Flux

Flux

Change is the name of the game these days. While we’re still in flux I’m going to be a bit tight-lipped, but suffice it to say that life has surprised us a little lately. Nothing like last summer, though.

Today is my father-in-law’s birthday–he’s turning 83–and also the one year anniversary of the day we rushed him to the hospital after he collapsed at breakfast. We later discovered that he had contracted a rare brain virus (brain injury #1). We came very close to losing him, and then, by Thanksgiving, he was nearly back to normal. Then he slipped on a patch of ice and hit his head on the concrete, leading to brain injury #2.

And today, August of 2015, he’s nearly himself again. Amazingly. Miraculously. Making bad jokes and threatening to put the cat out into the woods if he doesn’t stop shedding (and then letting the cat sleep on his shoulders). Each time we’ve visited, he’s been a little better, his memory a little more in tact. In June, I watched as he installed an air conditioner, and I could almost see the brain plasticity at work as he sorted through the steps of something he’s done every summer for years and years. The air conditioner is still working and hasn’t yet fallen out of the window, so it’s safe to say that it’s a success!

And while he doesn’t seem terribly interested in hearing it, he’s taught us about resilience–that it might seem like it’s too late to turn things around, when really, it’s just the signal of another beginning.

Love, Joy

Life Update: Moving Forward

The other day, I was standing outside in the five degree sunrise with Kona and it dawned on me that we’ve turned a corner. After living for months and months on constant alert, the new year arrived and with it a sense of normalcy. While we’re busier than ever, and while there are still nights where I just want to have a bowl of cereal for dinner and be done with it, we’re not stuck in quicksand anymore. And we’ve come into this new period feeling so, so grateful.

As you may have already guessed, we postponed our trip to Hawaii in order to be near James’ dad after he took a spill and ended up with his second brain injury of 2014. I was briefly depressed about this change of plans, but then we realized that there are a lot of pros to going later. We’ll be done with the cold and desperately seeking an escape by then. And when we get back in early April, we’ll be thisclose to spring’s arrival. We also got to extend our trip by a few days, with stopovers in Portland on both ends.

We’re all healthy again. James’ dad is doing amazingly well. Last week no one could remember where the eyeglass repair kit was at their house, but he chimed in, “It’s in the second drawer in the laundry room!” Then he looked at me and said, “And they think I’m having memory problems. Ha!”

So now it’s time to start planning for more fun this year. While I was driving today, I heard an ad for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and thought about the possibility of going to Tanglewood for the 4th of July. When there’s space in your mind to think about summer in January, things must be going well.

How are things on your end?

Love, Joy

Life Update: A Hiatus

We were really excited about Christmas this year. After jumping through some pretty brutal hurdles, we were glad to have made it to the end and we were looking forward to spending time with our families. Christmas here with James’, and New Year’s in Hawaii with mine.

But now we find ourselves a week away from Christmas and all that relief we felt has crumbled. Without going into too much detail, I’ll say this: James’ dad is suffering from his second brain injury in four months. Each totally unrelated to the other. We’ve been on an emotional roller coaster–first finding out he had fallen and that his brain was bleeding, then seeing him unable to focus and speak, and then seeing him almost completely well again, to then finding out that he had suffered a small stroke as a result of not being able to take his blood thinners, and the suggestion that there will be more to come. And that’s where we are right now, with no answers, no reassurances, and no real options.

James calls it emotional whiplash, which is the perfect description. We are exhausted.

So I’ll be taking the next couple of weeks off as we take things day by day. We will make Christmas dinner and exchange gifts, because, thankfully, we have a niece to hold us to those things. We may or may not go to Hawaii to see my family. We will try to count our blessings.

I’ll be back in the new year, when my hope is that the stars will shift and the planets will align and we’ll have a moment–many, many moments–to catch our breath. Until then, I hope that you have a very happy holiday season and that the new year brings you hope and light.

Love, Joy

Life Update: Back and Forth

Frock Files | Life Update: Back and Forth

As you may have noticed, I took a little unexpected hiatus last week. Since school started and we’re still dealing with health issues in this family, I got a little overwhelmed and I needed to take a break. Thank you for understanding!

For the first time in six years, I’ve had back-to-school excitement, as the students came back to the university. The energy on the campus completely changes when they’re there. And while, yes, I do deal with a lot of eye roll worthy tweets about parking and cafeteria food, I also have the good fortune of being the first in line to see how excited everyone is to be back. It’s one of the best parts about my job.

And while it would be lovely for everything to continue chugging along with forward momentum, life doesn’t always work out that way. My father-in-law has now been in and out of rehab three times within a week, largely because of lack of decent care at the rehab facility we were using. On Saturday afternoon, we were all breathing a sigh of relief as he was settling back into his room in New Hampshire–at midnight, he was being taken by ambulance to the hospital again. My poor mother-in-law is the most exhausted of all, and tough as she is, even she is becoming wary.

But it is the loveliest time of year to live in New England. Every time I go outside, I get a little reminder to be in this moment because autumn is my favorite and it will go as quickly as it’s come. This past weekend, with its 50-degree mornings, I filled my drawers with sweaters again, pulled out my boots, and even bought a scarf. James and I got to have one dinner together–at a restaurant! outside!–with the knowledge that we have just a few weeks left for al fresco dining. It’s only a matter of time before I give into the giant pumpkins at the farm stand down the road!

So whatever you’re doing, whether you’re having a lovely time or a difficult one, I hope you’ll have a moment to stop and enjoy being alive this week. Treat yourself to a hot apple cider. Sit down and read a book. Laugh with all the air in your belly. There’s time.

Love, Joy

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