Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Living Through Trauma

      Today was a hard day for a very dear friend and her family as well as my family and I.  A very close friend of ours had a hysterectomy and did not recover from the anesthesia.  We just got home from the hospital.  She was moved from our local hospital to one in the big city near by so that she could receive proper care.  In the beginning they thought that she had suffered a stroke but after a CT scan and an evaluation from a neurologist they are saying that it is more likely that she has had an allergic reaction to a medication and cannot come out of it yet.  She will open her eyes and try to look around but they roll back in her head and she has not spoken at all since the surgery.  She has spasticity in her arms and legs and her blood pressure keeps dropping.  We are asking everyone we know and even those we don't to pray for her.  She is so important to so many people and she needs to come out of this.
It was hard to watch this family grieving the way that they were because it took me straight back to Matt's stroke.  I watched her husband and daughter go through the same stages of grief and shock that I did and unfortunately there was nothing I could do to help them.  When something traumatic happens the mind protects itself by completing each stage of grief and then repeating them in no particular order.  There is nothing anyone can do or say that will make it stop or make it better.  You have to feel what you need to feel and then move to the next stage.  There are those that try and comfort by telling you to have faith and to rely on God but at first those words don't necessarily comfort.  You know that God is watching.  You may ask why and if you really pay attention in small moments of clarity you will get your answers.  You will see why things happen the way they do but each individual needs to discover those answers for themselves.  You know that faith is needed and that prayer is necessary and being reminded over and over in the moment does not necessarily help.  
After the initial trauma is over and you have had a chance to assess the situation and wrap your mind around what to do next and how to put the pieces of your heart back together one by one you can begin to listen to others tell you to have faith and to pray and know that God will take care of you.  This is needed but in my experience it was needed after the initial trauma.  I knew that God was in charge and hearing it while I was going through the stages of grief only made me angry.  I knew that God would take my husband if he needed to and that either way he would be okay but in the initial moments of trauma I didn't want to hear that!  I wanted my husband to live!  The next day when I had been able to sleep a little then I could begin to accept that God was in charge and acknowledge that his hand was guiding us.
I think that many people mistake faith for avoidance.  There is a big difference between having faith and avoiding what you are feeling.  If you are feeling mad you need to FEEL it!  If you are feeling heartbroken you need to FEEL it!  Faith will give you answers and help you move past the anger and the heartbreak but if you refuse to feel what you need to feel then you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle.  Our Heavenly Father gave us the ability to feel these emotions because he knew that we must feel extreme sadness in order to feel extreme joy.  Often times these feelings can lead to deep introspective that in turn can change your life.  For me, the reality that I might lose my husband and the extreme desperation and heartache that came with that helped me to look inside myself and find a renewed testimony of the Plan of Salvation and eternal families.  I found such comfort in the knowledge that we were sealed together as husband and wife for all eternity.  I knew that if he left this earthly life early that he wasn't going anywhere I couldn't follow.  It would feel like an eternity until I joined him but I would indeed join him.
I look back through the massive traumas that we have encountered and I am actually thankful.  Sure it would have been nice not to have to learn the lessons that I learned through those particular incidents.  It would have been nice to have had my testimony of eternal marriage strengthened without watching my husband dying and it would have been nice not to learn to never take your children for granted without having one hit by a car but this is how the Lord teaches us.  This life was meant to be a hands on lesson in so many things.  If you are not living it hands on then you are missing out on so many things.  If you are not living it hands on then you aren't truly living at all.

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