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The florist at the corner of my apartment

The florist at the corner of my apartment

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” Haruki Murakami

The past week has been extremely tough.  It has been a busy tiring week at work but it has been even more demanding emotionally.   My father has been in the hospital for the past 10 days with a severe infection.  This infection (I am choosing not to name it here) is rare and potentially fatal.   It affects elderly diabetic patients and it grows at an extremely fast rate.

It didn’t help that he hid the symptoms from everyone, but fortunately he eventually was taken to the hospital in time.  Surgery was performed the same day and a course of 3 antibiotics was started.  The doctor thinks he should be able to go home this coming week, but it will take several months for him to be fully recovered (or as close as we can get to that).

This came out of nowhere and the entire family had to scramble to deal with everything. Well, not really the entire family since I am not there to scramble.  It is hard being here and not in Brazil to help my family and to be with my dad.

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Since I have been in the US for a long time I am used to not being a part of family events, good or bad.  I do worry about the fact that something may happen to a loved one and I may not even have time to say good bye.

At work I get everything done and done well, so this week has been specially productive, but this feeling of powerlessness and helplessness overwhelms me.  I have been calling my family many times a day to find out news and to offer words of support. Even though I only mean to help I realize that some times I can sound critical and preachy.  I have been doing my best not to sound like I am telling my family what to do.  Finally today I decided that I will only call once a day.  I realized that I need to step back and let them to what they need to do instead of offering more opinions. I realized that I make them feel that I am not trusting their judgement and care, which is the furthest thing from the truth.

“The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.” –Steve Maraboli

I realized that my constant calling is more for my benefit than theirs.  It makes me feel connected to them and it makes me feel I am doing something.  When I call I don’t feel far away.    I have to realize that I am already doing all I can at this point (I am the financial support).  This is another opportunity to Let Go and Let God!  Another opportunity to realize that the only thing I can control are my actions.  Nothing else is under my control.  Some things cannot be manipulated. Reaching for the phone every second I want to feel connected to them is overreacting, it is my way of avoiding my feelings and not going through my own grief and emotions.

This is a time for reflection.  Too many phone calls is reactive and impulsive and creates confusion and misunderstandings.  I need controlled and thoughtful action.  I have been wanting sugar more than usual, as I realize that sugar is my security blanket.  The great thing is I am fully aware of that and because I am aware I can slowly change it.   So instead of sugar I am going for humor, prayers and gratitude. Prayers sooth my soul and my heart.  Prayers are the perfect remedy, there is no time or place for it, and it is not caloric 🙂

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” ― George Burns

Humor is another great remedy for me.  I find ways to laugh and to make others laugh throughout my day.  I look for smiles and moments of gratitude and realize every second I am living is a second I should feel grateful for.  I am not denying, ignoring or making light of all that is going on, but I am not letting it control me.  A change in attitude and outlook changes everything.  I am not always successful, as just yesterday I blew up at one of my partners over something stupid.  He is very important to me and cares about me, therefore it makes him such an easy target.  My sister helped me realize that I needed to say sorry.  And I did! He, kind as usual, said he didn’t notice.  Then he added: It was only the second time in 30 years, so it is not bad.  I said: it was 2 times too many!

I have so much to be grateful for.  I have a loving  family that stick together in troubled times,  a brother and sister that cares and takes care of my parents as well as I would, a good insurance plan,  money to pay for all the extras not covered.  I also have a fighting and tough spirit, an inquisitive and open mind, a generous and caring heart.

“And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

Times like this makes me think of my mortality.  I am not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of wasting my life. I am in tune to the fact that if you want to do something to it today, now, because tomorrow is not a certainty.  Things can happen in the blink of an eye.

Are you ready to die today? If not, why are you living as if you are already dead? Why are you going from day to day as a zombie, not really feeling alive, not learning, not loving, not sharing, not challenging yourself?  Are you waiting for a wake up call? Are you waiting for a tragedy to realize that the moment is now? What is that one thing you have been wanting to do but keep postponing for the right time?  Do that one thing right now!!!

“Many people pray to be kept out of unexpected problems. Some people pray to be able to confront and overcome them.” ― Toba Beta, Betelgeuse Incident

My prayers have not changed, of course my dad and the rest of the family has been the focus of them, but I continue to pray for God not to give me what I want but what He knows I need and can handle at this time. Prayer to me is strength, is my recognizing that I am not at control.  Prayer is safety, is knowing that I am being taken care of, as long as I do my part,

My sister said to me yesterday, right after explaining another curve ball thrown at her:  I am not fighting any more, I am flexible, I am accepting!  I keep going, doing what I can!  That shows a great maturity and growth on her part (she was always the rebel one and the one not wanting to accept certain situations). I have been learning a lot from her and admire her fortitude in this and other situations.

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow