The last 11 days

Tomorrow I go back to work. I feel like it was a lifetime ago that I was at work and got that gut wrenching call from Jack. At that moment in time I would have handed over every single one of my earthly possessions to know that 11 days later I'd be making light of my mom's nicotine cravings. Thank you God!

Tragedy is a weird thing. It rocks your world & leaves you desperate on your knees. No matter how much I endeavor to trust God, I've seen in the last week that the second God answers one prayer I am momentarily thankful & then respond, "I can take it from here God." And then something else comes up that I cannot imagine a way through, and God makes a way through that too. His grace is unending. If 1000 times I recklessly try to wriggle out of God's hands, 1,001 times will he reach back out for me when I realize I should have just stayed there in the first place.

There is the most unreal euphoria that comes from something like this- I feel like I've won the jackpot to get to keep my Mom. I know I won't get to keep her forever, but it has helped me cherish the time we do have together. It has changed my family's perspective on health, family, health insurance, work, and our community of supportive friends & family members. We will bring food to people in our life who suffer tragedy in the future. We will reach out to those we barely know so that we can meet their needs & maybe have the distinct honor of being "the hands of god." We will pay for insurance that has a "max out of pocket" we can live with. We will not smoke. We will visit others in the hospital even when we don't know what to say or how to act--- because we know they won't either! We will reevaluate financial vs quality of life goals...and not make the mistake of assuming they are the same thing.

In the last 11 days I have seen my mom's future brighten, and ours in turn. I have seen a family organize like an army of grieving soldiers- a united front of broken hearts. I've seen people's strengths & gifts highlighted when push comes to shove- Jack's sense of humor, Ashley's bent towards the dirty work (cleaning, cooking, laundry), and the depth of Dad's love for his wife & family. I have watched my mom reluctantly take center stage, and in a way that she would never have wanted or imagined. I have seen the immense and gratifying JOY a baby brings to my parents and even strangers in the ICU waiting room. I've seen my uncle burst into tears when he tries to tell his sister in law how thankful he is that she is ok. I have seen God perform miracles of mercy.

Like all of life's most intense moments, I'm sure this "high of thankfulness and relief" will wane. I remember first kissing Luke, and then getting married. Finding out we were pregnant, and holding Jo for the first time. In those moments you don't think you will EVER forget how it feels, but time dilutes the memory. I write all this down so that when life (god willing) returns to "normal," and the big drama of the day is that Mom can't reach the christmas decor on the high shelf in the garage, I will re-read this and remember as much as I can that life is precious, god is good, and I am blessed.

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