“There's an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem that's been rumbling around inside me ever since I first read it, and part of it goes:
'Blown from the dark hill hither to my door
Three flakes, then four
Arrive, then many more.'
You can count the first three flakes, and the fourth. Then language fails, and you have to settle in and try to survive the blizzard”
― John Green,
That's the way my life has been these last few months - I can count the first three or four things that tumbled into my life (or ripped through, as the case may be), but now I'm just trying to survive the barrage of endless happenings.
It's been a pretty rough year, arguably the hardest year of my life.
The challenges started in April. I woke up with a pain in my neck, and through a series of doctor's and chiro visits, tests, MRIs and x-rays, I found out I had a herniated disc in my neck. Thankfully, no surgery was needed. I went to physical therapy twice a week for 3 months and dwindled down to now I'm only going once or twice per month. I don't have the pain I was having (it was terrible and there is so much more to this story, but it's long and I don't feel like reliving it right now), but I still have some nerve issues depending on how I use certain muscles.
The same day I received the news that I indeed had a herniated disc in my neck, my mom called to tell me some test results she received about recent respiratory illnesses she had been having. She was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a disease that affects her lungs - it causes scarring, and it is terminal. This news has changed our whole family's lives, but obviously and most notably my mom's. She is on medication several times per day, she is now on oxygen almost 24 hours per day, she had to change some eating habits and exercise, and is learning how to slow down a little bit and say no more often. This news is staggering. Honestly I am still processing it and working through my own thoughts and feelings. There are days I'm overwhelmed with sadness and grief and other days that I pull on my bootstraps and get to work, thinking optimistically, positively and with great faith. I'm sure there is so much more I could say about this, but I'll leave it here for now.
The third blow of this year was delivered by my sister the last weekend in October. My stepmom had called to tell her that my dear aunt, Cheryl, has lung cancer. Not only does she have lung cancer, but it has moved to her brain. She only has a short time left with us. This is my aunt who fits so perfectly into my family - she is my aunt Karen's partner of 30 years - our beloved, Cheryl. This news has also rocked my world. And I am overwhelmed with feelings. They come on me at times with such intensity that I literally have to sit down. Again, I could go on and on about this, but for now this is what I can share.
This fall has brought with it so many challenges, joy and sorrow. I have to make the choice each and every day for joy. Many of these challenges and heartaches take me down into the depths, but I still must choose joy. God is my ultimate Comforter, Provider and Protector.
As if the previous incidences aren't enough to keep my brain and body occupied, here are some other things that went down at my house this fall:
One of my very best friends came to visit me for a week. It was mostly a great visit because I got to see her and hug her and talk with her and be in her presence, but her reason for coming was due to some personal problems she's been having, so there was an air of sadness hanging over the visit.
I turned 37 - entered my late 30s last month. I was celebrated in several different ways and am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.
Xander had an amazing soccer season where they were undefeated - he was fantastic! He was so exciting to watch and I can't wait to see how he continues to progress in this sport that he loves so much.
Amelia Jayne turned 6! We had a unicorn party for her at the house, which included decorating your own unicorn horn, making unicorn poop slime (it's a thing, y'all), playing unicorn horn ring toss, and making edible necklaces. It was a busy but fun day!
Erin and Nathan turned 40 (sorry, Nathan - he'll BE 40 in less than a month) and we threw them a surprise 40th birthday party at my mom's. Star Wars theme - May the Forties Be With You. ;)
We went to the beach the weekend before Halloween to spend more time with family - my mom and JD, Erin, Nathan and their kids. Then we had some friends over for Halloween night - ate chili, drank wine, lost children, found children and generally had a blast!
David's office is overrun with work, which is a great problem except that they don't have enough people to work it, so he's worked several 60-80 hour weeks lately.
My Dad retired and we are going to celebrate him and his 39 years as a commercial airline pilot. We will be going to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville for the celebration this weekend.
We had lice at our house for over a week. Y'all. This is a new thing for me - I've never had lice before nor have my children...leave it to my social, outgoing and touchy-feely child to bring them into our home. It's been a slight nightmare, but the good news is that I'm getting really good at spotting them and picking them out of her hair. If I weren't so disgusted by them I could start a business de-lousing homes. Gross.
And here is yet another quote that reverberates in my heart. And I will leave it at this: