Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Loving, Losing, Praying, Thankful
The past month has been a merry-go-round of emotions in my family and with my friends. There have been illnesses, accidents, and deaths; fun times, victories, and grace. Tears and anger and frustration, joy and contentment. Confusion and clarity. Some days too much emotional input, some days just enough.
My father suffered a leg injury early last month while mowing the yard - his leg got caught between the riding mower and the guy wire for a power line pole, resulting in a deep bone bruise and laceration to his shin. (Being my Dad, he finished mowing the yard before limping into the house to tell my mother what had happened.) The injury still hasn't healed inside after a couple courses of antibiotics, so the wound will likely have to be opened, cleaned out, and packed, possibly multiple times. Just the idea sounds gross, and my Dad hasn't been pain-free in weeks now.
A good friend of my father's, the president of his model airplane club, passed away unexpectedly a couple weeks ago. That hit my father very hard.
A long-time friend of our family, my "Uncle" Bill, has been diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. Uncle Bill and his wife, my "Aunt" Bea, have been friends with my parents for over 40 years. The prognosis isn't very good. My parents are understandably upset on their behalf, as am I.
My 13 year old niece had open heart surgery last week, to insert a valve to fix a congenital heart defect. While this surgery has been anticipated and planned for a long time, it was not without risk and stress. My niece has been dreading this operation for months, and suffering great anxiety. Thankfully the procedure went very well last week, and she'll be coming home tonight. My parents have been staying with my other niece and nephew while my sister and her husband were at the hospital with their older daughter. Everyone has been out of their comfort zone/home/routine during the surgery/recovery period, so it will be good for Mom and Dad to get back to their home, and my sister, her husband, and my niece to be home from the hospital to their other kids and their own home. Let the new normal begin!
Just this morning, my mother called me and told me that my Uncle Chris (my Dad's sister's husband) has been admitted to the hospital with Guillain-Barre syndrome. It's very serious, and while they hope for eventual recovery, it will be a long process, and he may not regain full function in the muscles in his arms for months (and he may have some permanent damage). The syndrome has affected his arms the most, although he also has severe weakness in his core muscles and will need a breathing tube for a while. It's a frightening situation, and my aunt is (understandably) beside herself. My cousin Michael, their son, is with them, and he's a steady man to have at Aunt Beth's side to field questions and keep on top of things, so I'm glad he happens to live near the hospital Uncle Chris was transferred to.
Our neighbors across the street went through a terrible time last year, when the husband (a State Trooper) was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. He went through a long summer of treatments and has been in remission. This afternoon, his wife told me that they just found out that the cancer is back. Their daughter is a very good friend of Princess Yakyak, and Safety Guy and their little 3 year old son are good buddies. I am so very sad to hear that their trial is starting all over again.
Not within my family, but still local and touching the family of a friend, was the murder of a six year old girl by her mother's live-in boyfriend almost two weeks ago. It's a terribly sad situation, and I can't imagine the mother's agony. Thinking of little Lauren, I have to look at my own kids and be so thankful for them, and hug them a bit tighter every day and treasure them even more, even when they're making me crazy.
Finally, some good friends are moving to Austin, Texas. We've known Tamara and her husband Brian since we started going to Union Center Christian Church in 2002. Brian has accepted the position of Executive Pastor at a church in Austin, and they'll be moving in the next week or so. It's an exciting opportunity for them, but I also remember how difficult it was for us to make our own move two years ago. I'm hoping and praying that their move goes smoothly, and they and their kids fit into their new church and community quickly. I'll miss knowing that they're nearby, but with Facebook we'll still be in touch whenever we want. And, in Christ, we're never more than a prayer away.