It's been a tough couple of months. I've been going back and forth to the East Coast where my mother has been in and out of the hospital. It's been a scary ride and there were many times we almost lost her. She's doing better now (still in the hospital but improving) and I am still trying to catch up. This has been the hardest thing I've ever gone through, but at the same time I feel so blessed and grateful for the many lessons I've learned.
1. Yes I can! Being self employed I have always felt like I can't leave my business for more than a couple of days unless it's for a business trip. I've spent over 35 days out of town in the past two months and while it hasn't been easy, I learned it can be done. Friends help out and do what they can, catching up in between each trip has been overwhelming at times, but my buyers and customers have been incredibly understanding. I'm still able to pay my bills and it's all working out. And the bonus lesson: I realized I can take a vacation.
2. It's really okay to ask. I've never been very good at asking for help or support, but I sure had to learn these past 9 weeks. I realized that many people like to be asked. Friends feel helpless when you're in crisis and accepting their help is good for them, too. And when I had no choice I found that others could do things that I always thought only I could do. Apparently I'm not indispensable.
3. I have the most amazing, incredible, generous friends. There really are no words. I am beyond grateful for the cat sitters, the bill payers, the stock deliverers, the order packers, the errand runners, mail collectors and all the amazing people who did thankless jobs like empty rotting food out of my fridge and cleaning the kitty litter box while I was gone. I am also thankful to the kind folks at BMAC who accommodated my needs to set up early and get out fast when that dreadful call came, to all who listened and gave me hugs when I was falling apart, and for my kitties who remind me every day to be quiet and get centered, and guide me there with a nuzzle and a purr.
4. It really is true that you can handle more than you think you can. I never would have imagined I could manage the kind of stress, worry and workload I have this past summer and fall. I found priorities became clear, the choices became easier, family became closer and friends held me up when I was down. When you are in crisis some primal instinct steps in to help you find balance. I learned to breath, that you can only take it one step at a time and that being in the moment is the key.
5. Thank you Verizon. As much I resent my cellphone most of the time (I hate to give out my number and almost never turn the blasted thing on) I have to admit, it was my lifeline while I was away. I cannot imagine managing everything without it while spending 12-14 hours a day at the hospital, 3,000 miles from home.
6. I believe in angels. It's true our healthcare system needs some reform, and I won't go into the countless stories of how many times a day mistakes were made or it took hours to get help. (NEVER let someone you love fend for themselves in a hospital!) But the people in the trenches, the kind, hard working doctors, nurses, PCT's, and PA's at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut are my heroes. I never in my wildest dreams imagined we'd be surrounded by such wonderful, kind, caring and patient people. There are too many to list, all with wings - but Dr. David Cohan - I may have to make you a cape.