When lasts come before firsts

I have been somewhat melancholy today. The upcoming holidays usually bring excitement in the air. For me this year, I’m not so sure that’s the case. Because I am realizing that we have a grim reality to face. We have a year ahead of us full of lasts.

I am sure that Tim will be with us next Thanksgiving, but already the lasts have begun. This will be the last Thanksgiving in which Tim will be able to really participate with us. It will be the last Christmas when he will laugh and smile and talk with us about all our blessings.

We already know that Tim’s last day of work will be December 16. He will then transition to being at home all the time. What a non-glamorous ending to a great career as a research chemist at 3M.

There will be lasts to carry us through a whole year or more. And then we will face all the firsts – the first summer without him, the first holiday season without him and so on.

I guess it’s pretty obvious that this line of thinking creates quite a melancholy spirit. It is a true challenge to choose thankfulness this year. But I continually remind myself that there is much to be thankful for.

  • All the people that have helped us over the past year. There are too many to count and I could never say an adequate thank you anyway!
  • All the little things God has arranged to make sure I know He has not forgotten me. Like bumping into someone we know at the grocery store so the boys and I don’t have to carry our groceries home on foot.
  • How this experience will shape and form Luke, Micah and Simon into men that have compassionate hearts as adults. It’s a long road from here to there, but I lean on that promise from God every day.
  • Whether we are in lasts or firsts, I know that my God is with me every day. I lean on him with my whole heart and trust in His infinite wisdom. He loves me unconditionally and I am eternally grateful for his indescribable gift to me.

I’ll close today’s blog with an updated prayer list. A wonderful friend called the other day and was so appreciative to get a specific prayer list so he could pray like a laser beam instead of a flood light. So here are a few specific things:

  • My seizures are actually getting worse right now instead of better. I don’t know if a newly added medication is making it worse or if it’s the stress I’m under. Pray that together, the neurologist and I can make wise decisions about medications to try and our strategy to get the seizures under control.
  • I need wisdom as to how much to talk about with the boys. I have an open door policy with all of them. If they have any question – no matter what it is – I will at least try to answer it. But now I am wondering how much to offer them. What are they ready to hear? What would be too much?
  • Luke: he is starting to crack around the edges. He has started to see a counselor now as well. I think the stress at home is starting to impact his choices at school. His second quarter starts next week and I’m praying that he will make better choices this quarter than last. Also, we are trying a patch for his ADHD medicine now.
  • Decisions need to be made regarding Tim’s pathway through this journey. He needs to decide about things like whether/when he wants a feeding tube. Right now, it seems like he is avoiding these decisions. (I’m sure I would be too if I were in his shoes.) There are other discussions that need to happen as well.
  • Join me in praising and thanking God as well: Simon is doing really well right now. He is open and talking with me anytime he has a question or just needs to talk. He is doing great in school. Micah has adjusted really well to school. He has lots of friends and is starting to be more confident in his classes. He still struggles at home sometimes, but there is forward progress. He isn’t as angry as he was a few months ago.

As melancholy as this blog is, I do wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I challenge you all to really stop and be thankful. Life can turn upside down on you in a blink.

 

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