One interesting thing this whole experience has confirmed for me is that Erron and I could not be more different in the ways we receive and process intense and prolonged stress. It is so drastically opposite from one another that it could be considered comical, if it didn’t make us want to throw things at each other from time to time. This is not surprising, I know much of this comes from the sheer fact that Erron is a man and I’m not. Things hit our hearts differently and what weighs on mine doesn’t necessarily stick to Erron’s and vice versa. Also, when it comes to big, life-changing events, Erron has always been a think, then act, type person while I tend to be of the jump in first, think later variety. Like a lot of guys, Erron is content to bury his emotions while I prefer to conjure up no less than five conflicting ones in a single conversation. I become annoyed that my husband does not feel the immediate need to chase his manic wife into hyper-drive and discuss every possible plan and backup plan that is critical for our family’s success. Erron doesn’t understand why I can’t ever just calm the heck down about our life and be in the present moment. So you can see, that although we were absolutley united in the midst of it….something as intense as what we went through with Shepherd was bound to eventually cause some ripples in our relationship. How could it not?
Throughout our 7 year marriage, Erron and I have always taken turns going through the valleys. I find this to be challenging but healthy, especially with kids in the picture. When we got home from Children’s Hospital in Tulsa, I could barely string two thoughts together. It felt like that newborn baby haze…once the adrenaline wears off and you’re left feeling overwhelmingly grateful for this little life you are gifted with but everything else is so, SO hard. I felt cloudy and exhausted. Erron was upbeat and practical. He was kind and tried to be positive as long as he could while I spent all of my extra energy lashing out at myself and him because of the overwhelming guilt.
Now that I feel better, I see my husband retreating into the fog. He still shows up. Still goes to work and works hard. Still engages with the kids at home and helps out. But I can see the heaviness on him. The weight of things he’s yet to process because he couldn’t. He was holding us up. It’s his turn.
Marriage is such a dance and right now Erron and I are trying to re-learn our parts. It’s hard. It can be frustrating and we have definitely been stepping on each others’ toes…but we keep taking the steps. I believe this will make us better if we choose to take this route and really address our differences and how we respond to one another. I think it already has. We both know that we will eventually find our footing and fall back in sync, moving better than we had before. And I’m thinking that someday, down the road, we could be that pair on the dance floor that make other people lean into their partner and whisper, “Dang…that couple can DANCE.”