It can all change so fast. In the blink of an eye. Each day is a blessing.
These phrases have been fused to my thoughts these past few weeks as they have all taken new meaning due to a startling incident.
Right before Christmas, my mom had gone out to our garage, climbed the pull down ladder into the attic, and somehow managed to step off of the reinforced area that is safe to walk on, and fell to the concrete floor below. I was home, visiting for the holidays working downstairs in my childhood bedroom. Alerted by the dog that something was going on; I went out to the garage to find the neighborhood UPS driver utilizing his military training to keep my mom out of shock and as comfortable as possible until the ambulance arrived.
It was terrifying. I miraculously held it together much more that I would have ever guessed I would in a situation like that. A brief total breakdown when my dad got home after I called him, but overall other than feeling like my heart was going to explode from the stress and concern I felt for my mom- I managed to not totally lose it. Much in part to the UPS driver, who I can still not believe was there in this moment, his sense of calm was what held me together in those very long 12 minutes.
Sitting in the ER waiting area, it didn't feel real. There was no way this was happening, that it did happen. Everything was too normal for something so crazy to have happened. My dad and I small talked; watching the other people and families waiting...waiting to hear news, waiting to see a doctor, waiting to deal with their realities.
Eventually we were allowed to go back and to hear what the extent of the injuries were. One leg in many many pieces; a pelvis broken enough times to make things miserable, a chip fracture in the shoulder, and some stitches to close the head wound that was the truly scary part.
Admittance to the ICU; copious amounts of pain killers; emotional phone calls; hoping our presence was sensed and found calming by my mom. The hours trickled by. Beeps and nurses. We eventually went home and tried to sleep.
The days and weeks that have followed have been emotional. I am sure they have been some of the hardest weeks of my mom's life. With good days, followed by some really bad days, there is this new reality that we are operating in and that has bound my family even closer together.
Detailing the specifics isn't necessary, but what I do want to say is that - it is all true. The "live each day to its fullest for their might not be a tomorrow" and the "your life can change in the blink of an eye" and the "carpe diems"...they are all truthful, wise words to remember. Having a family member who truly narrowly missed catastrophe be with you another day opens your eyes and heart wide to the ideas of embracing the hear and now. Past that, it stretches you to stop and evaluate the things that aren't working in life and to not say "how do I continue to tolerate this" but "why have I tolerated this, and I will not anymore". The decisions I've shied away from, the conversations I've had but never enforced, the need to make change have all been met with a sense of urgency and non-negotiation as I want to create a life that allows me to savor what I find most import; and be rid of the things that do not contribute to my happiness.
My family-- my mother, we have been so fortunate. So blessed by God's grace to assist her with healing. To allow us the opportunity to have her here, when she so easily could have left us in the blink of an eye. I've witness the power of the right people being in the right places and the right time and the outpouring of love from every nook and cranny of our lives.
Things changed that day. I don't think I'll look at an attic the same way again. I know we won't take skiing, and hiking, and rafting for granted again. Walking, even just standing seem miraculous at this point. A traumatic event that I know was with purpose, and with a plan I know I will never full understand but placing a new perspective in my head and my heart. I am grateful for everything I have right now and transformed by some of these thoughts the last few weeks.