“…two “old souls” met in early childhood, and the friendship was instantaneous. Monica has taught me much about finding beauty in the every day since then. Whether it was playing orphans in my backyard lying beneath the Dogwood tree, or traipsing through the golf course behind her house. Whether it was writing poetry and mailing it to each other for critiques or heading off to watch baseball games together. Whether it was crying or laughing or imagining or writing or fighting, we were always there, kindred spirits.”
I’ve written about her before… my Monica… my friend of over 30 years. And I’ve wanted to write again for days now. But no words will come. Grief and pain have stolen my words (and hers) again.
Many of you have been faithful to pray for Monica’s family as their sweet girl, Danica, has walked a road that is almost impossible to fathom, especially for a young child. And they have walked this road with her, bearing the emotional wounds that suffering brings. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you how well Danica has been doing… that her collar is off and her fusion is beautiful and, y’all, her little white neck stretching toward the heavens is beyond lovely. Thank you for praying for them…
I had hoped this was over for them. That they would have time to breathe, to gain strength, to walk upright for a while rather than bowed beneath a load that is back-breaking and soul-tearing.
But it is not.
And I heave deep sighs. And I sob on the phone with my friend. And I lie awake in the nights and I weep softly so I won’t wake my family and I beg God for miracles for them. And I walk each moment ever mindful of her presence and her pain.
And I ask you to please, please pray for Monica and her family once again.
You see, Monica has suffered with fibromyalgia… a debilitating connective tissue disorder for years. Only they recently discovered it’s the wrong diagnosis, and I can’t even describe what the diagnosis is because I am still wrapping my mind around it all myself. You can read her descriptions here.
I say a lot of “I don’t know” these days when I think of her. I pray a lot of “I don’t know” these days, too.
I don’t know how a family can bear so much.
I don’t know how I can be apart from her anymore in this.
I don’t know what God has planned for them.
I don’t know how her body can suffer any more pain.
I don’t know where the money will come from to pay for it all.
I don’t know…
I don’t know…
But what I do know is that in one week my friend will undergo a very similar surgery to what Danica had: a suboccipital brain decompression, reduction of basilar invagination and cranio cervical fusion. In less than two weeks they will do surgery on her brain and fuse her neck.
And those less than two weeks means she will miss Thanksgiving with her girls. They will be separated again. Delaney has suffered separation too many times and she is hurting. Danica clings to her mother, just the natural outcome of Monica being her caregiver on so many levels, but she will lose that security for a while. Dan will sit in the hospital beside his wife and watch her suffer unthinkable pain. The bills will pile up on top of the already unpaid bills and they will wonder how they will pay for it all.
Then there will be months of recovery… for all of them, and the emotional and spiritual recovery will be far longer than the physical.
I ache to be with her… to curl up with her and read to her and rub her aching limbs and pray with her and sit in silence with her and just be.
In our last phone conversation, she sobbed to me, “Ang, I have nothing left. Nothing left.” I know that feeling. I understood her completely. Taking a deep breath, she added, “But He has led us here… and He will provide.”
I know that feeling, too. I understand that faith completely.
And I know that she has taught me what that looks like.
We’ve taught each other.
After all, that’s what friends do.
Monica once said to me before Danica’s surgery, “We all pray somewhere… On our beds, our couches, our office chairs, at our kitchen counters.” Her voice choked, “I’m just asking people to go a little lower for Danica on Tuesday. I’m just asking people to get on their knees.”
Now it is my turn… we all pray somewhere, on our beds, our couches, our office chairs, at our kitchen counters… will you just go a little lower for my friends? Will you get on your knees for Monica and Dan, Delaney and Danica?
(I would encourage you to follow Monica’s story at her blog if you wish… She explains far better than I what they are enduring.)