Sunday, April 27, 2008

Part II: Missing Pieces (PPD Chronicles)

I had the privilege of attending a regional women's conference. "Free To Be" was the theme and Kathy Tolleson and Melodye Hilton were the speakers (see links for more information on these incredible women).

We were free to be women and worshippers in an environment without the distractions of family, work and life.

I enjoyed the time. I welcomed the opportunity to seek God in the quiet places of my heart. I had a great slumber party with my BFF Shel, talking long into the night about life, love and education. (She's my hero in a number of areas!) I won the purse game for having the highest number of items in one bag (not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing). I was touched and changed by the speakers and know I will never be the same.

It was a surprise to discover it wasn't what I received that was the most powerful, but what I realized I was missing.

When Melodye was speaking she talked about allowing your heart to beat again. To be brave, to believe again in the goodness of God and the possibilities of life. To this heart, accustomed to missing beats due to depression and circumstances and life, it was indeed time to beat again.

Kathy spoke on allowing God to heal and fix those broken and missing pieces in our emotional lives. At the point of great emotional pain, distress and/or abuse we lose our ability to move on. For example, she shared a situation from her first marriage where she had to take a ton of abuse and had no way out. Years later, in a new marriage and with plenty of emotional and spiritual support, she found herself overreacting. Upon reflection God showed her that the past was encroaching on her present with residual pain.

What missing pieces of my past are encroaching upon my present and causing me to miss out on my future?

My heart missing a beat, missing out on a future of possibility. There was indeed much missing from my life. One last missing piece was discovered. I desperately missed my boys. I felt as if a part of me was missing.

When the gorilla of PPD was howling at his loudest (see PPD Chronicles), I would have given the children away in exchange for a little sleep, a little shower, a little peace. On my commute to work I drove past a Fairmont hotel. When it was particularly dark for me I would plot how I would check in and disappear for a few days. I would free myself from the boys and all the depression, pain, and despair attached to mothering.

So it was a surprise the depth to which I missed them. I counted the miles to the nearest convenience store for diapers. I looked for a refrigerator in the room to put a sippy cup. I sized up the dresser to see if it would suit as a changing table. I kept track of where the hospitals and/or clinics were in case we needed to do a middle of the night ear infection run. I would need none of these this trip.

When a person loses a limb, it is said the nerves to the brain 'remember' the feelings even after the flesh is gone. Phantom limb pain. Pain where none can possibly exist. I had phantom 'kid' pain. The pain of separation reverberated in my now well rested brain. Nerves once raw with the daily demands of care and feeding now pulsed with a desire to know what they were doing, eating, seeing, feeling at that particular moment.

I missed them. I missed who I was becoming with them. I was missing a piece of myself.

I realized they weren't breaking me into pieces. They were the catalyst to put the pieces back together. They were both the hammer and the glue of my heart and psyche.

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