Hard to believe that last Thanksgiving, in this photo with the grey dress, I could: walk all I wanted,climb stairs, speak clearly, had a lot more teeth and hair, and actually had a chance of climbing out of the financial wreckage from having our wedding day ruined and being harassed as I tried to get my shoes and dress on.
There have been so many days I wish I had let the DJ, a wonderful woman, just handle it and escort the person off the property that day. Or considering the issues we had with the same person the day before, I wish we had simply called the cops and filed a “No Trespass” order. We’d have celebrated our first anniversary in August, so many horrible things would not have happened, and Brian might not be so sick now.
But hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it? Despite the tragedies of the past year and a half, we humans can either let them lead us down into illness, addiction, despair, death….or we can crawl up into the wheelchair, dust ourselves off, and try to live the best life we can.
So this Thanksgiving, I paused to reflect on what I am thankful for, and where I might like to see myself and our now fractured family next
I am grateful for:
- The domestic violence workers at YWCA Manchester and Safe Place Portsmouth for teaching me about Female Relational Abuse, and how common it is that female abusers like his ex-wife seldom get better without extensive treatment.
- The case managers at all three programs that have helped me, and continue to help me survive and thrive.
- I am profoundly grateful to everyone at both Al-Anon groups I ended up attending,
- to my counselor, and especially to my psychiatrist who in addition to solving how to get the right meds into my body and to absorb correctly…ALSO worked so hard to find a psychiatrist for Brian with the experience and knowledge to sort out TBI, Psych, and other issues.
- To our couples counselor, and the psychiatrist she is under who worked with us also.
- To my pastor, my brothers and sisters in my religious order, and to all who offered prayers and masses for Brian, Jamie, and I over the past 18 months.
- I am grateful for the medical team that kept me alive, especially the Cardiac Care Unit at Frisbie Hospital.
- I am grateful to the medical team that took care of Brian after his accident last fall in Maine.
- For those bio and adopted family members that have walked with me this past year, and not given up and walked away.
- For those members of Brian’s family who are caring for him now. Mom and Dad, I am glad I got to talk to you this summer, even briefly. I love you both.
- While my circle of friends is much smaller now, I am grateful for the ones who truly stood with us through the storm.
- While it certainly cost me in lots of different ways, I am grateful to God for bringing Brian and I back together for a third time. The most recent 10 months were full of hardships and trials, but I truly believe God brought us back together for a reason. I am grateful for the love, laughter, and life we had together when he was doing better, and before once again, humans dared to separate what God had joined.
While I will always love Brian, and I would welcome him back in friendship if he, again, “beats the odds”, and survives, I suspect that no matter what recovery he experiences, he never again be completely whole. As for me, once you taste the sweet wine of hearts intertwined so harmoniously, as Brian and I were on Valentine’s 2013 and many times before that and since…..you never want to go back to anything else. I understand now why eagles mate for life.
That said, I continue to pray for him everyday….that God steps in and saves him yet again. Everyone should have one great love. I wish we had been able to grow old together unhindered by those intent on tearing us apart, but God will either decide to bring us back together again someday down the road (which would be the forth time, if God chooses to), or God will provide me and him another type of life.
I don’t know for sure yet, but it seems that God is calling me already to a different kind of life, at least for now. The photo next to me on my nightstand is Jesus now, and already my life is beginning to center around my writing, the work of a Subdeacon, and the discernment about making my profession as a full religious. There are even whispering in my prayers that perhaps God is leading me to a vow of celibacy. Wherever God is leading me, I am grateful that he has decided I still have something to offer him as a Franciscan and as a Catholic.
I hope that next Thanksgiving sees Brian alive and more stable, Jamie growing and loving the sports he plays, and me perhaps able to do a little more walking than I am capable of now, while continuing to write and minister. I hope next Thanksgiving that perhaps all three of us will be more healed, and that perhaps all three of us will have had more of the people who hurt us ask us for forgiveness, and that we will be able to in turn ask those we hurt, including each other, for forgiveness too.
Advent…the “Little Lent” in Catholic faith starts officially on Sunday, but I like that it is preceded so closely by Thanksgiving, when we look back on our year, both good and bad, give thanks for what we have been able to do, and give thanks for those who have helped us along the way.
Happy Thanksgiving to my families, The Eckels, The Mihaleks, The Cooks, The Watts, and The Allgaiers, The Johnsons, and The O’Rourkes, and to my dear Godson David and his mother Deanna. Wherever they are, I hope my beloved granddaughters are having a wonderful holiday. To all the kids who were ever part of my family, I hope you have all the best things in life this Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at my Catholic denomination, Rumney Marsh Fellowship (especially Bishop David!) and my religious order, Mercy Of God Community, to my “boss” Bishop Gregory, the writers, and staff at Convergent Streams Magazine, to all the members at TodaysCatholics.com, and to those who follow me here at my blog at brendaanneckels.wordpress.com.
And yes, Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are, to “my Brian” and to Jamie, my kid #15, both in my heart always. May God watch over you both.
Brenda The Writer