Monday, November 30, 2009

Full of thanks

This post was supposed to be written last week, in preparation for Thanksgiving, but life throws you curve balls that interfere with plans. And that was precisely the point I was going to make. It's how we deal with those curve balls that matter.

I'm one of those -- an optimist, through and through. :) I can't help it. I think it stems from my teen years, which I've mentioned a bit on this blog. I had enough sad days then, and since then I just can't stand to be sad or depressed. It makes me physically uncomfortable, I hate it so much.

That's not to say I don't deal with the bad things in life -- I do. I realized a long time ago, when things are at the lowest, doing something, anything helps -- it gives you power and control back. So when things go bad, my control is to look at the good.

I was going to write about some trivial things in this post last week. Things like when the sitter cancels on your night out with friends or the hubby, and seeing that as a good turn of events -- looking at it as a chance to spend unexpected time with your children. And how many, many people in this world would do anything to have children to spend time with.

Or when the car breaks down and you can't get where you wanted to go -- I rationalize things like that by thinking it was probably best I didn't go. Would you call that fate? I just feel when something like that happens, I wasn't supposed to be in that car, at that time, on that road. I think there's a higher power at work and we often forget that, especially at the annoying times.

I was also going to talk about the more serious circumstances, like when I fell down half a flight of cement stairs a couple weeks ago -- holding my son. It was probably the scariest moment of my life. He hit his head, and I could barely walk afterwards. Within seconds he seemed fine, and after a trip to the ER, we found out he was indeed OK and my ankle (that was triple it's normal size) was only badly sprained.

I felt sorry for myself for about two seconds, and then I was overcome with thankfulness that it was just me that was hurt -- and it was just an ankle. How incredibly fortunate that my son was not hurt worse. The what ifs ran through my head and they were not good. So as I've hobbled around for the past two weeks, I've been reminding myself how thankful I am that that's all it was. I can handle with a sprained ankle any day of the week.

This is the way I deal, and it works for me. But my optimism was tested last week. We got news that my father-in-law was diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer. I simply cannot put this into words how I feel. I won't even try. For the first few hours after we found out, I could barely breath. It was like someone was sitting on my chest. Then, there were the tears, and tears. And tears. My heart is breaking for my husband. It's breaking for my stepdaughter, my sister-in-law, my nephews, for me. For my son.

And now, this bad, horrible news, has yet again taught me to see the good. It was confirmed today that his doctors think he has at least six months with us -- maybe even a year. My heart is heavy. I want to cry again and again. But I also can't help to think how fortunate are we to be able to spend this time with him over the next year. To do special things, take pictures, to create new memories.

For our son to get to know his Grandpa even better.

Every year my father-in-law cooks an authentic Mexican fiesta meal for us and our friends, usually in the fall. He obviously hasn't been feeling great, so we skipped it this year. But now, we're going to have the fiesta the week before Christmas. We will gather around him to cook our Mexican feast with him, and it will be something I'm sure none of us will ever forget. (And yes, it is as good as it sounds!)

I just can't focus on the bad. It's against my nature. I have to look to the good, and there will be much good that will come over the next year. I am sure of that.

If I can, I am asking a favor of all of you. I would really appreciate your prayers. For my father-in-law, that he feels as good as possible for as long as possible. And for my husband and his sister, that they feel comfort and peace right now. I really, really appreciate it. I am so thankful for all of you.

27 comments:

  1. In 11 days I will note the "anniversary" of the day my dad was diagnosed terminal with kidney cancer. I was preganant with child #4. I chose, too, to look at the positive in all of it. We had him for an additional 4 months and during that time we watched him really live life. If he wanted to go out to eat, my mom took him. If he wanted to go for a drive, they did. We had many discussions sitting on the front porch swing those last few weeks. It was a blessing to have time to say things we needed and wanted to say. Although I wish I still had him here (my two little girls never met him) I am grateful for the time God granted us at the end. I know that this seperation is temporary and that he is in heaven and someday I will join him there. I will pray for you as you face the next year. Keep focused on Jesus ... he is the ultimate comforter in these times.

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  2. My prayers are with you and your father in law. God bless your family!

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  3. I am so sorry. I will keep your family in my prayers.

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  4. I will be lifting your family up in prayer. My mother in law died from a brain tumor - very quickly. We never got a chance to say goodbye. I pray these last months will be filled with so many precious memories and lots and lots of videos taken of him sharing some of his family story.

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  5. My Mother passed away after a short battle with Lymphoma. We never had a chance to really talk and I miss her terribly. We will be praying for as much time as the Lord will grant you all. Remember we all love you and are with you in thoughts as well as prayers.

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  6. My thought are with you and your family. Just think you are really lucky to enjoy his life with him and you will have a chance to say goodbye when that time comes. Some are not that privileged to do that. Smile lots and Hug all the time!

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  7. Oh Sarah, my heart hurts for you. I can't imagine the kind of pain your family must feel, but I admire your courage and ability to see the good in such a hard situation. You and your family will be in our prayers, and I wish you all the best in planning all of those great, heartwarming activities for some Grandpa-Grandson fun. Your little man will cherish those memories forever, and trust me, he'll remember it all even at a young age. God bless!

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  8. Sarah,
    My prayers are with you and your family I know how hard this can be my own Father was diaganosed with lung cancer this time of year in 2004 cherish each moment you have together I pray that your father in law has "quality" time left with his family.

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  9. i'm so sorry to hear your news. but, i am so inspired by your optimism and courage. i will be lifting your family up in prayer and hoping you experience many encouraging and memorable moments with your father-in-law over the coming days.

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  10. Sarah,
    Once again, a post from your heart! We all needed to hear your words. We all too often forget that the grass is NOT always greener on the other side. My Christmas Wish for all is that we would each stop if only for a moment, and be Thankful for what we have...and believe you me...I need to do it too! I have a feeling I grew up a lot like you, but I can't say I have your optimism. I'll work on that!! Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your extended family. May your family enjoy the time you have together, and may many wonderful memories be made! (((HUGS)))

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  11. I'm so sorry to hear this. I will definitely pray for your family.

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  12. My thoughts and prayers are with you ... There is nothing else I can say except that you can believe in the peace that God brings within any storm.

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  13. I am so sorry. I'll be praying for you and your family.

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  14. I am praying for your father n law and your family right now.

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  15. Your words touched home with me. Do something, do anything to regain your control...yep, when I get the blues, down, something hits me hard in life that is exactly what I do. Projects, work focus, my blog. I POUR energy into something I love...family, friends, my children...to remain hopeful, optimistic. I've found it helps me to look for the good. My 'mood' improves. I can be more for others in a better mood than I could ever be down and out.
    I will be remembering your father-in-law and the family. Just spend as much time as you can and ENJOY each moment. I lost my dad years ago. Miss him still. But am ever so thankful for all the moments I had with him.

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  16. What a blessing that you are able to spend the upcoming holidays and next few months with him. You are absolutely right in that this is the time to create new and wonderful memories with him and your family.

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  17. Sorry to hear the news but love your outlook on the opportunity it brings. Sending you my best for your holiday season.

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  18. Dear Thrifty,
    Am so very sorry to hear about your Father-in-law. My Father-in-law also had pancreatic cancer and when he was diagnosed his tumor was inoperable and he opted not to get treatment because it would only postpone things not cure or put him in remission. He opted for quality life in his last days.
    I am thankful that he still has some time left because it is a very good thing to be able to share in this time, and it prepares each family member for the inevitable. We have to let go of them, and they have to let go of us! God is very good to give us this extra special time!
    I think having a positive outlook is exactly what God wants us to do in every situation, even when we don't or can't understand it... to know we have a God who loves us no matter what is a comforting thing.
    Will surley be praying for you and your family during this difficult yet special time!
    Blessings hon, Nellie

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  19. Praying for your father-in-law that his time is as pain-free as possible. I am also praying that wonderful memories are made during this time for your whole family.

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  20. I will definitely add you and your family to our prayer list. I know this is a scary and difficult time (been there, done that). Cling to Jesus, He will sustain you.

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  21. Sarah,
    I so sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I will be lifting your entire family up in my prayers. I lost my mom suddenly years ago and I would give anything to be able to say goodbye to her. Your optimism is truly inspiring. Cherish whatever time God grants you and remember to celebrate the small things.
    God Bless You!

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  22. I am very sorry to hear your sad news, Sarah. I lost my grandma 6 years ago to pancreatic cancer. She lived exactly 6 months after her diagnosis. I am grateful that she was able to meet her first great grandchild before she passed on and for the memories we were able to create with her and my daughter those 2 short years.

    I admire your optimism, and I hope you have many wonderful new memories with your father-in-law. You will always have those memories, even after he's gone, and those memories can help you get through the tough times.

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  23. You are in my thoughts and prayers, along with all of your family. I will pray for a miracle for your father in law, and I hope you are able to soak up a lifetime of memories in the time that is left.

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  24. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. You are one special lady, always putting others ahead of yourself, even though you have an injury. I so very much agree that it is better to stay positive.
    Hugs and blessings to you and your family, sweetie.
    Shari

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  25. Beautiful railing! Love the glitter reindeer. I stocked up on those myself! I have the gold (for the "family" tree...aka...MY tree. Each of my girls have their own 6'tree in their rooms. One has a pink tree and the other has purple. Therefore,I filled my Dollar Store basket with the pink and the purple reindeer, as well! LOVE ME SOME DOLLAR STORE!

    Can't wait to see your "big" project! Could it be that you are planning to rip up the carpet and do "hardwood" treads and "painted" risers? THAT...would be beautiful! And the "railing" would appear to be more substantial. Keep the "inspiration" coming! Happy Decorating to ya!

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  26. Count on my prayers for sure!!!

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