Braving the Wilderness, Women in the Arena: Owning My Story (Part 2)

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”. — Nelson Mandela

It’s dark and like a thief in the night, I fire up the laptop and begin the task of transferring huge amounts of money to my account. It’s ominous and to me it’s criminal. Alex makes a noise and I jump. The adrenalin coursing through my body is at an all time high now.

Just a few hours ago, the doctor made her rounds. She placed her stethoscope on Alex’s chest and I saw the look on her face as she gazed in my direction. It made me want to get away, the sad piercing all knowing eyes. Just as she is about to exit she turns and waves her hand for me to follow along. I know what she is going to say. It is clearly evident based on how quickly Alex’s health is digressing.

I want to flee!

I don’t want to hear it.

But like a Zombie I follow her out in the hallway and let her talk.

Doctor: Frau Ebert, I’ve been a doctor for many years. <She pauses.> Many years to know that the sound of your husband’s breathing is an indicator that he doesn’t have much time left.

I shake my head in disbelief

Me: But I have already made plans for him to come home. He wants to come home. <Desperate now…I continue> If he is going to die, then it should be at home. How much time do we have left?

Doctor: I’m not God but I can tell you this, he is not going to survive the trip home. You are welcome to stay the nights now. I’m so sorry. Speak to the nurse, she will arrange everything. <She does the appropriate shoulder touching and she turns around and leaves).

Time, it’s running out and so I’m racing now. I inform the nurse on duty. She tells me that they will organize a place for me to sleep. I get back to Alex. I smile, my best composed excited smile and say. ‘Guess what Love? The doctor says I can stay with you now all the time, during the nights too’. Totally oblivious to the conversation in the hallway Alex smiles. He is happy. He is so childlike now; he never wants me to leave so to him this is the best news ever.

At the underground heading home to pack my overnight clothes, I put my head into my lap and cry. I finally allow my composed self to crumble. The sobbing is deep from within, audible and I don’t care . All I want to do is just cry away the hurt that keeps coming. I take no notice to the many concerned people who offer help. I never look up, my head is buried deep in my lap and my hands cover my head. For now, this is my crying place and CRY, I do. Nothing can be said and done at this moment. Nothing is going to make me stop! I’m still racing. I can’t do it at home and I certainly can’t do it by Alex. So I let the screeching cries come as I relive the conversation with the doctor over and over again.

At home I let my mum know what the doctor said. The kids follow me around, excited at my presence but I am disconnected. They ask questions about the bag I am filling. I spew out responses at the appropriate times.

‘Daddy is sick and needs me’.

‘I am going to stay at the hospital’.

‘I don’t know when I am coming back’.

‘I’m sorry’.

I push them away as they cling to me. They are now begging me not to go.  Their cries become more urgent and desperate as I shut the door behind me and I still hear them as I make my way down the stairs. I get that they need me but they can wait. Anything and everyone can wait. I need to get back to Alex as fast as possible because his dying. Oh my God…he is really dying!

Back at the hospital I compose myself again before I walk into the room. I’m a schizophrenic pro. With a smile and kiss on the forehead, I greet Alex like nothing has happened. Alex has made his wishes clear, he’s fighting and if he goes out, it will be fighting. I know this and so I will not be a mess in front of him. A wheelchair is now in the corner of the room and has been reclined as far back as possible. There are sheets and pillows piled on top of it. I attempt to sleep but sleep eludes me as I listen to my husband’s labored breath and his groans of discomfort.

To pass the time I log into Facebook and right there on my news feed pops a memory of what I shared 3 years ago. On 5th July 2014 I snapped the most beautiful picture of my baby girl who was born the day before. Just today I snapped a pic of Alex. That’s when perspective came and slapped me in the face. The lyrics to church song ‘Blessed be Your name’ I sang so many times came to mind and with that the full precious meaning.

Blessed Be Your Name

In the land that is plentiful

Where Your streams of abundance flow

Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name

When I’m found in the desert place

Though I walk through the wilderness

Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out, I’ll

Turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord

Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name

When the sun’s shining down on me

When the world’s ‘all as it should be’

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name

On the road marked with suffering

Though there’s pain in the offering

Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I’ll

Turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord

Still I…

So with a selected few tagged…I posted this post with these two pictures alongside each other.

July 5th 2014…Naomi beautiful…and I snapped a pic. July 5th 2017…Alex struggling…and I snapped a pic.

The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. I will rejoice in the gifts and through the trials and grief that will come as I spend my nights hearing Alex’s labored breath, speaking peace and calmness to his weary soul as confusion reigns in his last days. As for me…remaining positive as he transitions to be with Jesus.

It was at this pivotal point that my BEING BRAVE kicked in. Setting aside my grief stricken self and with much fear and trepidation I started MAKING MOVES. I needed to take care of the girls. I knew nothing about our financial state or bill paying but I did know this: In Germany, Alex’s account would be frozen after he passed. So for the first time ever  I logged into his account and began the money transfers. I could lie there and cry or I could do something. I chose: doing something.

Mr Mandela was right…fear is here but we can choose to conquer it.

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One thought on “Braving the Wilderness, Women in the Arena: Owning My Story (Part 2)

  1. There is so much courage here. So much love in such a scary place. Reliving this shows just as much bravery as you relive an impossible story.

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