Insomniac Ramblings

It’s 12:02 a.m. Day 42 of our PCS/nomad existence. I cannot sleep. When I can’t sleep, I write. My thoughts are all over the place tonight. I can’t promise this will turn out coherent. I can’t promise clarity, just some midnight ramblings…

Robin Williams

I wasn’t alive when Kennedy was shot, but everyone that was knows exactly where they were when it happened. Everyone knows where they were and what they were doing with vivid detail when the towers fell that Tuesday morning. I’m not comparing the magnitude of the death of a gifted man with these other events necessarily, but it does serve as a reminder when impactful things occur, time seems to slow down, or shift suddenly. I remember watching Happy Days with my mom when Mork landed and froze the Fonz. I remember watching his movies. We collectively remember him as a comedic and dramatic soundtrack to our lives. I never knew the man, but because of his gifts, I was able to witness a small portion of his work. I don’t know that I’ve ever been really affected or saddened by the passing of a celebrity before, but this seems different somehow. Perhaps because of the big “D” word everyone keeps rambling on about – telling everyone to “get help” and to call 1-800 numbers and such. I just keep thinking that if a man that had means, access, and capability to receive help, but couldn’t; what hope is there for the countless others of us who have experienced true depression? The D-word is an equalizer. It really doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, or what side of town you call home.

Middle East Conflicts/Violence Here and Abroad

Being in a hotel (and camping) for 6 weeks, we’ve had more screen time than normal. In our current location, we actually have 2 televisions, one in a little living room, and one in the bedroom of our suite. (We usually only have 1 television and more often than not, Disney Jr. or PBS is the channel of choice.) Now that the option is there, we’ve been able to watch the news and view other non-animated, grown-up television.

I think I want to go back to not knowing.

I hate watching the news. It makes me feel helpless. I don’t like the world I see on my screen as I hear my kids chattering around the wall. It scares me. It drives me to my knees in prayer. I wonder what kind of world they will grow to inherit. The world has always had hate, murder, war, etc., but it sure feels like we are experiencing a rising tide of evil. Is it because of the 24 hour news cycle? Or is it a true rise? I don’t know.

Grief

It comes in all forms, in varying depths. Family tragedies, anniversaries, birthdays of loved ones no longer with us, or even diagnoses we didn’t want to face bring grief to the surface. It’s as if grief picks at the healing scab just to see if the underlying skin is tender. If it still feels the sting.

It does. It hurts. And it sucks.

Hope

I’ve complained of roaches, living out of suitcases, and other minor inconveniences experienced through a military transfer, but when I look at the bigger picture – I can do nothing but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I’m not on some mountaintop fearing for my life. I’m here. I have a family I would lay down my life for. I have no want for any material thing. And I get to move into a new home and own a small patch of dirt again in just a few days. Grief is real. Tragedy and death are real. But so is love. So is faith. And hope. If there isn’t hope, if there isn’t something good to come out of the dark, what really then is the point? I’m grateful for hope, despite the evidence that points to a lack of it.

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For Just This Moment

For just this moment I want to cry. I want to be mad. I want to scream.

Like any other doctor appointment, I come with my emotional armor.  I’ve been through this what seems like a thousand times before; I get my hopes up that this time, this time, it will be fine. He won’t freak out. He will just do as he’s asked, nothing will hurt, there’ll be no tears. There’s only been 1 appointment like that in the last 5 years. I was on cloud nine for a week after that day. I thought we might be turning a corner. After repeated meltdowns, we’ve come to the conclusion that our son is just a person for whom the world can be scary, he doesn’t like people touching him, and textures and tastes freak him out. It’s just the way it is. We’ve learned to manage it. And dread doctor visits.

We wait in the office with everyone else waiting their turn to see the ophthalmologist, the kids are happily playing with assorted children’s toys on the floor. I am gearing myself up for a tantrum, like so many before. Gray haired ladies smile sweetly at the kids.

His name is called and we head back to an exam room. I can already see him looking at the equipment and sizing up the experience  of whether or not he should be afraid. I assure him there will be no shots.

The doctor does some vision tests and it becomes evident that he cannot see out of one eye. He wants to do some further testing – the kind that require the dilation eye drops. One full-on meltdown later, eye drops in, we are walking to a little area waiting for his pupils to enlarge. He curls up in my lap and I rub his back. He’s tired. I’m tired. God bless my daughter being easily entertained by the toys again. More examination, bright lights, eye tests and despite my son’s best efforts to kick the doctor in the groin, the same conclusion is made: he really can’t see out of one eye. This is serious.

Words are mumbled in Charlie Brown teacher language that we’ll be referred to a pediatric clinic in Seattle for further testing to confirm. He can’t see out of one eye. Something about optic nerve apathy. The doctor asks me if I have any questions for him.

I have so many questions but my mouth has gone dry and I can’t form words.

“Is there something I missed? Could I have seen this coming?” Doc reassures me that my son may not have known anything was different, it may have been this way his whole life, and we are only seeing it now because his eye has started drifting, which is what prompted this appointment. The doctor also says that aside from being a pilot, there’s not much he wouldn’t be able to do, but this isn’t something that can be fixed through glasses or surgery. There really isn’t much to be done, other than wait for the confirmation with the specialist.

So for now, we wait.

For this moment, I am mad. This is an ouchie I can’t soothe. I can’t fix it, I couldn’t have prevented it. It just is. I’m not a person to cry out, “Why me?!” or “Why our son?” because really, why not? Crap happens. Life can be difficult and tragic. It’s not always fair. There are far worse things in the world than not being able to see out of one eye.

I get all of this.

But for now, for right now, I’m sad and I’m mad. I want to kiss his little drifting eye and make it all better.

For now, we wait.