From Jenny Sue Got Married, originally posted on October 9, 2011.
Life is full of "unexpecteds". I'm sure I've just stated the obvious
for anyone out there who is a living, breathing human being.
husband's stroke 9 months ago was definitely unexpected. There have
been many unexpected situations since then; none quite as devastating as
the stroke, and many have been pleasant and helpful unexpecteds.
Friday at about 7 AM, my neighbor knocked on the door and walked in
with a rather large box full of goodies from Panera. She went out and
returned with 2 garbage bags full of breads and bagels. Two other
neighbors had gone to Panera the night before and asked for leftovers.
Now, Panera leftovers have come to our neighborhood before, but they've
all been split up between several families. This was the first time I
was the sole recipient of the Panera loot. My freezer is stocked with
bread and goodies for months to come.
That was a nice unexpected.
I went to the hospital to visit a friend who is on bed rest until her
baby is born. She is 27 weeks and 5 days pregnant, and her water broke
last week. Upon determining there was no infection, the doctors decided
she should not have the baby yet, but stay in the hospital on complete
bed rest until the little guy or girl makes his or her appearance. Kind
of a scary situation, so if you could pray for my friend, I'm sure she
would be ever so grateful. But she's in the best place possible for a
complicated pregnancy, so I'm sure she's in great hands.
the unexpected part. I've sort of been dragging my feet about getting
over to see her. As soon as I stepped into the hospital and was greeted
by the all-too-familiar smells and sounds, I started to feel sick, kind
of sad. I went to the reception desk, where I had to check in every.
single. time. that I went to visit my husband. There was no frequent
visitor pass. The same ladies were working at the reception desk. I
was almost surprised that they didn't say, "HI! How ARE you? Haven't
seen you in a while!" I stepped on the elevator and was joined by a
woman in a wheelchair pushed by her young daughter, or niece, maybe.
They were heading to 6th floor. I told her my husband lived on 6th
floor for 6 weeks, and I was his wheelchair driver. Small talk, I
guess. She probably didn't care. I got off at 3rd floor. That's the
Labor and Delivery and Mother-Baby Center floor - the "fun" floor. It's
always fun to go and visit someone on 3rd floor because it means
they've welcomed a precious new baby into the world. And even though my
friend hasn't delivered her baby yet, my mood was lightened by the
thought of tiny newborns, swaddled in pink and blue hospital-issue
blankets, with pacifiers stuffed in their mouths.
got to her room, we talked for a few minutes. Then I started crying
and told her I had been hesitant to visit her because of the memories of
Al being in the hospital.
The unexpected here was the
fact that I was so emotional about being in the hospital again. I kept
telling myself, "Al is OK. Al is home. Al is getting better every
day. Al is alive." But I guess the severity of his situation is still
emphasized by hospital memories. I managed to wipe the tears away
pretty quickly and move on, but I'm still surprised by my reaction.
final unexpected: I was behind my husband in line to receive Communion
at Mass today. As I watched him make his way with his limp and his
cane, I succumbed to a brief wave of anger. That happens once in a
while. I just get so damn angry at the stroke for doing what it did to
Al, and in turn what it has done to our family. It has stretched us all
beyond what we thought we were capable of, and it has taxed us in many
ways. But I hope and pray that in the end, it will bring us closer and
make us stronger.
Even with the unexpected, God knows
our needs and knows how to meet them. The one thing I can always expect
is that He is faithful.