucy's diagnosis, was a tough day for me.  I'm not sure that I've ever suffered from true clinical depression but that day I got pretty close.

I need to suffer?  Bring it on.  But watch my kids suffer?  That's a whole different kind of suffering.

Brian finally called me out on it telling me I needed to be more positive.

When it comes to Lucy's doctors, treatment and outcome, I'm very positive.  I have complete faith everything will turn out even if there are a few bumps along the way.

But the part I was grieving, the part that made me so dark and gloomy, the part that made me (I admit it) even a little hopeless was the thought of having to put my little girl on a stretcher and watch her be wheeled away from my side and into the operating room where they would cut into her tiny little head.

That thought brings a lump to my throat every time.

To make this situation work I've decided I'm still going to allow myself to feel that pain.

When the Blessed Mother saw her Son crucified on the cross she didn't brush off her own suffering and say, "Well at least everyone will be saved from their sins."

And even though my situation is much, much, much less harrowing I'm still a mother who wants her baby to be without pain and suffering.

But while my feelings might be something I can't help, attitude is always a choice.  So I'm choosing to go into this with my chin up.

I smiled a lot more this weekend.  Brian and I even made a few jokes.  We watched hours of college football and enjoyed each other's company like we do every other weekend.

Some nights before sleep welcomes me, I still cry at the cross my daughter has been given.  But I know she's a strong little girl.  And all the parts of this journey that I think we might not be able to make it through?  We'll just have to ask God to hold our hands.


  1. You said: "I need to suffer? Bring it on. But watch my kids suffer? That's a whole different kind of suffering."

    Oh, Jenny. You just brought me to tears.

    Thinking of you. Praying for you. Wishing I could do something.

    You inspire me.


  2. Hey,
    Did I mention you are AMAZING? I've said it a few times now but I must once more. William is welcome ANYTIME and we are MORE THEN WILLING to help however we can. Even if it's just to call and vent about it all.
    Keeping you in our prayers.

  3. oh Jenny,you are being so strong.Sometimes the anticipation can be worse than the actual event,we have too much time to think,i hope the doctors dont prolong this ordeal for you and Brian,i hope they get her taken care of soon,so we all can put this behind us and get on with life,i will continue praying hard for all of you,love Nancy

  4. If I could love you anymore as a friend and admire you anymore as a mother, I really don't think it would be possible. Your life is an incredible journey and when you touch us with your entries, it is inevitable that your cross will seem a bit lighter. I pray for Lucy every night. Keep those positive spirits up, and YOU are the Jennifer that I want to be! WAAAY more beautiful than that Aniston gal!

  5. I have never met you, I am new to blogging and found your page thru Stephanie's. I was just looking at your blog and wanted to say hi and bless you. You know I really think there is a great connection between pain and joy and I think God will bless your little girl with His joy as she lives her life. Also, I don't know all your details but my cousin was born with Sagittal synostosis and had surgery right after he was born. He is now 30, married, two kids and just finnished up at Notre Dame. Anyway, Bless you as you walk thru this pain. I will pray for you.

  6. this absolutely touching and inspiring! tears were brought to my eyes, when reading this. i wish the best of luck to you and your family! stay strong!

  7. Beautiful post. I cling to the Blessed Mother very often, her fiat gives me strength and courage. God bless! Still praying for Lucy!

  8. What a beautiful post. Thank you for being so open and truthful about your experiences!

    My heart breaks with you thinking of your little Lucy needing surgery, and thinking of our Lady at the foot of the cross her heart "pierced by a sword".
    But you are such a courageous mamma and you are going to continue to know so much glorious joy through and with Lucy!

    Sending a prayer your way for her surgeries.
    (found you via Metropolitan Mama)



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