Wednesday, May 18, 2011

how claire does it...

i met claire way back in 8th grade. i, a brand new transfer student, scared and unsure. claire, in the popular crowd, a cheerleader. but claire wasn't just popular because she was talented and pretty. she was definitely those things, but she was also kind and considerate and fun to be around.  claire, now a mother of three, is still those things today. and, although we don't live near each other, it's easy to see her strength and be uplifted from afar. 

here's how claire does it...

On February 17, just a few short months ago, my world was rocked upside down. It was 11:45 Thursday morning and I was getting my kids ready to head out the door.

The 5 and 3 year old had their little lunch boxes packed, and the 2 month old had been fed, diapered, and buckled into her car seat.

One at a time I began to buckle the kids into the car. As I buckled my little boy (3yrs) into his car seat he was in mid sentence when his eyes got big, his body went stiff, he started to convulse, and he stopped breathing. I panicked. Shear panic. In desperation I screamed for the phone. My 5 year old little girl called 911 as I began CPR. His face was blue. I could feel his heart was still beating but his jaw was clenched and there was no air. Within the minute the paramedics arrived, my son took a breath, and fell into a deep deep sleep. I called my husband home from work and we began our journey down the dreary road of epilepsy.

10 days later it happened again. This time he was sitting at the bar stool eating breakfast. I watched my child helplessly fall to the ground as I raced to catch him. A few hours later it happened again. An hour after that we were admitted to the hospital for testing.

For a while every single day was harder than the day before. For the first time in my life I experienced panic attacks, hyperventilation, depression, fear, anxiety, pain, and heartache, just to name a few.  I dreaded going to bed at night because I didn't know how i could physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally handle the day that lie ahead.

One of the hardest nights we experienced, my husband and I found ourselves literally running in circles.

My five year old was angry. She felt alone, she could sense the stress in our home and she had had it. She was throwing a full blown tantrum. Slamming doors and in tears she screamed, "I hate you" as loud as she could.

In the room next door my infant was crying. She was hungry. The stress sucked my milk supply dry and caused my baby's livelihood to vanish.  She wouldn't take a bottle and there was nothing I could do to comfort this tiny child.

In the room across the hall my little boy was seizing. It was nearing 8 minutes.  With tears streaming down my face I vocally pleaded with my father in Heaven to please let the seizure end. All of my children were hurting and there was nothing I could do...I was helpless.  Then slowly the seizure ceased. The baby fell asleep and I was able to calm my oldest daughter. Everyone fell asleep.

My body collapsed. I couldn't carry the weight I was being asked to bear. I just couldn't do it. I wasn't sleeping at night. I couldn't eat.  My son was a tiny ticking time bomb. He would go off at any time of the day during any type of activity. There was never a time when I could just breath. I followed him everywhere. He never left my sight. My anxiety levels went haywire.

I wanted to die. I wanted to take my family and just be done. Life was too hard.

Doctors had no answers. Every test preformed gave us nothing. No one could tell me what was going on with my son's brain. They told me he would eventually grow out of seizures but it could take years. i couldn't live this life; not even for one more day. I prayed. I prayed and pleaded for my burden to be lightened. I prayed for my son to be cured. But the days continued to become darker. Eventually he was in seizures and post seizure state (a heavy heavy sleep that can last up to 4 hours) longer than he was just a normal little boy. I gathered my family and moved in with my parents.

I needed help to survive.

The days passed. The medication was altered. And finally we had a day with out a seizure. There was light. Another day passed and another. I prayed.

A phrase continued to replay in my head, "give it to the Lord". I remembered people talking about trials and explaining that when they were at their breaking point, they handed everything to the Lord. I was broken. I wanted desperately to hand my heavy weight to Him...but how?


How on Earth could I possibly hand this responsibility to my Savior?

The bottom line-- I still had to wake up in the morning. I still had to be this child's mother. I still had to take care of my other children. Please, tell me Lord, how can I give this to you?

I prayed. I asked my husband, I consulted close friends and family, I read my scriptures, and I pleaded with my Lord to guide me to find an answer. I pondered for about a week.

And then it happened...I found my answer.

I had the most beautiful tangible answer I could've ever imagined. One night my husband persuaded me to go out for the night with some of the ladies in my church. They were going to see the Carl Bloch exhibit. I had heard it was fantastic but I couldn't possibly leave my husband with all the kids... I left and I am so glad I did.

As I was soaking in the beauty of these paintings I rounded the corner and I saw  the most beautiful painting I had ever seen. It was a life size picture of Christ with a little boy at his side, no more than 3 or 4 years old. Christ had his arm around this little child in a protective sort of way. This painting spoke to me. I sat there and just wept.

"Don't be afraid. This is my child. This is my PERFECT child. See him the way I see him and your burden will be made light."

It was beautiful.  My burden, my trial was not taken away but my eyes were opened. I was able to see my little boy through the eyes of Christ. I saw him as the Perfect little child that he is. Sure his body may have ailment. His body is not perfect...but his spirit, his spirit is perfect. Christ knows this child is perfect. This is a temporary problem; in time he will be made whole. His body will be made perfect. In the mean time I have to remember that my Heavenly Father has chosen me. He has chosen me to raise this perfect little child. What an honor. What a priveledge.

Some days are still long. The seizures are not gone. The doctors, tests, hospitals, and medication are still with us but daily I find myself recalling that beautiful experience.

I will stop what I am doing bend down and close my eyes as my sweet little boy wraps his sticky little fingers around my neck and gives me a big slobbery kiss on the check and says, "Mom, I love you!"

And then I remember...he is perfect, oh so perfect. for. me.

And then- I carry on. 


ed and kelli said...

claire calvert right? wow. this is amazing. how terrifying seizures are. i'm glad you found a way to overcome this so you can carry on. you are amazing claire! it's so frustrating when there are no answers besides "they'll grow out of it". i do not like that answer. but thank you for this and helping me see even if there isn't an answer to solve the problem, there's an answer to help you make it through!

t.t.turner said...

Oh my goodness, Claire Calvert - I remember you! "Perfect Claire Calvert" - I swear, you had no flaws when we were in high school.

When I saw the Bloch painting come up on the screen after reading through your story, I nearly lost it. It is such a powerful image, especially with the connection to your experience. Thank you for sharing HOW you turned it over to Christ, especially when there isn't an instant fix to our trials. You are incredible!

Morgan said...

thank you so much for sharing this experience. i was really touched and inspired by the process you went through. such a beautiful, simple idea, commandment even... "give it to the lord". what a beautiful picture too. i have 3 small boys, and i think i need this picture in my home, so that when i am having a hard time, i can look at it and remember how much God loves those tiny little souls. Thank you for sharing, and i pray that your burden will continue to be lightened and you will feel the savior's arms wrapped around you.

AJ said...

Wow. Claire Thank you. I too have three little ones and sometimes feel overwhelmed (and I have nothing compared to what you are dealing with). This is so inspiring and such a good reminder. Thank you for realigning my perspective!

Molly said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. Seizures are scary. I pray that the doctors are able to find out how to help your little boy and rid him of this. Thank you for the reminder that our children are perfect in the sight of God. Our perfect little babies...

Michelle said...

What a beautiful post.

Karen Hauley said...

As I read this I'm watching little leah (while maren is having a needed rest). beautifully said - I just gave leah another hug . . . and she hugged me back.