Is anybody out there?
"My name is mom2lo (not really but you get the point), and I have neglected my blog."
And what's worse? It was on purpose.
Yes, it's true. I admit it. I made a conscious effort one month ago to abandon all things social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and yes, my blog.
Obviously I didn't completely abandon my blog over the past month. I've posted. Stuff. Here and there. But nothing of a "real" nature. Nothing of a "personal" nature per se. And again, this was on purpose.
((insert gasps of shock-n-awe here))
The long story short of it is that I've had a very difficult time over the past several months adjusting to our "new normal" -- no surgeries looming overhead, no major life-changing events taking place, the proverbial "lowering of the walls" that have kept us confined and shielded from the rest of reality for so many months. During the summer, we finally reached the point where we could return to civilization. We could finally get out without as many worries, enjoy the weather, visit with family and friends, go to church and celebrate in the goodness of God, basking in the overwhelming blessing of Chase's health.
It was so good!
Except that it was different.
And not necessarily good different.
Things had changed. People had changed. Friendships had changed. The world had gone on without us! In my mind, it seemed as though people had become used to the separation those walls provided and were completely content with leaving them up (this may or not be reality, rather simply just my opinion of what I experienced). Anywho, it was quite shocking. I had heard soon after we received Chase's diagnosis that you learn who your true friends are during tragic life events such as learning your unborn son would be born with a life-threatening heart defect. I guess I figured it would happen, and I sort of expected it.
But not to the extent that I experienced it.
Granted, I'll be the first to admit it's quite possible that a LOT of this was only in my head. But I'm that kind of person where if I think something, it sort of consumes me and quickly turns into my reality. Right or wrong, that's just me. So I started to see that a lot of the relationships and friendships (family included) that once were there, weren't really there anymore. And it hurt. A lot.
I stewed on it for a while without saying anything to anyone (except hubs of course), and it started to eat me alive! Then I started thinking maybe the only reason it seems like people aren't really "there" for me anymore was because I had been doing such a great job of keeping them all informed via my blog, Facebook and Twitter that no one needed to say hello to me at church any longer, or call to chat or want to get together for lunch with me because they already knew everything that was going on in my life! Duh! So I decided to do a little test.
Quit Facebook. Quit Twitter. Quit blogging about anything personal.
Then wait and see if anything changes. Wait and see if people start to wonder what's up with us and start to reach out to me. ((I never said this was a smart plan. I never said it was the right thing to do. I never said I was proud of my plan.))
Imagine my disappointment when nothing changed. Not only did my family and friends not reach out to me (again, in my opinion), but even my fellow Facebook and blogger friends didn't seem to notice I wasn't around anymore, either. Talk about rubbing salt into my wound!
Again, I want to restate that I am fully aware a LOT of my "issues" were mine and mine alone. They were for the most part all in my head.
But that didn't make it hurt any less.
I finally reached out to some of my family a bit before Thanksgiving. Then slowly made my way around to talk through all of this with a few more of 'em. I feel like in some cases, I took the brunt of the blame and responsibility for everything because I was probably making so much of the issues up in my head. I don't know that to be completely true or not, but ultimately I've only been interested in resolution so I could move past all of this and figure out what my life is supposed to look like these days.
The saddest part of my story is that I really don't expect things to change very much. I kind of expect our "new normal" to include living life in a world that is still somewhat separate from everyone else. I think ultimately my ability to relate with the rest of the world (or better yet -- their ability to relate to me) was changed forever on June 16, 2009 when we received Chase's diagnosis of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. I became a heart mom. Other people could never imagine the fears, worries and concerns that consume every second of my life now. They can't identify with the worries I have when I think of my son's health and future. This automatically puts up a wall of sorts between me and my friends/family. And it's not easy, but I think it's up to me to overcome all of this myself. I can't expect other people to go out of their way to be a friend to me if it's not easy for them. People are busy and have busy lives.
On the other side, however, I've always held the opinion that if it's important to you, you'll make time for it. It's called prioritization. And people are important to me. That's why I'll continue to be the one who makes the effort, extends the invitations, invites myself over, sends the cards, coordinates the get-togethers, etc. And I'm okay with that. People can always say no if they have more important things to do. :)
Wow. This is turning out to be very rambly. I'm sorry! I wonder if any of this actually made sense to any of you? I know I have several heart mom friends who read my blog... have you experienced something similar to what I've (attempted to) describe above? And for the rest of my friends and family, I hope we're all good!
Good for you Kathy on getting these feelings out. This is definitely something that I would be surprised if ALL of us feel at one time or another. I have felt like Aly's heart has been a weeding out process of our family and friends, and not because we wanted to. But those left standing strong at your side are the kind of people you want there.ReplyDelete
I know exactly what you're talking about, in fact I have been updating less frequently and didn't hear anything from anyone outside of Heart Parents wondering if everything was okay? Our family and friends have seen Olivia thrive after the Glenn and because she looks good, they assume everything is fine now and we'll go back to business as usual. I tried to sit there and explain that "business as usual" will always include a heightened risk of complications or death but they sort of gloss over that and say "nah, it's good be positive". I am on board with Jenny and yourself when I'd rather be left few that have been here through the good and bad; understanding that things will never be quite the same they were before our heart babies.ReplyDelete
So glad you were able to think things through and take a step back. Selfishly, I'm really glad you're back. I have always loved your posts - I find them so helpful and inspiring. Oh, and my family is forever grateful for your tortilla recipe post! :-)ReplyDelete
I was just having a conversation yesterday with a friend/co-worker/McCanless' teacher from last year. (So obviously someone who knows me and our family pretty well.) To condense a long conversation for you, it finally ended in just telling her that she nor anyone else will really understand how it is to be me. (Just as I don't understand how it is to be her.) She was concerned that I wasn't getting my feelings out and worried that I may explode. ;)ReplyDelete
Life is different when you have a child like ours. I think we are thrown into a reality that life could end at any moment and although they know that, they don't have a constant reminder staring at them in the face everyday. I don't harp or dwell on that fact, but I do face that reality and I do live my life in a way that I choose to live it. I prioritize. I don't apologize for putting my family first and other worldly things second. My decisions are made based on this. Life is so very precious! I'm here, friend! Keep on, keeping on! ;)
Did you climb inside my head to retrieve this post? Seriously it's as if we have the same brain. LOL!!! I have been going through this lately...more like the past four years....and just had this exact same conversation with a non-heart mom. Someone I honestly didn't expect to get it but she did. What an amazing friend she is for me.ReplyDelete
There are walls up. Some we build ourselves and some others build for us. That way everyone stays protected. No one has to talk about how they are really feeling. No one gets hurt. At least that's what everyone tells themselves but the reality is that someone does get hurt. The CHD parent gets hurt because people stop talking to them without even realizing it. As the parent we have spent the past x amount of time devoting 100% of our time to our sick child. Not to relationships with friends, family or coworkers. When we finally get time to rejoin society we find ourselves strangers in our own life. Which is sad. We still deal with a lot of issues....worry about our child....will they live.....will they not make it.....what if this happens. It never goes away and people on the outside don't realize that. So, they stop asking, stop talking about it and at times can stop listening to us because they think it is "over". As we all know it never is.
I agree that we have to sometimes work extra hard to hang onto those relationships.....sort of put ourselves out there a bit. However, what I have learned is the REAL friends are the ones who pick up the phone and call when they know you are having a difficult time. They are always right there. They get it even if they can't relate to what we are going through.
Yes, yes and yes! Totally right there with you since AG and Chase are pretty much at the same place in the heart journey. TRYING to find my way back to normal. It's a little grueling isn't it?ReplyDelete
Mom to AG
PS - I am organizing a heart moms night out if you're interested.