Time management has never been more important to me than now. I have a new e-book, on-going work on two more, marketing plans, a terrific husband – and our daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer. This is a perfect example of “Life happens while you’re making plans.” All the plans get rearranged and re-prioritized, with the family always landing in the number one spot.
Thanksgiving, 2011, found me, as usual, preparing for a festive family day. The day before Thanksgiving, I had finally completed the edits for my first e-book, and returned the manuscript for final formatting and publication. All my treasured heirloom recipes from both grandmothers and Mother had been retrieved from their files, ingredients assembled, kitchen appliances utilized to the max. My husband, Jim, was busily chopping and often asking, “What next?” We are a finely-honed team in the culinary/entertaining department.
Thanksgiving Day was full of good food and thanks, just as we had planned. Our daughter spent the day with her husband’s family, but we had a full table at our house. The next day brought a shocking answer to Jim’s “What next?” in one of those time-stopping moments. It came in a phone call, while Jim chopped more vegetables and I wrestled a turkey carcass into a huge soup pot.
“Ring, ring.” I grabbed a kitchen towel and remarked that this was a heck of a time for the phone to ring. The voice on the other end of the phone said, “Mom.” That one word, in that one tone, put me on instant alert. All parents know what I mean. “Can you put me on speaker so Dad can hear?” That’s how we learned that our daughter, Jeannette, has cancer. We looked at each other with the same parent thoughts speeding our heartbeats. In an instant, all our “what next’s” changed.
Now, four months later, we are immersed in wound care, chemo schedules, blood tests, nutrition and hydration, blood pressure and temperature monitoring, battles with fatigue. Yes, there was the surgery, the waiting, the staging, the lymph node involvement, the complications and setbacks. Months of this will give way to radiation, and then probably two more surgeries.
“How is she?” everyone wants to know. If I had to tell you in one sentence, it would be, “She is a brave soldier.” She gave her long, silky hair early because she said, “Somewhere a child is waiting for this.” (Jeannette has donated her long hair twice before, while she was in peak health, so that a child with hair loss might benefit.)
My “Day by Day” blogs may not be as often as I’d like, but know that every experience we have is stored away until the moment it is needed to take its perfect place in a written thought. This website began as a road of discovery through reading and writing for children. It is just exactly that as we read, write, and discover along this road we walk with our daughter.
This is an illustration from www.tracybishop.com which is such an inspiration for all the rainy days in our lives. It’s full of bright hope and determination as we paddle our boats through the raindrops. Tracy graciously gave me permission to post it here.