Friday, February 5, 2010

The Firestorm

The perfect firestorm of Karmic Kraziness has descended upon the American midwest.

I have no idea what is going on in the grand scheme of things, but it seems my entire group of friends and my family have been dumped on by the cosmic garbage dump. I'm seriously afraid to talk to anyone for fear of discovering yet another negative scenario playing itself out.

An extended family member has suffered terrible calamites (personal and medical) in the past week, the extent of which are somewhat unbelievable. Let's just say last Friday he lost his job, Saturday an emergency situation arose in which it was determined he needed quadruple bypass surgery and today, one week later he's fighting for his life. If you pray, can you pray?

Having devoured the three real-life adventure books, I'm on another journey. This time with Elizabeth Gilbert.

"Eat, Pray, Love", by Elizabeth Gilbert, 89 cents at Goodwill.

It's no secret that I've got the "Eat" subject covered. In the book "On the Water" the author paddles his way around the eastern half of the continent fueled by nothing more than peanut butter and crackers. It must be a guy thing because I could not imagine paddling a hundred miles without the reward of Linguini Carbonara at the end of the day.

Elizabeth has it right.


Eat wonderful food and take pleasure in it's comforting powers. Be a naysayer to those who urge you to abstain from butter and gelato in an effort to promote health. Mental heath and soulful health require that occasionally you immerse yourself in a large plate of chicken and dumplings.

When I called my mom yesterday morning it was obvious the recent events have left her rocky. The elderly are fragile in way that I'm beginning to understand all too well. She's in a senior building with hundreds of apartments. Death stalkss the halls at night and coffee hour mostly brings more bad news. Although she was not particularly close to this extended family member, his youthful age (53) and the painful circumstances shatter the thin shell she's constructed.

She was contemplating a trip to the hospital to sit with his family members.

"No, no!" I said.

"I'm coming out there. We're going to go to lunch and eat chicken and dumplings."

"And biscuits with real butter and honey. We'll share a small dish of fried apples."

She agreed, with little reluctance in her voice. I think she was happy to relieve herself of a self-imposed obligation that would only shatter her further.

"And then we will pray," I continued.

"Not for a whole and undamaged body to be restored because that night not be an option. We'll pray that everyone who loves him will be given the strength to handle whatever comes next and he will be given strength to face his challenges."

After lunch we returned to her 14th floor apartment. I mentally swept the hallway of those deathly spirits and we sat in silence, looking out over the monotonous winter landscape,

...... and thought about love. A daughter's love for her father, now lying in a hospital bed, a mother's love for her daughter who is facing the loss of her father in his whole and untouched self, the love of a grandmother who feels for both of them.





George Gaston said...

Suzanne, what a beautiful way to show love, care and consideration of one's troubles. We are living at a time when troubles seem to be the norm, yet we too often forget to embrace each other with this kind of loving care.

Your family & friends are so blessed that you are there in their lives.

Vee said...

This is profound, Suzanne. I have just written my Sunday post and I think that I'll link back to your post here because this post says more in better ways than I ever could express. I've been commenting all over the place on various bloggers willingness to "go there." It makes all the difference. Your mom has such a wise daughter in you! Flowers...a gift card to Starbucks or whatever local shop will be deeply appreciated without her going and sitting. There will be those called to sit. And, yes, I am praying.

Diva Kreszl said...

read this book a year ago and loved it, hope you do too!

Lisa D. said...

Good reminder of the things that are really important.

Lisa said...


I do pray and I will.

May I say that this post is beautifully written? Perhaps it is the knowledge that you and all around you are reeling from the situation and yet you are still able to write with such poignancy.

Kat said...

I trust your judgment in books, so I'll keep trying to get this one from the library. But my thoughts after reading this post are that I'd most like to read a book written by you. Have you ever thought about it?

Oh, and I'm passing on your old copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on my blog right now, in case anyone wants a second chance at it!

I hope things improve for everyone, and that your steadfastness continues without being abused. People need people like you.

bv said...

suzanne, this post is so touched my heart in many ways. so sorry for the dark clouds, so perceptive to take care of mom just the perfect way, so well written i cried. i do pray, i will. i also love and eat. i spend most of my life very thin. first it was my body type, later it was stress. and i watched my brother die of a cancer that made it impossible to eat...eating is a blessing, a joy to be thankful for. enough with all the weight stuff! eat, pray and love-live your life! mmmm, chicken and dumplings, the perfect comfort food.

bv said...

i didn't mean live YOUR do. just saying, i hope we are thankful for our blessings and live our life to the fullest.

Susan said...

Beautifully said. I am praying.

Becky K. said...

The realities of life can be so harsh. I am touched by the way you cared for your mother and eased her pain.

Praying for your relatives. For peace and healing.

Becky K.


love that book...and enjoyed listening to her on book on tape. wonderful.

heaether said...

that was beautiful aunt susie...thank you.

lifeinredshoes said...

We ate there the other night and I did not share my apples!
At this stage of the game the same reality keeps hitting me in the IS too short!
Prayers to you and I need to read the book.

Pamela said...

Beautiful thoughts and words. Thank you for sharing them with us. We all face these issues and it's helpful to see how they can be handled with grace. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Sending my best to your entire family. It sounds like a very scary and uncertain time for him. Wishing you all much love.

The Blue Ridge Gal

sandymcconnell30 said...

Suzanne, I do pray and I will pray for your family member. It is hard to see things like this happen to people that are still so young. Life jsut doesn't seem fair sometimes, does it? I too have elderly parents and it's hard to watch them say good-bye to so many of their friends. I once heard a saying that goes, "Live your life so that when you are gone, it will have mattered that you were here". I guess that's all we can do, isn't it? Praying for a better tomorrow for all of you. Sandy from SC ( I DID IT!!!) Thanks for the help!

Leslie T. said...

Such a profound post. So eloquent. I am praying. I'm so sorry that life is presenting so many challenges for your family right now. What a tragedy. I agree with you about food.... gelato = happy. :) :) :)
My parents are also facing end-of-life issues, and it's a jarring thing to come up against the reality of it all. Prayer is key.
Take care, Suzanne. Your mother is a lucky woman to have a daughter like you!

Packrat said...

Hi - newcomer from Vee's blog. Thank you for the sad, but beautiful post. Thoughts and prayers to you, your mother, and the extended family.

Sandi McBride said...

Vee sent me...and Suzanne, I assure you I pray...and so I have...and now God has it in His Hands...the human condition is something we will always have laying on our hearts...luckily, God is disposed to listen.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

This is a great post! What you did for your mom was the best thing!

a woman who is said...

Praying for him and family. Sent over here by our friend sweet Vee.

Lovely way with your mother. Yes, I am beginning to understand how fragile we can all get.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I also came over from Vee's. I hope your relative's condition is improving and I will say a prayer for him.

My elderly Mom lives in a house near me and I am the only one of her four children who lives close to her and helps her. All of her friends have passed away over the past few years and I am beginning to see her mental health decline. Some hard decisions will need to be made soon, and they weigh on my heart.

I liked "Eat Pray Love" -especially the "Eat" portion of the book :-)