Hello Friends and Family. This is Karin writing – finally! I found a moment of quiet reflection while a dear friend is watching our children for the morning. I’ve wanted to blog my thoughts for quite some time now, and I’m glad to finally have the opportunity. (In fact, I have SO many thoughts that I’ve begun to journal, that I believe I have started writing a book! We’ll let you know when it will be published…J).
While we are glad to be on the other side of the CI surgery and are so grateful that things have gone so well, this is still a bittersweet place to be in. This surgery is the very procedure that offers Dave the hope of hearing again, yet it is the very same procedure that has now rendered him completely deaf. Immediately after the surgery, I was excited and elated that it had gone so well, but then there were moments where my heart fell with the crashing realization, that oh my Lord, my husband is truly deaf now. It really is gone.
Realizing this has been very emotional at times for us. For me, the hardest moments have been all of the “last things” leading up to the surgery – the last time Dave would hear our children’s voices, the last time he could hear himself singing, the last time I would say “I love you” before they wheel him into surgery – literally the very last thing he would hear with his natural ear. Yes, these last moments, these last things, have been the most precious, but also the hardest to bear.
During our last night together as a family, each of the children took turns sitting on Daddy’s lap and praying for him. Praying that the surgery would go well, praying that God would help Daddy hear again, each ending by telling Daddy “I love you” and that they would miss him while he’s gone. Dave just held them close and we both cried at the sweetness of what he was hearing and the sorrow of knowing that this was the last time he would hear their natural voices. Then Dave put on some of his favorite Petra songs and we worshipped together as a family, with Dave occasionally looking to me to sign the lyrics to help him remember and keep pace with the songs. The kids loved taking turns being spun around by Daddy, and for me that night is filled with precious pictures and sounds in my mind that I will never forget.
On the day of surgery, when Dave’ parents were with us, he said to his mother, “So is there anything you want to say to me before I become totally deaf?” Wow – what a question! What a hard thing to have to contemplate as a mother. And then Trudy responded with the best thing, the most important thing. She said: “I love you, I love you, I love you. Now remember that.”
While Dave and all of us who love him are on a journey toward hearing, there is still the impact of this loss to grieve. While he will hear again, it will not be natural sound. It will be electronic sound that his brain will have to learn how to interpret. Over time Dave’s brain should categorize and normalize sound again, but there is no way to really know what it will sound like, or to know how quickly or slowly the progress will come. Will he be able to distinguish our children’s voices? Will they sound just as sweet? Will he be able to hear or enjoy the very sound of his own voice in his head? Will my voice as his wife sound pleasant? I sure hope so! If the CI means that I can finally talk to my husband normally again – without constantly straining my voice louder and louder to try to reach the shrinking window of his hearing all the while still trying to sound pleasant – then it will all be worth it!
This morning I read Job chapters 1 & 2 in which God had given Satan permission to test him. I was SO struck by Job’s response to his loss. Four messengers came to him, one after the other, telling him that he had lost 500 oxen, 500 donkeys, 7,000 sheep, and 3,000 camels, along with all of his servants having been killed. The worst news of all came last: that a strong wind had caused his son’s house to collapse, killing all of his seven sons and three daughters. Wow! Talk about the hard blows of life.
Do you know what Job’s response was? Was he angry? Did he lash out at the messengers, cursing them, or cursing God for this cruel turn of fate? No! Job did not sin in his heart or with his lips against God. His response was one of total humble acceptanceand praise!
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
WOW! Oh God, may my heart only be this clean toward you! Help Dave and I accept and receive our lot from You without anger, without fighting against it. Help Dave and I humbly accept his deafness and praise and bless your Name!
In addition to Job’s amazing example, the CD “Beauty Will Rise” by Steven Curtis Chapman has been an inspiration in the midst of this journey. The songs were written after the tragic death of their adopted daughter. Although losing one’s hearing pales in comparison to losing a child, the honest expressions of faith in these songs have been a great encouragement. I highly recommend it for anyone who has experienced a loss, a tragedy, or a hard, unexpected turn of life.
In particular, the song “Beauty Will Rise” is awesome musically and lyrically. I sure hope and pray that Dave will be able to both hear AND enjoy it someday! Until then, we will worship with waiting, trusting hearts. I’ll close with a line from the chorus:
“Out of these ashes / Beauty will rise / And we will dance among the ruins / We will SEE it with our own eyes / Out of these ashes / Beauty will rise / For we know joy is coming in the morning… Beauty will rise.”
Amen! To God be the Glory!