Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Embracing the mess

ECENTLY I've been meditating on a pithy smidgen of knowledge passed along by Kenzie of the Hello Neverland blog: "The plan is never as fun or as beautiful as embracing what messes it up."

Sometimes this is true. The plan I had for my life at age 16 was very different from the way things actually went, and from this vantage point I can look back and say, "Thank heavens I didn't follow the original plan." It took me a long time, though, to embrace what had messed up that plan; I wasted maybe a dozen years struggling to get back on track before I started to ask myself, "Why are you doing this? What's wrong with the path you're following now?"

At one point Captain Midnight and I planned to have a few children. When that didn't seem to be in the cards, we considered adoption. After a while, we gave up on the idea of being parents at all -- and then Miss V arrived. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll have reason to say it again: she helped us experience what parenthood is, and we couldn't love her any more if she were our own daughter.

With that said, not everything that messes up your life plans is beautiful or fun. Sometimes it's heartrending, as when you discover that your parents are mortal. I found this out relatively early, at age 12. After my dad's death, I harbored a not-so-secret fear for years that my mother would die too and leave me, the oldest, in charge of keeping my five siblings together. But Mom, in spite of being diagnosed with diabetes, remained relatively healthy all the years we were growing up. That was a blessing.

Then the diabetic complications started coming at her -- first a few at a time, then thick and fast. I suppose things could have been much worse; if all these problems had hit her a generation ago, she'd be blind by now and have at least one foot amputated -- that is, if a heart attack hadn't killed her first. As it is, she still has her sight and the use of her feet, and an emergency surgery staved off the impending heart attack. But there's a limit to what modern medicine can do. Recently, Mom discovered she's gone to stage 5 renal failure, which means she needs to start dialysis. And that means my mom's years on earth are sharply numbered.

I'm not sure what I believed about the way Mom's life would go, but this wasn't it. Just at the moment, I can't see much that's fun or beautiful about embracing this mess -- mostly I see the sad and painful side of it. But I want to try to embrace it anyway, and work to find beauty where I can.

Any ideas?


MarieC said...

I don't have any bright ideas, just sympathy for what you are experiencing with your mom. Rob's dad is in his final days (literally), and while his passing will be a blessing for him, we are awaiting it with sorrow as well!

Soozcat said...

If we had our druthers, I suspect, we'd choose to keep our loved ones here indefinitely. But in at least a few cases, that would be cruel. I think of how much pain my grandmother was in during the last month of her life, suffering from a horribly metastasized form of ovarian cancer. Though I wish there had been some means of taking the cancer away, realistically the only way of bringing that suffering to an end was through her death.

Doesn't make it much easier, though, does it?

Cailean said...

My paternal aunt is in the exact same situation -- needs to start dialysis or hope for a transplant. She's in Australia and I wish I could see her. I suppose one bright side is your Mom is close enough that you could go visit her. I'm still truly very sorry for the difficult task of facing mortality, something I've always been horrible at :(