Glad I am here and not there

One year ago at this very moment, my life was spinning out of control.  About this time, the news was delivered in the ER that Zine had bilateral pulmonary embolisms!  Not one but many in both lungs.  And he had saddle emboli which allowed the clots to go from one lung to the other in two different places.  I was worried about his blood counts from his chemo and I remember I kept asking the doctor about his blood counts and what impact this was going to have on his blood counts.  I never will forget she looked at me and said I’m not concerned about that at this point.  At this point, my goal is to keep your husband alive!

We were surrounded by church family until the wee hours of the morning!  About 2 am, we were settled in ICU, had the charge nurse as our very attentive nurse and none of us realized the significance of what was going on around us…or else God just did a magnificent job of protecting us. Guess most people don’t spend a week in ICU for no good reason.

And then early morning, the unthinkable happened.  I watched Zine’s respiration go down and down and down.  So as you can imagine, as I watched his respirations go down to 9 and then 7 and then 3 times a minute, fear welled in my heart.  I thought my husband was going to leave this earth about 4:00 in the morning.

There are many, many things about that night that I have not voiced at all!  And I believe there are moments that I will never voice!  And if God collects every tear in a bottle, I think he must have had gallon jugs that night.  I am thankful that God spared his life.  The pulmonologist looked at Zine the next afternoon and said I have NEVER seen anyone come in the hospital alive and their lungs be in the shape yours are!  So I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, God sustained Zine’s life that night!  I also know beyond a shadow of doubt, I carry pain from that night that will forever be present in my life.  It was definitely a total life changing event in the life of my family!

Little did we know that this was the beginning of a complete year straight from the enemy himself!   This might have been the first night I spent in the hospital with him, but it most definitely has not been the last.  I think in the past year we have spent about 47 days in the hospital or rehab hospital or getting chemo or plasmapheresis.

I wish that no one had to go thru traumatic events.  I wish I could erase several events from the past year.  I wish traumatic events didn’t change who we were!  I wish the depths of the pain could have been avoided.  I wish that I would have had more faith.  I wish that I would have handled the past years experiences better than I did.  I wish Zine didn’t have MS.  I wish my kids didn’t have to see and experience what they have.  I wish I could process pain easier and better.  I wish I had a time machine…I think I’d go back a few years and start all over from there.  Surely the second time would be better!

But then I think, I’m so grateful that tonight I sit in my home, about to crawl in my bed…not sitting in an ER or ICU hospital room.  I’m grateful that although it has felt at times that I have no faith….that my faith still remains today.  I am grateful that in the depths of despair, God has comforted.  I am grateful that although God and I have wrestled greatly (and still do sometimes)…but grateful that He has had so much patience with me.

And then…I’m hopeful.  I’m hopeful that I have been at the lowest point and am now climbing out of the pit.  I am hopeful that my faith has increased so that when the next trial comes, my faith will be stronger.  I am hopeful that God is doing a new thing and that new thing is really good.  I am hopeful that God is orchestrating healing. Healing of emotions.  Healing of physical ailments.  Healing of depression and anxiety.  I am hopeful that I am being transformed to be more like Him.  I think I’ve been less like Him in the past year than ever.  But I’m hopeful that all the wrestling God and I have done is transforming me for good!  I’m hopeful that God will use our lives to make a difference in others lives.    I’m hopeful that one day Zine Brooks Smith won’t have MS.

And tonight, I’m going to bed reliving this night a year ago.  But I’m reliving it with gratitude of all that God has done in the middle of chaos.


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.