As I write this, we are a matter of hours away from one week since my Father In Law passed. When we got the news that his cancer was back, that there was nothing they could do for it… it was January 29th. The surgeon said we would have a few months. The oncologist, a few weeks. Hospice, even less than that. I knew that the best thing to do for my husband, was to put aside as much as I could to be there for him. I was going to take a break from school work, cancel all of my obligations that I could, and set aside as much as possible. My husband took some time off of work in that first week, so that he could spend time with him.
It was decided that he would spend out his remaining days at home, and we were there when the hospice transport picked him up from the hospital and followed to his house. At that point, we believed that we were already on limited time. We couldn’t have imagined that six weeks would go by. We are thankful for the time we were able to spend with him. As a wife the greatest gift I could have given my husband is the support he needed at that time.
As we approach the one week mark, it is time for us to return to life as normal. My husband has to go back to work as his family leave time is over, I need to plug back in to my classes… life goes on, right? I know that my Father in Law would not want us wallowing in sadness and stop our lives in light of his passing. However, after taking so much time off to cleave together as a family… what is “life as normal” anyway? And, how much do we want to go back to it?
It’s been nice spending time together as a family, prioritizing our time with each other over all of the distractions that pull us apart. It was nice not having an overwhelmed schedule, trying to fit too much stuff into too little time.
They say that death can bring out the worst in families, but I think it can also bring out the best. It becomes an opportunity to die to our self and put others as priority. When it becomes less about what I want to do, and more about what you need for me to do. But this shouldn’t be something that is brought about by death, or illness. Yes these are specific occasions where we SHOULD drop anything and do whatever we can to make those last memories with someone we love. However, we shouldn’t wait for someone to get sick or become terminal, or pass away before we recognize what our priorities in life are.
Pick up the phone and call the people you love, the ones that are your family or the ones you consider family. Don’t let too much time pass before connecting with those who are important to you. Visit when you can, and don’t make a million excuses for why you can’t. Whatever obstacles may get in your way, are just that… obstacles. Obstacles don’t have to stop you, they just may delay you. Or, they may require creative thinking or humbling yourself to ask for help.
The road goes in both directions. Phones make and take calls. Relationships are not one sided, but are built when both parties make the effort.
I’m not sure what “life as normal” will look like for us, but I am certain it will not look the same.