Okay, maybe it wasn’t a disaster, but it sure felt like one. Our master bath, located upstairs in the center of the house, was being demolished to repair a leak, while men on lifts were ripping pieces of stone off of the front of our house looking for water damage.
Dust flying everywhere.
Nowhere to hide.
For the next two weeks… at least.
Michael, a night owl, was trying his best to get some sleep in a guest room upstairs, while poor Poupon meowed like crazy from his manmade prison, locked in my office so he wouldn’t get lost in the commotion.
At one point, when the noise got so loud that I thought I’d lose my mind, I remembered a conversation I had with my dad while he was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack.
Feeling grateful that I keep a journal as well as write this blog, I went looking for the memory.
Here’s what I wrote…
I spent this morning at the hospital with dad who had a heart attack last week. He’s been blessed with nearly a year of good health thanks to kidney dialysis, and this is the first major setback he’s had since.
While I lean toward green juice, exercise, and a variety of alternative approaches to healthcare, I thank God for the advances in modern medicine. It was miraculous to see my father go from what seemed to be the brink of death to living independently again.
This morning, as I sat with him while he finished breakfast, we talked about the challenges of staying in the hospital – being poked and prodded all day long, vital sign checks in the middle of the night, and the less-than-ideal food choices.
“You know, Cheryl,” he said, “I realized that while I could be angry and upset about being here, I could also change my thinking and see it differently.”
How so, I asked?
“Well, I could see myself as a man being treated like a king. After all, I get served three meals a day – some in bed. I have an escort wherever I go. I have people checking in on me all day long. And everyone cleans up after me.”
And he gets to watch golf anytime he wants.
We talked about the healing power of gratitude and began sharing examples…
A door on his bathroom instead of a curtain.
A spacious, private room, a standard for the cardiac floor.
Clean sheets every day.
My sister Shelly, his staunch healthcare advocate.
Closed captioning on the TV (my dad is deaf).
Kind and competent nurses and doctors.
A room with a window that lets the light in.
As my dad played this gratitude game with me, I smiled when I thought about the fact that I have his genes and therefore would always be able to rely on my inherited resilience and strength. Dad was strongest during the toughest times.
Your heart will heal with each grateful thought, I tell my dad as I leave him later in the day. It’s just as important as the medication you take and the procedures you endure.
He smiles that smile that says you don’t have to tell me, kiddo I’m your dad, remember?
And I do…
So today, rather than anticipate the arrival of workers tomorrow morning at 7am and the stress that’s likely to ensue, I’m going to put my inheritance to good use by changing my perspective.
Isn’t it wonderful the way our loved ones stay with us long after their bodies have gone?
Video of the Week
After last week’s blog about hugging, a friend sent this beautiful video of a kangaroo hugging a man who cares for them at The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Central Australia. You can find it here. Thanks, PJ!