Life has been crazy and hectic in our household these last 2 years. I lost track of this blog shortly after the summer of 2014 when my dad became terminally ill. I can definitely say corn allergy has taught me to be prepared, more than anything. One never knows what life will throw your way, and preparedness has saved me from many a disaster.
My husband can attest to this. From June-August 2014, I was gone from my family for approximately 15 days, split between 3 separate trips to see my parents. That doesn’t sound like much, but when one must leave lists of medications (and when to administer them), lists of foods one can/can’t eat (even after 8 years, my husband tends to rely too much on MY memory), lists of where to buy food in case my 100-year supply MIGHT run low, plus instructions on how to make a lunch in case of a play date (I kid you not!!)….you can see how these things can just get complicated.
Don’t get me wrong. 🙂 We took 3 of our summer weekends to go visit my parents as a family. All of us wanted Owen to have as many memories of his grandfather as possible. He’s a deep kid….there was really no keeping him away. He’s been enamored with death since the age of 3, so we felt it healthy and informative to keep his anxieties at bay. We already had enough of those anxieties without adding in the unknowns of Grandpa’s impending death.
So back to those solo trips. I left Owen at home each time, as it was summer after all. Who wants to spend your summer vacation helping Mom sort through thousands of papers (I’m not exaggerating!!) and make a million phone calls all in the name of helping someone die…and believe me, there was A LOT to do. Between the phone calls, nursing homes, bank visits, paper-sorting marathons (and hours of necessary shredding), I was TIRED! Did I mention all of the driving…..it’s a 4 hour trip just to GET there, let alone get home…the final tally came to my making 6 trips in 10 weeks, sometimes staying 4-5 days at a time. All in all, we agreed the kid just didn’t need the extra stress in his life.
Not that it mattered anyway. 😦 My child is a stress barometer. He can detect it from miles away. Anyone’s stress. Mine, his dad’s, the cat’s, a bee. You name it, and he’s attuned to it! He was in some room in our house (lurking usually) many times when I was crying on the phone with my mom and brother. He even read my cursive writing when I thought he could only read print at the time (the sneaky devil!). He just wanted information so he could understand the situation. I couldn’t blame him. I thrive on information too. He was waiting for a new school year to begin (meaning another new teacher!!), and to compound the stress, he was preparing to test for his First Degree Black Belt in October of the same year. Shawn and him were in that part together. They loved the callenge/camaraderie/fun, but it was still loads of practice, conditioning, training sessions 45 minutes away, etc. They don’t just hand Black Belts out to anyone, you know?! This was a long, 2-year effort coming to a conclusion, and all of us were worried Grandpa was going to die the week of Black Belt Testing. Well, that’s not quite true. I was worried! Did I mention I’m a worrier too–No?? Well, I am, and there were plenty of people reminding me the death of a loved one does NOT trump the earning of a Black Belt…but I still didn’t want Owen’s big day to be a Downer. Or his birthday in late September…..I’ll just confess here and now that now knowing the day of someone’s IMPENDING death is just plain stressful. Life must go on, whether we want it to or not. All we can control is how we handle it.
So where was I? Planning, Corn Allergy, and Death. It’s easy to see how I got off track. I apologize. There WAS a point in this. 🙂 The point is Life Happens—-It happens not always how or when we expect it, or when it’s convenient and simple. But it does happen…and believe it not, God took care of things nicely. I’m still embarrassed by my lack of faith in the timing of it all. We made it to the 3rd day of school before Dad passed. My freezer was well-stocked. I had just cooked Owen’s 4-month supply of spaghetti sauce that morning when the phone rang (thus Shawn got roped into 2 hours of stove duty while I cried and packed). I then hit the road for the 4 hour trip to Mom’s, arriving in time to cry some more and see lots of family members who showed up for support.
What was NOT surprising is how the guys survived at home for 2 days before driving down for the funeral. Some maor credit is given to my husband here. Shawn only had to text a couple of times to insure he packed all necessary meds and food (just in case!), and that’s simply because he loves Owen too much to assume anything. Once they arrived at mom’s, we had 2 days together which helped my sanity immensely, then they left for home (and normalcy) while I stayed at mom’s 2 more days to make a million more phone calls. Dying is VERY complicated, let me tell you!! I wanted to find my mom some normalcy, and I quickly realized things were never going to be “normal” again. That’s not a bad thing, but when dealing with parents who were literally inseparable for 54 years, “bad” is the only word to describe it. 😦
I finally made it home 2 days later. I felt like I had aged 15 years in the 10 short weeks from the time of my dad’s terminal diagnosis until he actually died. As for MY home, the house hadn’t burnt down, the child was safe and well, the cats were happy, and my husband took 20 minutes to tell me just how much I was loved and appreciated. He wasn’t telling me this to comfort me after my dad’s death. He was telling me out of gratitude and thoughtfulness because of ALL the planning that goes into any possible emergency. He definitely and hilariously made it clear he didn’t want me to leave for 5 full days EVER again…but if I had to, we all knew we would survive….and I made sure to tell him he did a damn good job of it. I was very, very proud of my guys! That almost-8 yr-old boy finally DID turn 8 a month later, and after a few weeks had passed, we could tell he had grown emotionally by leaps and bounds through the whole ordeal. He learned the biggest lesson of all: The world doesn’t end when Mom leaves town for longer than 12 hours!!
As for this small OCD issue I possess which my husband likes to call preparing for the apocalypse, I’m not changing! At All! One person’s apocalypse is simply another person’s flat tire, broken water pipe—or in our case, a family loss one can’t truly prepare for. I promise you–even if you know it’s coming, preparing for the death of a loved one is never simple. I CAN plan for dinner though. At least no one will go hungry! 🙂