Squirrels do best in or around trees. Running free. Outdoors.
This little guy found his life turned around when he got stuck inside the screened porch of the club house of our apartment complex. Not a good place for a squirrel. Scary. Unexpected. Life-changing.
My life changed this Christmas too. A few days ago, my mom had emergency surgery to remove a tumor, and the doctors declared it terminal cancer. Treatments options are ugly and time is uncertain. Her life has been turned upside down… the same for her husband, her sisters, her children, her friends. I had already written a post anticipating a different Christmas this year; I just didn’t expect this kind of different.
To be honest, my head and my heart are in a sort of fog right now. It is hard to process the emotions and still live in the midst of Christmas festivities – now with an added urgency and importance.
How do I live this new upside down life? I am learning day by day… about cancer, about my mom, about my family, about myself. There will be many more lessons as we go, but I have a few in mind now that I thought I would share with you…
Lean on community
I don’t know what we would do without the support of our family and friends. Prayers, calls, notes, offers of practical help are all invaluable and give strength to our souls. It is not easy for any of us to ask for help, but we cannot “Lone Ranger” this one without leaning on others. This is not time to let our pride get in the way.
Work at communication
The stress of an unexpected surgery and a horrible diagnosis is causing tension between family members who each try to help in their own way. Exhaustion, emotions and different personalities, opinions, and availability cause misunderstandings and conflict. My family is trying very hard to believe the best, clarify doubts, give grace, and respect the interests and needs of each one. It is not easy, but we don’t want to lose our relationship in the process.
Grow in compassion
I don’t think my family has ever had a Christmas disrupted by a tragedy like this… but others certainly have. We usually go about our merry way buying gifts, preparing meals, and playing games without a thought for those who are spending the holidays in the hospital or at the funeral home. This year, I know what it’s like to feel little interest in parties, gifts, or food as emotional upheaval dulls my senses. I have empathy for those who are hurting now, and I hope that I will be more aware and thoughtful in the future that while some celebrate, others are suffering or struggling.
During this scary, unexpected, life-changing time, I treasure the deeper moments with faith and family. I am grateful for our network of friends and support. I am learning and growing because of this upside down life.
I appreciate your prayers for my mom and my family. Please share any lessons you have learned when your life was upside down…