Saturday, September 16, 2017

keep digging.

I have had a horrifying repetitive dream from the time I was a teenager until now.  It is very vivid and it's graphic details stay with me.  It's short and to the point.  Essentially in the dream, I am in an empty bathtub and I am beginning to shave one leg.  I start at my ankle, and I drag the razor directly up the center of my shin bone, digging so hard the entire way that I'm literally carving the skin as I go.  The blood is pouring and I can feel the blade scraping bone.  
And then I wake.  
And I just don't know why.

Currently I feel like I'm in a bathtub with no water.  Blade on bone, scraping and blood pooling around me.  With no purpose and no logic to any one thing that is occurring.  
But vaguely and quite sickeningly it seems repetitive.  
Sick baby.  (only not mine, I'm not comparing.)
Hard diagnosis.
Multiple defects.
Very Rare.
 No known cause.
No real answers.

Bone digging.  Bone digging.  Bone digging.
When Mabel was sick, even at her very sickest, I remember saying on many occasions to my sister and my closest friends that I was so sorry for them that they had to watch all that I endured and feel the kind of helplessness that they must have felt.  I was sorry that THAT was their role in my journey.  And that I realized, at times, that had to have been even harder than what I was enduring.  
And I even remember praying that I would never ever have to be on that side of things, because I just didn't think I could live through it.  I watched their eyes watch mine and for years, they had to ebb and flow with my grief and it had to have been the most emotionally exhausting and taxing thing to be a part of. 

I have had to watch some of my friend's go through divorces and other life changes that seemed impossible at the time and that alone was gut wrenching.  I'm not sure if it was because my heart was already so tender from grief and loss or because by nature I am the world's deepest empath, but literally it consumed my being and my ability to function was immediately restricted because I just wanted to be able to do something.  Anything.  The feeling of total and complete helplessness isn't something I have ever been great at feeling.

But obviously in the many years of anticipatory grief and now, true grief after Mabel died, I have done alot of work.  
Within myself.  For myself.  Because of her.  
And I am a better human now.  
So I thought that if the ground beneath me ever got shaky again, I really would be able to manage my emotions and rise up and still be well.   

When my sister was pregnant with August I was really struggling.
  My grief was peaking anyway and the sudden worry that I had over him consumed me at times.  I couldn't always articulate it and still, to this day, am not sure that if I tried, I would be able to explain to her or anyone what it was that I was feeling exactly.  There was fear there, of course.  But looking back I am not so sure it was a negative fear or even a fear that was there strictly based upon the fact that Mabel had died.  In hindsight I can't help but wonder if God was giving me some sort of insight or quickening in my spirit so that when it was revealed that Gus was so sick, I wouldn't be as shocked or devastated as I may have been thinking that he was completely healthy.  Granted I wanted him to be.  I prayed that he was.  But I think that the notion was always in my mind that we aren't exempt from something terrible happening so it was a true possibility that he could be unwell also.  
Maybe God stepped into my very tender heart and showed it mercy by letting me feel, very early, a little uncertainty so that I could begin processing that then and not now.  So that I could be strong now for my sister who needs me more than ever before.  
Maybe He is just that good and sovereign and perfect and Holy that He would reach down into my aching and busted and broken heart and whisper, 
"Hey there sister-mom.  She's going to need you soon.  So here it is, a little fear and sadness for you to work through.  Do it now and do it well.  You know how.  I trust you and I know you'll be good for her in due time..."

And here I am.  In due time.  
On the other side of things.  
In the shoes that she once filled for me.  And let me say with clarity to the world...
She filled them well.  
Perfectly, in fact.
She was the greatest for me and I will be the greatest for her.

She watched me suffer.  She watched me ache.  She watched me dance and praise and curse and sing and puke and eat and ache and live and die over and over and over again.  Sometimes daily.
And she watched my baby do those same exact things, both metaphorically and literally.

And even if I have to do the same exact thing...
I will.
Without a doubt.  No questions asked.
But I don't understand it.  And I don't want to.  And I don't like it.  And no, I don't think it's good or right or fair.  
Late at night when my mind is racing and I need it to just be quiet, I have been watching a show that I love on Netflix.  A line from last night's episode may stay with me forever...
"The forces that led you here will lead you to go forward if you just listen..."
'Sometimes it's just hard to hear.'
"Yeah, well, usually people hear better when they're in pain.  Damned if you don't have a high threshold for it."

And I thought to myself how powerful that was.  
I still feel so much of this situation and I'm so thankful because my threshold for pain actually is really, very high.  But I also feel this strange peace and calm and I hear myself saying things to my sister that I wish I wasn't saying and I wish never had to be talked about or said at all and I realize that THAT may also be because my threshold for reality and pain is so high.  It's a very fine line to walk and I want to be very careful as I balance it.  
So I hope you'll pray with and for me as I do.

Because being on this side of things is all new to me. 
It's a place I never wanted to be, although once again, I wasn't naive enough to think I never would be...I suppose I just hoped I wouldn't actually HAVE to be.  
And especially just 2 years after we buried our girl.  
Yes, our girl.
Now, my sister is in the fight of her life for her boy.
Our boy.
The little boy who gave me courage and hope to love on.
He healed me and cracked me wide open.
And I want him to grow and play and live.
But I'm going to be honest here and say that after Mabel's diagnosis, I stopped praying for God to do specific things.  I was once part of a church that taught us to do so and then told me that the reason she wasn't being healed was because I didn't have enough faith or I had hidden sin in my life.  I heard the voice of God in my heart more clearly than ever say to me, "That is a lie."
I walked out that day and I have never been back.  Not to any church in fact.  

I realized soon after that, that praying in that way is in essence trying to change the perfect mind of the perfect God.  And I didn't want to do that.  I only wanted the perfect God to do His will inside of my perfect child.  I needed to change my perspective about what that meant, how it looked, and everything in between.  And when I did, it was transformational in my life.  The bargaining for hers stopped and peace poured out of me, knowing that the world's definition of unhealthy and well were different than mine and I was ok with her healing happening in the arms of Jesus and not here.  

Once again, I am not comparing my situation with Jeni's because they are not the same.  My thoughts are everywhere and it's all jumbled and it feels very erratic and chaotic and unjust in my heart but I am going back into the place where God lives and digging deep into Him and into myself to really listen and be still and know that He is still here and He is still good.

So what I was getting at was, I am not asking you to pray for anything structurally or physically specific over my nephew.  Though if you believe in that way or like to pray in that way, by all means, please do!  Otherwise, please continue to pray for the doctors, nurses, surgeons and all staff that is seeing him.  Please continue to pray for strength and endurance, peace and wisdom in Matt and Jeni.  Please pray for peace.  Total, incomprehensible peace.  

And on our end, please continue to pray for Nora and Braden because as you can imagine this has been unbelievably hard in ways I can't explain for them.  
We appreciate your love and support more than you know.
As always.
search: August Bassi.

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