Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Please Not Again.........

This past Friday night as I was finishing my dinner break at work I received a call from my mother. She wanted to tell me that my sister, Teresa, was in the hospital and had been since the previous evening. My heart immediately jumped into my throat. If you notice my previous few posts you’ll see that it had been one year since my mother’s near fatal heart attack and my mind instantly went to that situation and I could feel the dread welling up inside me as I waited for her to tell me what could only be extremely bad news. As it turns out it was not life threatening but nevertheless was not pleasant for her either. You see last year Teresa (my older sister by three years) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I won’t get into the details of what sent her to the hospital but my mother explained that it was related. Of course my family is always very late in informing each other when something bad has happened to one of us. Usually by the time everyone knows about it the afflicted person is already out of the hospital or almost over their symptoms.

Last year was a very trying time for my family. First my mother almost died from a severe heart attack. Then my son burned his hands on a friends grill. Within a few weeks of that, just a few days before we were to go to my sister’s wedding my car died. While home everyone enjoyed spending time with my son John and he in turn loved being around them. As a matter of fact you could say he flourished with the attention given to him. The only negative thing for me was that my younger sister, Karen, did not show up to see her nephew, her brother and her sister-in-law nor did she see her older sister find happiness and share in that. She has made her choices in her life long ago for the things that are important to her and her children and her family are far down on the list. The day after returning home from my sister’s wedding we had a flat tire on my wife’s car which we had driven home. This caused us to buy a new tire. Next we found out that my car was a lost cause and would have to be replaced even though we did not have the money to do so. After some time sharing the one working car that we now had we were finally able to get an older truck for me. After that came the news that Teresa had Parkinson’s disease.

As you can imagine everything that transpired put us in a financial hole that we spent the rest of the year and the early part of 2010 digging ourselves out of. As a matter of fact it took our tax return to finally pay everything off. From my plane ticket home to see my mother, to the care needed for my sons hands (which his doctor was so wonderful for not charging us for every visit we made to have his bandages changed), to the cost of making a trip home and then a new tire followed by a new (to me) vehicle and then other little things that popped up (a few repairs to the truck) it just kept adding up so that not only was it a drain on our finances but on our marriage as well. Throughout it all I kept trying to keep a positive attitude and tell myself that it could always be worse. My mother could have died. My son’s hands could have been permanently damaged. My sister’s disease could have been further along and the quality of her life could have been worse. The truck could have needed more costly repairs. It goes on and on.

It does no good to bemoan the fact that bad things are happening to you. To question “Why me?” and wallow in misery. It’s much harder to be thankful that nothing worse happened. Still, when I heard my mother say that Teresa was in the hospital, I’ll admit to a few seconds of that sinking feeling that it was all going to start over again. But I was able to quickly correct those thoughts and tell myself to wait until I found out what was wrong and then I could start thinking about what would happen in the near future. Thankfully my sister is out of the hospital and recovering. I know I need to try to follow the idea of “it could always be worse” even though it’s not easy. Truthfully, rarely is anything worth having without effort so I will continue to try. It’s all I can do, no promises though. That’s life.

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