Nine months is the time it takes for gestation, the time it takes to grow a new life, to give birth.I count back from now,the month of May....Which would be September, and that's when what most folks would say a rain/reign of challenges began.
First,(and continuing the metaphor, literally here) the lovely baby that was expected on Nov.4th(which happens to be my own birthday), was induced into birth, because my talented,and gorgeous sis-in-law was suddenly in pain,and her doctors feared something might "go wrong", if the baby(Beautiful Morgan Catherine) was not delivered (10 weeks early!)immediately.Only three days days later, we received news that Toni(that sister-in-law) had been put through several tests, when it was discovered she had cancer.Two days after that, we learned it was "Advanced, Stage 4, Gastro-intestinal Cancer of Unknown Origin."
Toni passed way, after a valiant attempt to beat advanced Stage 4 Cancer, approximately three weeks after her baby was born.Which left Arthur, my husband's younger brother, as a (devastated) single Dad.Shortly after this, Arthur and my husband's own own Dad's cancer, returned(years ago, he had prostate cancer, which was defeated....but it returned).The two brothers grieved quietly, but they grieved, and still grieve, over what treatments may (or may not)ever work for their Dad, my father-in-law.
Next, my husband began to have odd pains all over his body, which turned out to be non-acute appendicitis.He was given an "option" to have his appendix removed, but because it was "inexplicably large"(a 13 instead of a normal6), he opted for removal...and it's a good thing, since when it was removed, it was noticeably "fiberous". So, a biopsy was done. Biopsy results? A "Carcinoid Tumor".... so rare, it affects less than 1% of the world population.We were told it was early stage, possibly Stage I, and since it's rarely found until very late(deadly) stage, because there are NO early symptoms, "he was lucky" to have had appendicitis, or we'd never have known about it. So, this meant a second surgery for Hansoo, but one that would remove the cancer. All the while, we were juggling our grief(over the loss of Toni), our exhaustion (doctor's appointments, operations, and spending (happy) time with new Daddy, Arthur, and everyone's little miracle, Morgan)and our now-regular apprehension(fear of even a cold or flu, because either would make caring for each other, impossible).
So when Monday night's routine trip to a local grocery store, for my beloved in-laws turned into a twisted metal wreck of a Lexus SUV, as a Chevy truck struck them broadside("t-bone" fashion), then flipped over them, traveling at a high rate of speed as they attempted a left-hand turn, I held my breath as I rode in a friend's car to the hospital, following Hansoo, just minutes after he received a call from our local hospital's Emergency Room, that his parents had been admitted.
Broken ribs, mild concussion, bruise.
His Mother, seated in front passenger-side, was not as fortunate:
numerous broken bones
broken right shoulder
broken right arm(multiple)
hairline fracture, neck
His Dad is back here, at home with us.His Mom, "Omma K." as I call her, is undergoing a life-saving blood-transfusion to strengthen her for her upcoming surgery.She'll be back home soon, but there will be weeks of rehabilitation therapy, physical therapy. And months and months of healing.
The loving Roman Catholic nun, Mother Theresa, famously said "I know God only gives me what he knows I can handle.....I just wish He didn't trust me so much."
It would be easy to say It is too much, all of these trials, all these tragedies, so close together, or I can't handle this; it is too hard.
But I am reminded it's been nine months, and like the baby, Morgan Catherine, our long-gone sis-in-law Toni gave birth to, perhaps these nine months are preparing us/me for a time of new life, new purpose.It's a way to re-frame the seeming chaos, and embrace what I'll call challenges, rather than call them difficulties, or tragedies.
When challenges emerge, we must grow to meet them.
I'm lighting a candle--a scented one, tonight.Savoring the sweet aroma, with the deep breaths I can easily take, even as "Omma K." struggles to take the deep breaths so necessary for her to strenthen her lungs, and for her to avoid the all-too-common hospital-pneumonia.
I am grateful, even now, for family, and, for God. Especially now.