I don't talk about this much....
Today in the Grateful 30 Challenge, our task is to reflect on the challenging times in our lives with the lens of gratitude. I thought I'd share my insights with you here. On January 16, 2009, my dad, at age 65, suddenly had a massive, catastrophic stroke. He survived but has never regained the use of the right side of his body or the ability to talk.
All of our lives shifted irrevocably in an instant.
At the time, my kids were three and one, and I was living in Austin while my parents were in Lubbock. Every three weeks for that entire year, I would pack up my kids and drive 6 hours to spend a week supporting them as they navigated hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes and eventually entering back into their own home. (My brothers also traveled in rotation to help during the other weeks of each month.) At the end of that year, I had spent over 100 days away from my husband and my home. To say it was a challenging time is an understatement.
In some ways, the parents I knew were both lost that day. My dad went from being able to enjoy his favorite things like fishing, golfing, camping, reading, and fixing things to only being able to enjoy things within the confines of his home. My mom went from living vibrantly with lots of activity and freedom to the difficult task of being a full time caregiver. I went from being the one who was supported by both of her parents to the one who supported them both.
I will never be grateful that this happened to any of us. It was heartbreaking. And honestly, it still is heartbreaking.
What I can be grateful for is the infinite amount of blessings that surrounded that event, the beautiful people that came into our lives as a result of it, the love that deepened because of it, and the lessons that we have all have learned from living this unique experience.
I am grateful for so many kind and compassionate helpers and healers. There are beautiful, generous people all around. I am grateful that my parents moved to Austin because of this. We have enjoyed countless gatherings and experiences we never would have otherwise. I am grateful for the empathy and compassion my kids have gained as a result of having a grandfather who is disabled. They no nothing different other than to love people no matter what their capabilities. I am grateful that I learned that even when the body diminishes, the spirit remains intact. My dad shows me this each time I am around him. I am grateful for so many personal transformations that have occurred because of this event. This experience has taught me that I can't control everything. I can't fix everything. I can't solve everything. Instead, I can witness. I can give space. I can allow feelings. I can love unconditionally. I can give - more than feels comfortable. I can accept things I can't control. I can support myself in new ways. I can receive love and support from more people. I can open my heart more. I am grateful that I have learned that each day is truly a gift. And if it's a day with health and vitality, it's a gift to be treasured. Over to you. Can you look back at the challenges in your life with the lens of gratitude? How have those times served you? What can you be grateful for?Much love to you if you're in the midst of a challenging time now.
Love and light,