Thursday, July 18, 2013
The days that followed were very difficult, I still struggled with extreme anxiety. I called the psychiatrist that I had seen while pregnant ...I asked if I could come in for an appointment....his reply astounded me and put me into further despair......'I had heard about your baby dying and I thought you would be fine and didn't need to see me anymore', he said. I could feel myself sliding down the wall to the floor, thinking...'oh no, what do I do now'....
It was a sunny afternoon a few months later that I was visiting with my cousin Patti. Patti and I were quite close growing up, we had been born only a few weeks apart and we were friends as well as cousins. I shared with her the struggles I was still experiencing and the feelings of frustration i had that there seemed to be no one who could help me. There was no one who really understood what I was going through.
She looked at me and said..'our old pastor is doing counseling at our church...maybe he could help you'...I remembered the pastor that she spoke of, Harland Smith had conducted my grandfathers' funeral. I talked it over with Don and he agreed...there was one huge problem....money...we didn't have it to pay for counseling ,but fortunately when my parents heard about it they agreed to cover the cost.
I remember it well, sitting in his office...pouring my heart out, praying that he would understand...you see, anybody that I had talked to about it all, Don, my mom, my sister...they all had the same response, 'I wish I could help you but I haven't gone through this, I really don't know what to say'. That day, when I finished talking , I looked at Harland, he looked back at me and said these words...' Well, Marie, I can help you, I've been in the exact same position as you are right now and I understand. We will work together and I will help you......the relief that I felt at that moment was indescribable.....I thought I had been losing my mind and this man said he understood...no one had ever said that to me.....for the first time in a very long time I felt hope.
Harland Smith did help me, using the scriptures and giving me different exercises ( for lack of better terminology) to do...for instance, I had a fear over leaving the house and going to a ladies bible study with my mom and sister,...Harland told me to think of one woman in the group who had shared a problem or difficulty, and when I had thought of this person...I'll call her Mary....than I was to think about Mary, think about going there to help Mary, he said' just keep telling yourself that you're doing this for Mary'...don't think of yourself.....it was a great exercise...it got me out of the house, it got me thinking about others, how I could help others more than myself...it worked! There were many other exercises, now that I've started thinking about them again thirty four years later, I could recount many more but I won't...you might not find them as interesting as I, and it might become tedious to read, but suffice to say, after a number of months....I had the courage to look after my children, to go out and go to public functions , to even go to family gatherings.
I will forever be grateful to God and Harland Smith for bringing me through that valley of despair and up the other side.
Throughout it all my husbands' love and support was unwavering, he never emotionally left my side....that was invaluable to me.
By this time, my brother Tom and his wife had given birth to their first child, a little boy named Daniel. When Daniel's mom went back to work after a three month leave, she asked me to look after little Daniel. I loved looking after Daniel.....it was so nice to have a baby to look after again, and he was a good little guy. We had him everyday til he was seventeen months old and his mom gave him a little brother. After that they decided that having someone coming in to their house everyday would be better, which didn't work for me with our two at home.
This was my first experience in looking after someone else's child as well as my own and it went fairly well. I guess it was the precursor for things to come!
Oh yes, and we moved again....we finally were able to get out of the city, where neither one of us had been happy, and we moved to the suburbs.....actually not far from my parents and my sister.
Leslie and Ryan started school.....I was at home thinking, okay Lord...now what do you want me to do? I had a few little part time jobs....I worked for a needlework company that did home parties....that went quite well for a few years, I also did some exam invigilating for one of the colleges...that was fun and easy! They were things that I could do in the evening when Don was at home with Leslie and Ryan.
Still, things were difficult financially for us....unfortunately we had made the big mistake of buying our new (to us) house before selling our city house....it went on for nine very long months....I lost quite a bit of weight in this time frame.....when an offer finally came through, it was for a very low offer, but in despair we took it. We were already way in debt with carrying two mortgages for nine months. We had to cut our losses and move on.
About this time a young single mother came into our lives. Anne came from a large family that did not give her any support. She had been coming to our church since she was a child and everyone had kind of taken turns , helping her out. She was really our first introduction into family life that wasn't like ours, and boy did we get our eyes opened! Anne had given birth to a little baby girl named Tanya, but unfortunately Anne was emotionally unstable and for the most part was unable to look after baby Tanya. The very first call that we received from a friend of Anne's was whenTanya was six weeks old. Anne was in crisis, she needed hospitalization , would we look after the baby. The friend brought this wee babe to our house in the middle of the night.....we didn't have anything set up for her, so we cleared out one of Don's dresser drawers, padded it up with blankets and put her into it. That's where she spent her first night! We had Tanya for about a week and when Anne was discharged, she took Tanya back. Six weeks later , another call, another week of baby care...and on and on it went. Anne averaged her crisis times about six weeks apart. Each time Tanya came she would look very pale, tense with a dull look to her eyes. Within a day or two, that would be replaced with rosy cheeks , sparkly eyes and a big smile. Each time it was the same, the transformation was remarkable.
Don and I started talking.....what if there were other kids like Tanya out there...kids that needed a safe place to stay, where they'd feel safe and secure. Where there'd be love and consistency......what if?
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