Friday, June 4, 2010

Five Months of Life....Trials & Tribulations

It has been a long time since I posted. Sorry about that, but sometimes LIFE grabs hold and decides to shake things up.

Last December I found out I had to have surgery, I couldn't put it off any longer. It was scheduled for Feb. 3. I had just over a month to stew about it, and stew I did. This surgery was similiar to the surgery my sister had. For those of you who don't know, my sister died from complications due to the surgery. Needless to say, I was very, very nervous about it. The day before the surgery, I was an absolute basket case. For the first time, I reached out to friends and family and asked for their prayers.

I have been known as the strong one, not much fazes me, and I usually tough things out pretty well. Not this time, I was so upset and scared, there, I said it, yes, scared, that my husband and I attended daily Mass on the day before, and I asked our Pastor to hear my Confession. He even graced me with the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick; "the Catholic sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as Last rites or Extreme Unction, is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness." Our church offers this sacrament every First Friday of the month at daily Mass, or in cases like mine, when needed. I am thankful we went to Mass, because later that day, the doctor called to tell us that my surgery had been moved up and, instead of being at the hospital by 10am, I now had to be there by 7am. There would be no chance to attend Mass the morning before the surgery, as we had planned.

Between that comfort, and the power of the prayers of my friends and family, on the day of surgery, I was very calm. I was not stressed out, even having to be there much earlier than originally scheduled. My husband was allowed to stay with me until they came to take me to the OR. During the pre-op stuff, I was able to say a complete Divine Mercy chaplet. Was I at peace? Yes. Was I sure of the outcome? No. Any surgery carries risks. My health was in the hands of God and my surgeon. Obviously, it was successful, and I am very happy to be here, to thank God, and my friends and family for their prayers. Never doubt the power of prayer!

The rest of the year has been tough. In March, I lost my Uncle Dean. He stood in for my dad during my wedding and danced with me for the Father/Daughter, Mother/Son dance. Uncle Dean was also my godfather, which is why I asked him to stand in. He had always been kind, quiet, reliable, and a constant in our lives. He was a brave man, serving his country with a great deal of honor, during the Korean War. He and my husband became friends, and Harold was one of his pall-bearers, an honor he gratefully accepted, even though he didn't feel he deserved it.

In April, Harold was asked to serve one more TDY at Scott AFB, for 60 days, taking him right up to the last day of his service. On 16 June, he will be retired from the Air Force, after serving 33 years. His official retirement ceremony will be in August.

He had been doing weeklong TDY's since January. In April, I flew out one weekend to attend the last Stripes Ball he would be able to go to, and we drove home on Sunday. He came home to pack up what he needed for two months, and on Monday, he left again. I keep reminding myself that its almost over, but I also know that he will miss it terribly. He loves the Air Force.

We found out during his first week away that Terri, my brother's wife, was going to lose her battle with breast cancer. This was devastating news. Terri has been fighting for 10 years, always positive, always seeming to beat the odds. The cancer had reared its ugly head again, right around the time my sister had died. This time it was in all new places. Her brain, lungs, kidneys, liver, bladder; every time they beat it back from one place, it attacked another. Through it all, she remained positive, and rarely missed a game her boys played in. This time was different. The doctors couldn't offer any more drugs/treatments or hope. On April 28th, the school came to their house, and presented her son his high school diploma, so she could see him graduate. Real diploma, and Adam wore his cap and gown. Then on May 2nd, she peacefully, quietly slipped away, at home, surrounded by her family. It was a cloudy morning, but while at Mass, I saw the gates of Heaven open for her; bright, beams of sunlight, streaming through the stained glass windows, and I just knew it was for her.

One last thought before I go. My dad passed away on November 2nd. My sister, on July 2nd, and now Terri, on May 2nd. Uncanny, and disturbing. Our little family, getting smaller and smaller, was starting to not like this date. My father-in-law commented that as long as we made it past the 2nd of every month, we were in good shape, right?

But a friend looked at it a different way. She doesn't believe in coincidences, there is purpose for every thing that happens. She told me that it was my dad's way of letting us know that he was there, taking care of my sister and now sister-in-law, not to worry, they were with him. What a comfort! So, instead of looking at that day with trepidation, I can look at it as a day to think about and remember them. (Thank you Laura!) By the way, November 2nd is All Souls Day. There are no coincidences......

Be well, and say a little prayer. I will, every day.

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