May I call you friend?
We travel on some of the same roads, so I feel like we are friends. I feel the need to tell you that if God brought you to it, then he will bring you through it. At least that is what everyone told me when I was in my deepest darkest place. You see, I was in your shoes about ten years ago. Faced with a monumental diagnosis about our oldest. With a newborn that had severe colic, and a husband who was in the Army.
And I despaired. I sunk into the deepest pit of despair. One that I was sure my husband, family, children and certainly God couldn’t love me out of. I felt like I was drowning, like when scuba divers stop before going to the top and hang out around 30 feet below the boat, so that they don’t get the Benz. That’s what I felt like. I could see the real world, but I wasn’t a part of it and I couldn’t GET there! I became paralyzed at home. I couldn’t do the simplest of housework; I could barely take care of my kids and me. My husband went to work, and by going to work, he appeared to escape, where I felt trapped. He worked from when our oldest got up at 3 am to when he got home at 8 pm.
I was all alone.
I tried to pray, but there was no MCCW/CWOC where we were stationed. I got involved in a Christian church, rejected my Catholic faith and started going to services there. But it was not what I needed and I longed for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
I continued to feel despair and that God had forsaken me.
I would break down in tears every single time I went to the new church, so I stopped going. I grieved for a long, long time.
An ever consuming grief.
A jealous of everyone who had “normal kids” grief. A grief that cried out: Why did you do this to us, to him, to me?
I struggled with this for about three and a half years. I did all the earthly things to fill my void: shopping, rejection of my faith, yelling, negativity, and a bit too much wine at times. Darkness. Definitely not the Fruits of the spirit.
You might ask – “How did God “recover” me or “raise” me from my pit of despair? Because today, I am no longer in that pit. I am not always happy; life is challenging at best and at worst just downright cruddy. I am still a pragmatist. But I am filled with God’s joy, and I love going to Mass. God has a purpose for each of us, even the ones who are in that pit and think that we are unlovable.
First, God placed certain people in my life for His reason. My mom with her ever present calmness and unwavering love. My dad, Retired Army, and his encouragement when my husband was overseas. My husband, who loved me through this, even though I was not the easiest person to live with. He also put into my life other people. People who encouraged me to reflect on Phil 4:8 and to write down what I was grateful for every night. It was tough. I was definitely not focusing on anything good in my life. I was wallowing in self-pity. I go back and look at that book and see a troubled young lady. It is not very detailed. The only good thing I could think to write about my family was that I was grateful that our older son slept until 4 am instead of 3 am, or that our daughter didn’t cry so much. Or that my husband came home at 7 pm instead of at 8 pm. It was rough. But I persevered and picked three things every day that I was grateful for and the list grew and blossomed.
We moved and God placed a great group of ladies in my life. None of them had special needs children, but they sat with me and let me talk about it. Some took me to coffee; while others took me to the movies. Some watched our daughter. All of them in their own way helped me so much, and I am so grateful that they were there for us. About 18 months after we moved there, my husband was gone, my oldest had a rough night and was up several times and wouldn’t go back to sleep and our daughter had a severe asthma attack. I was driving to my Familia study (a study about St John Paul’s writings) and I was crying and very upset. I heard God’s answer to my many years of questioning. Not with a cure, or anything like that, but with a gentle answer on my heart of “If I had not given you this child, you would not need me as much.” Wow. I was astonished.
I don’t think it’s because I was or am Holy. I am not, for sure. I think it was because I was a hot mess. I think it was because that if I didn’t get an answer to my despair, I would have continued to make bad choices in my life.
I write about this because I know that you are hurting in some way. Maybe your child has severe autism, like mine; maybe it’s because of some other life-changing reason. We have several members on the MCCW-WW board who have special needs children and ALL of us want to help. Whatever “it” is, we want to help. We want to help the mother who has a child with a disability because it is a cruel world and becoming crueler to those who are differently abled. How may we help you?
Please leave a comment below, or email Cari at SecretaryMCCW@gmail.com, and tell us how we can help you.
“Rescued From Darkness” contributed by Cari Tedesco.