Tag Archives: grace

Grace Under Pressure

Hooper 3 days post TPLO surgery

Hooper 3 days post TPLO surgery

The last couple of weeks have been particularly challenging.

It began with my dog having TPLO surgery (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) for a torn ACL. I’m not sure which was more troubling, the $4,000 hospital bill or the news that our overly active dog needed to avoid all exercise for 14 weeks. Strong sedatives were prescribed for the dog but they refused to prescribe some for me. I guess they thought I was joking when I requested them. I wasn’t.

After a week-and-a-half of playing nursemaid to Hooper 24/7, I got an unexpected early morning phone call from my mom. She was calling to let me know that my 87 year-old dad had fallen and broken his hip. Surgery was scheduled for the next morning. The typical “mad scramble“ ensued, with arrangements being made to kennel the cat and the recuperating dog. While my husband was negotiating taking off of work so we could make the 10 hour trip to be with my family, I was busy washing underwear, socks and jeans which I determined were the most important clothing items to have clean and packed. I also decided that the next most important to-do item was to get waxed in case things took a turn for the worse. I didn’t want to potentially look like a gorilla if I had to attend my dad’s funeral. Apparently, fear and anxiety do NOT trump vanity.

During the long drive to New Orleans, we received a call from my husband’s dad informing us that my mother-in-law had also been hospitalized and required surgery. She was in a different hospital than my dad on the opposite side of the river. Looks like we would be hospital-hopping over the weekend. We used to go bar-hopping in college, but hospital-hopping would prove to not be nearly as fun. The only similarity between bar-hopping and hospital-hopping is that you feel equally tired and sick after both. Particularly on this trip, since I managed to acquire a nasty stomach malady of an unknown origin.

But this post isn’t supposed to be about me. It’s about family.

Today, a friend posted the following quote on Facebook by Andy Griffith:

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I started to look for the gifts of grace, strength and peace of mind that had been bestowed upon my family members during this difficult time. I didn’t have to look very hard, as it was easy to spot.

Strength: My mom had been praying for months for God to keep daddy healthy until she was able to better care for him. She had been recovering from a series of major health issues of her own including multiple eye surgeries and a hip replacement. She just recently got the “all-clear“ from her doctors to begin driving again, which has allowed her to resume visiting my father in the nursing home and now to care from him in the hospital. Had my dad fallen a few weeks earlier, this wouldn’t have been possible.

Peace of Mind: My husband and I recently made the difficult decision to close my struggling business. As a result, we got a nice tax refund this year which allowed us to pay for our dog’s surgery, some needed car repairs and funded the emergency trip back home to be with our family during this difficult time. It also gave me the confirmation I needed that closing the business was the right decision. I am now free to leave at a moment’s notice to be with my family when they need me.

Grace: My father, besides having a broken hip, also has advanced Parkinson’s Disease, Congestive Heart Failure and Dementia. On his “good days” which are occurring less frequently, he believes that his dreams and memories from the past are happening in the present.

Some people say that before you die your life flashes before your eyes. I believe, that for my dad, he is experiencing the highlights of his life in sequential order every time he sleeps or day dreams.

Two years ago he was speaking as if he was still living in his childhood home with his parents and siblings. Last year he was talking as if he was a young bachelor just starting his engineering career and enjoying being a Navy man. Two days ago he was speaking as if he was a middle-aged husband and father. He’s getting closer to the end. While it makes me very sad at times, I think it’s been an odd comfort to my dad and me. He gets to experience all of the best parts of his life again—filled with excitement, laughter and joy. He is reconciling his life in preparation of saying goodbye.

Strength, Grace, and Peace of Mind: My mother-in-law was very fortunate that her emergency surgery occurred when her sister was in town visiting. Aunt Sandra has been the most gentle and attentive caregiver ever. She has slept at the hospital for days, and is always at the ready to jump up and attend to her sister’s needs or simply offer soothing words and a loving hand squeeze. Knowing that she is at my mother-in-law’s side has been an enormous comfort to all of us. I believe in my heart, that although traumatic, this experience has brought an odd sense of peace to my mother-in-law. She now knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she will never have to go through difficult times alone. Her sister, children, ex-husband, best friends and daughter-in-law will be there for her. Always.

Thank you God for my wonderful family and for all your blessings.

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“I Spy…”

“I spy…something red.” – Parent

“Is it the apple?” – Child

“No.” – Parent

“Is it the lady’s shirt?” – Child

“No, but you’re close.” – Parent

“Is it the Exit sign?” – Child

“Yes! You got it! Good for you!” – Parent

I think we’ve all played the “I Spy” game at one time or another. It’s a parental favorite, right up there with “The Quiet Game”, which much to my mom’s chagrin, I never won. I did however, excel at “I Spy”. I’ve always been very observant and I enjoy a good puzzle.

Lately, I’ve felt like the universe has been playing a game of “I Spy” with me. I keep finding clues everywhere, except I don’t have someone to tell me if I’m getting close to the right answer.

I’ve been trying my hand at writing lately—the blog, children’s stories and the occasional freelance job. My husband and I have been tossing around the idea of designing, marketing, and hopefully selling our own line of products and books—perhaps even starting our own publishing house! I‘ve been thinking a lot about this possibility lately.

The other day, while flipping through the TV channels, I happened upon the second half of the movie, “Wanderlust”. In this movie, starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, a couple in their 40s loses their corporate jobs and finds themselves in search of employment and a new place to live. (Hmmm…strikingly similar to my situation sans the new place to live part.) Along the way, they meet a very interesting and comical cast of characters, find themselves in some absurd situations, and eventually end up OPENING A PUBLISHING HOUSE. (Whoa.) Also, the wife writes a children’s book, which they self-publish. (Is this a sign that I’m on the right career track?)

But the “coincidences” don’t stop there. They are popping up everywhere, and about everything I am thinking, considering or pondering at the moment. Thinking about my dog, Hooper, I see an ad with his name in big bold letters in the headline. Considering going back to school to become an Art Therapist—I randomly meet two different therapists that week. Up all night with an aching back and thinking about making a chiropractor appointment the next day and—POOF!—I run into an old friend that I haven’t seen in months, and he now works at a chiropractor’s office!

Now, I do believe in fate—sort of. I believe we have certain “check point destinations“ that we are supposed to reach in life, but how we get there is up to us. We are graced with certain talents to help guide us on our way and helpful people and “signs” appear as needed to steer us toward our destiny or confirm that we are “on the right track”. Case in point, I was driving and listening to Oprah radio and the topic was “following in the path of grace”. Just then, I realized that I was driving behind a giant white truck with the word GRACE written across the back. I was literally following in the path of GRACE! (GRACE is a non-profit relief agency which provides food, clothing, financial assistance, and other vital necessities to people who are struggling with a limited income or recent emergency.) 

I love the movies, “Serendipity” and “Jeff Who Lives at Home” which both deal with the topics of fate and synchronicity. In “Jeff Who Lives at Home”, Jeff, at 30, lives in his mom’s basement, unemployed, and looking for signs about what to do with his life. He answers a wrong-number call for “Kevin”. Later, on a bus, he sees someone wearing a jersey with “Kevin” on the back. He keeps searching for and following the signs that the universe is providing until his destiny or “special purpose” is ultimately revealed.

It all works itself out in the end, but he runs into quite a few problems when he greatly misinterprets some of the “signs”.

I would very much like to learn to reduce the amount of signs I misinterpret in my own life. I can definitely spot the signs, I just need the universe to say, “Yes! You got it! Good for you!”

(Photo Credit: www.redbeacon.com)

(Photo Credit: http://www.redbeacon.com)