I need to acknowledge that my trip to Florida was wonderful. I need the movement of the water and the warmth of the sun. I’m a Leo by birth and like most cats, I gravitate toward a sunbeam.
However, my trip was not without encountering bad news or what I will simply refer to as rough waters. If you are familiar with flag warnings at the beach – I would say the news I received is either a red or yellow flag warning.
On Friday – only after strong encouragement from my aunt – my Nanny went to the doctor due to stomach problems and other issues. She was immediately sent for a colonoscopy and other tests. These tests revealed a significant mass in her colon and she is scheduled for her first surgery tomorrow. As I haven’t been there, I am only receiving the news through my aunt. what I do know is they want to do radiation to attempt to shrink the tumor before taking it out.
I’m a former Hospice worker – this doesn’t look good. Thus the flag warnings. They say the tumor is so large that the colon is almost completely blocked. My Nanny reports she was not having problems while my Mom was alive and that it has only become bad over the past four weeks.
Well just great!! Almost exactly two moths after my Mom dies, I will find myself sitting in a hospital waiting room for my Nanny. Frankly, none of this feels real. I will not say its a nightmare but it’s certainly not something I want to go through. I would like to wake up and have a nice boring life. I actually feel bad even telling people what is happening. It just doesn’t seem possible that this can occur.
But it is…… And I will face it because I have no other choice. And Nanny needs me and wants me home – because I understand the medical world, because I take care of things…..
I would love to ruminate about my sob story and in reality – I could top just about any sob story out there. You think you have it bad – well let me tell you about being born with a rare form of spina bifida, my dad dying when I was 10, then losing @ 10 family members (at one point I had a lot of family members) and friends before I was 22, family issues, a broken engagement ( a true blessing), my Mom’s breast cancer, more of my own health issues, and infertility, a stressful job in multiple ways, my Mom’s kidney cancer and death and now my last surviving grandparent is likely dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Whew!!! I should also add that I’m writing this post while being delayed at the airport for over FIVE hours.
But what is the point in ruminating. it gets you no where. Absolutely- No where. By no means am I a Pollyanna- actually, people like that get on my nerves. I’m a realist who has learned to be grateful. This doesn’t mean that somewhere within me that I”m not royally pissed off at the greater universe.
None of this is fair. I know the stupid cliche that life isn’t fair but it does seem at times I get more hits than others.
Many people use the analogy that their grief is a lot like being out in the ocean and constantly being hit by waves which pull them under. I thought about that as I sat in the surf this week and let the waves hit me. During my last trip to Florida, we stayed on the beach a week and I watched the waves go from calm to extremely rough when a storm was out in the ocean. Life is a lot like that. One day you can have beautiful calm waters and the next day, the surf can be dangerous.
I should say right now that I am not fearful and I know it comes from several places. If I’m using the red flag warning – which means the surf is high with dangerous currents , but you can still swim – the reality is I wouldn’t go into the water. I’m not a strong swimmer ( my dad drowned, I swim but you can analysis the rest). When it comes to life in general, I am strong. The tragedy is if you go through a horrible event and you are not stronger for it. I’ve learned from every event I have ever encountered. I am a survivor and I don’t feel bad in saying that I feel there are individuals which would break under what I’ve gone through. I don’t smoke, rarely drink and my only bad vice is I love chocolate.
As I sat with my friend in our chairs in the surf – and later on our butts- I jokingly told the ocean to ” Bring It! ” ( I like to taunt the universe). The first day she was hit with a wave that moved her almost a complete 360 degrees. The next day, I simply got knocked down on my knees by one. We laughed each time. What I remember about the day I was knocked down was she was reaching out to me and was there. I was able to get up before the next wave – but there is nothing like knowing someone is there.
So what I have learned from the ocean over the years
– there is a Higher Power which is present and there for us. The fact that we exist and the ocean exists tells us that
– Rough waters DO NOT last forever. Despite feeling like a storm will last forever, the sun will shine again, the waters will calm. As I visited areas who have been destroyed by hurricanes, it is proof that one can rebuild and go on.
– Friends will be there to pull you out of the water if it gets too rough. Just as no one should go swimming in the ocean without a lifeguard or telling someone – we all need to tell our friends what we are going through – and that is what I’m doing.
I’ve got more rough waters…… and I’m flying my red flag!.