I woke again in the evening. My friend on duty that evening had fed my kids down my the TV to keep them quiet and was watching a movie with them. I walked down to say hi to them, and then the world went black. I've struggled with dizziness and passing out off and on for years, but thankfully during the crisis, had been fine. Now it hit hard! I blacked out completely and swayed. Thankfully, my oldest boys know to watch out for their mom, and one of them jumped and grabbed me and lowered me to the floor. It took a few moments for me to catch my breath and think about sitting up again.
Continued stress will take it's physical toll eventually. It may let you function a long time, but will eventually present the bill.
Eventually, I got off the floor and sat in my favorite chair. My daughter snuggled up on my lap and my friend brought me another cup of tea. I looked at my daughter's plate of food and ate one piece of potato. It tasted good - first solid food since the first evening.
This friend was a little more stubborn than the others and she decided that I would begin to recover now that he was safe, well, at least half-way safe. So she got up and brought me a plate of potatoes with salt and butter. It was one thing I had been able to get down me when I was pregnant and queasy, so thought it would be a good thing to attempt. Oh how good hot food felt in my tummy! I ate only a little, not wanting the severe cramps that came that first night, but it was so good!
We put the kids to bed. I snuggled and prayed with each one. Then I came back to the kitchen and my friend had cleaned up everything and had another cup of tea for me. I expected her to go home for the evening, but she asked if she could stay since she lived farther away. She did, and she began to work on my laundry. Now, it was in no state of order before the crisis, so after was fearful! But she stayed the night and worked until 1 am on getting all my laundry washed, dried, and ironed. What a blessing!
In the meantime, I had talked to my husband and we had decided what would happen tomorrow. I would go and meet the men when they flew out. We would meet and spend some days together not here, but elsewhere. My home church had offered many times to fly my mom out, but I had said to wait until the weekend was over - she was on a holiday and I didn't see the reason to cancel that if this was going to be a longterm thing. Now I needed her, so she got on a plane.
Another couple from our group, but not from our team, had been very, very helpful during all this. They came every day, at least for awhile, to check in. They phoned several times a day. They did all the things I asked them to do - organizing someone to check on my kid's emotional well-being, being there to do bedtime, thinking over choices with me, even a 3am run to the office for paper we needed! They phoned this evening again, and I gave them list of things to do - my flight to arrange, travel to the airport to set up for me and my mom, communication, etc. It is not until a time of crisis when you see who you can really count on, and these two proved worth gold.
Then I went to find a suitcase. Usually, I only travel with my backpack. I just don't like to wait for baggage at airports and have learned to travel with only small day pack. But I had no idea what my husband would have with him and what he had lost. So I needed to pack. I went to find a little suitcase, and realized they were under the stairs. Normally, I would send a kid in there after it - there are spiders in there! (The boys like to play with spiders, so it is not cruel to them, and I am terrified of spiders. Like the really girly-terrified of spiders.) So I did not want to crawl under the stairs! I looked in the crawl space and told myself I just could NOT do it. Then I sat down and began to laugh... how could I face all that I have faced in the last days and then be stopped by the threat of a spider??!! So I took a breath and went in after the suitcase.
I lay it in the hallway and threw some clothes for my husband in it, and then the phone began to ring again and skype beeped. We were so hoping for news anytime that they were in a plane out, but it was not that simple. Issues came up, flights had to be found.... and the minutes ticked by. People had to be informed about the situation and that I was leaving. That in itself caused some problems since a few thought that I should not leave to meet the plane, but that they should come here so the whole team could be together right away. But, the men and us two wives wanted some time without all the people at first, so I was going to go. But that night the criticism began. "You are not doing it the way I would do it" and "You didn't think about us". These seemed to be the two big issues I ran into, and they shocked me. I never saw them coming, never dreamed that I would be criticized on that. It hurt. But my husband carried the blame for it and said to tell them that he chose that and I was not to answer others for that decision. So nice to have a husband again! Nice to have him step in and protect me!
But the night got busy. My mom would fly in an hour after I left, so I needed to update her on things with the kids. My daughter had a medical emergency that I would have normally taken her to the hospital for, but there was no time. I did know how to care for it myself, but it was one of those things I rarely did on my own kids, but that night I did. She screamed and screamed, and finally fell asleep in my arms after it was all done still sniffling. I left my mom detailed instructions on the event and where to take her for follow-up care. I also set up help for my mom - other moms who knew the schedule to help her know what had to be done.
And there was all the communication with the prayer groups - letting them know where we stood. As wonderful as it was to have people praying, it took a lot of time to manage that communication. Someone suggested in future that task might be better delegated, and it is likely true, but that communication with those groups praying were also a huge encouragement to me.
Close to midnight, I was startled by a loud knock on the door. I peeked out and there was a man with a stocking cap on outside my door. Very hestitantly, and only because my friend was there with me, I cracked the door open. A man stood outside. I didn't recognize him at first, but then he introduced himself. Of course, the musician who lives across the street! (He had cut his hair, so he looked different!). He stepped in and said he had just heard the news from his sister-in-law. He came over right away to say he was sorry, and that he was praying. He just came over to give me a hug. Such an encouragement! I thanked him, and he left again.
As the night wore on, I expected to hear any time that they were on a plane, but nothing. Worry began to grow...
Finally, after midnight, my friend settled down to sleep, and I went up to my bed. My daughter was in my bed this time since the friend had her room. I sat watching the computer screen waiting for that note that said "in the plane". It didn't come. I waited - at times chatting with different friends, at times trying to sleep but sleep would not come, at times just silent.
My daughter tossed and turned. She talks in her sleep, and once she rolled over crying and said, "....never come out...." and another time very clearly called out, "I don't want to be abandoned!" And I watched her and wondered about the trauma done to their little hearts. Would they be ok?
As the sky again streaked pink, I settled down to sleep for an hour or so, hoping to be exhausted enough that my mind would let me rest.