A little over four years ago Soldier Brian was serving his second deployment to Iraq and Sailor Jeff was just starting Navy basic training. I was, to say the least, a basket case. At the time, I only had a nodding acquaintance with the Internet. Then one day in a desperate attempt to connect with other military parents who were going through the same wild ride of emotions I stumbled across "Army Mom in Training," now Go Army Parents. I was welcomed into the group with warmth and understanding; they became a lifesaver for getting through those rough days. That's one of the benefits of the Internet; connecting with others in similar circumstances and finding help and strength from people we would otherwise never meet.
Then, when David was diagnosed with bipolar 1, I searched the Internet for others going through similar experiences. I didn't find many blogs from the perspective of bipolar spouses, but since then I have come across several new blogs and forums on the subject:
*Bipolar in the Family"
*Our Journey through Life
Some of the blogs on my blog roll offer helpful insight about mental illness or military perspectives:
*Lift My Depression
*Coming Out Crazy
*If You're Going through Hell
*Beacon of Hope
*The Long War.
And some I include because I enjoy their writing and photography:
I went to a seminar today at work about reaching out to others in the digital world. I thought about the blogs and forums that I have come across in the last four years, and feel blessed and strengthened by them. In the end, that's the real strength of the Internet: finding the human connection in the technology.
On the Family front: I am finally recovering from my yearly sinus infection. This time around I had an ear infection for extra fun. David tried hard to be supportive, but it really bothers him when I am sick. In the past he has been really miserable to deal with, and I'm grateful that he tries to be more understanding. This time my favorite comment from him was "you need to go back to work; you're upsetting my routine!" It could have been worse, but his attitude makes it that much harder to recover. We are also planning our Memorial Day trip to southeastern Utah, and he is in the middle of pre-trip anxiety. I have to keep reminding him and me that he'll be fine once we are on the road.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Last weekend was one to savor for a long time to come! We started out going to the Oquirrh Mtn. Temple for our daughter and her family's sealing. A very sweet experience to witness along with a number of family members.
Then we were off to Seattle for a four-day visit with Soldier Brian and his family. I had originally planned to take David with me (see Looking at the Past and Going Forward), but when I told him about it five days before the trip, he backed out. He felt that it was too far out of his comfort zone because we were going to do some sight-seeing and visit with people he didn't know, and he was afraid he'd have a major anxiety attack. I appreciate him expressing his fears and being in tune with his emotional issues. Then he suggested we give his ticket to our son Ben, his wife, Emily, and their sixth-month-old daughter Kylee. It turned out to be something special; they were at a crossroads with his schooling and needed a break with some fresh perspective. David felt more comfortable staying at home and keeping on his meds and routine. He was a little manic from trying to stay level while I was gone, but he came through it with flying colors. And the house was still clean, which is always a happy thing to come home to.
Below: Seattle from the Bainbridge Ferry
Bottom: Deception Point
We had a good time visiting with friends and family, seeing the sites in Seattle, and going to Whidby Island and Deception Point on the Puget Sound. We lived near Tacoma when I was little, and spent a lot of time on Bainbridge Island where my aunt and uncle live while I was growing up. I forget how much I like the Puget Sound area until I get a chance to see it again. Even though it was cool and overcast (we never did see Mt. Rainier), it was beautiful.
The best part for me, though, was spending time with my boys, their wives, and three grandbabies. Ben and Brian have always had a close bond (a twin thing), even when they've been apart for long periods of time. I so enjoyed sitting back and watching them and their wives laugh and talk together. And I got to hold the babies to my heart's content.
We talked at some length about Ben's work to finish his master's degree in nuclear engineering. He's close to being done, but sometimes that last push can seem neverending. We talked of Brian and Tania having to wait seven years for a baby. I thought of some of my own challenges that have taken time and effort to work through. I remembered a talk I heard by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland nearly 30 years ago when all seemed bleak to me. I was trying to raise three small children on a barely adequate salary, and my first marriage was about to end. I wondered if I would ever get past that point. But his comments helped give me courage to carry on. He recounted Churchill's stirring speech at the beginning of World War II, and the 40 year effort to build the Salt Lake Temple. Then he said this: "Blood, toil, tears, and sweat. The best things are always worth finishing. 'Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?' (1 Cor. 3:16). Most assuredly you are. As long and laborious as the effort may seem, please keep shaping and setting the stones that will make your accomplishment 'a grand and imposing spectacle.' Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. Dream dreams and see visions. Work toward their realization. Wait patiently when you have no other choice. Lean on your sword and rest a while, but get up and fight again. Perhaps you will not see the full meaning of your effort in your own lifetime. But your children will, or your children’s children will, until finally you, with all of them, can give the Hosanna Shout."
I looked at my sons and their wives and children, thought about their brothers and sisters with their lives all going forward in positive directions. Were the tough times raising them worth the effort? Oh yes! Because of them, my joy is full.
Brian and Tania's family; cousins Eric and Kylee; Ben and Emily; the twins and their wives; Brian, me, and Ben