Thursday, March 19, 2015

broken open

The poem comes from Rumi, from the book Broken Open, by Elizabeth Lesser, which I am devouring.

Last Wednesday night I listened to my mom barely able to talk into the phone.  She couldn't catch her breath.  The nurses at Bethany were watching her, however, the sound of her didn't make me feel comfortable, at all.

But the Bethany night nurse wanted to wait until the next morning before maybe taking mom into the clinic to be checked.

We said no way- uh uh, no way.

We spent a very late/early morning getting mom admitted to the hospital.  Her ER doctor wanted the fluid out of her right away.  They took two liters off and decided to stop and see if that helped with her breathing.  It did.

After some blood work they quickly ascertained she was in renal failure.

They would use the next few days to see if they could help her failing kidneys begin to function again.

I stayed with her all day Thursday, postponing leaving, for the big hockey state tournament.

 Friday the team of doctors felt she was stable enough that I should be able to leave for the State Tournament.  Her nurses assured me as well, and our family continued to step up and fill in for us which is such a blessing.  

So I left with the Riveland Family and my friend Shelly who graciously squeezed me into their truck for the ride to Duluth.

As torn as I was my mother simply said, "As much as you've sacrificed for me, I can now sacrifice a few days for you."  It felt like such a humble gift, and it helped me believe I could go.

The sun was shining, it was a beautiful day.

One of the many ice arenas in the Duluth area, where we would spend our weekend.  

These 3 younger brothers, Grant and Andrew,  Luke, and Colton, sporting the "heads" of their big brothers, were part of our big cheer section.

They cheered so well we won our first game over Osseo Maple Grove, 5-1.  Nolan had two nice goals and all of our kids played a really great game.

It was later that night that I found out, that another hockey dad, Chris, had sent an email, to the men broadcasting Nolan's game.  They spoke about how his Grandma was sick, and could everyone remember her in their prayers.  I was so touched by that thoughtfulness and Nolan was grinning ear to ear.  Thank you Carey Family!  

Our first win meant we would be facing another big opponent.

We would face a really big rival, Edina, who we noticed,  sitting in the stands watching our first game.

Here is where I have to choose my words carefully for this next part.  

Let me just say, as a hockey mom I fully know every time my son takes the ice, that accidents and injuries are just part of playing the game.  

Nolan, while along the sides of the boards with the puck, was elbowed in the face by an Edina player and knocked down flat towards the end of the game.  He didn't get up.  And he didn't get up.  We watched, as the rink grew silent.  And tears sprang to my eyes, as a coach went out, and then a trainer went out to him on the ice.  Mere seconds felt like ages.  Slowly he moved.  His team mates came out and they helped him off the ice.  

Contact with the head is a major offense.  But the player was only given a two minute penalty.  He should have been ejected from the game.  But the ref says he didn't see what happened, and only called a 2 minute penalty.  It was frustrating and demoralizing. 

How is it safe for any player out there, if there is no major consequence for hurting a player with an improper hit to the head?  We have rules for this- but what happens when they aren't enforced?  Should their be 4 refs at a State hockey tournament?  So many questions.   Isn't there a protocol the medical trainer follows when he sees a hit like that happen to a player?  Other than some gauze for Nolan's cut in his mouth, he was cleared to play shortly after.  

But clearly, our Nolan wasn't the same thereafter.  

We went on to lose a very close game at the end, 4-3.  

After the game as we examined Nolan's bleeding mouth, his bruised knee and his growing headache, coupled with the uneven size of his pupils, we knew, he likely had a concussion.

With sound advice from coaches and our friend who is a nurse, Nolan didn't play the next day.  We didn't have to tell him he couldn't, he knew he shouldn't play.

We've had several of Nolan's team mates get injured this season, and spend a lot of time on the sidelines.  Somehow the team found a way to win games.  Nolan believed his team mates would do and will do the same, until he is cleared to come back and play.

We ended up playing for 3rd place last Sunday.

Here we are lining the bridge to the rink where our young men would come out of the locker room and skate onto the ice ready to play their final game against the team ranked as #1 for most of the season, Centennial.

We had to go to overtime- but won the game 2-1 for 3rd place! 

Too tired and drained to even move, I stood in the stands this time, and got a shot of all the great parents and fans of our boys.

In between games, it was so nice outside, I grabbed my camera and headed out to the boardwalk to shoot some photos of Lake Superior.  Its still mostly frozen, with patches of water beginning to appear where the sun was casting it's rays.  I call it "therapy."  

It was early on the last day that I got to see the sun lighting up the sky in pinks and oranges against the grey of the clouds.  Such majesty and grace, God's goodness everywhere.

I would need it heading into the next week.

I feel as though I've traveled light years in just one week.

Nolan has a mid- range concussion.  He has had to lay in a darkened room, with no tv, no phone, no computer, xbox, or stimulation of any kind.  He will be re-evaluated on Monday.  His team plays in the VFW State Hockey Tournament on the 27th, and Nolan is so hopeful he'll be able to take the ice again next week.  

As I type this, my mom is still hospitalized.

Her kidneys are still in failure.  Her liver is still in failure.  There is no cure, and very little in the line of treatments for her at this time.

We met with Hospice yesterday morning.  

That might have been one of the hardest sentences for me to type, period.

Soon, mom will be going back to Bethany to a new room.  

When we have more clarity with everything, I will be back to update.

Your prayers continue to buoy and hold us, when life feels like a whirlwind of chaos and uncertainty around us, and I am completely "broken open."



  1. Dear Vicky, last night at the Adoration chapel, you suddenly came to mind. There wasn't much thought, just, I need to pray for Vicky right now, and so I did, very intently and intensely. I see now why, and I just want you to know that those prayers will most definitely continue. This post holds so much -- hope, disappointment, worry, faith. I want to thank you for bringing me back to one of my favorite spots in the world, Duluth. I'm glad you made the trip even though it brought a setback. My favorite shot might be, however, the one with the younger brothers bearing the heads of their older brothers. That is so awesome! And Nolan with stubble? Oh my heavens. life indeed marches on, and I'm so glad you've been here for all of this, even the tough stuff. With love and in hope with you as always, Roxane

    1. Roxane, I just went into my reader and added your new feed so I could get your updates. I have so much to catch up with, but my thoughts are with you. Thankful for your keen insight, special prayers, and thoughtfulness. Love to you~

  2. I am thankful that your son didn't sustain worse injury! Prayers continue for your dear Mother, Nolanw, and of course - you.

    Hold on to the truth found in Jesus's words: "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REST". Remember, He was broken for us, so that by His love and working in our lives, we can be made whole, and be renewed. I pray you feel his encouragement, sense his prompting - today and everyday.

    1. Thank you, Susan, for that reminder. I do desire that guidance from Him and yes, "prompting," each day. Thankful for your astute words today. Much love to you~

  3. Just "Believe" -- sometimes that is all we can do...nothing ever seems to hit us just one thing at a time in our lives -- when our issues arrive they are in the "pile up" form. Hang in there and know that you are not alone...Once again, wishing I could just hug you and make everything better...K

    1. Kristi,
      I'm clinging to that word- both mom and I are. So wish you were here too- I'd take that hug for sure- and a good long talk. Love to you~

  4. Oh, Vicky, you've had quite a week, and yet you somehow manage to find bits of beauty in it as well. Your heart is so big. Your words so beautiful (even when they are hard to type). Prayers for you and your family.

    1. Roxanne, your words are such an honor for me to read, and I am quite humbled. The bits and pieces I pick out that are beautiful are what I cling to, as much as your prayers that buoy me. Thank you.

  5. There is nothing harder than watching your child get injured. My heart just sank when I read this. And your Mom...oh Vicky, I know...I know. It's the most horrifically tender thing I have ever gone through. Broken Open is a favorite. Sometimes I wonder just how much more "open" we can get?

    1. Kass- I have had those exact thoughts too. "More?" "How much more?" I feel as though I'm wide open too, but its far bigger than me, so I have to keep trusting.

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you- love and blessings to you- Kathy

  7. Oh Vicky! What a week you have had!!! I will include your son and mom in my prayers. Stay strong...

    1. Thank you, Katie, we're so grateful for every single prayer. Blessings to you~

  8. Reading with a sick mother-bear stomach and my mouth hanging open. I can't get over that refs call and that an attack like that off the ice would be a matter for the police. Just unbelievable. And now poor Nolan and poor you. You're taking excellent care of him but my mother-bear is still very upset at the miscarriage of justice.

    And then your dear mom. Oh Vicky. I'm so sorry and pray God's mercy and comfort for her and you as well. These are the times when we must simply and fully RUN into the arms of Jesus and let Him shelter and care for us. So much is out of our hands and He sees everything and knows our frame.

    I love you, sweet friend, and am grateful for you and your grace. Big hugs from California and thank you for the update in the midst of so much upheaval. Believe.

    1. Robynn,

      I felt such a burden being lifted when I finally got to sit down and pour my heart out. Part of it anyway. Its does my soul good to chronicle and journal in this way.

      I've been thinking of you and your pending "procedure" and pray all goes well.

      Sending so much love to you and prayers, Robynn- all shall be well.

    2. Thank you beyond words, Vicky. There are some variables and I'm feeling pretty apprehensive so you can't imagine what a gift your prayers are and I'm so humbled that you would even think of it amidst your overflowing plate. Love you.

  9. Oh my sweet friend,
    This post leaves me speechless. I feel as if I am on that truck, heading for the water and just making the curve of this journey. This journey with love, loyalty, sorrow and faith. Believe...put to the test.

    My stomach lurched as you described your Mom and her journey and challenges. My tears flowed along with yours as you typed the words...we met with hospice yesterday morning.
    So many memories flooded in as I remembered that part of my own Mom's journey. Yes, we are all walking each other home. I am praying for her inner peace and your inner peace
    in the last parts of this journey. What an honor and privilege to be there and how totally heartbreaking. Thank goodness for God's love and faithfulness.

    And that attack on Nolan, I am furious. And that there wasn't a substantial penalty and ejection from the game, to me sends a message that we will tolerate this. Not OK by me.
    I can only imagine your heart as you saw Nolan there on the ice and not getting up.
    He is in my prayers as are you and your Mom.

    It is the end of the quarter and I am physically and emotionally exhausted, but nothing compared to what you are going through, sweet Vicky. I wish I was there to hug you gently, fix you a cup of tea, put the quilt around you that Peggy made, and read softly until you fell asleep.

    I love you precious friend, to the moon and back. Always... and I am praying 24/7.

    1. Linda- you have been on my mind. I pray you have some recovery time from the stress of teaching and advising and mentoring, all that you do for your students. I think of you as I dip into my beloved book each day and feel the hope and inspiration of the stories- as well as the strategies of getting through. So thankful for all you do- praying it is multiplied back to you a thousand fold. I love you, friend- deep and wide.

  10. You and your Mom have been in my prayers for a long time. I will add Nolan. About your Mom, first, I'm so sorry for what is happening, second, have they checked her magnesium levels? Regular blood work doesn't tell much, but a RBC magnesium might tell more. Magnesium is an important constituent of the intracellular space that affects a number of intracellular and whole body functions. Magnesium balance depends on intake and renal excretion, which is regulated mainly in the thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle. The complex hormonal modulation that responds to changes in plasma concentration of other ions such as calcium and potassium is lacking for magnesium. As a result, negative magnesium balance results in a prompt decrease in plasma magnesium concentration, and hypermagnesemia accompanies renal failure with magnesium accumulation. Hypomagnesemia may result from gastrointestinal losses or renal losses, the latter due to primary renal magnesium wasting or in association with sodium loss. Hypomagnesemia may arise together with and contribute to the persistence of hypokalemia and hypocalcemia. (Just a though)

    1. Yes, she is receiving iv magnesium. They have done a really good job, I think, of continually checking her Albumin and adding it when necessary, as well as Potassium and adjusting her diet to be sure she doesn't get too much. It truly is a "tricky" balance and over the days, as I listen to her Doctors, I have been impressed with how much they try and do. Thank you, though, for giving me food for thought, too so that I can be aware and ask all the right questions!

  11. Dear Vicky, my heart hurts for you. I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Such a very difficult time! I remember the first time we heard the doctor say the word "hospice" when my brother was sick, and will never forget my dad falling into my mom and all of us crying. We were so devastated. But when we were able to accept that he couldn't get any better, we embraced every day, every moment that we could with him. And those Hospice nurses are truly angels in disguise. They will help all of you find peace and comfort during this time.

    I was sick to read about Nolan's injury! I had heard some talk about disappointment in that other team, and wondered if Nolan had been injured when I saw he wasn't wearing his jersey in the team photo. I will add him to my prayers as well, hoping that he can rest and recover, and be ready to get back on the ice asap! He and his team had an amazing season - such talented boys!

    My love and prayers are with you all! Take care, my friend!

    P.S. Try a little Valor in your diffuser necklace - it's great for stress and anxiety. :)

    1. Steph- Valor is one of my new favorites- how on earth did you know? I've been diffusing it with a little purification and falling asleep with it.

      I think mom and I are also embracing these days, these moments. Our family, and so many of her friends, have been flooding her room with visits and treats and she is soaking it all in. I felt a burden being lifted in a way, since a direction of sorts has been shown to us. I am sure it may be filled with ups and downs, but we will make it. BTW- its the Believe oil I've been using in my necklace!

  12. the quiet moment...that isnt quiet at all..but Nolan is down and not gettin up..Oh my! How your mothers heart must have lurched. you all are wise...he is wise..lay low till the all clear. he will be ok...yet..this again is days in your life...your mom..the word hospice...I have never forgotten the night that word came into play for me...6 weeks later she was there really anything 'good enough' any of us can say? 'Life happens when we are busy making other plans" ~J.L.~ what i know is this...Nolan is ok...he will heal, you will be ok..despite everything because 'God wants you here"..your mom is om her journey home....and this will put everything upside down in every way...but remember this...your Daddy is does one know what to say? did I just say anything I shouldnt? Vicky, stay strong and beautiful...all shall be well in this 'circle of life' with much laughter and tears. Love and many prayers going out to all of you!

    1. Nolan will recover- true. We are fortunate that it could have been worse. Mom and I aren't getting too far ahead of ourselves. She has an idea for something I can share about soon- and I think its something fun and will be a great time for her. Thank you for your sweet words and caring- so thankful. Pray you are well~ much love to you.

  13. Praying for your entire family....for grace, for peace and for strength.

    1. Thank you so much, Barb- I feel those prayers and they comfort me so.

  14. I don't have all the right words to say how this has moved me. From across the miles, I hope you can sense my heart and my prayers.

    I can't even imagine how you got through that game with your son....

    Oh Vicky. God is with you, surely He is all over you.

  15. I pray for your Mom....for your son....for you....and for your family.
    My heart is heavy....knowing how heavy yours is too, my sweet friend.
    May our Lord Who comforts and holds us up, continually sustain you and those you love.
    Know that my prayers are with you......
    Just know.

  16. I echo Julie G's comments, Vicky. Thanks for posting pictures of your mom and her full, sweet smile. You are so fully open I wonder how I could ever bear the journey to that level of openness and utter dependence on God. Praying for you tonight. Love, Arie

  17. I echo Julie G's comments, Vicky. Thanks for posting pictures of your mom and her full, sweet smile. You are so fully open I wonder how I could ever bear the journey to that level of openness and utter dependence on God. Praying for you tonight. Love, Arie

  18. Prayers for you, your mom and your son, Vicky. My heart hurts for all you are going through. I will keep praying.


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