It was a bitter cold December night. My eyes flickered open at the sounds of anguish and pain that I was so used to hearing in the middle of the night. I caught a sharp sliver of the moon out of the corner of my eyes. It pierced through one of my windows and gleamed down on my face as if it was mocking me. My heart felt heavy as I rolled over and pulled my blankets closer to my body, asking an inanimate object to protect me and take my fears away. I forced my eyes closed and wished I could do the same with my ears as the insufferable lamentation rang through my head and filled my aching soul.
I eventually lulled myself back into an unsettling sleep. Silence. Sweet silence. Sweet bliss.
I woke to the screams. The screams of my mother laying helplessly on the floor, going into a seizure and for a small moment in time losing her ability to move, speak, or feel. The screams pierced through the bitter cold air and traveled straight to my heart where it stuck like a dagger. Without hesitation I flung my blankets off and pushed my pillows out of the way, numbing myself to the bitter cold air that had been absent in my cozy cocoon. Following the sound of the screams, I ran to my mothers side on the living room floor. The darkness hid the shadows of her pained face. She was in so much pain at that point that she was losing her ability to function at all and I could almost physically see the small amount of light that was left in her fading away to nothing.
My dad knelt by her side with his hand in hers the entire time. His drained expression silently and desperately cried for help of any kind at that point. I fell down on my knees next to my mothers head. I thought this was it. I thought she was dying. I thought this was my last moment that I would ever get with her, and all I could think was "Dear God! HELP US!!" At that point we knew that prayer was the only thing that we could do. I frantically fiddled with my phone to call for help as Dad stopped me, knowing that they would do absolutely nothing for us. Knowing that it would be another night of being told that she was crazy and there was nothing they could do for her. With all hope lost, tears filled my eyes and the feeling of uselessness flooded my soul.
I've recently been reflecting on that experience that doesn't feel like it was all that long ago. I had no idea why our family was suffering so much and I always wondered, "Why us? My me?" It wasn't until months later that we found out that the source of Mom's suffering was Lyme Disease. And not until many months later did we find a treatment option that actually worked. I remember thinking that night would be the last night ever spent with my mother. I remember the fear that pierced through my heart and into my aching soul as I sat next to my dying mother on my living room floor. At that point I thought that healing was impossible, and I thought that life wasn't really worth living. I never thought I'd be grateful for an experience as horrific as what my family suffered that cold December night.
I remember about five months ago, I lay folded up in excruciating pain in the very same spot that my mom had suffered so many nights before. I remember wanting to scream my pain away, and feeling as if I couldn't breathe because it pierced through my stomach so hard like a knife mocking my very existence. It was then that it hit me that I was suffering a very minuscule piece of what my mother had to go through so long ago. And in some special way, I felt connected with her. I gained an understanding and a special kind of compassion that I didn't have before. It's not craziness. It's pain. Horrific, unbearable, excruciating pain. I wasn't suffering even half of what my mom suffered through so many days before, but I was feeling for her. And my love for my mother grew ten times more than it already was.
Back in December I didn't realize why I had to watch mom suffer. I didn't understand why this trial was being thrust upon my mother, and my family. Now, I feel like I understand a little bit better. If my mom hadn't gone through that, we never would have found a treatment option. I'd be sick right now and we wouldn't know why. If I hadn't gone through that I wouldn't have learned the sweet lesson of compassion. I wouldn't be who I am today for so many reasons even beyond that. I'll never forget the screams that woke my restless mind that night. And with that, I'll never forget the love that I have for my mother. It's a blessing she's alive today. I know that, and I hope that through Chronic Lyme I can learn to help others and have the opportunity to lift others burdens as they may be going through similar trials. God works in mysterious ways. Ways that I still don't completely understand. But I can honestly say that there is a reason why we suffer. I wouldn't be who I am today without my suffering. I'll never forget the screams, but I'll also never forget my faith that powers me through my most unbearable times.