Turning Points

crossroad-path-in-lavender-meadow1“At every turning point of my life, I can see your smiling face and my teary eyes.” -SB

Googled “Life Turning Points” and this is what came up: A Turning Point is a critical time in your life where big decisions could lead to big change, both in work and in life.

OR another point of view The idea of turning points in our lives is a powerful one. It’s the idea that at a certain point, a big event happens that changes your life irrevocably. -huffingtonpost

Some turning points are conscious, others less so…But all involve turning away from one path, and towards another. And they shape the self that you experience and define as “you,” along the way. -Psychology today

My husband and his six sisters have been facing a rather big turning point for the past week. There Dad that is 71 has been diagnosed with an extremely rare disease (one in one and a half million people) that is eating his brain at a rapid rate and stealing his life from them. It came out of nowhere and has been a very heavy and tragic time that has humbly brought them together, but has also left them feeling many why’s. They are at a daily turning point of questioning God; wondering why their Dad has to suffer more and more each day; watching people come and go with sorrowful goodbye’s, yet the family still trying to get through the shallow breaths of death each night. He is on the brink of death and at one point just asked them to let him die. It has been dementia on steroids, leaving them all with an empty shell of a man at points, hallucinating the next and then completely lucid. My husband has walked in on him a few times & his body is in motion as if stringing a fishing rod & even biting the line off with his teeth. It is a horrible disease that quickly takes over and it has been a rollercoaster of emotion for everyone.

Each day has been different for each one of the family member’s who stay up all night watching…waiting…wondering when he will take his last breath. They all wonder where he goes when he seems to just be a shell. One day one of his daughter’s who had not slept and was running on a very emotionally empty tank had a psychotic episode and the hospital almost admitted her to the psyche ward for her erratic behavior. She was at a turning/tipping point of her overall experience. She had to step back and have family members force her to sleep, to bring her back to reality, so she could be present as her Dad passes.

The family has been each dealing with their own turning points in different ways. My husband is almost like the father to all of his six sisters. He always has been. He is in the middle of three older and three younger sisters. He is the only boy and they have always relied on him over their own Dad, so nothing is new to him. This is just a different level of a turning point—he is holding their hands each day as they express their feelings, their fears, their needs. His emotional tank is running low, but each day is a turning point of how he will handle each situation with care. He is learning more about himself, more about selfless love, more about unconditional love and servant leadership. I called him and expressed my deep love and appreciation for the man he is & admire how hard he is trying to serve everyone involved. He is better than me. I could not do what he is doing each day.

Turning points have different viewpoints. [Think of yourself standing at a crossroad of two paths–two different viewpoints or life turning points] I may step back from one emotional road & admire how someone else is traveling it. I try to take it in and see it from someone else’s perspective and hope that when I am in the midst of traveling a similar road, that I could handle it with some sort of grace, dignity and selfless action. I can only hope.

Everyone has their journey & each path will be different. BUT Some turning points are conscious, others less so…But all involve turning away from one path, and towards another. And they shape the self that you experience and define as “you,” along the way. -Psychology today

May we each look at each step along our journey and find our best self. May we always seek to learn, grow and strive to be a better version of ourselves along the way.

Peace to all today—Especially my sweet husband and his sisters. Bless you all through this journey. I know it has been a beautiful, but very hard and painful road. xoxoxo

“The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.”  -Max Lerner

Going with the flow

IMG_7441This morning I was out walking and ran into a neighbor (that I did not know was my neighbor) & she said, “Don’t I know you?” I have had this happen to me on more than one occasion & I just smile. I am a bit of an introvert, so going door to door to meet my neighbors is on very limited & brief occasions.

We began walking together & talking to get reacquainted. She began to open up about her journey of depression, anxiety, bipolar, mood disorders that she has had to learn to deal with over the years because every single one of her four children has varying mood/emotional disorders. I told her she needed a hug for just going through that journey. I can’t even imagine.

 

Canoeing in Kidney Pond, Baxter State Park, Maine, USA. Image shot 2001. Exact date unknown.Our conversation reminded me of the different journeys we are all on. We each have varying degrees of difficulty, but we find a way. We find a way to float down the river of life in the currents we are meant to learn from. Some of us have years of rapids in dealing with struggling children. Some of us have a slow moving flow when we can find gratitude for where we are. Some of us get stuck in a whirlpool of addiction & are unsure how to get out. Some of us have a combination of calm waters and then a big drop off into a giant rapid of emotions & struggle within different life situations.

I am in a hard current at the moment, but we are doing are best to paddle through. My husband had to take a job in another state & just moved away from us over the weekend. My daughter is in the middle of a school project that she cannot leave the state residence for, fear of being disqualified. In my twenty-three plus years of marriage I have never been away from my husband for over a week. That whole week I could not sleep & it was tough to have him gone.

Because of our housing situation we knew we could not afford two mortgages, so my husband is sacrificing & living in an RV trailer. We know he will be in Nevada for at least 7-8 months running a retail store. My daughter was in tears for days, but we knew we needed to be strong & handle things the best we could.

LoveYouPillowsMy daughter & I tried to figure out what we could do to make him feel like he had a little bit of home with him, so we bought two pillow cases that said, “I Love you” & “I Love you more.” We sat down and wrote a love letter on each pillow.  We also got him a travel companion stuffed animal hog named “Bula Bula” which means Welcome, Hello, Goodbye, Love in Fijian (my husband loves survivor–it was a tribe name). We had family send little love notes he could open each day & decked out his new home with big towels & comfy blankets. How do you make an RV feel like home? We tried. Smile. Smile.

He left Saturday morning & it was hard to see him drive away. We have called him over 40 times in the last couple of days. What else can you do?

As a family we know it will be hard, but we are trying to look at this as a life adventure. We are going to plan to see new places, challenge ourselves by stepping out of our comfort spaces and reaching for new ways to stay connected.

The night before he left we were packing the trailer, setting things up & my husband kept asking my daughter how to do things (like where to push the button to open the extension on the trailer). I smiled at my husband and said, “What are you going to do not having Kate there?” Later that night (around 11) I found my husband watching videos about “trailer sway” & he was worried. I honestly was worried how he would do.

I was so proud of my husband because he had never driven or operated an RV trailer (let alone a 27 ft one), so when he called me & told me how he had figured out all the water/dumping/electrical, had taken a shower, was watching a movie…I was so proud!! The best part–he was proud. He said, “I am now an RVer!! I can do anything on one of these things.”

Life is a journey. Life truly is what you make it. You can decide to struggle against the current or do your best to smile at the sun and float. It is a choice.

-Have a beautiful day!  -H