After publishing Without Regrets: A Nurse’s Advice about Aging and Dying, I simultaneously set up this website and included a blog.
I was energized about the topics in my book:
- dying with dignity,
- choosing a final home for mom or dad,
- appointing a surrogate decision maker, and
- family dynamics regarding how to make serious decisions.
So, What Have I Been Doing?
My life has been full of the very things I wrote a book about. In my last blog entry, more than a year ago entitled “Hug with Both Arms,” I referred to my beautiful sister-in-law, Carol Emmott, who was fighting hard to live with an aggressive uterine cancer. Since then, the demands of the past year and a half took over my ability to think about living and dying and write about them. I would say my heart has taken priority over my intellect!
But, now I’m back!
Feeling a Bit Stuck in Life?
One afternoon, after golfing with pals, I headed home. I had organized four couples for dinner at a local restaurant that evening, but was running late getting back to David’s and my condo. Thinking he would be annoyed, I pulled into the underground parking garage, slammed the car into park, headed into the building and hopped into the elevator. I pushed the button for our floor and in an instant the elevator went completely dark. I couldn’t see anything.
For all of my life, I had been aware of the “emergency call” button on elevator walls, but had never used it. My phone had no service. I waited for over an hour to be rescued from the elevator. I spoke on the emergency phone to someone thousands of miles away who assured me that someone was coming. The elevator was dark and was very warm without power. I heard voices coming from the floors below and above me but had no idea which floor I was stuck on.
I am a tough person, one who isn’t afraid very often, but I admit this situation caused me to feel anxious and panicky. In less than an hour, I felt overwhelmed even though I was only a few floors below my home and husband.
I recall this story because of the parallels in being stuck on an elevator and being stuck in one’s life.
In this past year and a half I traveled from the Midwest to both coasts numerous times to see grandchildren and children and to visit my seriously ill sister-in-law. At times, I felt lost without my usual routine and confused that I was not promoting my new book. I felt alone without my husband, David, who was working full-time and supporting my efforts to fill the roles of caregiver to all those I loved who lived so far away. I was stuck and sometimes uncomfortable no matter where I was laying my head at night.
One Door Closes, Another One Opens
Through these past months, our little clan has faced difficult decisions regarding buying and selling houses, job changes, illnesses of close family members and even losing our dear Carol to cancer.
But we, too, have had many things to celebrate.
- Last fall, many of our family members and friends traveled to Napa Valley to bless the wedding of our youngest daughter, Maggie, to her best friend and fiancée, Nels.
- This summer, our two older children and their families made plans to move back to Kansas City.
- We were blessed with a new granddaughter, Mabel, who is named after my late mother.
- David and I sold our house in Texas and are looking forward to his retirement, travelling when not holding Mabel or playing with our three other grandchildren.
- Book sales have soared this past six months, and speaking engagements are scheduled for the next six.
I feel creative, again. Maybe the elevator door has opened and that feeling of being stuck in a dark place, somewhat alone, has lifted.
I feel like writing, talking and living without regrets. I plan to exercise more, eat healthier, read a lot of books, and play with the babies until the next time I get mired in life or stuck in an elevator.
What s wonderful sister I have. We don’t live very far apart but stay in touch. I know all I have to do is pick up my phone if I want. Her and David had always been there for our family with just a phone call. So excited the kids have moved back to Ksnsas now I can go see my nieces and nephew and those babies. Helen I may not have told you how proud I am of all the projects you have accomplished but I am. Thank you and David for all you’ve done and do for family and friends. ❤️?
Beautiful post, Helen. This resonates so much and it is nice to see you put your thoughts and heart into words. Thank you for sharing. Glad you are back!
Wow ! I know your life had been busy but jeez not that crazy! Scary event in the elevator but interesting perspective being in the dark! Kudos to you on reconnecting with the blog keep it coming ! Xxx tracie
Loved your story. Made my heart smile. Glad you’re back.
Happy that you’re back. I enjoy your writings and will look forward to reading some new ones! This has been a rough and difficult time in my life and knowing family and friends were rooting for me has kept me going!! Someday would love to see you speak!