Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: One Year Anniversary

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

One Year Anniversary

She was no longer wrestling with the grief but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts.

~George Eliot

I woke up expecting to feel a mix of emotions. Strangely, I can't say this is truly the case. I am expecting anything today emotionally, but right now I feel something new in my heart.

One year ago we heard terrible news, but life has gone on. At the moment, the coffee pot is sputtering in the kitchen and I am watching the baby monitor on my desk for scarlet flickers. My son is sleeping soundly in his crib, and my husband searches for something to wear to work. If I were a stranger peering through the windows of this house now, I would think that nothing horrible ever happened at all. Our faces are relaxed, and everything is quiet.

However, we have been at war. We have endured excruciating heartache. I was frequently and unfairly tackled by stabbing grief on sunlit days that originally looked promising to me. Being weak, I broke each time but found that in the end it only fueled my fight. I had no idea that day one year ago how difficult this would be not only on ourselves, but on the people surrounding us. As the last couple months have passed and my focus has shifted, I have finally turned my face up to see the devastating pain my friends and family will carry with them forever as well. A bomb detonated in our family, but everyone in its reach was savagely wounded.

I thank God for the miracle of healing. One year ago I had difficulty feeling like I could simply physically get enough air. I had my first panic attack. One particular evening the week after the diagnosis I sat at the kitchen table trying to eat dinner and was completely unable to stop crying long enough to take a bite and simply swallow food. I felt horribly pathetic and lost.

In one year my dreams have changed. The visions of chunky, twisting, clown-colored ropes of DNA are less frequent. I no longer dream of Erik doing amazing things and wake up to discover they were cruel lies my brain manufactured. They were devastating, but, again, they became just more fuel for the fight.

Most of all, the best part of being one year out is that when I wake up, I don't have to listen to my brain report the bad news to my ignorant heart over and over anymore. That was honestly the worst part of this whole experience. I relived the pain each day as if it was brand new for months. My body and brain now have the facts permanently infused in them, whether I am awake or not. Before I open my eyes each morning, I am already cognizant that Williams syndrome is forever present in our lives, and it is old news. I am no longer destroyed each morning I meet a new day. I no longer am obligated to lose the first battle of the day.

Today's fight --

Nancy: 1
Williams syndrome: 0

So there. Go to hell, WS. Now where's my coffee?

In summary, I have learned there will always be grief, but I am no longer physically suffocated by it. This particular flavor of grief no longer has the extraordinary power it once did over me. I have learned how to harness it and make it my fuel. I no longer fear its bilious taste.

So what do I feel in my heart today? Something I never expected to feel.

Peace. Confidence. Most surprisingly of all, I feel joy.

I MADE IT.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Amy K said...

A star for your lapel, my dear, a medal around your neck. The band aids are off, but the wound will always be tender and visible, a bright shiny pink. The sting is gone, a fading spector of a scar left, only to flare up some other day.
Bravo.
Amy

10:35 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

IT is kinda weird for me too. Although my true annaversery is in a week and a 1/2 busy time at work is coming so I had to push it forward LOL...I though I would be more emptional and i feel surprisingly at peace... Hey don't we get a chip or something :)

10:57 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Thinking of you so much today. I felt so proud of you reading this post. In the few months I have known you, you have gotten stronger and your heart is healing more and more each day. What a strange place we have all been thrust into. I know that my sadness is lessening as well. We have such beautiful children to look after and be proud of. I am happy to know you and am so glad for you that today doesn't hold the same sorrow it did a year ago. Aren't you happy to not have to go back!?!

12:05 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

Isn't it amazing how time heals... I'm sure we never thought we'd be where we are now. But I echo Nicole who sees the change in you... I am glad the days are brighter and more managemable. Joy is a good place to be.

I love you! Kerry

1:08 PM  
Blogger Teresa & Shawn said...

You've heard it before - the first year is the hardest. You are a survivor, Nancy. You have a beautiful outlook on life. Don't ever lose that.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Miss 1999 said...

You have been through so much-- and overcome so much. I'm so proud of you, and your family for overcoming and sticking together, no matter what. May God bless all of you as the next year begins-- *hugs*

7:45 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

You amaze me with your love and your strength every single day. Erik thrives in it.

7:31 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

Keep that inner strength! I know it's easier said than done, but you're doing fine as I can see. You've been through hell and back and now you're at a place that shows the sunlight----it's promising and hopeful.

My prayers and thoughts are with you always! Keep up the positive attitude!

xxoo

8:42 AM  
Blogger Kim, Grandma to Ava,ws said...

I am so proud of you, Nancy. You have grown so much. For awhile I was very worried about you. It feels so good to see you coming into the light. You are a true hero to so many. Your grace, honesty, and beautiful words have kept my head above water many times. God bless you.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Well done! You have come through. Your story should be told for those just beginning this journey of Williams, and others like it.

For you, Erik and your family…continue the fight and share your joy!

"I thank God for the miracle of healing."

God goes before you with healing in His wings.

1:15 AM  

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