Even if you think you are the Lone Ranger-riding the hills and vanquishing enemies all by yourself, you aren’t. Heck, HE wasn’t alone either (thus my confusion over his name).
Every single one of us has people in the background making life as we know it possible.
And when life as we know it takes a sudden left turn, all those “invisible” people become oh, so important.
It happened when Dominic ran ahead to heaven. The eleven days between the knock on the door and his funeral were filled with friends, family and even strangers who came by, brought meals, cleaned my house, made phone calls, and did all the things I just. couldn’t. do.
These last weeks have been the hardest season since Dom left us. When I got the phone call Mama was being life-flighted my heart dropped to the floor. Having been there once before, I was not at all ready to revisit the awful pain of loss.
So I gathered what I needed, made a few phone calls of my own and my children and I raced down to be with her and my father.
Thankfully, the ending to THIS story, though hard, isn’t tragic.
After the first eleven days in hospital and only a few at home before a second hospital admission, Mama is back at home getting stronger.
Things are different. Changes are required.
But she is smiling and beautiful. Still with us.
But in order for me to stay with my folks for 27 of the past 31 days I have had to call on and depend on the help of others.
For me to leave MY responsibilities at home, someone else had to pick them up. Horses and goats and dogs and chickens don’t feed themselves. The church deposit has to be made each week.
My husband has graciously accepted that our communication is limited and sporadic. What used to be long phone calls every day turned into short bursts and quick texts that let him know I was OK and still breathing.
My youngest son, Julian, laid aside his own project of remodeling his first home to pick up all the things I normally do around the farm-no complaints and no questions asked. He is patient with me when my tired brain can’t think of words while trying to give him yet another chore that needs done.
My daughter, Fiona, finishing a tough last semester in RN school, as well as working and putting in required clinical hours, has called to check on me and her grandmother, offered excellent medical tips and helped me ask for the things we need for Mama. She shoots me funny memes and encouraging texts that provide laughs to boost my immune system and bolster my courage.
My eldest son, James Michael, has squeezed in a weekend visit to my parents’ house in between helping his AF base recover from Hurricane Irma and a hundred other responsibilities as the Public Health Officer for a large command. He drove the tractor and helped bale hay. He brought flowers for Mama and BBQ ribs and sweet tea for me.
My friends at church have graciously given me space and taken up slack so that I didn’t have to worry about my duties as treasurer. No pressure and no tacky comments-only love and understanding from folks who KNOW how important family is.
My very special friend, Laura, sent me back from my brief three day stint at home a couple weeks ago with helpful herbal tinctures to brace my body for stress and hard work. And she always listens without trying to fix me.
Dominic’s example as a strong advocate gave me the backbone to stand and insist that Mama get the care she needed when in hospital and at home. I could hear him say, “Don’t let them get by with that!” to my often trembling heart.
And many, many of my parents’ friends and our extended family have phoned, sent notes and stopped by to encourage my heart and theirs.
People keep saying, “You are doing a good thing for your parents”.
I appreciate that. But I want them to know that I am not doing it alone. It goes back in a long chain to those who choose to take up the slack I leave behind when I drive out my lane.
I would not be free to help if others didn’t choose to help ME be free.
So I want to give a loud and public shout out to each one that has done this hard and necessary work in the shadows.
You are amazing.
I love you.