The Autumn Storm

As September rolled in, the autumn weather was beginning to make itself felt. With the impending change of seasons, I too was about to go through a shift.

It started with my father. He was having some health issues but refused to go to the hospital. My sister who lives with him was leaving for a cruise. She asked that my youngest sister and I check up on him, on a regular basis. Shortly after her departure, my youngest sister’s daughter had a life threatening medical emergency and was hospitalized for 9 days. My sister and her husband were fraught with fear of losing their only child.

When my youngest sister called to inform me about her daughter, I immediately called my daughter, whose children I had to babysit that evening. She cancelled her plans and told me to go to the hospital. My sister and her husband had been at the hospital for over 24 hours and hadn’t slept. When I arrived they were both happy to see me. I sensed that my presence gave them some relief from the events of the last 24 hours. I stayed with my niece while her parents went home to rest, shower and eat.

A few days after, while at my friend M’s house, my youngest sister called me to give me some more bad news. I knew it wasn’t about her daughter because I had just come back from visiting her at the hospital and she was recovering nicely. My sister asked, “Are you sitting down?” I replied that I was. “Guess what, our sister had a fall on her vacation and broke her arm which may require surgery when she gets back home!”, she exclaimed. My reaction to the news was a hysterical laugh. My heart raced and then I calmed myself down immediately telling her that we would deal with it when my injured sister got back from her vacation. Now, we had 3 invalids in the family, that would require care.

In the end, it all worked out with some help from friends. Luckily, my eldest sister did not require surgery.

Sometime in early October I was told by my cousin that her Mother could no longer live on her own and had to be transferred to a long term care facility. To hear of her rapidly declining condition broke my heart. I had difficulty accepting her diagnosis. My eldest sister and I went to visit my aunt on Thanksgiving. She was lying on a hospital bed staring at the ceiling. Our visit put a smile on her face. Her spirits were good and she seemed accepting of her declining state.

At the beginning of November, I received a phone call from my neighbor, V. She advised me that our neighbor C, was hospitalized due to a serious viral infection. After spending a week at the hospital she was sent home. I prepared a batch of homemade chicken soup for her and brought her some fresh flowers. I called daily to inquire about her health.

A couple of weeks ago, another person close to me informed me of some very devasting news. Her youngest child has cancer. She asked if I could knit her child a beanie. I purchased the yarn and completed the hat.

For now I text her since she spends most of her time with her child at the hospital.

Last week a friend of mine announced that she was undergoing a minor surgery. Nothing serious, but nonetheless, she needed to take time off from work. I went over to visit and bring her supper. She appreciated the visit but I think it tired her.

All the people mentioned above are dear to me. Each event touched me in a different way but what they all had in common, was the feeling that I needed to give back or be there for them in some way.

In my opening paragraph, I said a shift in me was about to take place.

The shift came when I realized that I could only give with what is within my capability, at that time of each crisis. I also realized that I was able to handle the above events with calm and logic, as opposed to getting caught up in the storm and drama that such situations can carry.

These two points of awareness have given me the power to accept the things I cannot control. It brings to mind the words from the well known Serenity prayer.

As humans, we carry a mixed bag of emotions. These emotions, can play havoc with our mental stability when events such as those described above occur.

My autumn storm is not over yet. With it, however, I gain more insight about who I am and what I want to change.

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