My carefully planned New Years Goals are going to have to wait a bit. The first day of 2014 found me scrambling to schedule a flight from Philadelphia to Daytona Beach. I needed to plan around a possible snowstorm. After carefully going over weather maps, listening to the weather channel and checking with my favorite Philadelphia meteorologist’s, I decided Friday morning looked like smooth sailing or in my case flying.
The storm slowed, intensified and hit us harder and later than expected. It continued to snow into the morning of my flight. The expectation for delays was high.
Since I arrived at midlife I seem to spend my days, anticipating which of life’s storms are coming at me next and doing my best to prepare for them. My preparations never seem to be enough.
My father was not recovering as we expected from brain surgery. Everything was going well until he came down with pneumonia due to poor care at a rehab facility. This father of mine was always a fierce fighter and for all I knew he may once again land on his feet. His diagnosis of lung cancer in 2010 came with a devastatingly poor prognosis. He went through his treatments like a champ and after a pet scan his doctors declared a miracle and all was well in Daytona Beach, until now.
My parents were still active, fun loving people. As far as today’s standards they are not old. My husband and I visited back in October and enjoyed happy hour by the beach with them. At that time I remember thinking I needed to enjoy and remember that moment. That was the first time a feeling came over me that I may lose my Dad one day.
‘They’ say there is no way to prepare for the loss of your parents. No matter what kind of relationship you had or have with them when you lose a parent it hits you head on and then from all sides.
I didn’t believe them. ‘They’ didn’t realize I am no stranger to grief.
After losing my beloved little brother to a random road rage murder when he was only twenty-six, I decided that the struggles I had with my grief were because of the shock of what happened and because he was so young. It wasn’t natural. People either grow old, and die or they get very sick and die. Both of those scenarios come with expectation.
Midlife, so far is not at all what I expected. I was so excited to get here. Honestly I was. I was a young parent and a young grandparent. I was looking forward to sleeping in. I anticipated the time when I could buy ice cream and it still being in the freezer when I was in the mood to have some. That hot flash thing sounded like a warm blanket to me. I was always cold. I would be able to watch what I wanted on TV and listen to ‘my’ music in the car. These were the things I thought midlife had in store for me.
Be careful what you wish for ’they’ say. ‘They’ must have been thrown into that fire pit of hell while ‘they’ were sound asleep and woke up in a puddle. ‘They’ must have known it was always your husband, not the kids that ate all the ice cream and ‘they’ for sure must have known it takes many years after they have moved on to pay-off having those kids.
I arrived in Florida a few hours late due to the storm. I spent one week at my father’s bedside, holding his hand, laughing, having serious conversation and crying. He passed away on a Friday morning. My Mother, Uncle and I were at his side.
‘They’ were right. Losing your parents too soon really sucks.
I’m not quite sure what to pack for the rest of this journey into midlife. My arrival has been stormy so far.
I do intend to be present in and aware of every moment. I want to feel the good feelings as well as the painful ones and to always be moving forward.
I don’t know for sure but I have faith and believe, thanks to my “midlife” friends that once I get through this stormy arrival to midlife there will be plenty of rainbows and lots ice cream in the freezer.