Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It is What It Is; We Do What We Do

Some of you may have noticed I'm a little more distracted than usual. As you know, I' m fond of quoting John Lennon's "life is what happens while you're making other plans". Well, we've had a lot of life happening recently.

In February, my mother-in-law celebrated her 90th birthday with a big party with lots of family and friends. At the time she said she couldn't believe she'd made it to her 90th birthday and that it was the happiest day of her life. Unfortunately things started going downhill faster after that. She had a brief hospital stay in early March and then re-entered the hospital on March 18. Testing showed she had suffered several small strokes. After 1-1/2 weeks in Englewood Hospital, she was at Kessler Rehab in Saddle Brook for about one week, followed by a week at the Columbia Presbyterian stroke unit. She has now been at the Jewish Home in Rockleigh for over six weeks. For the past two weeks, she has been officially on hospice care. Intellectually I know and understand each step we are going through. Emotionally, however, each step comes as a shock and emotional landmine.

What has been the bright spot in all of this? The care and support from my friends. I tend to be a fairly private person -- a few close friends know what's going on in my life, but I don't usually tell everyone. Writing this blog -- revealing all -- is major for me. What I've discovered is that I'm not alone on this journey. Several of my friends are going through similar experiences so we are able to share information and hugs. One friend was very grateful that I told him about my mother-in-law as he was then able to tell me about his father's ongoing health issues.

So we continue to take things one day at a time. I'm hesitant to make too many plans. I actually RSVP'd to an event with the comment "I'll be there as long as life (or death) doesn't get in the way." (Our hospice social worker has assured me that without humor we'd go crazy.) And we continue to say "it is what it is and we do what we do".

ADDENDA: On Sunday, May 27, at around 2:15 am, Shirley S. Passow left us. We are both sad and relieved. She is now at peace and back with her beloved husband Harry. Farewell to a "woman of valor".