Roller Coaster Year

So many things have happened this year that I am finding myself wondering “what’s next”. My mother in law passed away the end of March after battling kidney failure for two years, the result of heart catheterization dye when she caught RSV at a family birthday party and experienced an acute myocardial infarction. She had fallen in February and broken her hip; protocol dictates blood thinners be started to prevent blood clots, but due to her other medical conditions, she should never have been placed on blood thinners, especially not one that has no reversal agent. She literally bled to death over a period of a month. She had been getting tired of not feeling well, and her 95 year old body was literally worn out. So in a way it was a blessing for her suffering to be ended.

Just two weeks after Mom’s passing, a dear family friend died during a procedure after suffering a silent heart attack. He had been my own mother’s “gentleman friend” for several years, and a grandpa figure to my daughters. I had dashed up to the hospital to see him before he went to the procedure room and I was thankful I had the foresight to do so. I stayed with his daughter and son in law while the procedure was being done, and B kept apologizing, saying “I am so sorry you are experiencing this so soon after your own loss!” My mother would have expected nothing less from me. I wasn’t interested in feeling more guilty over not doing something she would have expected.

June brought an unexpected death of the husband of a cousin in my husband’s side. We all were devastated; he died in his sleep, no symptoms of anything when he went to bed the night before. I was thankful I had taken several photos at the family dinner in March after Mom’s service; R was in a couple of those pictures which his wife found comforting.

Our oldest daughter gave birth in September to a healthy baby girl. After experiencing a miscarriage last year and several complications during the pregnancy, we are all thankful for little one’s safe arrival. I had retired from my job just 3 days prior to her birth; timing is everything, they say, and it certainly seems to apply here. I will be caring for little one when her mama goes back to work in December.

In October, another aunt (sister to mother in law) passed away; she was also the mother of the lady who lost her husband in June. A trial of faith for sure, Aunt T had experienced multiple health issues of her own which required 24/7 care the last two months of her life. Her two daughters were grief stricken but at peace because her struggle was done.

The culmination of months of planning, our youngest daughter finally married the man of her dreams this past Saturday. They have dated since high school, and never looked back! So thankful for the blessings in our lives. Life is not always fair or kind, but having bright spots like new life and young love exemplified gives hope for our tomorrows. I am blessed and thankful as we head into the Thanksgiving season.

Stress Flowers and Love

It is hardly surprising that healthcare workers are stressed, no matter what their role. I am not at the bedside directly, but my job is to get patients to beds from emergency room, surgery, or wherever they may happen to come from at our facilities. Recent changes to our leadership and processes have made an already difficult situation even worse. My husband works at the same hospital as a BioMed tech, so he understands the atmosphere of the hospital currently. So when I had texted that yesterday was a most definitely awful Monday, I came home to dinner ready and flowers in the table. With me on 12 hour shifts, he has discovered it is most helpful to have dinner prep done or underway by the time I get home if we want dinner before 9 pm. The one consistent thing in my life since our marriage has been dinner with him after I get home. For 30 years we have called when we get off work and said “I am on my way”, whether we are on time or delayed. But the flowers last night were a special surprise that he doesn’t usually do. Valentine’s Day he typically will buy a live rose plant to replant outside rather than “dead flowers,” as he puts it. Our dining room table is usually a chaotic mess of whatever hasn’t found a home in a drawer, file, or the shred box. Projects that he needs to fix, junk mail, books I am reading or want to read (because if those get to a shelf, they may or may not get read…), you name it, it all lays in a pile that would drive most professional home organizers up the wall. Marie Kondo does not live here, I do.

So as I review emails, texts, and my Lent devotional, and sip my coffee, I gaze at the wonder of pink lilies just opening their buds. These are a gentle reminder that my husband loves me and wants to make me happy. I also am reminded that long ago Jesus said, “…even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:29) as he reminded his disciples that worrying is pointless. So I take comfort that I can try again another day to learn from my mistakes, and do better.

A Tough Job Description

Recently a video has gone viral that talks about “The most difficult job ever”. I watched it yesterday afternoon after seeing the header pop up on my Facebook page repeatedly. Many of my friends commented that it made them cry, that it was a “must see”. I have become skeptical in my old age about this “must see” phrase, but I bit on it anyway.  And yes it was touching. By the time the narrator says the part about no breaks, no vacations, and no pay, I had a pretty good hunch what the job was and was reaching for the tissue box. The reactions of the folks who were “interviewing” for this job ranged from sheepish grins to full-on tears. I teared up a little myself thinking of my own mother, who is having health issues that are a significant threat.

But the real tears hit me this morning when my soon-to-be 20 year old posted the link on Twitter and tagged me in her tweet. This young lady puts up a tough front,  and usually is not the publicly sentimental type. But out of the blue this morning, she thought of me. Like many young folks these days, she is busy with her agenda, feels the need to exert her independence, and doesn’t always communicate except when she needs something. Her post hit me as an early Mother’s Day card. She may have just wanted to make sure I saw the video because she knows I’m sentimental, but I’ll take it anyway!
And, there we have what the creators intended: a reminder to tell your mom thanks. And perhaps for some it’s a sad reminder of what their mother isn’t/wasn’t.  But it reiterates what I always heard my mother saying as I was growing up: “A mother’s job is never done.”
I want to be a blessing and a tribute to her hard work. I know my children are a blessing to me. And THAT is a payment far beyond any tangible benefits like paychecks and paid vacation.

Grace in Friendships

Grace in Friendships.

I so appreciate the message in this post. I am thankful for friends who extend grace to me even though I am sure my foibles drive them crazy. I have also found that the friendships that have lasted the longest are filled with exactly that: grace. Those friendships that were based on convenience or similar circumstances (work, clubs, activities, etc) often were superficial, or didn’t last because we just didn’t stay in touch. There are also other friendships and acquaintances where reconnecting added to the weaving of our lives and created a new pattern. All have been blessings as I learned to BE a friend, not just take from the relationship.

Thank you Susan for putting into words so eloquently what I have felt about my friends who continue to hold me up and pray for me, even when I stumble. (And yes, I do pray for them as well! It’s a two -way deal!)