Tuesday, April 29, 2014
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
April 29, 2013
It’s a rainy, gray day here in central Iowa. I spent most of today doing my shopping. I didn’t get done and will have to go again tomorrow after my dental appointment. I’m doing something different this month by shopping for an entire month in one swoop. I used to do this, years and years ago. This month it just worked out best this way because we’ll be on vacation later in May and will have a lot going on when we get back. I really can’t spare an additional day for another round of shopping. But it makes for some pretty intense shopping and decision making.
A week ago at this time we were at softball. We’re not tonight – it’s too wet. But it might have been better had it been wet last week because at those games, as most everyone in my circle of acquaintanceship knows by now, Ellie broke her leg.
Seriously…all these boys and the first child to break a limb is my girl?! She and Lizzie were playing on a nearby hill while I watched Sam’s game. At one point, I looked over and discovered that Lizzie was attempting to slide down the railing of the steps built into this hill. I chased her off that and instructed her to go play on the hill “where it’s safer!” Ahem…A few minutes later Lizzie ran up to me reporting that Ellie had fallen and a second later, a man, carrying Ellie, handed her to me. No big deal. I’d cuddle her for a moment and then she’d be off to play again. I thought, anyway…Ellie just never did act right for the rest of Sam’s game. She refused to let me put her down and almost immediately fell into a fitful sleep. I know from experience that’s something kids often do when seriously hurt. It’s their body’s way of coping with the trauma. So, I had a nurse friend look at her leg. We saw a little bump but nothing that caused any alarm in either of us. I sat through the next game and then had to move our chairs for the teen game. This caused Ellie to begin shrieking. My friend came over again and looked at the leg. This time we saw that it had swelled substantially.
I figured I’d need to sit through David’s game, take the kids home, and then take Ellie in to the ER. At that point I was still assuming it was just a bad bump or sprain, so I didn’t feel a real urgency. In fact, even during the 2+ hours I sat in the ER later waiting for a diagnosis, I was convinced I was wasting my time. But I also knew I’d keep wondering if I had done the right thing by not having it looked at. My friend and her husband happened to have two vehicles at the game and since they go to our church, they don’t live terribly far from us (the games are on the way north side of Des Moines). They volunteered to take home my other 5 after the game and helped me load up the chairs in my van.
I sure was grateful for my new GPS. While I know where the hospital is, I wasn’t completely sure how to get there from where I was.
Like I said, we were there for a long time. A couple of really bad traumas came in that night (including that poor little 4 month old baby murdered by 17 yr old father – the story was splashed all over the news, state-wide for the rest of the week) which bumped us back in the queue. Fortunately, I had my kindle, so I sat and read while holding Ellie, who still refused to leave my arms. My right arm would absolutely kill me for the next two days from the pressure of her head all those hours! Around 10 they popped their heads in and told me the leg was definitely broken. On one hand, I was almost relieved because it meant I had not wasted my time. But mostly, I felt despair. What was I going to do now?
I texted my pastor’s wife and she ended up coming. That was so sweet of her. I know she had had a busy day, but she wanted to be there for me. Before she got there, her son, who is Will’s friend (he sang at Paul’s funeral), popped in for a few minutes. I had no idea he worked in the same hospital! Marcia rubbed my back while I helped hold Ellie down while they put her temporary cast on. I had no idea just how much I love that little girl until that moment. Maybe that’s why this happened. We got out of there shortly before midnight. Curtis came down again after getting off work and was able to carry Ellie out to the van for me. I was so thankful. God always puts just the right people in place for when I need them. I am amazed, although I should be used to it by now.
At first, when this happened, I was frustrated. As I told Marcia, it’s almost easier to understand/accept Paul’s death. That event was so huge that it has to be part of a divine plan. But a toddler breaking her leg? What’s that supposed to mean? Am I missing a lesson God needs me to learn, so He’s going to keep allowing events until I “get” it? Or is this just life?
The first few days home were a little rough but Ellie has adjusted beautifully. She’s no longer hurting like she was and has now figured out how to scoot around on her bottom and how to pull herself up to furniture to a standing position (which she is not supposed to do on that leg!). Three days later we went to the orthopedist and Ellie picked out a bright pink cast. She’ll have it about a month. I’m managing too. My lower back has been giving me twinges as I pick her up now. I’m praying that doesn’t go out. This event has placed a wrinkle into my already complicated days, but it’s not the end of the world, either. She will be in the cast while we’re on vacation. As a mixed race family, we already get our share of “looks.” I’m pretty much used to it by now. But I imagine we’re going get even more while up there – our huge family, two little black girls, and one in a hot pink cast!
Mom and Dad ended up coming down over the weekend. We were supposed to go up there, but it just worked out better for them to come this way. Dad cooked for us and they both watched the Littles while the boys and I went to church Sun. morning. It was relaxing. We all watched “Frozen” together. I love, love, love that movie and could probably sit through it several more times.
We got our garage cleaned out last Friday. Friends came over and helped, which filled me with such gratitude. I was coordinating this with the annual town rental of a dumpster. I think we filled most of the first one up ourselves! But my garage and yard are nice and clean now. Yesterday I had my first bid put in for the siding on the house and garage. Oh, OUCH! I mean, it has to be done, but I sure hope I can find someone cheaper than the outfit that bid it yesterday. Of course, the cheapest option would be if Paul was still alive and could do it himself…
Terrible tornadoes ripped through the southern part of the states Sunday and yesterday. The last I heard, more than 30 people have died. One family that I am hearing about had something to do with homeschooling. I had never heard of them but they had some sort of ministry/business. My guess is that they probably made their living traveling to various homeschool conferences and selling materials, as well as making presentations. This particular family’s home was hit by a tornado Sunday night. They lost their home and the husband and two of the eight children were killed. The mother and remaining children are all hospitalized. My heart is beyond heavy for them. I know the pain of sudden widowhood. It’s all encompassing. It doesn’t end. It’s like having your body and soul slammed into a brick wall and then shredded. Over and over again. But when I try to imagine that, along with the facts of losing your home and everything you own, your livelihood, being injured yourself and having physically wounded children, and then losing two of your babies…I really can’t. How does the human soul endure such tragedy? Any one of these events is life-altering and crushing. But combined…oh, my. Pray for the Tittle family. For the past two days I have thought of and prayed about little else.
But here’s the thing: I assume Mrs. Tittle knows the Lord like I do. And because of that, she will survive. It’s not the knowing that ensures survival. It’s the trusting. It’s echoing the words of Job, who proclaimed, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” It’s understanding that nothing slips through God’s fingers unnoticed. It’s believing Romans 8:28 that tells us that all things work together for good. All things – even mind blowing, life altering, soul crushing events. It’s remembering that this life is so very, very temporary.
It’s knowing that God is always good.
Even when we don’t understand.