Friday, April 13, 2012

The World Stopped Turning

Remember when Alan Jackson sang Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning? It was shortly after the 9/11 attacks. I know that song really hit home for so many people. It made me shed my share of tears.

But for my family and me... the world stopped turning a year ago today. And it feels just like yesterday.

One year ago today, started just like any other Wednesday. The kids went off to school, my husband was at work. Nothing out of the ordinary. Later in the afternoon my mom called to ask if she could borrow a book from me because she was taking herself to the emergency room. She told me that she had some seizure like episodes and thought she had symptoms of a stroke. My dad was recovering from major reconstructive back surgery only two weeks before, and couldn't drive yet. I asked her to let me take her and she said no. My grandma had offered to take her also, and she refused the ride.
Hours had gone by and I hadn't heard back from her. I sent her a text message her asking what was going on and she replied that they had taken some X-rays and done some tests but that she didn't know what was going on. I sent her another text, asking if she'd even seen a Dr. yet, or just nurses and assistants. She didn't answer that text.
It was only 10 minutes later that my dad called me, frantic. He said to me "Winnie (his nickname for me), we are in a bad place with your mom." I asked him what he meant, and this is when he told me that they found a brain tumor. At that very instant, the world stopped turning. It stopped turning for myself, my father, my grandma, my two sisters, my aunt & uncle, my grandfather. It stopped turning for my Mom.
That night was the worst night of my life, hands down. Never in my life have I been so scared. Yet, at the same time... it was me that needed to be "the strong one". What a conflicted place to be.
Today, I am not going to rehash the whole story. (You can read about that here for part one and here for part two). Today, I just want to recognize the struggle and the challenging road that my family is still reeling from. I want to reflect on where we were a year ago, and where we are now.

Today is for "Instead". 

Instead of being sad about what happened,  I am full of joy that my mom is with us today.

Instead of being scared about what may happen, I will feel strength and peace in God's plan.

Instead of thinking "why did this happen to us?", I want to share my gratitude that my mom listened to the cues her body was giving her, and was able to catch this terrible disease in time.

Instead of thinking "what if?", I am going to be thankful that my mom found the very best, cutting edge, lifesaving, care there is.

Instead of harboring any bitterness, I will keep my heart full of love.

Instead of remembering each hardship, each raw emotion, each new challenge... I am going to give thanks that our family made it through, together. The way that families do!

Instead of letting the world stand still, I am going to cherish every single moment of this "awful, beautiful life". Because if not for enjoying, what is life for?

Today is for Instead.

To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.  ~Barbara Bush

Our world has slowly begun it's rotation again. But when your world stops turning, it changes life a bit. And it's never again exactly the same as it was before.