Funny thing about life and being in your 40's. Hard stuff seems to happen more often and the roller coaster only gets rougher and wilder. When Jen found out she had cancer after eight hour surgery in Augusut, 2007, alert levels shot to Severe. Then things were made more clear, a plan of chemo action was made and that became the new normal and we all eased to Elevated. She did really well and then she didn't and then she died in April of 2008. It was eight months from surgery to funeral.
In February of 2008, Kurt's mom got very sick with a bad infection. It was not life threatening, but she was 89 at the time and so it was going to take a long time for her to get better. And she lived in Texas with no other family around. There was much flying back and forth to DFW to make sure she was doing fine at the nursing home (where she recovered) and to start the process of moving her to assisted living in LA. But first she had to recover and be well. That took until late May of 2008. Six weeks after my sister died, there I was, helping Kurt pack up his mom's house into a moving truck and store her leftover things. It was all I could do to speak to people without bursting into tears constantly. But this is how life works and you just deal.
During the very same week that my sister was really ill and then died, my stepfather was in the hospital with blood and heart issues. It was very serious and he seemed at death's door. He was 84 so this could be real. I don't know how my mom remained upright. Though she did sleep a lot for the two weeks around my sister's funeral.
The mom in law recovered and moved in nicely to her place in LA. My stepdad recovered and did very well. Things kind of went back to that other "new normal" after someone dies. Alert status levels were no longer Severe but got no better than Guarded. But soon the levels got back up to Elevated and High as the stepdad had a few more scares, at one point discussion of the DNR orders were had with the doctors. Thankfully he recovered. Then my brother in law, Jen's husband, had a serious emergency medical problem with surgery required and levels were back up to Severe.
Last year had a lull and levels were at Guarded again. But 2011 ramped back up to High with a broken hip for the mom in law and surgery. Thankfully she's recovering extremely well. (The take-away from her situation is KEEP EXERCISING!) But this week the step dad is not doing great at all. Alert levels are now at High as he seems to be suffering from congestive heart failure. He's 87 now and doing very poorly. I'm constantly in touch with my mom about when I should get on a plane. We're just watching and waiting.
I don't want to be 26 again. Seriously, I don't. I was such a dunce then. Well, I'll be kinder to myself: I still had so much to learn. But it seemed, even with my dear Grandma Jane dying that year, alert levels mostly stayed Low. But now, whew. It can be exhausting.
I'm strong, I'm a rock, I have handled everything brutal that has come my way and always will. I have to because this is life and hey, it gets really hard sometimes. There is also much joy to be had as well, which I always remember and am grateful for.
None of these alerts are a drill. This is all real life. The only way out is through.