How Thin the Line

May 27, 2022

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

While I hope to start posting regularly to Catching Happiness again soon, I’m not quite there yet. To give you an idea of what’s happening, here is an excerpt from May’s Happy Little Thoughts newsletter:

It’s been nearly a month since I stepped away from Catching Happiness to handle a family health emergency, and I’m sorry to say that emergency has only become more serious. My mother-in-law, Carol, who has lived with us since early last year, has been seriously ill with multiple health issues, including two stints in the hospital and one round of major surgery. She’s home now, stable, and we’re being supported by Hospice care. 

This experience has been shocking for all of us, and an example of just how quickly life can change. Until a month ago, Carol was completely independent and seemingly healthy. We’re still finding our way, figuring out what is comforting and helpful, what she can and can’t do for herself. I’m still figuring out how to be her caregiver while also taking care of myself. It’s a steep learning curve. How much I took for granted!

Breathing, for example.

One of Carol’s most troubling symptoms was the inability to breathe easily. With the help of oxygen and medication, she’s doing much better, but she felt like she was suffocating, and it terrified her (understandably). Until recently, I hadn’t spent much time contemplating the gift of being able to breathe! The simple act of drawing air into my lungs. Talk about a simple pleasure!

Of course, we’d become paralyzed if we constantly thought about how thin the line is between breath and suffocation, health and sickness, freedom and dependence, life and death. But it doesn’t hurt to stop now and then, as I’ve been forced to, to think on those things. To evaluate how we’re living our lives, whether or not we’re doing the things we want to do, being the people we want to be.

My advice is: If there’s something you want to do, don't wait. Find a way to make it happen. You never know when life will change abruptly and youll find it impossible to pursue those dreams.