It's been a while since I've posted. Life has taken me down, turned my voice into tears and I've not been able to do much but wake up (sometimes not easily) and then spend the day putting one foot in front of the other. Our daughter, Patty (same name as me, now there's something to ponder) was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer on December 13 and she died in our arms, here at home, on Feb. 5. Seven weeks. How can that be? I brought her to the ER on November 21 and it took 12 biopsies and surgery to diagnose her. That's how tricky and elusive the pancreas is.
Patty was actually my stepdaughter. But having loved and raised her from the age of 14, she was also my daughter. As one Hospice worker expressed, "She has her mother, and you're her mom." That's the truth of it. We both loved her. We both took care of her in the ways we could. She came home to our home, her home, to die. And I would wish that on nobody. Hospice can prepare you. But only so much. The rest is uncharted territory. The memories are haunting. It's one thing to bring a loved one home and nurse her to wellness; quite another to nurse her until her death. I will write about this more in the months to come. I kept a journal during that time. It was the only writing I could do. The only voice I had was one of despair, of trying to make sense of our new reality.
But I'm finding other voices now. Rediscovering myself even as my husband and I move forward in grief. Even as I watch other family members try and find their way. As Tom Hanks (as Sam Baldwin) said in Sleepless in Seattle over the death of his wife: "Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out... and, then after a while, I won't have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while."
And that's life isn't it? Perfect for a while. But only a while. Then the sands shift and we're seeking new balance. When you have that perfect moment in your life, embrace it with all you have. Soak it up. Express gratitude. Live in the light.
There are times when everything in our life seems to fall into place: we're healthy, everybody we love is healthy; work and money are flowing and there's enough of the good stuff to make us feel content, if not downright happy. Enjoy those moments. They're small windows of opportunity, those seconds of perfection. When I'm in that place and someone happens to ask how I am my answer is something like, "Right now, everything is wonderful. And I'm loving it, not taking one second for granted." I say right now because it all shifts. Like that moving river, nothing stays the same, nothing stays in place. And that's okay. We just need to learn to shift with it.
Over the past couple of months I've been dealing with a series of seemingly random health problems that feel related to me, but nobody is able to connect the dots. And then, if that wasn't enough, a window shade (I was raising to let in light) bolted out of its bracket and slammed into my eye, resulting in some deep corneal abrasions that need to be "babied" for a year in order to prevent re-injury. One sister is still looking for the right job; the other sister is buying a beautiful vacation home. Yin and Yang. Balance and Imbalance. And then a small gift from the universe.
I came across this wonderful, totally unexpected, and noticed increased sales. A small thing, maybe, but it felt like the my world was moving into the center again. I'm working on the health issues, minor by comparison to others, but still mine. There's a line in a novel (and can't remember the name. Can anyone out there help me??) -- it was about the Second World War and a family's adjustments to tragedy -- the line goes something like this, "the cut on your finger doesn't hurt any less because someone else lost his leg." I had to think about that for a while, but it's true: our hurts are still our hurts even if someone else's loss is greater.
So that's it for today. Time to batten down the hatches and wait for the storm about to hit Connecticut in a couple of days. Be safe. Be well. Enjoy your windows of opportunity.
Welcome to Pat's Place
This is the kind of place I'm lucky enough to enjoy every day, a place to think and write and talk with friends. I hope you'll join me here often, posting on my posts, letting me know what you think, what you believe, what makes you laugh or smile or cry. What makes you angry. Let's share thoughts, rant at the world's randomness, explore issues like karma, destiny and past lives, and literary ones, like what we're reading and how in the world writers create conflict in fiction. It's all up for grabs. So, what's on your mind? Post comments.
Subscribe to Blog and new posts will be delivered to your e-mail.