It Happened One Christmas

  1. Anyone ever have one of those Christmases where everything gets a little flaky around the edges? Heaven knows the holidays tend to be fraught with emotion, but I've been up and down so many times lately I feel like I'm literally on a rollercoaster.

    First of all, I haven't really been in the holiday spirit this year; I've been so busy at work, and since it was to be the first Christmas without my youngest daughter AND my sister, it wouldn't be the same no matter what. I tried very hard to get past it, but it didn't happen, and for the first time in my almost five decades on this planet, I've had to fake it. I don't know how to do that. I hope I never have to again.

    Then today, Christmas day, has been so wacky it's going to take some time to process. The gifts were wonderful, my grandson adorable, everyone appreciative........then came the phone calls. First one was my little girl, who is SO ready to have her little boy (due in < 3 weeks) she can hardly stand herself, but she was having such a great first Christmas with her new hubby and their friends that I couldn't help but be happy for her.

    About 15 minutes later my sister called; things are about as bad financially for her and her husband as they can be, and on top of it all, it looks like he may have throat cancer---he's been in terrible pain for weeks, can barely speak or swallow, and his free-clinic doctor thinks there's a tumor on his larynx. He also has been suffering chest and back pain, and he's supposed to have a cardiac stress test next week as well as a CAT scan of his neck tomorrow morning.

    Needless to say, my sister---who has never been strong psychologically---is a basket case. As has been the case for much of the past two years, she was stoned out of her gourd this morning (probably on Ativan or Darvocet again), which is terribly distressing because a) I can't do anything about it, and b) her whole life has spun out of control because of it. She went from being a pill junkie to a legal secretary with a great reputation, perfect credit, and a houseful of beautiful things, and now she's back to a junkie again.

    I'm thankful she lives 400 miles away now, because I can't stand to see her like this. She's become utterly selfish and self-involved, and I can't deal with it. It's been so bad that just before she moved away this past summer, I actually threatened to start drinking again---"why don't we just give up everything we worked for and be miserable and (you-know-what)-up together?" Of course, I didn't mean it---not after what I've gone through to get and stay sober for 15 years---but I was trying to wake her up. It didn't work.

    So there's no telling what she's going to do if my BIL does turn out to be as sick as I suspect he is. I can't just leave her to flounder through it all by herself; but neither can I go up there and leave my family and my obligations, to offer her the help she'll need to get through it. Besides, if things are as bad as I think, he won't be with us very long, and I know she'll want to live off my dh and me again, like she did before she and I went to college. I can't go through that another time, and neither can my family. But what do I DO?

    THEN came a call from the office manager of my facility, whose 28-weeks-pregnant daughter had gone into premature labor this morning, wanting to know what chances the baby might have if they couldn't stop the contractions. This is Carolyn's first grandchild, and she was holding together better than I would've expected; still, L & D is not my area of expertise, and I couldn't really tell her much of anything other than that it would be a long haul, and that I'd say a few prayers for her daughter and grandbaby. It doesn't help that my oldest girl is due only two days after Sam's original due date........little Cale Wiley is nowhere close to being ready to be born, and I feared for my friend's grandbaby.

    Two hours ago, Carolyn called again to report that she had a 2-pound, 6-oz. granddaughter who was "pink and screaming her head off" at birth! Of course, they had to put the infant on a vent and do all the other nasty things that must be done to keep a micro-preemie alive, but given her precipitous arrival, the baby appears to be a Christmas miracle, as she is otherwise healthy and well-formed. She's got a very long and hazardous road ahead of her, but for the moment she's OK, and the prayers for her well-being will continue.

    So, that's been my that will not be forgotten soon. I can't believe it's only 1530---I'm already exhausted. But my boss is due in half an hour for Christmas dinner, and there is a turkey to be carved and gravy to be made; then it's back to work tomorrow morning, and the whole dang opera starts again. God bless us, every one!
  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Gosh Marla - I am so sorry for your chaos. My XMas has been blessedly boring - we went to the movies as I am on call today but didn't have to go in fortunately.
  4. by   live4today
    marla - when reading your post, i was led to stop and lay hands on it while praying for your concerns that you shared here with us. my heart aches for you, for your sister, and for her husband's health.

    it's not easy laying down the dysfunction in our lives when we've lived it for so long. i heard a minister preach on television this morning about our "trying to function in our dysfunctional situations". putting to rest generational dysfunctions is not an easy thing to do when many of us have lived in that dysfunction so long -- by habit -- like brushing one's teeth every morning. know what i mean? we must be determined to fight those dysfunctional demons that have kept so many of us oppressed for so long. i know that i have been fighting to overcome the unhealthy generational behaviors from my family tree for years now, and this past year really made me stand up determined to make that change from generational stinkin' thinkin'. we often fall back into "familiar habits" because it's what we learned...what we "caught" from our parent(s), other family members; and others who had an impact on our growing up years. those same "caught habits" are what we fall back on to try and cope with our emotional pain. we don't mean to...we don't want to...we just find ourselves doing it.

    the apostle paul talks about his struggle to overcome those things that he knows is wrong to do, yet he does them anyway. if you want to read it, the scripture verses are in romans, chapter 7:21-25, "so i find this law at work: when i want to do good, evil is right there with me. (22) for in my inner being i delight in god's law; (23) but i see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (24) what a wretched man i am! who will rescue me from this body of death? (25) thanks be to god--through jesus christ our lord!"

    we can't save ourselves. once we accept that truth, then we can begin to heal spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. we can stop being so hard on ourselves. we can stop condemning ourselves, and begin loving ourselves as the gift we are from god. :kiss :flowersfo
  5. by   P_RN
    I'm so sorry about your sadness, but happy you have a handle on some of the tougher stuff. Enjoy your turkey, have your friend know her little gb is in my prayers as is your sister and her dh. And you....take care of YOU ok?
  6. by   dianah
    i'm so sorry to read about your sister, marla. we always want to "do" something for our family or for those who are hurting (the nurse in us??), but there's so little we can do in some situations. prayers going out for your sis and her dh, how sad to hear of his dx.

    nicu nursing has come a long way since i worked in one, almost 30 yr ago! that precious baby girl (such a fighter!) is in good hands, all things being equal, and sufficient tincture of time applied. i pray for continued daily improvements.

    i hope your christmas dinner goes well; this is a time for us to draw together, taking strength from blessings in times past in order to face and endure what times to come will bring.

    i like the poem below, hope you will too.

    [font="comic sans ms"]god hath not promised
    skies always blue
    flower -strewn pathways
    all our lives through

    god hath not promised
    sun without rain
    joy without sorrow
    peace without pain

    but god hath promised
    strength for the day
    rest for the labor
    light for the way

    grace for the trials
    help from above
    unfailing sympathy
    undying love

    thinking of you and yours . . . ---- d
  7. by   DutchgirlRN
    sorry marla, christmas can be hard enough with all the emotions and comotions going on without extra burdens being place upon our hearts. god bless you girlie.

    Last edit by DutchgirlRN on Dec 25, '06
  8. by   compassion1
    I'm in agreement with those who have alrady posted. You cannot solve everyone's problems. You'll hurt to see someone you love hurting but it is, ultimately, their problems and decisions to deal with. Don't take onto your own shoulders what doesn't belong to you. You need to deal with your trials. Trials they can't help you with. Only take on the extra that you're comfortable with. Support them in their good decisions. And spend time in prayer...for faith, peace, calm and wisdom. Prayers and (((((((Marla))))))). Remember, we're always here for you, too.
  9. by   VivaLasViejas
    Oh, what comforting words of wisdom!!

    It never ceases to amaze me how much you all help me whenever I come to you with a problem. We've never met face to face, but sometimes I think you know me better than anyone else on earth, except perhaps my always say exactly the right things, and help me to put everything into perspective.

    Thank you........for your thoughts, for your prayers, for your friendship. I treasure each and every one of you.:icon_hug:
  10. by   Grace Oz
    sorry to read this post. sending you warmest thoughts and support from afar. i sincerely hope things will all work out for the best. all 'round. they usually do! even if how it works out isn't what we might choose. it's what god chooses for us. hang in there and be gentle on yourself.
  11. by   bethin
    So sorry you're having a tough time. (((((hugs))))) Will be thinking of you and your family and that little baby.
  12. by   rninme
    Marla....I am so sorry for all the pain you are feeling right now. Be strong....and listen to the beautiful words of wisdom others have posted here. My heartfelt prayers are with you and yours during this trying time.
  13. by   nursemary9
    Dearest Marla,

    As is so often the case on this Board, I wish there was something I could do for you. The only thing I know, tho, is to keep you, your Family and that Beautiful baby & her Family in my thoughts and Prayers.
    You know I will be doing that; and as is so often the case, I will also ask our Chaplain to keep you all in his Prayers!

    I know it is most difficult for you with your Sister. But you have tried to help and now it seems that she will have to help herself. That is such a Hard thing to do--I know--but let's face it, you cannot make it better for her. You can help, you can support, but the bottom line is, she MUST try to help herself.As hard as that is, it's the ONLY way!!

    I pray that your BIL will be OK, but, it doesn't sound good for him.

    I hope you will keep us posted, not only about that precious little girl baby, but about your own grandbabies to be, your daughters and also your sis & Bro-in-law!!
    You know we are here to support you and to be here for you, too.

    I wish there was more any of us could do.

    Mary Ann
  14. by   VivaLasViejas
    Well, my friends, your thoughts and prayers must be working.........My co-worker's grandchild---all two pounds, six ounces, and fourteen inches of her---is THRIVING! She came off the ventilator in less than 24 hours; she came off CPAP in another 48, and is now only using a nasal cannula. She is taking ever-so-tiny amounts of her mother's milk, and the parents have already gotten to take her out of the isolette and hold her for a few minutes!

    As it turns out, I was able to do something for the new family: I hired baby Cammy's daddy as a night-shift caregiver. It's temporary, and it doesn't pay much, but at least it gets him off unemployment (he had only two weeks of benefits left) and will help them get back on their feet while Mom recovers and learns to care for their tiny daughter.:spin: So, that feels pretty good too.

    As for my BIL: I haven't heard a word from either Ron or my sister since Christmas Day. That is not a good sign. But until they reach out, there's not much I can do for them, and even then, I can't fix everything and make it better.

    In the meantime, the staffing crisis at work which has occupied so much of my time and thought lately, is settling down with the hiring of four new caregivers, all of whom seem enthusiastic, energetic, and smart to boot. I hope they will come to love the residents as I do, and stay with us a long time.

    Thank you all, many times over, for your kindness and your prayers. I thought you might want to know that they have been fruitful, and are very much appreciated.

    God bless all of you in the coming New Year!!!