Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Friend in A Time of Grief

In the last six months, I have opened myself up to the possibility of new friends.  I have made several new friends through this meetup book club I started attending last September.  What I didn't know at the time, was that opening myself to this possibility would save me later on.

My family in Texas often talk about Shirley.  Shirley loves my folks, and does a lot for them.  She and her family live here in Temple where my parents live.  Her husband, Kenny, and my brother, Kade, are good friends.  I have met Shirley a couple of times, but I never felt a connection with her.  But this last week, I think because I have opened myself to the possibility of new friends, she has worked her way into my heart.  She has sat with us in the waiting room.  She brought me a new hoodie with more color than my borrowed one!  She cleaned Mom's kitchen and cleaned out the freezer, bought me coffee and stevia, and is open to anything at all.  She even likes to shop at Goodwill!!!!  More importantly, I have found someone with a similar belief system as myself.  When I come home to Texas, I am coming into a totally different culture than what I live in NC.  So I usually feel quite alone here.  Not anymore.  It has been such a relief to find someone who has similar feelings about the things that mean a lot to me.  Don't get me wrong, my family is tolerant of me and my liberal beliefs...but just tolerant!  I think they mostly think it is funny.  So, here I am in the midst of this horrific time with my mom, and I make a friend.  A friend I can talk to, a friend I can call, a friend who can just sit with me.  What a gift.  Thank you, Shirley, for the gift of your friendship.  It is the greatest gift I could receive at this time!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Siblings as Grown Ups

Saturday, after getting the call my mom was being rushed back to the hospital after a surgery the week before, I started packing.  It was a rush as tickets were changed to an earlier date, packing commenced, and calendars checked for important activities to hand off to Jack.  When the call came announcing Mom was being rushed to surgery, the urgency increased tenfold.   After getting to the airport and taking a breath, an inner calm settled over me.  Worry?  Yes.  Scared?  Yes.  But a strength welled up inside me as I prepared to help my mom fight for her life.

Stepping inside that hospital and back into a family I only see periodically, was jolting.  The person I speak with the most, text the most, and skype with the most, was laying unconscious in a hospital bed with a breathing tube down her throat.  Luckily, I have family members who it feels like I just saw them yesterday.  We fall right back into our relationship seamlessly.  Others it is more difficult.

But I am stepping into their lives.  They know my parents' friends.  They have routines when they come here.  They have jobs to go to.  They have friends to come to the hospital.  I am getting to meet these people that my family spend their time with.  I am seeing sides of my brothers I have not seen.  We are not at home being the silly kids we used to be.  We are our grown up selves at the hospital dealing with grown up situations.  But we don't really know these grown up people.  We are all very different and lead very different lives.  Hopefully we will all be open to seeing each other as grown ups and getting to know each other in that role.  Because the situation we find ourselves in is not for kids.