Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Juggling Life

Today was the funeral of my friend who passed away from cancer on Sunday.  I was looking forward to going and celebrating her magnificent existence in this world.  My plans were to attend the funeral and then go directly to teaching my students this afternoon.  As I was vigorously brushing my teeth and almost ready to leave my home for the day, the telephone rang.  With my mouth full of toothpaste, I answered the phone.  It was my daughter calling from her school and my thoughts raced ahead to "what book did she forget and I have to find to deliver to her", "I'll bring her lunch to her", etc.  All the thoughts that go with having a child in school.  I hadn't anticipated her real reason for calling.  "Mom, I was playing dodge ball in gym and the ball went off my finger.  Can you pick me up from school?"

So I loaded the van up with my teaching supplies and went to pick up my daughter.  The poor girl had tears running down her face when I got to the school.  We went directly to the hospital and I resigned myself to missing my friend's funeral.  She would totally understand as she cared so much for her children and then her grandchildren.

As we waited for my daughter to be looked at in Emergency, we were keeping an eye on the time because I also was expected to be at a local school to begin lessons in the afternoon.  Eventually, a young resident doctor took a look at my daughter's finger and then we waited some more for her turn to have an x-ray taken.  While waiting, the time slowly marched along and I had to make the call to cancel my lessons for the rest of the afternoon.  I used to always agonize over cancelling lessons.  If I didn't cancel lessons when my children were sick, I always felt my heart rending in two because I wanted to be with my children.  At the same time, I also didn't want to disappoint my students and their parents.  Today was the first time that I was totally secure in my decision.  This has been one of my "changes" that I've thought about throughout the past several months.  Life is too short and my children and family are too important for me to put other people ahead of them.

Finally my daughter had her x-ray taken and then we had to wait for it to be read by the doctor.  Eventually he came to us in the waiting area and confirmed that her finger was broken.  He allowed both my daughter and myself to see the x-ray and you could see that the finger was indeed broken.  They put a splint on it which is like a half cast which is held on by a tensor bandage.  She has been referred to a hand clinic just to make sure that she doesn't need a pin put in the finger to help it heal better.  By the time we left the hospital, it was past mid-afternoon and we still hadn't had lunch.  My daughter was still in pain but wanting a turkey sub for her late lunch.

So the day has been a "wash" as far as my plans and schedule were supposed to be today.  However, on the other hand, my daughter and I have spent some much needed time together.  I was able to comfort her and spoil her even though she was still a typical teenager.  This has been the first time ever that I've been able to juggle and drastically change my plans for the day without feeling a great deal of anxiety and stress.

At one point while we were at the hospital, I was sure that I saw my friend, whose funeral I missed, walking briskly down the hallway.  I know it wasn't her but it was someone who was the same height, had the same brisk walk, the same hair colour and the same hair style as my friend always wore before she had gone through chemotherapy.  It certainly made me take a second look.  I'm sad that I missed the funeral but I'm glad that I got into the palliative care hospital to visit her before she passed away.  I'll have my memories to give me comfort.

So tonight, I'll be contacting the parents of the students that had their lessons cancelled today in order to explain my sudden absence.  We'll work out the logistics and life will go on.

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