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Moving Forward

Moving Forward

January 13, 2015

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Sometimes putting one foot in front of the other is the hardest task. Baby steps, they call it. It is in the moment where you are so frozen in time that the next moment seems worlds away that those baby steps are the toughest.

A few weeks after my last post, two things happened that defined my summer. First, my daughter and last babe turned 1. I am not sure how that happened. Time flew by, and there we were. The pink cake, the banners, the rain, the singing and the food. It was all there, and it was glorious. Everyone I loved in one room, celebrating this child who still seems like a dream. We had created a new space inside; new paint, new furniture, new start. The day dawned with clouds and pouring rain, a trait of almost every birthday party I ever try to throw. It was still perfect, and every detail I wanted to make my own. As the day drew to a close, we exhaled. Months of work to restore our home were nearing completion, this big day was in the books, and we could enjoy the summer.

Then the unexpected. My husband began to develop chest pains. We thought that perhaps he had torn a muscle from all the house work, but as hours grew into days, something seemed off. Finally an eemergencytrip to the doctor ensued, and we were told he had a serious pulmonary embolism. It is weird, isn’t it, that one sentence can change everything? I knew it could happen, I knew that most likely it would one day, but not that day. That day I thought, as he did, that we were just overreacting. I thought that we would be home in a few short hours with the idea of rest and lots of ibuprofen. I didn’t ever think that  I would be sitting next to him wondering exactly how to prepare myself or my kids for the worst, but there we were.

Those moments so often play in my head like a video on playback. Seeing his face as they called down to the cat scan room, knowing what was being said on the other end of the line,  not knowing what was going to be said next, racing home to deposit my children somewhere, anywhere that I would not have to think of them for a bit, not understanding how it was possible that I needed to not think of them, anything of them, for a short moment in time. Calling his family, my family, his friends, our friends, and telling them that I wasn’t sure what was next. Then the wait. The needles, the medicines, the invisibility that so often comes with being the visitor and not the patient. The need to do something, anything, to make him comfortable, to just stop the wait. Anything to stop the wait.

I remember that I apologized for every bad thing I had ever said to him. All those frustrating moments of marriage that we all experience were gone, and in their place was a need for him to know that he was the most loved person in the world. Something that I wished, in that long moment, that I could have given in all of the other moments we had shared.

In the end, we were one of the lucky ones, as we would get him back to share many more frustrating moments of marriage and parenthood and life, and for that we were eternally grateful. The road has been long, and we still face the very real possibility of this happening again, and then again. But we aren’t the same that we were before. We live our lives just a bit differently, with a near constant reminder that every day is pretty incredible, and amazing, and full of the need to live it fully. That should have been there before this happened, but it wasn’t. When I look back, I realize that with four kids, we were more in survival mode than life mode. That changed this past summer. We are in full on living mode right now, and we are trying, in whatever we can, to impart that to our kids.

It is funny how much I have shied away from writing since all of this happened. As if putting it into words would make it more real than it already was. I haven’t been able to sit down and write a word since July, not one word. Today I just sat down and began. No edits, just a flowing trail of words strung together with all the emotions of letting go. I think that I needed this.

This is not the worst thing that is going to happen us, which is scary as anything, but it will rank as one of the hardest things we have had to face so far. Difficult moments, life events, they do not leave you the same person you once were. Why should they? Life is meant to shake us up and spit us out and see how the heck we handle what it throws at us. I am hopeful that we have faced the challenge with the strength that we were graced with, and that in choosing to look at life in a new way, we are taking more control of the happiness that we so often believe can come from something or someone, but rarely look inside of ourselves to find.

For now, we have enjoyed the holidays, we have celebrated the passing of another year, and we are in the quiet of the winter season. We are not waiting for the next big paycheck, to lose the weight, to have the time, or the house, or the space. We are living. We are doing things that we said we wanted to, we are taking chances, and we are moving forward, one baby step at a time.

Wishing you all a beautiful beginning to the new year.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah January 13, 2015 at 11:27 am

I’m so glad you got to return to this space with positive news. And a poignant reminder for us all to live, whatever circumstances we face. Much love to you all xx

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:50 am

Thank you Hannah. It is so good to be back here.

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sarah jane January 13, 2015 at 11:31 am

oh, heather, how scary. thanks so much for sharing. what a beautiful and real take you have. continued blessings to you and your family. xo

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:50 am

Thank you Sarah. We are really lucky to be able to hit the reset button on life :).

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Maeghan Miller January 13, 2015 at 11:53 am

Beautiful!

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:50 am

Thank you.

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a little crafty nest January 13, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Oh, Heather, I don’t have words to express how my heart is feeling right now. Thank you for sharing such an intense time of your life. I couldn’t agree with you more that these difficult moments in our lives change who we are forever. And also, you never realize you are on that threshold to a new way of living until you have already walked through the door and the way back is behind you. When my 2 year old almost died four years ago, and she was subsequently diagnosed with a life threatening condition, it completely changed our outlook and priorities. Certainly we slip and fall back into taking things more for granted, but it is always there in a more palpable way that swiftly changes my mindset. Thank you for sharing your family’s journey and may you all live life for this very day with the grace and beauty that you bring to your blog.
xoxoxo
Jules

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:51 am

I had not idea that your daughter had experienced that, nor you. I will be praying for you and your family each and every day, and thank you so much for sharing that with us.

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Tonya January 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Heather,
It is so good to hear from you again. I can feel just just a small bit of the pain that you must of gone through but love how you wrote about how pain grows you – in so many ways. And wow – one year old – your sweet miracle girl. Enjoy.
Thinking of you.
Love, Tonya

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:51 am

Thank you. Can you believe that she is 1? Time surely does fly.

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Kim January 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Wow, life can hit you right in the gut sometimes. So very sorry for everything you have been through, I know well the path you walked through this, I have been there with my hubby, not the same medical issue, but one in which I almost lost him. It changes you, and it changes how you look at life, and how you live.

Wishing you many happy days ahead of living life to its fullest. All the best to you and your family for a wonderful 2015.

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:52 am

Thank you Kim, wishing you the best in this year to come as well.

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Michelle January 13, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Wow Heather, that is quite a story. I wish you all the best. On the upside, look at all you have learned! And even better, look at how you are now living! This is a good reminder to all of us. Especially those of us who believe our days are without number.
Thank you for writing this.

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:52 am

Thank you Michelle. It took a lot to get it into words, but I am glad that I did.

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Andrea January 13, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Wow, Heather, that is so scary. I’m happy for you that it turned out okay, for now, and that you have this amazing life lesson to share with us now (and, I see a bit of humor: “…we would get him back to share many more frustrating moments of marriage and parenthood and life…”). I’m so sorry you had to go through this, and I dearly hope that your husband does not experience another embolism. Take care and enjoy these moments living life with your family…it’s something so few of us ever slow down and do.

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:53 am

Thank you Andres. Humor seems to be one thing that keeps us afloat. I hope that you are well.

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Tracey January 13, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Each day is a gift and I am so happy to read your family has survived such a scary time. I wish you all the joy and happiness, peace and love this world has to offer. You have such a beautiful family.

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:53 am

Thank you Tracey, so much.

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becky nielsen January 13, 2015 at 6:45 pm

I am very happy for you and your whole family that you have gotten through this difficult time, and wish you blessings of health and love in the new year.

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:56 am

Thank you so much Becky.

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Nicola January 13, 2015 at 11:54 pm

I had no idea. Peace, light, and love, Heather.

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:57 am

Thank you Nicola. I hope that you are well 🙂

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Victoria January 14, 2015 at 10:42 am

I have been reading for a few years but never commented, but now I must. I am so happy it all went fine, so scary! And this post might just be what gets me out of survival mode (or as I call it management mum, instead of happy mum), I feel I have been surviving instead of living each day! Lots of hugs to you and your family.

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:57 am

Thank you Victoria, that means a ton.

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:58 am

Also, I wish you a ton of happiness as you come out of the survival mode.

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KC January 14, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Oh I’m really glad that the words were not that he passed away. I’m sorry for all the hard times that have come your way. I hope this year is a little softer on you and your beautiful family. Happy New Year!

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:58 am

Thank you KC, I wish you a beautiful year ahead as well.

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Sanne January 16, 2015 at 11:46 am

Dear Heather and family,
thank you for being so honest and open minded to share with us your hard times, that´s what brings us woman of the world closer together. God bless you and dear hubby and the children.
sincerely
Sanne

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:58 am

I love this sentiment Sanne, thank you.

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Brooke G January 22, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Heather,
What an ordeal, so glad it had a positive outcome. Life happenings are a funny thing, they do change you. Making you decide to change one way… or another. Thank you for the reminder to live fully.
Brooke

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Heather February 3, 2015 at 11:59 am

Thank you Brooke, I hope that you are doing great!

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Grace February 21, 2015 at 4:24 pm

My husband nearly died in 2010. He had a mysterious illness that no one could suss out. It got worse and worse, he lost a dangerous amount of weight and started sleeping nearly 24 hours a day. We ultimately got to the bottom of it (it was essentially a mold allergy) and he recovered and we went to Disneyland! Because, life! I so get this, all of this that you’ve described here. Although with all that has happened to us financially in the last two years, it’s been hard to hold on to that relish we felt when he had recovered and we realized we had a new chance at life together. But I do see the ways we have grown and changed as individuals, as a couple, as a family in the last five years and I know we wouldn’t be where we are now in so many ways if we hadn’t had this experience.

God bless your whole family!

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