1 - I am thinking about googling additional restaurants for our Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow night, because.... yes! Derek got a pass for tomorrow AND Sunday. No, it's not overnight, but it is awesome. We are so getting there.
2 - I am thinking that this is Derek's Five Month Alive Day. It has been five months since our world changed forever. Yes, I am still a bit angry with God that he "allowed" Derek to step on that IED instead of diverting him somehow someway, but I am so thankful that He chose to save him. I read the initial notes today from his admission to NNMC (National Naval Medical Center), the precursor to WRNMMCB (Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda). He was septic in Kandahar. He had fungal spores in his wounds. He could have so easily died. I could have so easily gotten the knock on the door instead of the phone call. He really was so close. Maybe not as close as another wounded warrior I heard of recently who was triaged as "unsaveable" but defied the odds and is doing so good now, but Derek almost died. Several times in the past five months. I am thankful that Derek is alive. I know there is a plan for him. I know that there is a plan for all that Krystina, my kids, my sister and her family and I have gone through these past five months.
But I am still angry that it happened. For those who are very religious and give all to God, please do not criticize me for this or preach to me. I did 18 years in Catholic schools, taught CCD, ran the Altar Service program for my church, am a Eucharistic Minister, ran the children's liturgy program, taught in Catholic schools for 6 years. This is how I feel. I cannot turn off my emotions. The Bible does not say not to be angry, just not to sin. If I remember the passage correctly, it says something like, "Be righteous in your anger, but do not sin." It is okay to be angry. I am angry at the Taliban (yes, they are our enemies), Afghanistan, the Army for sending him there, God for not diverting him, my mother for not watching over him and diverting him, Derek for insisting on infantry, my ex for leaving me to raise 5 on my own basically forcing my boys to enter the military in order to get college funds.
Do I let this anger consume me? No. I barely think about it. It's not part of my daily life. It's not something that even enters my daily thoughts. It hovers there and comes out in my thoughts when I really think about the whole picture, such as nights like tonight. It's part of my processing. Without being able to work through this anger and understanding how I am feeling about it and how it is effecting me or not effecting me, I could not function daily. I would be consumed. The anger is not enough to draw any sort of strong emotions from me. It's just how I feel.
I accept that it is part of a bigger plan. I accept that there is something better coming down the pike, and I do trust that God had a reason for this, so I keep my anger in my back pocket. It's not simmering. It's a little shiny penny just sitting there. One day I will walk by a fountain and toss it in. For now, it will sit there.
I live my life on a daily basis not angry about what was, what could have been, what will never be, what happened, and what could have been avoided but thankful for what is, what will be, what can/could be, what possibilities lie ahead, what new blessings we have uncovered on the new journey, and what will come to pass. We WILL make it. I know that. I have that faith.
3 - I am thinking that I am overwhelmed because it is the night before Christmas, and I am not completely ready. I have not wrapped presents, I have not purchased everything I would have wanted, I have not decorated my house, not that I have been there in five months, but not the point.....
4 - Mostly, I am thinking about love. And it is really love that is consuming my thoughts tonight as I sit here. The other things I just stated have been passing thoughts today. My sister, her husband and their three kids drove down from NJ with my three children to celebrate Christmas away from their homes. Brian and Yvette and giving up being with Brian's family on Christmas Eve to go to dinner with us in a restaurant we have not yet selected to return to a cramped hospital room .... but where we will be overflowing with love. The pure joy and happiness I saw on Derek's face today as he watching his cousins and siblings brought a tear to my eyes (and that is a VERY hard thing to do).
The hugs and kisses were spread all around and the squabbles between the siblings and cousins annoyed only the two moms.
This will be a great Christmas. We may not be home. We may not have the comforts of sitting in our own living room. We may not have the room to spread out and enjoy opening the few presents my sister was able to purchase for us for exchange, but what better way to celebrate that we are all together, that Derek is still alive, and that we are celebrating Jesus' birthday! The reason for the season.
Who needs comfort and convenience when you are celebrating life? Both Derek's and Jesus'?