Keenly aware

25 November 2009

We had every ambitious intention of hosting a Thanksgiving gathering for our Irish friends. Really we did. But then Ella was hospitalized for four days and all hell broke loose.

I was doing fine with it. Really, I was. On Friday evening a friend drove me and the boys to the hospital so I could spend a few precious minutes with the girl and collect the car. It became more complicated due to the hospital being closed to visitors, especially children, so we waited in the cold for Matt to trade with me. The boys, so good, spent a good majority of the weekend waiting in the car in the dark and the wind and the rain. For the first 2 1/2 days, I handled that OK. It was lonely, it was stressful, it was exhausting driving back and forth twice a day - a half hour trip each way - carrying the baby to and from the car, nursing him in the front seat, feeding Jackson fast food (when I remembered to feed him, that is). I was handling it. I was super single Mom.

Then Sunday afternoon the doctors told us she'd have to spend one more night in hospital. I was with her all afternoon and early evening while she slept, reading a book in a recliner by her bedside. I thought to myself, for no particular reason, that there was no one. No one to call. No one to come visit her. No one to leave the boys with. No one to bring us food. No one to remind me to feed Jackson. No one to update. We were in the midst of a real health emergency, and I felt as if I had no one.

I cried all this out in the empty children's ward and on the phone with Matt. He reminded me that the boys were fine, Ella was on her way to being fine, and we would all be fine once she was home. "But I'm not fine!" I shouted to him. I'm not fine. I needed my family, I needed a friend, I needed someone to help me put the boys to bed and to stay with them when I was at the hospital. I needed to be in the same room with Matt. I needed Asher to take a bottle. I was in need. And that feeling really sucked.

The truth is, there are people here. We aren't alone. There are people who love us here and who we love. But having been able to rely on my family and close friends for years and years, I have no idea how to ask for help from new friends. I cry help, but only in my head - never out loud. Thankfully, I have Matt, who asks for help on my behalf. He passed the boys into the open arms of our wonderful neighbour, came to the hospital, and held me. The first time in 3 days we had been in the same room. He knew I needed help.

So Ella just came home on Monday, the house is a mess, I am a mess, and our Thanksgiving plans are now a mess. So instead of serving everyone a big dinner, we've invited them over to share in some American football joy, our favourite Thanksgiving tradition. I need the company, I need the companionship. I hope it comes.


  1. aw! Wish we.... me, your family, anyone.... could have been there. That is what is so hard sometimes about being far away. When something happens, it is too late to figure out how to reach out for help. It's too overwhelming to think of something new just then.

    Sorry you had to feel so alone.

    I remember one day when I was in the hospital desperately sick, having left my four babies with a friend I only hoped could take care of them all well, but in that country, needing my husband physically right beside me if I was going in and out of consciousness in a hospital. After the first days, I began to recover, and just really needed some bland chicken broth. There was no one to call. All other missionaries were gone for holidays - not that there were many we knew well yet anyway. I had survived the crisis, but it was the aloneness that made me break down and cry... I just needed someone to be there to bring me chicken soup, and there was no one.

    Hoping the relaxed football watching goes well and you get some rest. Hoping that through this, new relationships with those around you are strengthened so that next time you are less alone.

  2. So sorry to hear your little girl was in the hospital, that is a tough situation even with a good support system! I related so much to what you described because that is how I am, too. I don't know why, but it is so stinking hard for me to ask for help! I need to grow in this area...

    I am missing American football on t.v. this week, too, which surprises me because it's not like we watched it all that much anyway...guess it's tradition. I hope you had a good time and that the visit with friends cheered you up a bit...