My Thanksgiving Wish
The last few months have been a bit crazy and stressful in our lives. One minute we were minding our own business and then some time in September things started to run amok. I have been so busy juggling worries and running between work and hospitals that I haven’t had time to relax, write, or breathe. Sleep at night has been fitful, and I find myself craving naps in the middle of the day.
My in-laws decided to close their business and it has felt very much like grieving for a child for them. Their company had been such a huge part of all of our lives for so long. They gave so many people in our area a steady job and income, helped put food on local tables and kids through school. Closing was not a decision they came to lightly. And the process has not been easy. I have struggled to just be here for them, to listen and give hugs. But also to let them know that their company had such a positive impact on so many lives. They should be very proud for the work they have done. 🙂
My husband has worked with them for 29 years. So he is on the brink of a major change. An exciting prospect but a scary one, to be sure. It is a frightening thing to reach our age and suddenly have to think about what you want to be when you grow up, where you want to go now. He has accepted a new position that will start next month. I know there will be things to learn for him and I pray every day that I can continue to find whatever words and support he needs from me.
In the middle of all this, he needed surgery. His first. So that was fun for us. He has healed well and we are grateful to some wonderful medical providers that took care of him.
Then, mom had elective surgery. The actual surgery went very well. However, she did not come around like they would have liked. 24 hours after her surgery, they reversed the narcotics and she proceeded to heal from back surgery without the benefit of pain meds. It was excruciating to watch and we were helpless to do anything. Each day she drifted farther and farther away from us. She went from mumbling the rosary on day 3 to moaning on day 4 to silence on day 5. Her oxygen levels dropped; her kidneys started to have problems. She was nonresponsive. They tested her for stroke, hypoxia and every infection they could think of – all negative. After a full week of this, she slowly started to focus on us again – just for brief moments, but it felt like such a victory every time. It took her a few days to be able to respond to us and then she couldn’t find the words. They tested her again for stroke – negative. Yet, cognitively and verbally she continued to struggle. She was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility 2 1/2 weeks after her surgery. She has been there for two weeks now and we are tentatively aiming for a discharge date next week. Physically, she is getting stronger, but she still struggles to find words sometimes. Reading and writing are now difficult for her. If she gets tired, she will just make up words and hope that we can figure out what she is trying to say. Every time she has met a new nurse or therapist or physician, we made it clear that this was not her. This was a woman who drove herself to the mall two days before surgery to buy some cute outfits for rehab. This was an independent woman who talked – a lot. 🙂
Surprisingly, I no longer care why this happened to her. I am so very thankful to have my mom still. There was about a week there when we didn’t really know if she would come through it. I know she is frustrated and has a journey ahead of her as she continues to heal, but she is here. And that has truly made this Thanksgiving extra meaningful.
As we enter the frenetic pace of the holiday season, I feel myself slowing down while everything around me speeds up. I find myself catching snowflakes on my tongue instead of complaining about the slush and the cold. I find I am savoring that last bite of pie and not worrying so much about the extra calories. I am enjoying the laughter of those around me instead of watching the clock and checking items off my to-do list. I am allowing myself to feel the season instead of fretting about everything that needs to get done. It will either get done, or it won’t. And either way it is okay.
As we have struggled through the events and major changes of the last few months, I have found myself grasping for something to anchor me. I find that love of family and friends is the only thing that will carry us through the storm.