Sunday, July 30, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 7

How's your weekend? I spent all day yesterday on a sailboat, dipping in and out of the bays up in scenic Door County. It was wonderful and incredibly relaxing. Pulling in and anchoring out in Little Sister Bay and diving off the side of the boat into the cool lake was so refreshing. On the way back into the harbor, my best friend proudly hoisted up the Jolly Roger pirate flag atop his 23ft Precision. Later that night, we all went out to dinner at a pizza joint, came back and stare up at the expansive starry sky in a hot tub while 90s hip-hop and rap played. Perfection. Oh it's Sunday! Lazy Sunday! Well, kind of. Sunday afternoons and evenings are one of my favorite times of the week. It's when I get a solid rock climbing workout in, go to church, meal prep for the work week and catch up with some best friends. And of course, there's a massive amount of relaxing thrown in there too. On to today's writing prompt for the 30 Days of Gratitude series you're seeing on my blog.

Day 7: What Memory Are You Grateful For?

Well this is a tricky question and prompt to reflect and write upon because there have been so many good, meaningful, important memories that have taken root during the past few months and years. Since 2017 started back in frigid January, I've been reflecting a lot more on just how lucky I am to have the very best, most loyal, caring and loving people in my life. I'm incredibly grateful for every single person I know. Thinking back to memories though recently that have stuck out to me and I have to go back to this past Valentines Day, when my mom entered into the hospital to fight breast cancer...again. This was the second time in about two years, that my mother Patty had a run with breast cancer. It's bullshit, it angered me and I was so scared because this round of it was much worse, required more surgery and chemotherapy. I remember in late January breaking down on my knees, when my parents sat me down and my mom had the courage to tell me that they had found a lump, again. We all knew that for the next several months, we'd have to bond stronger than ever as a family to really get through this. Not just to support my mom, but my dad and each other. So many late night phone calls happened between me and my brothers and I was constantly checking in on my mom to make sure she was ready to enter the hospital come February 14. She had her double-mastectomy and I remember my dad tearing up and saying good by and 'I love you' to her as we watched her get wheeled away to the operating room. My dad is almost 70 and having to see him scared like that shook me. For the next week, he was there all the time with her, during the surgery and after. I remember at the time, I was working a dead-end job that dished out no motivation, and every single day after work at 3pm or 4pm, I'd drive illegally fast to the hospital to be with my mom as she rebuilt her strength in her recovery room. She was hooked up to so many different tubes, things were beeping, sensors were reading this and that and nurses and doctors were always going in and out of that tiny room. I had to be there for her. I remember helping lift her out of bed to go to the bathroom or feeding her her dinner, holding a spoon of jello or cup of tea up to her mouth because the intense pain prevented her from moving. I'd stay in the hospital for 8-10hrs every day with her, even when my dad would assure me that it was okay to go. I had to be there, I was her son and that was my mom. The whole role-reversal was exhaustingly hard to accept and process. I was helping my mom get dressed, feed her, take her to the bathroom. I was 26 and she was just over 60. I remember when I would leave her recovery room, late at night, the hospital would be eerily quiet. I'd walk down the long, still halls back to the hospital entrance, stop and just lean up against a wall, trying to collect myself and smile. I couldn't. I was emotionally drained. This was the hardest thing I've had to go through yet, seeing your own mother, the most important, beautiful and strongest person in your life, struggle and suffer. I felt traumatized.  

But the memories from this time that kept me moving forward and stay happy were those ten minute walks I'd take my mom on through the hospital. The doctors required her to get up every few hours and go for a walk, in order to prevent blood clots. I'd help lift her up off the hospital bed, take my shoes off too and hold her hand. We'd walk very slowly, up and down the halls. I'd try to talk to her about all-things not hospital and surgery related, to put her mind somewhere else for that short period of time. We'd walk, step my step and we always tried to (if she had the strength) to walk to a big window that looked out over a patch of woods and farm fields. We'd stand there while I held her hand and look outside. I could see in her face this was so important and reliving to her. Then we'd walk slowly back to her hospital bed. Every minute I'd check in with her to make sure she wasn't in too much pain or if she needed to stop. I was so proud of my mom for these brief walks. She pushed herself and it made me smile. That mother-son bonding that took place on those little walks is something that I will never, ever forget. I'm grateful for those memories we had holding hands and going on slow walks through the recovery ward at the hospital. I'm also grateful for random kind strangers I didn't know and friends of our family who helped us through that hard stretch of months. I'm grateful for my best friends who consistently called or texted me to ask how my mom was doing, bought her flowers and came over to visit her as soon as she got home from the hospital (I seriously have the best friends in the world and I don't know what I'd do without them). I'm very grateful for a very special, genuine, loving and caring person that walked in to my life unexpectedly at the end of February/early March and gave me so much support and was my rock through my mom's whole recovery process. I'm beyond grateful for the power, confidence and love that my father and two younger brothers all had during this time because there wasn't ever a moment that lapsed where we weren't there for each other. Our family grew amazingly close and strong and my mom came out on top. I love you mom.


On the iPod...