Usually when I write these pieces it’s because I haven’t practiced what I preach and then one more time I get caught in a difficult human moment that wouldn’t have been so grueling, if I had remembered to use my tools. This time it’s a little different. I recently went through five hellish days that I had no part in creating (if that’s possible), but out of the experience I learned many valuable things. I’d like to share them with you.
Hell went into session when I received a call one day at the office, from a hysterical daughter telling me that she had just had a preliminary test for a serious disease and it had come back POSITIVE. They had taken blood for a more in depth screening but we wouldn’t have those results for FIVE DAYS! While we were fully convinced that my daughter (the pinnacle of health, fitness and responsibility,) could not have contracted such a thing, the irresponsible nurse who administered the test told her unfeelingly, “It’s 97% accurate, so you probably have it.”
It was pretty much a blur in the immediate moments after I received Erin’s call. The initial questions came flying at me “How is this possible?”, “Why is this happening to us?”, “This has to be a mistake, right?”
There was a quick conversation with Dr. Andrea Cole, the brilliant doctor and dear friend that I work with. She helped me understand what was going on and got me grounded enough to jump in the car and drive to Los Angeles to be with Erin, with some semblance of sanity on board.
When my son got the news, he jumped in his car as well and a tearful drive to Los Angeles began for both of us. Fortunately we communicated with each other and were able to rendezvous in San Clemente and drive the remaining distance together.
My challenge was how to set my fears aside and be a calming, uplifting influence for both of my children. I spoke with friends on the journey that were a godsend. They gave me information from the internet, support and assurances that all would be well.
It had not yet hit me that we were in the early moments of grief: scared, devastated, confused, tearful, and filled with dread. There were a myriad of other emotions that presented themselves in those first moments, as well as a host of others that would reveal themselves over the course of the next five days. I have always called this the “roller coaster” of grief and now, here I was, an unwilling passenger on a ride I had no desire to take.
When we arrived at my daughter’s home, we found her sobbing in bed. My son sat down on one side of her and I snuggled in on the other and for just a moment, I had a fleeting awareness of another aspect of grief…the importance of the support of loved ones. We just held each other and agonized through the feelings that were all that seemed to exist at that point. Logical thought was a kind of distant memory from some life that no longer existed. And so we just snuggled and cried. In retrospect, I highly recommend this. The comfort of human touch and of knowing someone hears you and feels your pain is immeasurable.
Anyone who knows me knows that I can only stay in that place for so long and then it’s time to get out the tools and start working on feeling better. My children have been tolerating this behavior in me for many years, so I am sure it was no surprise to them when I started expressing my feelings verbally and encouraging them to do the same. Before you know it, we were Tapping, Visualizing, Setting Intentions and even making jokes. This kind of self-care and energy management is critical when life upheaval is at hand. Otherwise you can stay in ‘fetal ball’ for days.
Were we out of the woods?…hell no! Remember, I said it was five days of hell. This was day ONE!
As I am clearly aware that you don’t have five days to read this piece, I will pause in my story and continue in the next blog. I will say, so as not to worry any loved ones who may be reading this, that Erin is in fact fine and the blood work came back all clear, but I do want to go into details of how we got through the experience in part two next week.
In the interim, let me suggest that you savor every peaceful, beautiful, loving moment that you get to have. Smile as much as possible. Call people you love and do kind things for yourself as well as others.
Life, by its very nature, is unpredictable. Savor the good parts to strengthen yourself for the rough ones. Thank you for taking your time to read my words. I am so grateful that you are in my life.