This has truly just not been a good year. All the way back to last summer as we nervously awaited Hannah’s 3rd open-heart surgery and then in August when she had it. We were blessed that she did so well and I remember thinking as we came home from Birmingham, “now the worst is behind us and there is nothing but good from here on out.” Well, then in November my best friend of 40 years lost her battle with cancer and I have never grieved so much in my life……I grieved alot when I lost my Grandmother, my Aunt Janie and my sweet Grandpa…..but it was a different type of grief. Those 3 sweet, caring and very important people to me; even though I hated to say goodbye had lived long and remarkable lives…..Angie was just 40 years old…..she left behind the sweetest family, including 3 beautiful young children. It just seemed so unfair! She fought so hard, so bravely and had more faith that God would heal her, (which He did, just not the way we were hoping for) than most people. My heart has just never been the same since she died. There is a huge hole there that no one can fill!
THEN, all Hannah’s tummy trouble started in December. I know, people have said….”it could be worse….it could be her heart again…..blah, blah, blah.” Until you have sat with your child on the potty watching her SUFFER for HOURS on end and months at that…..you can’t possibly begin to understand just how horrible it is, there are NO words! At least the heart can be fixed…..this cannot…..it is all up to Hannah and God!
I won’t even begin to mention the family issues and things with Hannah that I never talk about except with Dennis. The heartaches that no one can possibly comprehend. The pains he and I both feel, the things that we don’t understand and the toll it has taken on both of us separately and together. There is SO much about Hannah cognitively, physically and emotionally that we struggle with because we just don’t understand how she feels and you can’t “reason” with her. There is no convincing her that something she is doing could hurt her or be bad for her. Here she is almost 8 years old and we struggle trying to help her understand and raise her the best we know how with very little information on how to do it right. I know that no parent has a “parenting manual,” you have to use common sense and do what you feel is best; but it is something Dennis and I both struggle with. Dennis is much better at “concealing” his feelings….he won’t talk about his struggles with anyone…..me, I have this blog where I write about alot of them, trust me though, not everything. But, when the day comes to a close I know that Dennis and I are both mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted…..sometimes after Hannah goes to bed, we just sit there…..like the life has been zapped out of both of us. I am not saying that we have it any worse than anyone else……heck, I know that others deal with alot more than we do…..this is just how I know we feel.
Now, with all of that said…..we have had some really great things happen to us this year. In February we had the privilege of going to Orlando to Canine Companions for Independence to get Henny. We LOVE our sweet dog and we are so thankful that Canine Companions gave us this incredible opportunity. To be honest, I could have stayed at CCI forever……the wonderful families that we went through class with, the trainers, the staff and of course, the Fischer’s….Henny’s puppy raisers……we made lifelong friends with people who truly understand. There were NO judgments, NO expectations, NO arrogance…..nothing but love, friendship and acceptance! Those were the most incredible 2 weeks of my life! So thankful for that time…..as difficult as training was, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
Hannah also had a great year at school. She learned so much and came so far from the beginning of the year until school was out this summer. She has really been good for me this summer too, for the most part, and I am so thankful for that.
I know that in this blog it appears that I whine and complain; but that is not the impression I want to give. I am documenting ALL of this because there might be someone out there that is either beginning this journey with a Special Needs Child or hasn’t yet begun this journey that might need to see that even though there are MANY pains and heartaches along the way; the journey is worth it. Yes, I get sad sometimes…..I get mad sometimes…..I get downright mean sometimes…..but, I wouldn’t change or trade Hannah for ANYTHING! There are days that I do cry out to the Lord (like yesterday), as I looked up at the sky and said….”Lord, you made this beautiful blue sky, the clouds, the trees…..you made me and you MADE Hannah”……I literally begged him to “fix” her bowel problems…..I CANNOT fix her…..but HE can……I cried out to Him and I do believe that He will fix this issue, I don’t know when but I know that He can and He alone will. So, there are days that I do hit rock bottom and the only thing I can do is “look up” and plead for wisdom, peace and strength. I spend ALOT of time “alone,” yes, Hannah is with me but in alot of ways, it is like I am alone. She will ask me for something if she needs it; but other than that there is NO conversation, there is NO “let’s go get pedicures, go to the zoo, the beach, shopping.” Those things we just don’t do! It is TOO difficult……I have really learned to simplify……I don’t do something unless Dennis can be with us to help…..it just isn’t worth the hassle, frustration and pain that it sometimes causes. We do alot of Chick-fil-a drive thru…….and bring it home and eat, since she loves that so much. We spend alot of time outside by the pool (this is the first year I have been grateful to own an in-ground pool, it has always been a thorn in my side until this year). We stay home……that is what is easy……that is what I choose! Do I wish that Hannah and I could be out shopping, getting pedicures, going out to lunch…..ABSOLUTELY…..but I chose simple, and frankly it is really the only choice that I have. I am thankful that Hannah enjoys playing in her room, reading books and being home; so it is a win/win, for now. One day, I hope and pray, it will be easier and “fun” to do things with her….but for now….I’m taking the good and the bad and rolling with it…..what else can I do?
Thank you Donna Smith for sending this to me…..this is a boat we are in together!
Until next time……….