I must start this post by saying that this is NOT a vent about my husband or our relationship. I truly believe that the evidence of Christ in our lives is most profoundly seen by the circumstances we go through and the trials we face. It's in our stories that people most readily see His unending love.
I did this post last week in response to a blog event a fellow heart mommy hosted. In my post I admitted that the relationship with my husband had not brought us closer together through our dealing with Eli's heart defects. Another heart mommy read my post and was very thankful for my honesty because she too is struggling. She asked me to do a follow up post on how we have gotten to the place of beginning to heal. I think in order to see how we have gotten to this healing place you need to look back to where it began.
I will never forget that moment in the ER as they took my dying infant son from my arms and began to work on him to save his life. As they took him, I held my husband as he sobbed uncontrollably (and understandably) as he truly believed our son was going to die. That was the first moment God gave me the instinct to know that Eli was going to be okay. I couldn't tell you why or how I knew that. I just did. What I didn't know is that was to be the last time I truly saw my husband sob uncontrolably over our son until very recently. As we went through the process of Eli being transferred to the Children's Hospital more than an hour away, the eight days we were in the hospital, the surgery and the following week after we were released we coped together as a couple quite well I thought. Sharing thoughts, fears, feelings, etc. As we rushed (at more than 80 mph - I'm glad we didn't get pulled over) back to the Children's Hospital somehow our relationship began to change with that trip. Once we arrived at the hospital, they inserted the drain tubes to allow the fluid to escape from my son's chest cavity and we were taken to our room "on the floor". I had to go eat and make some phone calls. My husband and I made plans on where to meet. I went to go get food and wait for my husband to arrive at "the" meeting place. But he never showed up. I called his cell, waited and finally called the nurses on the floor and asked if they had seen him. They told me he was in my son's room. When I got back, I lost it. My husband started to shut down that day. He shut off his emotions, his feelings, and most importantly he shut off his communication with me. After we returned home from that seven week stay, the communication continued to break down. When I would want to talk about Eli, my husband would do this exhale of breath that would signal he didn't want to talk about it. So I stopped turning to him. Thankfully God put a WONDERFUL AMAZING person that is my BFF into my life. During the last two years I was able to turn to her with EVERYTHING about Eli. She listened, cried, talked, laughed, worried ...... right along with me. My husband continued to bury his feelings instead turning to cigarettes. If he was worried, scared, angry or anything else he smoked. We began spending less and less time just spending time together in our own home. We would each get on the computer or do anything but spend time together. Of course this lack of communication spread to other areas other than just Eli. It spread to our finances as well. My husband made some decisions without communicating to me what exactly was happening and what he was doing. It was these circumstances that brought our communication issues to the surface. Some might not think this has anything to do with our road with CHD's but it truly was our lack of communication that really had spread it's ugly arms. It was just in other areas. The other side to this is that my husband was trying to protect me. From everything. He didn't want to see me suffer. So it made communication all the more difficult. Of course I didn't see this at first. I was too angry about the financial issues. I wanted a divorce and told my husband so. My husband did not and was willing to do anything to fix it. Once the financial issues surfaced, communication had to follow. It had no choice. They were caused by not communicating. Our pastor told each of us to focus on ourselves and let God deal about the rest. So my husband was to focus on changing himself and turn to God and I was to focus on myself and turn to God. So we each did what we were advised. I was still angry, but we started reading our Bibles together. As we began reading our Bibles together communication slowly started to begin. At first we began to talk about just the money. I took control of our finances and I am better at communicating what is happening with them than my husband. But then the communication about Eli started to open up. I finally admitted to my husband that when I get testy and nitpicky about things that seem so trivial it's actually that I'm struggling to not obsessively worry about Eli. I had never been able to say that before. Then slowly my husband started to open up. And then he broke down and sobbed just as he had done in the ER that night that changed our lives forever. He admitted how scared he is. He admitted that if something happens to Eli and he is taken home to be with Jesus, I would not be the only one sporting a white coat. It has taken off from there. It is slow and gradual and whenever my husband does that annoyed exhale, I remind him that is how we got into our mess in the first place.
So if someone were to ask me the short answer to the question "how did you come to the place of beginning to heal"? I would tell them Jesus. He is the ONLY reason that I didn't leave. He is the ONLY reason we started to communicate. We both followed our pastor's advise. You focus on you and let God take care of the rest.