Sunday, November 2, 2008


Friday morning I had the scariest experience of my life.

Mark was emptying the dishwasher and his leg started to go numb. I didn't think much of it, and figured he had been sitting on his foot while on the computer. Then it started traveling up his leg, into his chest, and to his head. He went upstairs to call his doctors office, and while there his arm started to go numb.

He came downstairs and got in the shower because we were just going to go straight to his doctors office. While in the shower, however, he lost all use of his arm. All use.

I will never, ever forget the look of terror on his face. He was absolutely gray, and he was terrified. He asked me to call 911.

This is the man that is never afraid of anything. Who is calm, who is centered, who is always my safe port in the storm. And he was absolutely terrified.

He got dressed with help from me as I was on the phone with the 911 operator. He then went to go kiss Lily as sirens wailed down our street. I knew he thought he was kissing her goodbye. It was all over his face.

I have never been more scared in my life. I did not panic, but fear had a hold on my heart and would not let go.

The paramedics came in, took his vitals, and loaded him on the stretcher. As he was being wheeled out I was holding Lily and watching. I cannot tell you the feeling of not knowing if he would come back to us.

I didn't know if I would ever see him again. I thought he was having a stroke, a heart attack. My heart was broken. My mind was reeling as I stood and watched the ambulance drive away. How many times had I yelled at him over something insignificant? How many times had I taken my anger out on him? How many times had I treated him unkindly? How many times had I refused forgiveness and not treated him with the love he deserved?

I am not a good wife. I am bossy and spiteful. I am flawed. I do not treat him as I should.

On the ride to the hospital I cried out to God. "You have my attention! You have my attention! I am listening! Please, please do not take him away from me. I promise I will treat him as I should from this point onward. I will never take the gift you have given me for granted again." I have never cried so hard. I have never been so scared of what would greet my eyes.

Instead of seeing a very sick man, I walked in to my husband sitting up in bed, rosy cheeked, joking with the nurses.

His vitals were normal and stable. His ekg was good. His cat scan was clear, as was his bloodwork. His symptoms were all attributed to the onset of severe migraine, something he had been dealing with since a fall a month ago.

To say I was relieved would be an understatement.

To say that I would not keep my promise to God anyway is fallacy. I am no fool. I know what I was given. I know how easily this could have slipped the other direction. I know that if I don't take away from this what I should, then the lesson next time may be harsher.

That night he woke again with the same symptoms. This time, he couldn't speak. I was scared, so was he, but we both knew that this was classic migraine onset. Sure enough, the pain hit a few minutes later. As I sat up with him and worried over him I felt a shift in my thinking that I had not expected. This felt good. Caring and giving myself 100% felt good. It felt right.

See I have spent my whole realtionship with Mark waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for him to leave me, or to be taken from me. Now that the worst had happened, and I had felt that fear and pain, I was free of it. It had no power over me anymore.

I can love him and care for him and know I can survive the pain of thinking I may lose him. Because the pain is nothing compared to the joy he brings me. It is a drop in the bucket compared to the kindness and the happiness we have. It is nothing compared to the love we have for each other. The laughter, the fun, the hours of giggling.

I can love him openly, give everything without reserve. Without worrying. Without fear.

I know God was using that moment to teach me. I also know that I am getting better and better at looking at things with new eyes, and saying- okay, this situtation is hard, but what can I learn from it? That is taking power from the negative and using it for the positive. That is God's hand at work, breaking down the barriers in my mind.

So here it is, a new day. Mark has had no episodes for over 24 hours. We will spend the next week at specialists, neurologists, doctors offices, etc...trying to find an answer.

But even if we don't, I have been given an incredible gift- the ability to look at my relationship and at Mark with new eyes.

Thank you, God. I will not forget.