What do you do when you need to fight something? Do you prepare yourself to battle? Do you give yourself pep-talks? Do you make a goal for the outcome? Do you pray? Many of us do all of these thing or more. We might have sound tracks, music, books, prayers, quotes, or people we interact with to help pump us up and keep us going. It really doesn’t matter what you do or how the approach is, as long as we get ourselves ready for the battle. Last night after I entered the ward, I saw the large locked door open and people come up from dinner enter back to their floor. Garrett was on of the last to enter the door. Once he saw me he was surprised and then ran to hug me.
Following the embrace, he launched into a chant, “USA, USA, USA, USA”, grabbed my hand and we were starting out walk up and down the puke green hall. With my feet marching beside his, I asked him why he was saying that and he could not hear me, or would not answer me. He was in the zone. I tried to focus in on him and ignore the other patients who were shutting their doors, and leaving the hallway. One said, “oh great! The noise is back.” His USA chanting continued for about 6 straight minutes. I finally pulled back and asked him again what saying that mean to him. He stopped chanting and said, “it is helping me to fight off the evil today.” Then he looked over my shoulder (at the evil) and glared at him and started marching and walking again. I prompted him this time to whisper it and I modeled the whisper level to him. So, together we chanted USA. I soon dropped out, but he continued for over 23 minutes--but thankfully we were in a whisper.
He then pulled up short and looked lost. He looked around and around. I asked him if he wanted to draw something, and that pulled him back to focus. We were able to get some paper and he wrote USA on on paper and then he drew the map of the United states on the other paper. I could see he wanted more and more and more paper, but to distract him from becoming upset, I asked him to draw different items: bald eagle, a cougar, a buffalo, Texas, Utah, an armadillo, a white snowy owl, and a barn owl. The drawings helped to encourage some social interaction with 1 nurse and one other patient. For the time of the drawing, I could see Garrett. He was with me. His jawline had relaxed and his color had brightened.
Then like the bursting of a soap bubble, the magic of the moment had passed. He looked around and over my shoulder to his nightmare and began to chant again. USA, USA, USA...I prompted the whisper, and we walked back to his room. He dropped my hand and crawled onto his bed. I began to rub his shoulders and his back trying to help him relax. He started to stretch out and so I began to run his legs and his feet. He was silent. His eyes were looking at the ceiling, then his heavy lids dropped over his eyes. I just massaged and held his feet and legs working out all the tension that I could. Then in a flash he sat up punching the air telling him to leave! I did not startle, I did not flinch, I kept on working his legs. He collapsed back and closed his eyes again. Within seconds he shot up screaming, “why did you kill Bambi? Why did you kill him???” He then curled up into a ball on my lap. I rocked him and rubbed his back waiting for him to calm.
He went from that position to suddenly standing again. Please walk with me! Please! So, out the door we went with him starting to whisper chant, USA, USA, USA….then it faded. We walked the last ten minutes of my visit in silence. Just walking and holding hands. It was rhythmic, but not in a marching fashion this time, it was more natural. It was more peaceful. Then the gentle chime sounded indicating that visiting hours were over. He looked at me, and down at our interlocked hands, and asked, “will you always be with me to the end?” I smiled and whispered, “I will be here with you always.” He gave me a deep hug, and I gently kissed his forehead. I left him with a prayer and one more hug. Then with tears rolling down my face I walked out alone from the floor and into the elevator.
With each visit I learn things: I am learning patience. I am learning love. I am learning about time. I am learning about the changes that will be in our family. I do have answers on the how to make things work, or how to do many of everyday things, but I am gaining insight. I appreciate all of you supporting our family on this journey.
***I want to highlight a few people today:
Scott Giauque: Thank you for focusing on the little kids with different activities, 1) going to Jacob’s Well, 2) playing at the park (I know it’s not your favorite thing--but it is their favorite thing). Thank you for your support of me, listening to me ask a work through all the everyday crash of life, combined with my emotions. Love you.
My Family: Thank you mom, dad, brother and sisters, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law for your words of encouragement, love, and support. Thank you for listening/reading the posts. Thank you for loving us.
Kellis: Thank you to Kellis for caring for Isaac. For hanging out with him. Your friendship means to world to him. Thank you for loving him.
Barry Miller. He is the Elder’s Quorum President in our Church (the Kyle Ward). He felt prompted to reach out to my oldest son today and help encourage him to push away the doubt that is creeping into his mind about his Mission. He took him for food/icecream and just checked in on him. Nothing formal, but everything in love. Thank you Barry.
Rachel Baker: Thank you for sharing your heart and understanding with me. Your really get it!
All the leaders at Young Women’s Camp: Thank you for making my daughters feel loved, spiritually fed, and cared for. Thank you for this week of distraction from life that is hard right now, but we will adjust and get better.
Katherine Conroy: for taking the kids on a night that you had 1000 other things to do. I could feel your service and love. Thank you!
There are more….but this is all I can get through tonight….Thank you everyone for your love and support. We are walking with angels who are baring us up….thank you.