Sunday, February 9, 2014

Committing to My Relationships...{In Sickness and in Health}

Good Evening, Dear Readers.
I come to you tonight with a heavy heart.
This Roller-Coaster Life has thrown some pretty sharp
and unexpected curves at me in the last few months.
In general, I would say that I've handled them well,
but they seem to all be catching up with me tonight.

Last month, I wrote a really long post about some
revelations I had concerning relationships
(you can find it here).
I suppose you could say this post is
- in some ways - a continuation of that post.

Recently, I have had several different illnesses touch my life
through some dear friends and family.
And I'm talking about serious illnesses.
Illnesses that test the bonds of relationships.
Illnesses that can result in extreme stress and hardship of a caregiver
before the actual death of the sufferer.

I learned about the first one before Christmas.
And it affected me so that I didn't even want to think about it
let alone delve into it and discover my true feelings about it
so I could write a post about it.
Maybe if I just say it and get it over with...
My dear Uncle Lloyd has Alzheimer's disease.

He's not my uncle by blood,
our only connection is through the marriage
of his brother to my mother's older sister.
But he has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. 
A constant presence...a rock.
And now this.
This terrible illness that is threatening to take him
from me, his extended family, his children and his beloved wife, Aunt Lenay.

(Also, I have now learned that Uncle Lloyd's brother
is suffering from brain cancer and is not expected
to make it through this coming week. 
When it rains, it pours...)

Then there is my co-worker at Thomas Jefferson: Miss Kim.
She is MARVELOUS with the children
and she and I work very well together. 
Along with Miss Nicole, we are a GREAT team!
I knew when she started at the YMCA
that she had had some health issues in the past,
but I wasn't really sure what exactly they were.
Again, I found out right before Christmas.
Miss Kim had had breast cancer
and had previously had a mastectomy.

As if this isn't bad enough,
over Christmas break, she discovered a lump in her other breast
and had to have it biopsied last week.
The results at this point are inconclusive
but the physicians have told her that surgery is most likely in her future.
Naturally, she is worried and afraid of what the future might hold.
She requests prayers for peace and for healing.

And then last, but certainly not least,
there's my Wonderful, Adoring Papa.
Yet another solid presence in my life
that I don't even want to think about having to do without!

When I was 12, Papa received a spider bit 
while at a church leadership retreat.
Following the spider bite, 
he had a nasty attack of cellulitis
that landed him in the hospital for 9 days.
Being an adolescent,
at the time I didn't fully realize
the seriousness of the situation.
However, thanks to the Lord
and the miracle drugs provided by the hospital,
Papa made a complete recovery.

However, that nasty old cellulitis has reared it's ugly head again.
A few weeks ago, I came home from work
and my mother, not mincing any words, told me,
"Grandpa is sick.
He has cellulitis in his leg again."
To say that my stomach hit the floor would be understatement.
Let me just say this so there isn't any confusion:

Anyway, Praise the Lord,
this bout of cellulitis wasn't as bad as the previous one
and Papa didn't have to be admitted to the hospital.
However, he was confined to a flat-on-his-back position
for 22 hours a day for nearly a week.
Thankfully, he followed the instructions of his physician
and prayer was made
and he is now on the mend.
He is currently up and about
(was even in church today)
sporting some new, physician-ordered footwear
(compression hose). 

Each one of these people that I have mentioned in this post
are very near and dear to my heart.
I do not like that any of them are dealing with illness
and I am not ready to let any of them go.
However, illness and death
are a big part of life.
As much as health and birth.
It's just the cycle of things.
There's a reason why the words
"In sickness and in health" are part of traditional wedding vows.

I have heard stories
(and actually have experienced a bit of this in my own life)
of people who simply cannot cope with illness and loss
and up and leave or cut themselves off from those actually suffering the illness.
In my opinion this is an awful course of action
for anyone to take.
And although it may seem like the easier route to take in the beginning,
I believe that the route taker will eventually morbidly regret his decision
to leave his loved one.

That being said, I'm going to make a statement.
I'm re-committing myself to my relationships.
All of them.
I'm committing myself anew to my dear friends and family
that are suffering illness
and to those who are a perfect picture of health.

You, my dear friends and family,
have stuck by me and now I'm going to return the favor.
I don't have much,
but what I have is yours.
I give you my time.
I give you my energy.
I give you me.

I love you.
And I choose you.
You know where to find me
if you need something.

Love and Prayers,