Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas, 2016 and Keeping the Faith

2016 has been a hard year for the Hedden Family. We have a a long year of recognizing how fragile we are as humans. A seeing of how dependent we really are on our faith in God's providence and power. Oh, and how wonderful it is to love and be loved unconditionally. But also how hard that is to make manifest in one's world or sometimes to live up to that ideal and very sweet thought in real life.

Some of you who follow this may know that in May my brother Christopher had a brain aneurysm which resulted in his being in a coma fro 10 weeks. We had almost given up hope of his waking up when he finally came out of the coma. It was somewhat of a medical miracle that he had survived.

What has followed is a long and arduous journey for my family. My mother, myself, and of course my brother. The real heroine in all of this has been my sister in law, Jenny. She has proven to be the most amazing care giver and a stauncher support for my brother than he could ever have wanted or needed. Being married for 25 years and having a great marriage, relationship and love may have been a platform for this but her love and devotion and strength has proven to be beyond what one should expect or ever be asked to do. But sometimes that is life. It just asks a lot of you. I continue to be inspired by her.

Faith is a funny thing. Sometimes you don't know how much you have until it's tested. Sometimes you lose it. Sometimes you find it when you least expect it. I can say that I have experienced each of these relationships with faith during the last 8 months. But one thing has remained and that is that I have found faith to be a necessity during this time. Faith is not always just in God. It's the faith you have in people, the doctors, your family members, your friends and even yourself. Faith is finding the vision and strength to go on even when you don't think you can. It's that part of ourselves which somehow exceeds what we see as our limits. It is the thing that we hope for and that drives us on. it's the thing we hope to find when we can't see a way forward any more.

I have only been a supportive bystander to the horror show that has consumed my brother and my sister in law's lives. As such I have tried to go and support them in person. Weakly giving time and attention to my brother while he was in was in the hospital and trying to support Jenny with dinners out and time spent holding her hand while my brother lay unconscious. Trips that were no pleasure, but hopefully helpful, to the west coast but were the only way I could give my brother any support. I went gladly but still found that being so far away proved to be very hard in helping my sister in law with any of the day to day needs she had while tending to my brother.

My mother also needed tending to. And so that brings me to Christmas. In July after helping her to travel out to California, staying with her, and driving her around for the 10 days she was visiting out there, I felt like she was drowning in the pool of helplessness she was feeling. I cannot imagine the feelings a mother must have seeing a child go through the health issues my brother has been facing. She is a tough person but this was almost too much to bear. So as the holidays approached we discussed what I should do. The thought of going out to again a 4th time to California seemed like it was on the table until I realized that my mother really needed some love and attention. So I decided that the holidays would be for her. And my journey there which, while lovely, had seemed to become routine in the past years, now seemed both important and needed.

So I have come home for the holidays and am spending time with my mother. I am making food to bring some joy and pleasure and conversation to bring some laughter and cheer to this house which has known too many tears in the past year. I plan on sharing some of these dishes with you all over the next two weeks so stay tuned.

May you all find faith and peace along the roads you travel. And may you find ways to make food and conversations with people who are important to you or those you encounter who need some love in a world that this year has known too many tears for all sorts of reasons. I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Peace.

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