How do I thank you? I've started this letter a bazillion times and no words carry the weight of my gratitude, so I'll just start at the beginning. It was day 46 of my withdrawal and I knew things were getting bad. Well, things WERE bad. Chad and I had no idea how we were going to manage moving forward. I was becoming increasingly less mobile and alive. My days and nights were blurring due to insomnia and my body clock switching. I no longer slept at night and falling asleep before 4 am was near impossible. I also stopped sleeping longer than 2 hours at a time, so waking up with the girls at 8 was quite overwhelming on my system. Moving was a chore, I could't hold Leah without wincing in pain, and making food for myself, let alone Maddie, felt insurmountable. I'm pretty sure at least one day passed where Maddie ate nothing but packaged snacks from the pantry. All my strength went to opening a package and preparing a bottle or two.
April 16th. I can recall the day vividly, and yet it was a blur while it was happening. It was the third night in a row with little to no sleep and I was on day 2 of a pretty gnarly flare. Too physically and mentally wiped to take on any real mothering, I locked us in Maddie's room and let the girls do as they pleased. My swollen, inflamed skin kept me from laying down, so I sat up on Maddie's bed, shoulders hunched, head hanging low, tears falling on the quilt. Maddie's millionth Youtube selection blared from the iPad in her tent and I watched Leah pull clothes one by one out of Maddie's drawers. What would take an hour to fix took her 10 seconds to demolish. Tears. I stared through her and cried, contemplating how much worse it would get. I was just over halfway through with what they say is the worst....if I was lucky.
My intention for calling was to vent. Talk to someone who didn't need something from me, but the second you answered my heart exploded. A puddle of tears and pathetic blubbers. I don't even think I got a sentence out before you offered to come visit. Despite EVERYTHING you had going on at home, you dropped it without hesitation and that set the tone for the visit. You would know exactly what I needed when I needed it and would do it without hesitation. And more.
As horrible as I felt physically, you doubled in filling me emotionally. I never had to tell you what I wanted or needed and when I did you never questioned. I slept til 4pm, "Are you hungry?" I yawned, "Do you need to lay down?" I completely disappeared into sleeping all day and resting when I wasn't. I stopped all of my mother responsibilities and you picked up where I left off. My girls were loved! And fed! And taken outside! And Maddie was interesting to someone! And someone who sounded like me and loved like me was kissing leah with abandon!! It was truly like I was there in my dreams. On top of ALL of this, Leah happened to get sick. Like, miserably, up all night puking, rag doll limp, constant holding sick. Through ALL of this...nursing me around the clock, mothering maddie, and then nursing leah 24/7, you NEVER complained. You never wavered. Even when you yourself got sick you happily served. I can't tell you how amazing that was to have.
As fate would have it, I had my lowest moment while you were here. Day 60 will forever go down in the books as one of the worst experiences of my life; the loneliness of being awake in the middle of the night dripping wet with ooze, the throbbing and excruciating pain, the maddening itch, and the depression of no longer feeling human was crippling. You came into the living room the next morning and found me in the chair where I'd attempted to sleep the night. I shuffled back to bed and tried to sleep. I texted when I woke up and you came to talk to me. When I bawled, you cried with me. You didn't offer me any consolations, just listened. And read my cues for the green light to hug or touch in any way. I will never forget what you asked me, "Can I sit in here with you?" When I responded yes, you were truly excited. You ran to get your yarn and sat in the bed next to me. I felt so loved. I thought I wanted to be alone in the dark, but you knew better. I wanted you, there, with me.
Another thing I noticed was that you never inspected my face. It didn't feel like you were trying not to look, but that you didn't see it. You saw me. I would ask you to look when I was ready and you would almost appear shocked. I needed this. So much.
The night before you left was the most emotional I remember being in years. This includes 2 pregnancies and several diets! I felt like a piece of my insides were being ripped out. I couldn't put into words or clear thoughts what having you there meant. It was like I was feeling everything before I actually made sense of it all.
Mom, this trip has been one of the most physically and emotionally healing visits I've ever had. I felt understood, cared for, loved, and liked. I don't know what I did to deserve a person like you as my mom, but I am forever grateful. I would go through all this pain over again to feel the love I felt from you those 2 weeks and pray every human on earth has a chance to feel the same.
I love you wholly,
It hardly seems fitting to put nasty pictures after pouring my heart out, but here we go.
Day 70: the night before Mother's Day was a long and itchy one. I finally took Benadryl to try and sleep at least a little. The weekend was spent with just the husband and it was relaxing and amazing. He cleaned the ENTIRE house.. Did ALL the laundry. And bought me gorgeous flowers. So grateful.