Catherine Gruener\’s Encouragement Parenting Tips for May 2019

Encouragement Parenting Tips for May: Navigating as Mom and Wife –

I got a call 2 weeks ago from my husband saying that he was in the E.R. and they were “taking him to the cath lab.” And all I could say was “I’m coming.”

I picked up my son from school, had him call his brother, my adult stepson, and I had to take the phone because he couldn’t get the words out. Knowing my husband, something is very dire if he is calling me from the E.R., and I want the boys there.

We arrived at the E.R. and they quickly walk us to a waiting area and hand me a beeper. All I ask anyone who came near was, “what is happening and what is going on? My husband is in a ‘procedure’ for what?”

My husband had a heart attack 2 weeks ago and had emergency procedures to unblock all of the arteries feeding into the major artery that makes your heart pump. His heart would not have gotten blood had he not walked into that E.R. He could have died.

Getting a call from the E.R. is hard enough. Not knowing what is happening to your husband when you get there just about broke me.

But our teenage son was there, and my grown stepson was on his way, so as a parent, what do you do? Stay strong. I wanted to crawl into a hole, scream from the ceiling, fall on the floor, hug myself, and cry uncontrollably. But I didn’t. I waited. I cared for my son. I even had to answer questions from other people who came to see how my husband was, when the truth was, I didn’t even know!

Relief and terror ran through me when they brought my son and me into the recovery room so the doctor could explain what just happened, and that’s when I started to crack. “It’s ok,” he said and then they wheeled my husband into the room. A mixture of shock at the news of what just happened with seeing my husband’s gentle face. Can I touch him? Can I hug him? Is it safe? All I wanted to do was get in that bed with him and hold him tight. But I didn’t. Our son was there, and my stepson was somewhere on his way to the hospital. I asked the staff to make sure that they found my stepson and bring him directly in, as the phones didn’t work and there was no way for me to find him. I desperately wanted to find him, because during times like these, I’m not just a wife, I’m a mother and a stepmom.

In all honesty, I’m still processing and making changes in my life because of that day. I am so grateful to have my husband in my life. And, I know his sons are grateful to have him too.

Parenting doesn’t end when tragedy strikes. Navigating being a wife and being a mother is hard at times.

A few lessons I learned from this experience are to lead with your heart, take care of you while you take care of your children, listen and talk, let others help, find your support system to talk and listen, it’s okay to set boundaries, it’s okay not to know what to do, and it’s okay to cry.

See you back here next month for my Encouragement Parenting Tips for June!

– Catherine

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