New Years Day is always a time for reflection, and we have a lot to reflect on from the 2012. Going back to the beginning of 2012, we had much uncertainty, waiting for transplant calls and trying to hold things together.
Looking back at 2012, I don’t think of it as a good year or a bad year. It was an adventure, filled with dramatic highs and lows, and a lot of sitting and waiting. Seeing Stephanie pushed to the brink of death, only to be rescued by organ transplants at the last minute, then the slow and painful recovery.
We have much for which to be thankful. We thank God for sustaining us and delivering Stephanie from her failing organs, and for keeping our family together despite all the turmoil. His providential hand has been very visible through the past few years, and especially evident this year.
We are very grateful for the love shown to us by so many people, many of whom we didn’t know. So many of you generously and sacrificially gave to Stephanie’s transplant fund. It vastly exceeded our expectations, and every month when we get the bill for Stephanie’s medicines, we are very thankful for your help.
We are very thankful for Customer Effective, Joel’s employer. They stood behind us and supported us through it all with Joel’s unpredictable schedule, and we could not have made it without them.
Some lessons we have learned in 2012:
- We are not in control. We think we are, and we make plans, but we aren’t in charge. Nothing last year went as we had planned, but in hindsight, we are thankful that it didn’t I had to learn to trust others for things like caring for my children, buying groceries, making meals, things that we think we control.
- Kids are resilient. They had some very difficult times with their mom being in the hospital, and still do even now during the slow recovery when she can’t do some things that they want her to. We try to teach them that it is OK to feel angry or sad sometimes, and how to deal with those feelings in constructive ways, and we point to the milestones of the past year to show how God has worked and is good. It forced us to be more open with them about life and death, and we could not shelter them from the reality that their mommy could have died. Parents, don’t try to protect your children from all bad news. This wold is a scary place and dying is a part of living, something that we all must know how to face.
- Men, you should practice doing some of the things that your wife does—wash laundry, do dishes, cook meals, give the kids baths, comb your daughter’s hair. Some day you might have to do these things.
- Never say “now that I have gone through X I’m never going to worry about the small stuff anymore.” It’s not true. You would think that living through a triple transplant would make you immune to worrying about stupid everyday stuff or petty arguments. It doesn’t.