Obviously, difficult events cause us to put up walls.
Over the past 3 years, I have put up a lot of walls in an attempt to guard myself (as if that was ever in my control, but that's a whole other issue).
Losing Ayden = Wall - I shut a lot of people out. It took a long time for me to be comfortable around other babies. I was thankful for my friends who were understanding and "got it." Their patience and just giving me time helped me begin to break that wall down. When Collen was born and we made it past the one year mark, that wall was completely torn down.
Losing Ayden also caused me to put up walls of distrust. I chose to stay home with Collen because I just couldn't bring myself to put him in daycare. Let me first say, I do not/never did blame Ayden's daycare provider for what happened. I feel so badly that she lives with those memories....that I'm sure she holds herself responsible in some way, although she shouldn't. However, losing Ayden in that way caused me to distrust anyone but myself. Logically, I knew it could have just as easily happened while at home, but it didn't....so my mind's way of making sense of it all was to try to believe that as long as Collen was in my care, he would be okay. SO, when I went back to work after Collen turned one, I was incredibly selective. Any daycare I considered had to be super high in approval. I was picky beyond belief and finally found one that I felt secure with - top-notch security, high level training in SIDS education and knowledge, organic menu (that was a plus!), and high reviews. The only thing to deter me from choosing this daycare was the price and the early schedule kids were put on. I completely understand having a routine...it works best when working with a larger group of kids. However, Collen being home with me for a year meant he made his own schedule. I worried that the transition would be difficult, and with a larger group, he wouldn't get individual attention. I realize this isn't realistic - in a daycare, it's impossible to give each child one-on-one attention. It's just one of the things that comes along with a daycare. And someday, yes, he will need to be a setting where he is with other children his age, but at 12 months....and me going back to work....I needed a little more time.
But that meant I would have to look at in-home care. I didn't want an in-home daycare because I needed it to be different from what we had with Ayden. Finding in-home care is difficult...especially when you're looking for one-on-one. Who do you trust? Do you fork out big bucks for a nanny? Do you try to rely on friends and family? Well, providence stepped in on this one, and a friend of mine happened to suggest her back-up sitter. She had been taking care of kids for years but preferred small scale...preferably one-on-one when possible. Jeremy, myself, and Collen met with her and her husband, and it was apparent right away that this had been God-sent. Collen took to them right away. He was so at ease and felt at home. Seeing his comfort helped that wall to lower, and it turned out to be perfect for all of us! Collen will continue to stay with this sitter for another year, and she will also keep Charlotte. :) I was going to get Collen enrolled in a half-day preschool, but I missed the registration period. I think it will be good for him to spend time with his sister. He does great in Sunday school and socializes well with everyone!! Preschool will be an easy transition.
Subsequent Fear = Wall - So, my walls were coming down. Little by little. My biggest wall is the one I still struggle with. Fear. And I don't see an immediate solution to this one. Jeremy and I have been doing the "Not a Fan" study with our small group. It has caused me to think a lot about my relationship with Christ. I know I am more than a fan. I know I do more than "going through the motions." But I also know that I have put up a wall of fear that causes me to be unable to fully trust God the way I used to. When Ayden was born, I totally in the mindset of "He is yours, and if you see fit to take him, then I know I will have to accept that." Until it happened. Wall up. And since then, I have had to take very small steps in placing that trust back in Him. It is a daily struggle. I have to tell myself multiple times a day that I am not in control. I can not change anything that God purposes to happen. He doesn't intend to harm me. I need to trust Him. It's going to take time, and I hope He can be patient with me. I choke with fear at times when I look and Collen and he is doing something so silly and funny, and I find myself soaking that entire moment in because my first thought is, "What if this is the last memory I have of him? What if he's gone tomorrow?" Then I think about losing Jeremy...or my mom...or my sister. I find myself repeatedly telling God, "Please...I can't lose anyone else. Not now. Not for a long time. Please spare us; give us some time." This is going to be the wall that takes the longest to break down.
My Dad's passing = Wall - After losing my dad, I noticed myself putting up a wall of indifference. And this one made me battle with myself. I got to the point where I just couldn't care. It wasn't that I didn't care....I had friends going through such difficult things...people I wanted so badly to reach out to and check on....and be there for. But I couldn't. I was barely making it....I felt so lost. Taking on someone else's hurt just couldn't be considered, and I felt like a jerk for feeling that way. I didn't understand it, and I was disgusted with myself. But looking back, I see how that makes sense. I was crushed....again. I had just made a major transition...going back to work...uncertain about everything, and in a new job that was challenging me daily. And then, the rock of our family....the glue...was all of a sudden gone. My counterpart - the one I was compared to my entire life - the man I admired completely and had modeled my life against....was gone. One of a few people who knew me better than I knew myself...a man I absolutely adored and needed in my life was taken too soon. Nothing made sense anymore, and while I could empathize and sympathize with others, I simply could not take on any more hurt or loss while I was feeling so overwhelmed with my own. Trying to balance my own loss with those of so many others was daunting, and while I frequently found myself praying for them and making notes to myself to contact them....I just didn't. There were some days when it was all I could do to just make it through the day...only to come home and breakdown. Trying to form a coherent thought was too difficult at times. I just wanted to sit. In silence. And just block it all out. In turn, I lost touch with people who I knew needed a kind word....needed to know, really KNOW that I was thinking of them daily. Yet, I stayed silent. Never voicing those thoughts and prayers and the aching I felt for them in their personal losses. Some understood and knew that I was just doing the best I could to make it through each day. Others seemed to just let me go....I know they lost faith in me, and I deeply regret that. I knew I needed to take care of myself, but it hurts to know that there are those who lost faith in me and now see me differently. I needed people to understand...and continue to understand....it has only been 7.5 months since I lost my dad. He was in my life for 28 years. It's going to take time for me to work through that. It's getting better, but I've said here several times that I know I haven't handled this loss well. I haven't dealt with it, and I'm hoping to take part in a grief share class at my church to help me work through it. On the outside, I'm the same Lindsay....smiling, happy, doting mother, proud wife, balanced, calm coworker...but on the inside...completely different story. This wall is getting better; it's a work in progress, and it's the one I hope people can try to understand.
We all have walls. Different things cause them, and we all have to find our ways of breaking them down...even if it's one small step at a time. I know that God deserves my full trust. His word instructs us not to fear. To rest on His promises - that He has plans to prosper us, not to harm, to give us HOPE and a future. The only thing that helps me even begin to tackle these walls is HOPE. Through all of the loss and challenging times, I am so glad that I above all else, I've been able to remain hopeful. I can feel His hand guiding me...gently...nudging me back into trusting Him completely. I'm getting there. And I'm so thankful to have a heavenly Father who remains constant, patient, and loving.