Tuesday, January 14, 2014

To Say or Not to Say

There is a popular post that circulates discussing what to say and not to say to people who are
Eli at Midway Cycle.
grieving or who are facing catastrophic circumstances. Not long after I saw that post, again, I read a separate comment by the mother of a boy who has cancer. She was stirred up over what she felt was an insensitive attitude by a friend, and in general all her friends, toward what she was dealing with in regards to the health of her son. She was upset that her friends complained about things, that now, she considers to be menial. Both the article and the individual post put the responsibility of decorum on the inexperienced party – the people that can’t know. If I were to ask Abbey about the three legislative branches of government, she would either not know or try to make something up to keep from looking like she didn’t know. I am not going to hold her responsible for understanding something that she hasn’t covered in school yet. I’m not going to expect her to know how to answer.  She can not understand things that she has not experienced yet. However, in defense of this mother, it is interesting that when I am in a group conversation and
Our first regular visit at our home clinic.
 someone complains about, for example, their kid has a snotty nose that won’t go away, they look at me and say sheepishly, “Well, I know that’s nothing really compared to what you’re facing.” It’s like I’m the complaint police, giving tickets for under-complaining. Or, like Santa, I’m keeping a list of who is complaining justly and who is not. That person is right, it’s not like anything I’ve been through or am going through, but I’m not keeping score. I’m not looking to put a little asterisk beside her plight acknowledging the comparable severity of my own. A snotty nose is a pain, so say it’s a pain and don’t qualify it. Besides, I’m not going to judge what is in someone else’s fish bowl. Someone perceives events and circumstances according to his experience thus far in life, and my experience doesn’t make his experience less impactive to his daily life or emotions. And, yes, there are comments by some that common sense should filter. I’m not referring to that kind of blatant stupidity. In those cases, we should “consider the source” and dismiss it. My mother got so enraged at an acquaintance who, within a couple of days after my father’s funeral, said to her (and I was with her, so I heard it) that she was sorry she couldn’t come to the funeral because her son had broken up with his girlfriend and it was like a death in the family at her house, too. My mother, who
He is still hesitant for them to use his port.
 was understandably emotionally charged anyway, was furious and remembered that exchange for many years. But, this was an obvious “consider the source” situation having been exposed to this woman’s blind gall for a few years. And, one day that poor woman was going to know that the absence of a teenage girlfriend from her home was a passing sigh compared to the pain of death on her doorstep. So, when tolerating the comments of one such as this, why deepen my own emotional deficit by giving him or her any credit. So, forget those people, but sometimes there are those that are just nervous and may say something uncharacteristically stupid because they are uncomfortable in emotional situations. So, my bold request here – which, I am taking a deep breath because it is going to be unpopular – is for those of us who have grieving notches on our belt – either from the loss of life, the loss of life as expected, or the tragic upheaval of life - to give a little break to those that have never seen what we have seen or felt what we have felt. Take a little delight in knowing that someone out there has so far evaded life outside of Eden. Say a little prayer that they be spared the perspective dealt us by the devil’s hand. To those searching for what to say or how to act concerning me specifically: it doesn’t matter what you say or that you say anything. I know that all of you are hurting for us and I honestly appreciate any effort whether it be in word or thought, but I’m not in need of
We  bought Asics Pediatric Cancer shoes!
 comforting, so don't feel like you need to say anything or anything in particular. So, the actual words don't matter, and, it’s not likely that you could say anything that would offend me…. you will just give me material for a blog post one day…. no, no, no I’m kidding, I kid. So, I don’t know what the “Top 10 Right Things to Say” are, but if you are genuine, then I’d say you are doing just fine.

Busted Pipe

I’m sorry that I’ve been so long writing. We have finally moved down the ladder from Utter Chaos to Controlled Chaos. I’m shooting for Routine Chaos by next week. We are still living with most of the upstairs downstairs from where we had to pull up most of the carpet as a result of a busted water pipe. Vic said he saw in the news that the county was declared a disaster area because of all the damage caused by frozen pipes. Thankfully, we are just incredibly inconvenienced and did not sustain a lot of damage. We will get new carpet out of it, which we needed anyway, plus a little more superficial repair, but that’s it. My heart did sink a little when I heard that the garage was a huge puddle with pretty waterfalls streaming from all the light bulbs because I have been collecting storage from the house and separating out yard sale items since August in preparation to list it. Well, I was using the garage as a kind of staging area to hold the yard sale items until it was time, and for all
The boys' room after the carpet was pulled up.
of the storage until I could get it moved to my mom’s house. So, everything out of all the closets, pictures, electronics, dvd’s, household storage was in boxes in the garage. Remarkably, the storage boxes were only lightly damp on the bottom. The yard sale pile was saturated, water poured out of the boxes when we were cleaning it out. The offending pipe, a tiny PVC elbow, backed up to the attic, which I had just cleaned out. The water traveled by carpet padding throughout half of the upstairs, and poured through the light fixtures into the garage underneath. Hannah Grace and her ride home found it after school last Tuesday when Eli and I were on the road home from Memphis. I almost let her stay at after-school care that day, so it would have been at least three more hours before anyone would have been home. It could have been much worse. We had a lot of help and got it all cleaned up and livable the next day. So, we have just been in wait mode as the

Some of the yard sale stuff that soaked it up.
sub-flooring dries and we are still waiting on the adjuster to check it out. After that all gets approved and we know what we are working with we will be able to get the ball rolling on repairs. So, I’m expecting it will be a couple of months yet before we are settled. We may take advantage of this upheaval to make some difficult changes in the house that, down the road, will be more emotionally hard to do. But, if we do it now, we can kind of make it fun and the motive won’t be so obvious to the kids. Since we are also still expecting to list the house at some point just because that is an issue that isn’t going away, it will be nice to have it in order soon.

A Groove Thang

So, just a reminder to you, if you see me climbing on top of a mountain and I look like I’m about to start beating my chest or shaking my fists at the air, shoot me down, please…. You are not going to believe this, but the power just went out when I wrote that! Seriously, I’m afraid I have challenged the universe in my
We had to get matts for the trundles.
sleep or something. Good grief! Anyway, so, even though the house is completely upside down, we are trying to find our unique form of normalcy, trying to find a groove in living with cancer. We are going to have to learn how to make our family life, and individual lives work, be productive, meaningful and enjoyable. And, that’s with all the kids. We know our time with Eli has been shortened, but Caleb will only be five years old for a few more months. And, I don’t want to look at Hg at 22 and wonder what she was like at 13. So, we are hoping to take advantage of the heads-up that we’ve been given. Vic goes into work at 0400 hours now in hopes of getting off at 1300 hours, so that he doesn’t spend his entire evening pounding an algebra book with Hg, but has some times for lego freestyle as well. We are doing some local fun things, too. We visited our favorite free museum this weekend, the Cook’s Natural Science Museum. And we spent some time with our friends at Midway Cycle looking at motorcycles today. Since the Barbie Jeep is the most power that their little hands have driven, the four-wheelers were incredibly impressive and exciting to the boys.

Car Show!!

But, we don’t look for fun things to do, we make our own fun things to do! I am so excited about this - If you know me or have followed Eli for very long you know that I crave distraction. I seriously think
My kids call it the Bug Museum, but it has a lot more than bugs.
that I become depressed without it. And not the flooding-my-garage kind of distraction, or even the oh-I-found-a-new-recipe-on-pinterest-that-i-want-to-try kind of distraction. I am so excited to invite you all to the first “Eli’s Block Party! Bring Your Own Muscle and Style” car show. I am in love with this idea, which I have toyed with for a while and, before news of Eli’s relapse, had even started talking with some people about hosting one in the fall. Eli’s interest in Mustangs caught the ear of our local Mustang club and they asked me about bringing some of their cars to show Eli. Well, I won’t go into the details about how interest grew so quickly, or how the idea evolved except to tell you that I had to laugh when Lawrence said something like, “Well, we’ve got a whole lot of interest to come, but I didn’t know if you might be wanting to keep it small.” I know…. he didn’t know he made a funny! So, here are the details and how you can
help make this a strong beginning to something I hope will grow into a great community event. First, make plans to come hang out with us! It will be at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church in Athens, January 25th from noon to 1600 hours. Cars from the Limestone County Mustang Club, Rocket City Mustang Club and a club out of Tennessee will be bringing cars, and maybe others by the time word gets around. Second, if you have a car or truck that you want to show off that is not a Mustang, bring it! Eli’s favorite is the Mustang, but he above all is just a vehicle guy and loves to look at all of them. And, keep this in mind: something that I think is going to make this fun and unique to other shows is that we will have a panel of kid judges and will be giving out awards in several different categories according to their choices. So, be sparkly. Thirdly, if you are local and can bring a finger food in a disposable dish for a hospitality table, it would be greatly appreciated. And, if
He looks like a natural, but I think we need to master pedals first.
someone has a way to pipe in some music, that would be great, too. It’s a party! I know it’s short notice, but as I told someone else, our clock is blinking “BETTER SOONER THAN LATER” when we get an idea, so we run with it. I don’t know how we will handle weather, so if it is looking extreme, check the blog and Facebook for updates. Eli is very excited about it, so I hope you can come by. If you can help with some of the organization that day, let me know.

Chemo on Friday

Wow, I will try to do updates more often so that I don’t write a book each time. We are having good days, so know that your prayers of comfort are heard. Eli feels good, although he has been tired this week I think from having to get up to take the girls to school. But overall he seems to be doing very well. He is in a good mood, he works tirelessly on legos and playing his new Wii U. He has
"Where's the Barbie Go button?"
 started some tutoring in math and reading. He has his next chemo infusion on Friday in Huntsville. Thank you for sharing Eli and for including him on your prayer lists. It is so comforting to know that that is going on. Please, pass the word about the car show and invite everyone to come out, so that we have a great showing.

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