Monday, February 20, 2012

Hold them tight

On Friday my husband was at work when the refinery he is working at right now had an explosion. Thankfully he was not hurt and I found out about the fire at the same time that I found out he was okay, so I didn't have to spend any time afraid that he didn't make it out alive. But I did cry with the realization that I could have lost him, and because I was worried that others might have been hurt. The kids and I spent some time praying about it and thanking God. I try to pretend that his job isn't dangerous, I mean being a union carpenter shouldn't be all that dangerous, but working at refineries is. This is not the first time there has been explosions at the refineries he has worked at, but this was the worst one for him. I didn't know how bad it was until Ryder finally shared with me last night.

On Friday night when he got home he had so many calls to make and receive, letting people know he was okay, that we didn't get a chance to talk. I could tell he didn't want to talk about it in front of the kids so I didn't bring it up. We went to bed with out talking about because we were both so tired.

Then Saturday we wanted to do something together as a family since we had an unexpected family day with him not working, so we decided to take the kids swimming. We still hadn't had a chance to talk about it... At the swimming pool the kids and I got into the water before him and suddenly he appeared fully dressed and said he didn't feel good and had to leave. I was so upset. Had to blink hard to stop the tears. Thankfully I had my brother and his family and my sister there so I had help with the kids, but still we had all wanted to spend time with him so badly. After the kids swam for 3 hours {!} we headed back to the van and I was pretty worked up at that point. Not understanding what was wrong and just feeling upset that he didn't spend time with us. We didn't hardly talk for the rest of the day.

We finally talked that night, late, and it didn't go well. There was anger and frustration and hurt feelings on both sides. Ryder felt like I wasn't being understanding and I felt like how could I be really understanding if he wasn't sharing with me. He told me that he had a panic attack in the changing room at the pool, that the only other time he's had one like that was when his mom died, and it overwhelmed him. He said it sounded like the building was falling apart and on fire. It was more then he could handle and he had to leave. He shared this with me but still didn't share what he went though on Friday, and instead went to bed while I cried until my eyes were swollen on the couch. It's so weird how all I wanted to do was hold him close when I heard about the fire, and then when we see each other we are not communicating and fighting instead. The exact opposite of what I wanted. He thinks he's sheltering me from the fear and keeping me from being upset when in actuality I am feeling excluded and it hurts. I would rather be upset with him and share the fear. I want to be able to comfort and understand.

Sunday we stayed busy with our own projects. Both still a little snippy with each other. Still not talking. It's admittedly hard to talk about difficult stuff because we don't want to talk about it in front of the kids. Finally that night after the kids were in bed he opened up. He told me the whole thing, and although I kept my face calm and my words soothing I'll admit I freaked out inside. But I am so thankful he finally shared with me. It made a world of difference for both of us. He told me that he was right there when it happened, that the alarms when off and at first no one really noticed because I guess there is a lot of false alarms there. But then he heard people saying that it was the real thing and then people started shouting "Run, run!" {along with profanity and general chaos} and he looked behind him and there was a ball of fire headed right at them. He showed me the distance he was from the fire ball and it still makes my stomach turn just thinking about it. He said he ran until his lungs burned and his legs felt like jelly and he didn't look back but he could hear the roar of the fire. In his head he was thinking about his kids, and me, and how he might never see us again. When things blow up at a refinery it can get bad quick. No one knew how bad it would get, so in that moment he wondered it he would ever see us again. How scary is that? I can't hardly imagine. It makes me cry just thinking about it. When he finally made it to the evacuation site he said he had a panic attack because he didn't see a friend of him that works there. Our families are fairly close, I watch their kids and I'm friends with his friends wife. He started to freak out because he had looked over at his friend moments before they started running, but when he started to run he didn't check to see if his friend was okay. He started to feel overwhelmed with guilt. And I could tell {even though we know now that his friend is okay} he still feels guilty about that. I tried to help him realize that what he did was normal and he shouldn't be so hard on himself. I think most of us in a moment like that would have a hard time thinking rationally and would just run. Unless it was our kids, I know with out a doubt he would do everything in his power to save his kids. I don't need saving so I'm not worried about that... ;) Although I know he would give his life up for me as well. After he shared with me I understood why he had a panic attack {I think I would have had several} and it helped me to have more compassion. I wish he would have felt like he could have told me about it right away, even if we had to hid away in the bathroom or something to talk about it... I told him this and I hope he can remember in the future that keeping me in the dark makes things worse not better. I want to share the burdens of life with him, never do I want to leave him struggling on his own. I'd rather carry the whole stinking thing in order to give him a break! But that's not healthy either. We share. The good times and the bad times. He told me that he doesn't want to work in refineries any more. That it's not worth it. And it's not. But there hasn't been any other union carpentry work in over three years now. So if in fact he walks away from refinery work after this job is done, it means big changes for us in the future. Possibly the loss of our home among other things. I find my husbands life and happiness much more valuable then things but it is scary not knowing. It would be sad to lose our home, but it would be devastating to lose my husband, for my children to lose their father. I would live under a bridge with my husband if it came to it, but I know we are more resourceful then that. My husband is a hard worker and he will figure out a way to take care of his family, even if it's not what we were expecting. We have been pretty shook up over here, but I've come to realize over the years that good things can happen even when your world seems to be turning up side down. :) I have a feeling that 2012 might be a very interesting year indeed. I'm going to try and focus on one day at a time. If nothing else this situation has reminded me how important it is to show love each and every day... because as we all know every day could be your last. Live well.

1 comment:

Kat said...

Woah. That is so scary. I can understand why he wouldn't want to work at refinaries anymore. I wouldn't want to either. Kind of reminds me of the movie Rudy. That is what I was picturing, anyway.

SO GLAD he is okay. Thank God! And I'm so glad you finally got a chance to talk everything out.