Back To School (and maybe back to normal)

You know, when I went to read my Oracle Cards this morning, I didn’t really realize just how perfect it would apply for all of 2020. The card I pulled was Shakti reversed, and the explanation for what that meant was this: “Sometimes people and situations come into your life as the kind of change agents that turn your life upside down.”

It was supported by Lilith reversed as the Shadow Card (the one on the bottom of the deck, you know, the one you subconsciously put down at the bottom because you are trying to hide it from yourself). It suggests that I fear being truly Independent and that I am drawn to other people’s chaos so that (basically) I don’t have to deal with my own stuff.

Both seem particularly accurate for my life right now and for the year in general.

Usually when things arrive to shake up my world, I’m able to see the lesson I’m meant to learn from it, but there are so many “things” shaking up my world right now it is hard to imagine what the lesson could be, unless it’s simply ” go with the flow,” which seems unlikely.

I see my last post was in June, shortly after my father’s accident and before we knew exactly how bad his situation was/is…

My father was in a bad car accident on May 20th. Five days before my birthday… which is unimportant in the long run, but since the situation with my father kind of took over my world, I only just received some of my birthday presents because I only just recently got back to my own home, and then only because I had to in order to prepare for the new school year. Thus, it deserves mentioning.

So, five days before my birthday (over three months ago), my father was in a bad car accident. In the accident, he broke one of his lower vertebrae and cracked his sternum. Before they could fix any of that, they had to get his kidney function back to normal because they were failing. As in the doctor said he wouldn’t have made it much past a week if the accident hadn’t happened and alerted them to the problem. So, they stuck tubes directly into his kidneys and began running tests.

Turns out, he has bladder cancer. The tumor(s) were keeping the urine from going from the kidneys to the bladder, hence kidney failure.

Once his kidneys were functioning well enough, they fused his lower 5 vertebrae together. No one explained to us that he needed to basically be on bed rest, and in fact the trauma team was pushing him to do loads of rehab therapy in order to heal. They wanted to send him home with a wound vacuum sticking out of his back, plus the nephrostomy tubes in his kidneys, and NO home health set up.

So, instead, we got him into a rehab facility, and work him hard they did… because that was what we had been told would help him to improve.

Thus the whole month of June was rehab, both at the rehab facility and then at home. But once he was home, he started complaining about how bad it hurt.

Then at the follow up appointment, it turns out all that rehab pulled the screws out, you know, the ones they just put in his back to hold the lumbar vertebrae in place. So back into the hospital he went to redo the back surgery. Followed by 1 month of bed rest…meaning I got to do everything for him.

Meanwhile, we couldn’t move forward with the bladder issues until the back was stable, and so we had lost 6 weeks of time to deal with that.

When we finally were able to do all the testing needed, we found out that he definitely had cancer, and it had definitely spread. We were waiting to see just how bad the prognosis was when it was decided that I absolutely had to go back to Houston to get ready for the school year because my district would not approve working from home.

On a Thursday, I found out my father was at Stage 4 and had between 6 months (without chemo) up to 2 years (with chemo… maybe) left. On Friday, I had to be at work, and it’s been balls to the wall ever since I’ve been back… with a small CO-VID scare in the middle.

No, I’m fine, it was negative, everything is totally ok. Promise.

And now, I start school tomorrow. My classroom looks ready. I have the online stuff ready for tomorrow and (in theory) the rest of the week.

But I don’t feel ready.

Over five months ago, when we left for Spring Break and then CO-VID closed down the whole world, I thought my world was being shaken up so I could figure out the best path for my future. I could work on my health, lose weight, get some of my confidence back so I might get back into the dating world, work on my writing, you know, ME stuff. And for about a month, maybe two, I was able to do just that.

I completely revamped this blog. I began cooking for my family and got back onto my diet. I began doing yoga in the evenings, and was super on top of doing my daily card readings to help me feel Spiritually connected. I was focusing on me.

Then tragedy struck, and I gained 20 pounds while cooking for my father, and taking him out to eat because I just needed him to gain some weight back… and he wouldn’t eat unless I ate with him… never mind that I wasn’t hungry.

And now, I’ve been trying to re-evaluate what my priorities are, because one thing this has shown me is that I don’t want to end up alone like my Dad was before the accident.

Don’t get me wrong: Him getting hurt has brought our family together in ways that I didn’t think were possible, but one of the main reasons he got as bad as he did was that he had chosen to be totally alone. The sicker he got, the less he spoke to any of us, and he ignored me, my mother, and his sister about going to the doctor.

I had been ready to write him out of my story because I am done chasing men and trying to convince them that I am worthy of love.

Now I am faced with the fact that he soon won’t be there, and I don’t know how I feel.

It was very easy for me to fall into the role of caretaker. It had well defined parameters and made sense. So, while my mother cries every time he needs help, and both my brothers seem to be constantly swinging between worry and anger, I just do what needs to be done.

People keep telling me that I’m just so wonderful for taking time away from my own life to help like that… but what is my life right now? I teach, and I am good at it, but then I go home, and if I didn’t have a roommate with a kid, no one would need me, there would be no one there to greet me or to want to hang out with me, and I am a person who needs purpose.

If anything, as tough as taking care of him was, it was the first time in a long time that I felt needed and loved. And now…

So. Here’s the big question: What do I do now? School is starting; I’m not ready for it. How do I find some sense of normal now? Especially in the middle of a pandemic, and knowing that my father needs me but he’s 4 hours away.

Ugh… this is not where I thought this post was going to go. Hopefully soon I can get things back on track.

For starters, I will be hosting the #JustAddTea writer’s chat this Sunday on Twitter. Plus, school has to help some. If nothing else, it puts me on a well-defined schedule. I’ve told Dad I’ll be back to visit every other week, so there’s that.

Maybe I can find some sense of normal again eventually.

About Elizabeth

First and foremost I am a teacher. What I teach is a blend of grammatical art, literary love, and a smidge of spiritual awareness. My blog tries to combine the best of all three over a cup of tea.

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