Friday, May 23, 2014

The Long Winter - Resilience 101

Winter 2013-2014 may actually finally be behind us as we creep into June.  Yes Denver, I hear you disagreeing with me right now.  :)  To say it has been a doozy of a winter for myself might be a tad of an understatement.  You tell me.  Here's the recap.

1) Cousin's daughter's Cystic Fibrosis no longer responds to medication.  Sweet six year old Kaylee fights off N1H1 in January and is on the verge of a transplant list to save her life by May.  Just before Mother's Day weekend her body begins to respond again ever so slightly. We're a family holding onto hope, trying to not give thought to the unthinkables of this fatal condition. 

2) Transcending more chapters closing on the financial front and reminding me yet again that if it's meant to be that it's up to me (in February and again as of late).  Seriously, I'm almost finding these repeating circumstances comical.  I'm beyond fortunate to have a tribe of kick ass people behind me to see me through it.  No need to repeat this cycle again though.  I will never place my family's financial fate in another's hands other than my own ever again.  Repeat after me:  "If it's meant to be, it's up to me."

3)  Best friend/PT roommate when he couldn't shower or be warm at his own home thanks to "family" not being there for him as he was at his sickest died in November.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of him and reach out to connect again.  It's a shock to the system and a new normal that I'm still adjusting to.  Some days are okay, other days I HATE IT and feel like I can't get away from myself fast enough.

4)  My business partner and big sister from the Universe's mom's farewell to this life happened after a very long good-bye.  As long as I've known this special lady, her momma has suffered in limbo.  This would be how she and her sister's years ended.  Truly sad to see so many we call friend letting their parents go.

5)  Good friend/favorite conversationalist dies in January.  As if the first punch to the gut wasn't hard enough in November.  Ugh.  Just ugh.  Known this joker for over 20 years too, all the way back to 7th grade.  Yea, if the roller coaster ride had only let me off here.  

6)  Colleague loses her own fight to N1H1 after a long battle in three hospitals between VA and WV in January and February.  Her family lost her daddy about a year ago too.  My heart breaks everyday for her son and husband.

7)  Same month that the colleague is ill I come down with something that for the first time in 5+ years sends my medically uninsured self to a Minute Clinic.  Scared say what?

8)  Leader in my profession passes tragically in the midst of all of these other events, shaking up our little work family.

9)  Grandfather's hip gives out, he falls and has a full hip replacement at 100 1/2 years old in February.  We would later learn that the post surgery dementia and related problems would be the beginning of the "long goodbye."  As of this week, he's been accepted into the local Hospice program.  

10)  Dear sweet sister from the Universe's neighbor (and our old classmate) dies at his wife's side as she tries to save him.  The last memory his children have of him is him tucking them and telling them how much he loved them.  Another family in my heart every single day.

11)  One of my favorite doting father's on Facebook and yet another old classmate dies the morning of his 12 year old daughter's slumber party celebrating her birthday.  Two of his girls were making breakfast and tried to save his life giving him CPR.  Three more girls orphaned with only a mom now.

12)  My father's father-in-law comes to visit from the Philippines on his annual trip and ends up having emergency brain surgery for complications from an automobile accident that he was victim to months before his visit.  We hope to have him back at my dad's this week from his extended hospital stay.

There you have it, the dirty dozen.  Add to that crazy ass roller coaster ride of a winter we had with weather (and myself NOT being a winter person) and lets just say SPRING COULDN'T GET HERE FAST ENOUGH.  Here's the thing though, it hasn't really stopped. Just last week my daughter (the ex's/step-daughter) was hospitalized almost 1000 miles away for three days without any family there to be by her side and see her through it.  

It is what it is, not what I want or wish it would be and I'm rolling with it.  I have a very witty and charming friend who reminds me often of how well I am handling these things. Her occasional comments are a sweet pat on the back from those over there who know I struggle sometimes daily not to completely lose my shit.  

May is hard, really, really HARD.  It's warmer now and I'm outside more than I'm inside these days.  Days and nights working from the front porch and back deck.  Many nights as of late remembering; seeing and hearing Thomas where he once stood or sat before.  Mother's Day and its bittersweet and a beautiful day in the new normal.  May 12th was also the birthday of Thomas's mother.  I took comfort knowing that this year he didn't have to miss her from here to there, that they were together again in spirit form.  The first birthday since Dave passed is this month too.  I still have on my phone texts from both of them on these important days.  A year later and it's all topsy turvy.  Thinking about Dave's mom and brother enduring Easter and Mother's Day together missing him hit me ultra hard this year.  I made a promise to my friend after he passed that I've yet to deliver on yet but will soon regarding that situation.  Yes, May is really fucking hard.  

I know this much though now; I can do hard things. 

So many people out there I love are hurting and struggling with loss, illness and other stressors.  We are all in a season of testing and triumph for some.  Do we have what it takes to stay the course, to be resilient?  Time is the best indication of that answer.  I believe we will.  Take it or leave it, change is here to stay.  It never actually leaves you see.  You just have seasons of it tucked away on the back of the shelf getting dusty.  

As you navigate life's long winters, please remember that you're not alone in any of it. We are all connected.  We are all one.  Your pain is our pain and your joy is our joy.  This is why we must all push through the muck to persevere.  We rarely have the opportunity to go from A to B in swift fashion overnight.  Progress is a journey of successive steps.  Strive to remain present in today and this very moment.  Yesterday isn't going to fix tomorrow after all, it's today that gets the job done.  

I really want you to hear this.  YOU CAN get through the long winters of your life.  You just have to see to it that you hold on with all you've got and decide that a life well lived isn't one without heartache and tragedy.  No, a life well lived is one wherein heartache and tragedy are greeted where they reside, and left there to linger, not taking up residence in the day-to-day art of living.  

We decide.  Remember that.  I love you. 

Copyright ©2014 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.  For personal use only.  Commercial use without permission of the author is not allowed.  Sharing with friends and family is warmly welcomed.