This week has been a doozie. I feel like the hits just keep on coming. I’m down, and am trying to stand up, but keep getting knocked down when I do.
“There are times in our lives when we are on narrow roads. At those times, we are fools if we try to maintain our usual speed.” ~ Unknown
It started back on July 19th. We got a call from my cousin that her dad, Jim, had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He’s 58 and was scheduled to retire on August 15th after 25+ years of working for the NY Railroad. Instead of gearing up to spend the rest of his life enjoying his hard work with his wonderful wife Kathy, they began preparations to fight the horrific disease that is cancer.
Fast forward less than one month.
I wake up on Tuesday morning, sit down at the computer with my breakfast as I always do, and log in to Facebook. The first thing I see is my coach, Leigh Ann, has posted a picture of her father stating “her heart is broken into a million pieces”. Obviously this is not good. I reach out to Leigh Ann to discover her father has suffered a massive brain aneurysm and is on life support. She spent the whole weekend prior (2 days before) in Atlanta with him celebrating his 70th birthday and now she drives in the middle of the night to sit by his bedside as he breaths through a machine and the family is left to “make decisions”. I am speechless.
Since I am up early, I decide to get some stuff together for a group swim I am hosting this weekend. I have ordered shirts, water bottles, and visors for each of my athletes so I prepare to get them together. I head to my car to retrieve the visors which I had shipped to work the week prior and had not brought in the house yet. I discover there are no visors. Not only are there no visors, there is no Garmin, no yoga mat, no jumper cables, no CD’s, no phone chargers or iPod plug ins. I have been robbed in my own driveway, while I slept not 15 feet from my car in my cozy big bed. Talk about feeling violated. Everything is replaceable, life goes on, you can’t sit around and mope about something that you cannot change, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be annoyed about it for a little. So that’s where I am with that. I was beyond excited to hand out nice little CK Multisport packages including the visors this weekend, but looks like those will have to wait. In the grand scheme of this week, the robbery is nothing – it’s not a life or death situation and all material things can be replaced, even if it sucks spending hundreds of dollars on stuff you already owned.
As the day turned to Thursday, Leigh Ann’s father went peacefully in his sleep. I am thankful for her and her family that it was quick and it did not prolong, but that doesn’t ignore the fact that it is unfair and tragic that he had to go at all. Dealing with loss is difficult enough and unexpected loss is that much harder. Words cannot express how it feels to see a friend go through this. I did not know her dad, but that isn’t the point. My heart still hurts for her. If you know Leigh-Ann and would like to make a donation in her dad’s honor to the Wounded Worrier Project, please contact me.
I was “not right” after hearing the news of Leigh Ann’s dad…and the second blow at 3pm rocked my world. We received news that the doctors said there is nothing more they can do for Jim. His cancer continues to grow despite chemo and other attempts to shrink it. He will be sent home in the hands of Hospice tomorrow. We have never dealt with this so close to home and we’re not prepared to do so quite so soon…or ever for that matter.
This year has been riddled with news of tragic deaths and cancer. And last year. And the year before. Apparently that is the new norm in our society and particularly the older you get, but I am having a hard time accepting it. It seems every other week I hear of someone, someone’s mom, dad, cousin, brother, dog, friend, sister, neighbor, you name it, who is fighting some form of cancer. Death is a part of life, I realize that; however, the unfairness of the circumstances that determine when it is “someone’s time” anger me to the core. It is not supposed to be Jim’s time. It was not supposed to be Mr. Goodwin’s time. They have so much living left to do.
I’ll end with a quote I read a while back. It seems fitting for this unforgiving situation.
“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you deal with it is what makes the difference.” ~ Virginia Satir
I thank you all for keeping my family and Leigh Ann’s in your thoughts during these difficult times. Have a great weekend everyone.