The old Forest Gump comment about life being like a box of chocolates where you never know what you're going to get is something that most people can relate to. Life can be unpredictable even when you're not expecting anything. It can surprise you, even when you plan. It can terrorize you, when you lease expect it. It can bless you, when you're ready to give in. That's life. And sometimes, you've just got to roll with it.
June and July have been two of those months. I had a pretty good June plan laid out. I was taking classes in Atlanta in the early part of the month, and then I was taking my 4 year old granddaughter to see the ocean and the beach for the first time. I was really excited.
A year or so ago, I decided to go back to school and get another (and final degree) doctorate. I use it for brain exercise and I love it. I'm just slightly past the three-quarter mark in the program, and my Alma Mater requires that I be on campus four times during the program. The rest of the time, I'm writing from my office and sending work in. When I went to Atlanta in early June, my computer decided to die just as I was leaving town. Great. I knew I'd be doing projects, making presentations and submitting class work for the five days of class.
I did explain to my professor that my computer died just days before class. He was awesome about it, but I still had to do the work. The college library allowed me to stay late and work early to get things done. My work, presentations and projects were all completed, but that didn't help with my follow-up work when I left Atlanta. I still didn't have a computer. When I picked my son and granddaughter up at the Jacksonville airport, Wes and I talked about my DOA computer and we hatched a plan to rebuild it at the beach. We bought a new solid-state hard drive and operating system, and it's like a new computer today. We just rolled with it, and here I am writing this blog on it.
That was challenging, but it was nothing like what would greet me when I returned home. The first thing that hit me when I returned to work, was the central air conditioning unit on the roof of my office died. It can get pretty unbearable in there when it's down. Fortunately, my office staff went on vacation shortly after and I was able to make some changes and the office is cool today. Right now, it's a band-aid, but soon it will be a full solution. I just had to roll with it and find a quick and simple solution.
Then the biggest challenge hit, my mother was rushed to the hospital with really high blood pressure that was not coming down. She soon became unresponsive and the doctors, who gave little to no hope, asked me if I'd like to sign a DNR. Wow! What a place to be in. She had not been well for a number of years, and since my step-father had passed in 2015, she had become lonely and miserable. Her dementia had begun to increase daily rather than occasionally, and I could see a marked difference in her over the past few months.
After deliberating with other family members, I agreed to the DNR request and within days, she died. That was painful, but down deep inside, I knew she would be in a far better place. Last Thursday, I spoke at her life celebration. It was a challenge, but I would never want to continue in this life in her condition, and I can only believe she did not either. With her quality of life diminished, she longed to be with her parents and her husband, and now she is.
Sometimes, you've just got to roll with the situations that life presents to you. Some are easy, some are hard, and some are nearly impossible. Some decisions are easy to make and some are difficult and painful. But, there will always be another sunny day. There will always be another sunrise and sunset. The oceans will continue rise and fall and the waves will continue to crash against the shore. The wind will blow and the seasons will change.
In the case of my mother, I will miss her, and I've gone through a ton of photos remembering the life she lived. It has been comforting, and many people reached out to share their condolences, and I appreciate that. I've even had a few local businesses send me notes to let me know they are thinking of us. That was so kind. Life goes on. Even with the heartache that comes with many of life's blows, you can't surrender to them. You can't lay down and you sure can't give up. You've just got to roll with it and see where it takes you, and hopefully you will see good on the other side of whatever it is.