or why there was no newsletter last Sunday.
There’s no mistaking the sound of a body hitting the floor above you.
In full sprint, I bounded the stairs, jumping two at a time. My dad has fallen several times, but never so hard that the house rattled. As I turned the corner from the hallway, one of the kitchen chairs was missing. Looking down, I saw it on its side, lying next to my devastated mother.
My entire plan for Sunday changed with a thud on the floor.
Busy Friday before
The Friday before, I was active.
I don’t work Fridays this time of year, so it’s my day for running errands and working in the yard. I got up early, paid bills online, saw my chiropractor, picked up groceries, and ran to the bank. Just before noon, I arrived back at home, ready to take on my lawn.
I checked on my parents before I headed out to the yard. My mom told me she had a spider bite, and it was making her side hurt.
I should have asked more questions, but a spider bite was possible, so I didn’t worry. She said she put Neosporin on it and it looked better. I left her in the cool air conditioning and went out to work in the hot August sun.
An hour later, my mom was walking through the yard, purse in hand, flagging me down. I drove the riding lawnmower over to talk to her.
“I’m going to the doctor,” she told me. “I think I have shingles.”
It’s a mile drive to her doctor’s office, so I agreed it was safe for her and my dad to go alone. I went back to battling the dust and weeds of my lawn.
Saturday was a no go
The doctor confirmed it was shingles, no doubt brought on by the stress of her worrying about a surgery she needed.
My mom was in pain, but otherwise felt okay, so I pushed myself to get all of the yardwork done. I wanted to be in the house the rest of the weekend in case she needed me.
The problem with pushing yourself is you often go too far.
Saturday morning, I woke up to a body writhing with pain. The ten steps to the bathroom made it clear my aching muscles were going to keep me confined to the recliner most of the day.
Sunday it got worse
Sunday morning, I went up to check on my mom first thing.
Most Sundays, I take my parents to Bible study in the morning. It’s a relaxed and upbuilding start to the day, and we usually stop for lunch on the way home.
I found my mom in her recliner, her head laid back against the chair in the way it only is when she has a migraine or is sleeping.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I got dizzy,” she told me. “Letting in the dog. I’ll be okay.”
She wanted me to take my dad to Bible Study, but I shook my head.
“I’ll be fine,” she snarled, and I laughed because it reminded me where I got it from. She’s the first to complain when I say the same thing.
“I’m not going anywhere if you’re dizzy,” I told her. “I’ll be back in a bit to check on you.”
She glared at me with a look that I’m sure she’s been practicing since her teenage years. I smiled to myself and went back down to make breakfast.
One moment changed her mind
Thirty minutes later, the thud above changed everything.
My heart broke at the scene in their kitchen. My mom was on the floor feeling worthless because she couldn’t get herself back up. Nearby, my dad stood gripping the handles of his walker, equally devastated because he no longer has the strength to help her up.
Sunday afternoons are my time to write, edit, and format content for the coming week. I felt so awful on Saturday nothing got done. I still had to edit and publish both of my Sunday newsletters.
Walking into their kitchen, two heartbroken octogenarians before me, all my plans went away. The only thing that mattered was them, so I canceled everything else.
Things are improving
After a rough few days and another fall, my mom is doing better and able to walk on her own again. The shingles are still causing pain, but her spirits are back up. The breakout appears to no longer be spreading.
I wanted to share this story with you for two reasons. One, so you know why neither Sunday newsletter went out. Two, so you remember it’s okay to cancel or change plans when needed.
Life often throws us off our game. Even the best plans can be swept away by the needs of a loved one or the chaos in our own bodies.
If today you can walk to the bathroom on your own and prepare your own meals, appreciate the gift you have. Embrace the sun, hug your loved ones, and smile for the gifts in your life.
And if you need to take today to rest, that’s okay, too. Tomorrow is another day.
Until next time, keep fighting.