Guest Blogger Lorie Sheffer:
My mother and I were leaving the hospital a few days ago, and she wondered out loud who put a curse on our family. I knew what she meant, but I asked her to explain anyway. Within the past two years, her sister died from Alzheimer’s, my brother was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to go through two surgeries and six months of chemo, my mother in law died, a beloved family friend died, my husband’s cousin (my good friend whom I have blogged about) died, and now my father has been in the ICU for four weeks and a regular room for one (so far). Believe it or not, that is only a partial list.
“What do you mean, who cursed us? I think we’re blessed.” She looked at me as though I were slightly out of my mind. Then I gave her my take.
She had her sister as her best friend for 76 years. My brother recovered and has been given really good odds that he is cured. My mother in law lived to see her grandchildren grow to adulthood and she died at home as she had wished. Our family friend was a robust 85 years old and died suddenly without pain or suffering in the exact same spot where her husband had died years before her. I feel fortunate that I got to know my husband’s cousin and share such fun times with her; she taught us things about life we otherwise would never have known.
As for my dad, we just spent the day with a man whose surgeon said had a less than 50% chance of surviving only 5 weeks before.
We were told to gather the family and call in anyone from out of town who may want to be with us; now we call one another to see who was going in to visit him and when. I told Mom we can’t lose sight of the positive. My husband can’t run since he had his stroke 14 years ago. He misses it. But if he dwells on having a hitch in his gait then he misses the blessing of being able to walk and to ride his bike. He can’t run, but he can ski. His arm is stiff, but it is functional. He lived to see everything that has happened in the last 14 years with his family. He is blessed. We are blessed.
Bad things happen. That’s life. I’m not saying I haven’t had my share of tears and days when I don’t feel like I can manage to put one foot in front of the other. I’ve had to dig deep lately, that’s for sure. I also know that things are what they are. One day, while driving to Baltimore for my husband’s physical therapy, I saw a billboard with an advertisement that has stuck with me. Wisdom from unexpected places, I suppose. It said, “You cannot change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails.”