It's been a bit of a tough week or two around here, for various reasons. Sick kids, more sick kids, work stress, another sick kid, events to organize, shirts to make, and kids that are sick. And because life just seems to work like this, the sick kids seemed to wake up on mornings that I really wanted to not have sick kids.
My dear Aunt Clara was hospitalized with a bleeding brain aneurysm. It was an up and down roller coaster ride, starting at the low of finding her alone and unconscious, involving a life flight and many tests, enduring a night of little hope, and climbing to the top of the ride the next morning when she came back from a place the doctor had never seen anyone come back from before. Another life flight to a bigger hospital and emergency surgery followed, and blessedly Aunt Clara's children were able to be there with her for all of this. I wanted to be there as well, because when family is hurting you gather around them. It's what makes family family. But every time I'd make plans to go (in the course of 4 days), I'd have another kid wake up with The Sick. You can't take a sick kid to a hospital, and I felt like a walking petri dish after living with This Sick And That for a week, so I didn't think it wise to carry my germ-laden self to see someone who's very life lay in the balance.
I never did get to visit Aunt Clara before the complications became too much for her body to fight. I felt so badly that I never got to be with my cousins in their walk through the valley of the shadow. They live ten hours away, and drove up to see their mom, and I couldn't drive an hour to hug them or offer support.
Today was Aunt Clara's funeral. Today, Micah woke up with a recurrence of his pink eye. Becky babysits on Wednesdays, so she wasn't an option to watch The Sick Boy. Josh was recovering from influenza (the real flu, and it's brutal stuff), and while he'd been out of school for several days and had a note to excuse him for today as well, he decided he was feeling well enough to go back. His fever broke yesterday, so he was cleared to go when he felt he was strong enough. I had no sitter for Micah. I made the choice to administer meds, hoped he didn't look horrible, and just take him.
I worked feverishly all morning trying to get my sewing done because that box needed to arrive by the weekend. I finished up, but realized that I missed the mail. I ran late looking for the GPS, and was even later by swinging through a drive-through for Micah's quick lunch on the road since I didn't have time to make us lunch at home. I was stressing about being ten minutes late to the funeral, and tried telling myself that being late is so much better than not showing at all. And then the GPS said I'd arrived, when I was in front of a residence in the middle of nowhere. This was the point where I would have cried, if I were the crying type in these situations.
I drove home the other way, because I didn't know what else to do. Does one drive all over the county looking for a church they're not familiar with, when one is already 15 minutes late? What an awful day. Not only did I not get to the hospital to be with family, but I couldn't even make the funeral. And then I drove by that church, and saw familiar cars in the parking lot, and made the decision to just stop and hug family as they filed out. Micah and I sat in the back pew, and caught the last prayer. Literally.
And the cousins that I haven't seen in well over ten years were so grateful that I was there. It was like we were kids again, only grown. Family seems to just be closer at times like these, and I was so glad I could be there for them, to show that I really did care, even if I am horrible at keeping in touch. And because they're family, they were just as grateful to see that I'd made it, even if I almost missed the whole event entirely. Despite the fact that my cousins were possibly living one of the hardest days of their entire lives, they completely turned my day around. Just a hug of appreciation (and one of condolence given in return) can remind you that family is what matters most. And the awesome thing about family is that they accept you, pink eye and all, and make your horrible, lousy, stressed day all better with a hug and a smile.