Family, Hard Things


I debated whether to write at all, but if I didn’t, I feared the silence would stretch into an endless thin line, a string I could never pick back up again.

This is not my story to tell, so it will be sufficient to say that my father-in-law has been in the ICU for almost a week.

And we have been waiting, waiting, waiting…torn between hope and fear, between wishes and reality, between shock and the pit of cold resignation deep in our stomachs.

There have been other times I have dealt with tragedy—icy blows that came out of nowhere, knocking the wind out of me and making all the internal windows of my mind shatter. Times when the unthinkable happened, when the unimaginable had already occurred, and all that was left was to wait until the world finally seemed to slightly right itself again, forever a bit off-kilter from before.

But I have never dealt with anything quite like this—

Where every time a text comes through, the phone rings, or the hospital doors swing wide, fear throttles me with its airtight grip, my breath finally let out again when the news is not The Worst It Could Be.

We seemed to live on the fourth floor of the hospital all weekend, spreading out in the hall with all the food remnants that were being continually brought to us. The weather outside matched my internal hemisphere—swirling, blinding snow, contributor to white-knuckle drives and sharp intakes of breath every time we hit a black patch of ice.

I’ve always been the kind of person who prays a lot—whose mind is often drawn out to my Father above, usually in soundless conversations and uttered gratitudes and silent pleadings.

For the past week, when I haven’t been talking in hushed tones in the hospital corridor or trying to distract myself with a book, I have been praying, endlessly and fervently.

And while I still have the fear, I also have the peace–

Of knowing that death is not the ultimate end, that we have a Father who oversees all, who will one day in the eternities make all unjust things right again.

I also have the hope that although miracles are not always granted in the wisdom of He who knows all things, I do know that they sometimes ARE given—and that we have the possibility of this maybe being one of those times.

For now, if you could throw a prayer our way, we would sure appreciate it.

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