When you feel overwhelmed...

When you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself of the struggles you’ve been through that were harder than being forced to stay home. You got through hard times before. You will again.

I’ve been reflecting on my mom’s terminal colon cancer battle in 1987. Diagnosed at age 48. She passed from this life two weeks following her 49th birthday. I remember how insignificant every aspect of my life seemed while I watched her suffer and slip away from us over a grueling seven months. Nothing has ever been harder than that.

I’ve also remembered John’s transition from treatment that was causing health issues to a new clinical trial in 2016. He had to be treatment-free for 28 days before beginning the trial. He suffered disease flare and a horrible withdrawal from removal of the previous drug therapy. He was so sick. Every symptom you could imagine. And he had what I would describe as almost violent hiccups every few seconds for 11 straight days and nights, around the clock. If he was able to sleep for a few minutes, he stopped breathing at times.

I remember the nights I would lie awake next to him, listening to him breathe, just making sure he didn’t stop breathing during the night unnoticed. I feared waking up to an unresponsive husband. Those nights were long. And the emotions I felt, the fears I battled back then; I can feel them via my memory bank right now as I write this post. I’ll never forget.

We spent three months either hunkered down in our condo or going to medical appointments. John was admitted to the hospital five times for monitoring. That was a far more isolating and difficult time than this. It was long and it was hard. And at times, especially during those first 28 days, I was scared. I had anxiety. I worried about the future. But I also had faith and I had hope.

I trusted God in all those moments. And we came out on the other side.

Yes, our business suffered from John’s absence then. And it will suffer again from this pandemic. But here we still are, alive and well, practicing extreme social distancing with the entire country in 2020. And with God’s grace we will get through THIS.

I don’t mind being cooped up and inconvenienced. I don’t feel like my sacrifices are so great in comparison to what others are going through right now. I am thinking about people who are sick, suffering, fighting for their lives. I am thinking about our health care community, on the front line, risking their lives and their health and the health of their families to care for strangers in a global health crisis. I’m thinking of cancer patients, having to receive chemo in the middle of this. I’m thinking of pregnant mothers who are having their birth plans ravaged by this. I’m thinking of people who can’t afford to buy two weeks’ of groceries at one time so they can avoid the store. I’m thinking of people who are confined with an abusive partner. In other words, I’m thinking about people who are under more stress than I am. And I’m feeling thankful for the problems I don’t have.

I’m thankful that on Day #17 of our lifestyle change, we are both symptom free and healthy. We have food. We have shelter. We have running water. Hot showers. A comfortable bed. Exercise equipment in our home. Phones. Computers. Grocery apps and pickups/deliveries. Connection to friends, family and the outside world. Toilet paper and Lysol. (😆) Cable and Internet. I’m thankful for so much.

But most importantly, we have each other ... to face another crisis and another day. It’s easy to forget. But we must remember: Each day is a gift. Even THIS DAY, trying though it may be. Some of today’s gifts will be more fully realized only in the months and years to come.

This situation is unique and unprecedented in our lifetime. It’s a new challenge that many of us never imagined. And we feel unprepared. I am watching my husband, under more intense stress than ever, trying to make wise decisions that protect our business and our employees, as well as ourselves as business owners. Even the “help” offered is confusing, complicated and difficult to navigate. Decisions have to be made in real time, without every question being answered, with so much uncertainty as far as the repercussions and outcome. But he’s amazing in his ability to problem solve. And he’s not alone. We have a team working with him; also willing to make sacrifices for our collective 
futures. What a blessing.

I want to grow in my ability to savor and appreciate every blessing as we continue to walk through this collective experience.