So many thoughts flooding my mind right now. Not expecting anyone to read this, so, if you are here… thank you. This blog will mostly be a written reflection of where I am – at any given moment. Any nuggets you may find are courtesy of God – from whom all wisdom comes. Any ramblings are courtesy of me – a work in progress.
Across the span of this journey called life, we sometimes hear quotes or lessons repeated. Over time, the lessons seem trite or meaningless – even when filled with truth. Not because we are unaware of the truth, but because we are 1) not in a place to accept the truth, 2) cannot relate to the truth being shared, 3) the truth is overwhelming – where do we begin, or 4) yada, yada, yada – we hear the truth so much we are desensitized.
Let me share some examples:
- ActiveWater (http://www.activewater.org/The_Hard_Facts.php) shares 1 of every 8 people on this planet lack access to clean drinking water. Really? I have city water (allegedly clean), soft water (compliments of our water softener), and purified water (yep, love our reverse osmosis system), too. Oh, and I live in America – land of abundance, so there’s bottled water from Costco sitting in my garage. You know – in case I’m too lazy to fill one of our portable water bottles (BPA-free, of course).
- What about AIDS? According to JoinRed (http://www.joinred.com/red/#lazarusEffect) 33 million people have HIV. Interesting. Makes me sad, because I knew a gay man who died of AIDS. His death was slow and painful. Broke his mother’s heart. Know lots (okay, about a dozen) of gay men. None have AIDS. All are friends. Not once have I taken the time to ask – if they know someone… if I can help… if they know that I love them… more importantly, if they know that God loves them.
- Want to see me get fired up (honesty alert *for a moment*)? Ask me about slavery and sex trafficking. The International Justice Mission site (http://www.ijm.org/ourwork/injusticetoday) tells me, “Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 12 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry.” As a young girl, I was molested – on more than one occasion, from more than one perpetrator (neighbor, Boy Scout leaders, and the list goes on). Sexual abuse stays with you for life. I am married to the most amazing man, and to this day, there’s still a certain way he cannot kiss me, because it triggers a flashback. He respects me enough to never cross that line, so it’s really a non-issue for us. It took me years, however, to forgive those men and to not desire revenge. Sexual abuse stays with the victim for life. How dare a man put his sexual desires over the safety of a child! How dare a woman put her daughter in harm’s way!
That’s such a small sample of the ‘information overload’ that bombards us on a daily basis. Walk into church (if you need a one, you’re more than welcome here: http://www.kingswaychurch.org/) and our pastors tell us how many in our community (80K w/in 25 miles of Avon) do not know Jesus. What? How can my neighbor not know that God loves her (gender reference not important) unconditionally? Surely, she knows that even though I go to church, I still sin daily. God loves her so much that He sent His holy and perfect Son. She knows that. The statistics must be from a different county – maybe Putnam or Johnson. Or, maybe downtown Indy – Marion County. Here? Hendricks County? Where I live? Are you sure? I’m sure I’ve done my part. <sarcasm intended>
Which brings me to my point. I am writing this at my personal rock bottom. Is it my only rock bottom? No, unfortunately, I have been here before… different day, different situation, and different topic. So, why now? Well, honestly, my hero died. His name was Robert Martinez. I loved so much about him, and someday soon I will share his eulogy. Today, you just need to know how much I respected and learned from his honesty.
For years he told me that I should drop some weight, watch what I eat, and avoid diabetes at all cost. Ok, Daddy. Love you, too. Yes, I know we have a family history. Yes, I know that Aunt Delores went blind. Yes, and Pie (Reuben Jr) too. Of course, but this is us. This stuff doesn’t happen to our family. Wrong!
Daddy died as a result from complications that stemmed from diabetes. Note: he was NOT overweight (unlike his daughter). First, his kidneys shut down. We knew he needed kidney dialysis by the end of the year. On December 16th, however, he went via ambulance to the hospital because fluid (not being filtered by his kidneys) began building up on his lungs. Ok, no problem. Dialysis will start sooner. And, it did – December 17th. Mom was with him. She called. I thought it was for an update, but, instead, it was to tell me that Dad had a heart attack. I needed to pick Sarah up from school. Surely, this was just a bad dream. Christopher came to get me, Sarah went to Auntie M’s, and I prayed all the way to the hospital.
Christopher and I were there when the cardiologist told us it was a “small heart attack.” He also said, “expect blockages.” Daddy’s heart cath would be Monday. “What are you going to do until then?” I asked. I sounded calm, cool, and collected. Years of project management, I can handle any crisis. Daddy’s health advocate – that’s my role. I can help my family understand what’s happening. The cardiologist assured me (yep, I got what I wanted) by starting my dad on Heparin IV… would keep his blood thin (preventing clotting or an attack) until the cath on Monday.
Monday (Dec 20) – heart catheter successful. Daddy needs bypass surgery. Scheduled for Wednesday. On this day, I just took care of him as he went through dialysis. You know – wiped his forehead, retrieved the emesis basin, whatever I could do to make it a little better. Tuesday (Dec 21), Daddy transferred to the Indiana Heart Hospital. His brother (my favorite uncle) came in to see him. I took Sarah up to encourage him, too. Wednesday morning, he was scared. My brother came to the hospital (first time they spoke in over nine years). Seeing them reconcile was a beautiful thing. Those present: me, my mom, my brother, my husband, my uncle, and one of the pastors (he’s also a friend) from our church. What did we do to ease the fear? We prayed. Just give it to the Father. He loves Daddy even more than me. We exchanged an “I love you,” and I told my dad that he was going to feel so much better. Now, I realize the part after “I love you” was an empty promise, a platitude from his scared daughter. The promise was never mine to make.
Doing my best to rejoice in between tears. God answered so many prayers. As much as I took charge of my dad’s medical care (Riley Hospital is the first place I started project management – for the Cancer Center – years ago), it never once occurred to me that he could die while on life support. He flat-lined. The cardiologist and nurses restarted his heart – long enough for me to get to the hospital. What a praise – I was with him as God stopped his heart for the last time and as he took his final breath. I had visions of singing praise songs, but the tears and pain of losing the blessing that was my dad was too great.
When Daddy died, I fell down the side of a cliff. Fortunately, I fell right into my Heavenly Father’s arms who lay me gently upon the rock below. Today, I am wavering between laying and standing on His rock. Remember the classic lyrics, “On Christ this solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand?” There are a lot of people who prayed and continue to intercede on my and my family’s *yes, I know it’s not all about me* behalf. Words really are inadequate to describe the joy and peace that brings my soul.
Which brings me to ‘rock bottom.’ Daddy died on Thursday evening, December 30th, around 7pm. I never heard him speak after his surgery. There’s much more to the story, but right now the point is simple: I have to live my life differently – starting now!
My world will never be the same. Thursday night, it felt as if the world stopped even though it didn’t, it hasn’t, and it won’t. No question: I will miss my daddy every day. That brings me back to ‘rock bottom’ and another topic: change.
- Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Really? How about if I just be Sonia?
- Heraclitus of Ephesus offered, “Nothing endures but change.” Which over time acquired numerous variations including, “The only thing constant is change.” Gotta love it when people state the obvious! And the sun rises in the East and sets in the West in the northern hemisphere. Not helpful!
- Alcoholics Anonymous contributed this one, “Change occurs when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of changing.” Ouch. That one hurts.
Feeling ultra-sensitive to the last one after my dad’s death. I cannot remain the same. To do so would dishonor my dad’s memory. So, this Saturday, I begin a journey of transformation. I am privileged to be a ‘new recruit’ for a program called “Bridging the Wellness Gap.” You can read more here: http://bridgingthewellnessgap.wordpress.com/about-btwg/.
Praying that this program provides the tools I need to turn my life around. Then, I will teach Sarah (and Christopher and whoever else God puts in my path) how much sugar is ok (never met an Oreo I didn’t like). The cycle stops here ~ no more diabetes! Every time I want to quit, I want to say that I will remember my dad and press on. If for some reason, you see me with any other attitude, then you have my permission to call me on it. Please hold me accountable – I’m not just saying that. Please remind me of this post. I can assure you, my daddy was more than worth it, and so am I.