God Was Drunk if He Thought I Could Handle This

God Was Drunk if He Thought I Could Handle This July 24, 2018

 

I’ll never forget the first time I shared my son’s story with an individual I was meeting for the first time. We were sitting, and they had asked about my son’s journey.

I shared the time he was on life support fighting for his life. I’ll never forget on their face. Her eyes were sad. I could almost see tears filling in their eyes.

She was captivated at what I was sharing. I was slightly uncomfortable at her witness at emotions because I’m good at suppressing my feelings.

The story I was sharing was one I had shared so many times. I am so disconnected from the story that I can rattle it off with little to no emotion.

As emotion continued to fill their face, I remained stoic and tried not to make eye contact.

As I finished my story, her head bowed down, and it shook quietly.

She then said to me,

“Wow, he’s such a miracle. You are strong. God must have known you could handle this.”

My face which was already blank went pale. I tried to hide my discomfort in the statement, and my stomach dropped to my feet.

Awkwardly, I smiled and nodded my head.

Over the course of 5 years, I can’t even tell you the hundreds of times I’ve heard this statement. There are numerous forms it has been directed toward me:

“God only gives you want you can handle.”

“You were picked because God knew you were strong.”

“God only gives special children to special people.”

Whether you believe in God or not, the statement implies that somehow up in heaven God decided you were strong enough to manage the day to day rigors of raising a child with incredible needs and health issues.

Obviously, God isn’t that well versed in me and my problems. The last thing I am is strong and put together. Also, if God exists, he’s a jerk for thinking I could handle the on-going trauma of my son’s health issues.

The truth is if God thinks I can handle it, he must have been drunk when he made this decision.

These well-meaning and well-intentioned individuals that rattle these sentiments off to me haven’t seen me in my worst moments.

They meet me in the few moments I have time to put myself together, look presentable, and go out into the world. However, they are not witnessing me in the crippling and debilitating moments where fear and panic has taken over my soul.

They don’t see the bags under my eyes that I have covered with layers of concealer and powder.

The only way I manage my fatigue is by consuming a pot of coffee each day. No one knows just how poorly I am handling this situation.

In the beginning days of our journey, I was so sleep deprived and exhausted. I had no time to process the gravity of our situation. I moved to auto-pilot from one moment to the next.

We experienced so much trauma on a daily basis I had no way to process it. As we have made our way through every event, the post-traumatic stress has built up in us.

We have triggers that set us off.

For my son, it is the lights in the operating rooms. The masks doctors wear scare him. Band-aids that remind him of wounds from IVs and lab draws.

For me, it’s the beeping of alarms that can send me into dark panics.

Alarms that alert for low oxygen, low respirations, or feeding pumps can take me to dark places.

The feeding pump alarm I cannot escape. We use the pump daily. When the alarm goes off, my neck twitches and my heart races. I run to the IV pole and shut it off, so I don’t go into a tailspin.

I’m not handling this at all.

I’m holding on for dear life. More than anything I’m hoping I can make it through this life without losing my cool.

Most days I’m praying to whoever is listening that I can manage another crisis, handle another meltdown, and can have the energy to fight for his care.

Advocating for him is exhausting, and if God thought I could handle the fight it takes to get him services, medical care, and fair education, he had to have been drunk.

There is no way I have the strength to fight for all the needs my son needs and deserves.

People have no idea how frequently I shake my head and slam my forehead into my hands on a daily basis. I don’t have energy or strength to fight this hard.

Fighting for him to go to school shouldn’t be this hard. Ensuring teachers and administrators adhere to his IEP and keep him safe, should not take hours and hours of work on my part.

My nerves are frazzled, and my temper is short. I’ve slept in over 5 years. No part of me is handling this situation.

If God thought I could handle it, he indeed must have known that for years I would drink too much wine and overeat food to suppress my feelings.

I would watch pounds of weight pack on my mid-section, my face swell, and my pants no longer fit. I hid from the world, isolated myself from everyone around us, and refused to face the reality of our situation.

Being around anyone that had a child that was healthy or typical, sent my anger and jealousy into overdrive.

If God gave him to me to me because he wanted me to be happy, I guess God wanted me to be drunk, stuffed full of food, and alone. I am not handling this.

The only reason I am doing all of this is that I love my child.

I know he deserves the best in life, and he deserves the same access to a life that the rest of society enjoys.

He deserves to feel good, to learn about the world, to socialize and make friends, and he deserves to have a better quality of life.

I am not stronger than any other mom that loves a child. There is nothing about me that is super-hero in strength.  I refuse to accept praise for doing what any mother would do for their child.

As the years go on, instead of handling the situation, we deal with each moment as it comes.

Each day can present a new crisis. We know that for all of us to survive we have to get through the day. The only other option would be to give up, let go, and abandon my child.

What kind of heartless mother would I be to abandon my son?

Abandoning him is not an option. Giving up the fight is also not fair to him.

No, I’m not handling this situation the best as I could, but I’m not going to give up on my child.

I don’t believe God thought I could handle it. Because absolutely no one in their life could manage the stress, I incur every single day. However, I do handle it because I love my son.

That doesn’t make me strong; it doesn’t make me more capable of anyone else, it merely makes me a mom.

Don’t tell me I can handle this situation.

Just tell me I’m doing an excellent job as his mom.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • People don’t know what to say. They want to compliment you by saying God gave you what you can handle so therefore you are strong. I don’t believe a God exists, or if there is one he is either incompetent or an asshole (pardon me) for allowing an innocent child and his parents go through this.

    I like pinot grigio, what about you?

  • I love a good Cabernet or a tasty microbrew stout. Not much of a drinker though. I also don’t believe in God. But if God existed in how they describe – he was wasted when he picked me handle this

  • And he was a nasty drunk, not the jovial party drunk.

  • For sure! He was a downright mean drunk!

  • BridgetD

    I’ve gotten similar statements directed towards my family and myself. They’re usually well-meaning, but they do come across as insensitive rather than comforting.

    For example, this is my household. I have fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and autism. My mother has fibromyalgia, COPD, and bipolar disorder. My brother has depression and ADHD. My youngest sister has Sotos Syndrome. My dad is the last, and he’s basically the only person in the household without a chronic illness or disability, but he isn’t doing great either. He’s also starting to crack under the pressure of supporting a household where there isn’t one moment where someone isn’t in crisis. If a God believes that any person is strong enough to handle all of that, they must be drunk.

  • You are doing an EXCELLENT job being his mother!! All my best to your family!!

  • Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! Thank you for reading!

  • Absolutely! There is NO way your dad would be able to manage all of that on his own. No human is capable of that much adversity. This is why this saying makes me so nuts! My hubby and I both have ADHD – so this household is never boring!

  • Sarah Megan

    You are absolutely an amazing mother. Hugs to you.

  • GentlyUsed

    Thank you for suggesting “Just tell me I’m doing an excellent job as his mom.” Like most I cringe and eye-roll with the litany of tired cliches. It’s helpful to know actual comments that people find affirming. I don’t want to memorize the actual words but rather want to better understand how to convey feelings with words that don’t suck. I’m an introvert. I prefer as little interaction as possible but I know that’s not the norm. So such suggestions as yours are helpful to people for whom such language does not come naturally. There’s also survivor’s guilt. My family and I have been free from the serious tragedies that have befallen so many others. I feel it’s not right to offer many of the typical comments to grieving people. It’s difficult for me to discern words that express empathy versus words that appear to offer advice.
    Also I am no longer a Christian or believer in any supernatural claims regarding heavenly plans, afterlife, divine purposes etc. That rules out 99% of the common responses which presuppose unproven claims.
    Keep it up; you are appreciated

  • Thank you for sharing! I really appreciate your response 🙂 I always try to give insight on how we can all help one other.

  • Thank you so much! That was really nice!

  • Also great point about survivors guilt! that is a real issue in our community and often keeps people away from families like mine. I would just say – don’t feel guilty. Please. We all have things we go through. All of us.

  • Connie Beane

    What’s wrong with a simple, “I’m sorry”? It acknowledges that you, your son and your family didn’t deserve this; that it isn’t some kind of test; and that sometimes there is nothing you can do but endure.

  • Very, very true! I recently told my parents, “all you have to say is, ‘that sucks'”

  • normallen958@aol.com

    This is by far the best article I have ever seen on this topic. In fact, it should become a freethought classic. As I always say, God never gives you more than you can handle – unless you commit suicide, kill someone else, go insane, etc. Then God REALLY has some explaining to do.

  • OH I like yours too! Thank you so much! I came up with it because we’ve had a TON of adversity in the past 6 years. No sober-minded person would ever expect me to handle this – so he had to be drunk!

  • Jim Jones

    > “God must have known you could handle this.”

    Doesn’t that mean, “I don’t even want to think about it”?

  • LOL!

  • Linda Lindsey

    I’m so sorry. It’s exhausting for semi healthy adults to advocate for their own health needs these days, I can barely comprehend what a soul-sucking nightmare your life must be right now. I wish i could make it better. I wish I could takeover for 24 hours and just let you sleep in peace for a bit. Instead all I can say is find your peace where you can, and love your son as much as you can.

  • Linda Lindsey

    I agree! I’ve added it to my little folder of things to help me formulate responses.

  • thank you so very much. That means a lot!

  • Dang maybe I need to patent this 😉

  • MystiqueLady

    I can relate to that. I’m coming out of 4 years of adversity (including the deaths of my husband and father within 3 months of each other, paying off a $40,000 tax bill, and a suicide attempt — and those are just the high points). If there was a God that “knew” I could handle this, HE is a sadistic animal. If I wasn’t an atheist before my life fell apart, I would certainly have come out of this as an atheist. Even with the crap I’ve gone through, I cannot imagine what you have gone through.

  • I am so sorry for the loss you have gone through. You are tough as nails. Solidarity, friend

  • paganheart

    I have lived nearly 50 years on this planet. I grew up lower-middle class, teetering on the edge (and sometimes going over) into poor. My extended family is largely a Jerry Springer-worthy dumpster fire of alcoholism, addiction, mental illness, domestic violence, crime, and other dysfunctions. I have endured asthma, lupus, endometriosis and fibroids. I have kidney damage and may require a transplant someday. I am also well acquainted with depression and it’s ugly cousin, anxiety. My arms bear the scars of my years as a cutter, and I’ve been suicidal on more than one occasion. My husband and I had our life savings stolen by someone we considered a friend, and in the last three years I have lost eight relatives and friends, most to old age, but others to accidents and an overdose. My father has diabetes, COPD and dementia, and probably not much time left.

    Somehow through it all I have managed to stay married to the same wonderful guy for almost 25 years, and stay gainfully employed (most of the time), and for that, I have on several occasions been told “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle,” and the secular equivalent “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

    I have been tempted to punch the person who says either of those things to me. Seriously, is it that hard to just say “I’m sorry” or “I’m here” or “I’m listening?” (That last one seems especially hard for most people, and yet that’s the thing we need more than anything…well, that and hugs, for me anyway.)

    Your son is fortunate to have you for a mom. Hang in there, and thanks for this…I’ve had those days too…

  • Right – just say I’m sorry, That sucks, Or I’m here for you. Don’t minimize the pain with patronizing phrases

  • Raging Bee

    “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” is something you can say about yourself, if you choose to. It’s not at all appropriate for anyone else to say that about/to you, except MAYBE a very close friend or relative. MAYBE.

  • Yes! You are so right!

  • I’m sorry you went through all of that. People do say the WORST things – don’t they?