One of the many lessons of 2011

My year ended the way it started, in the hospital, and I was reminded how everything can change in an instant. Not that I needed reminding but I thought I would share in case anyone else needs reminding.

Yesterday at 7AM I was planning on taking my parents to the train station for their ritualistic train ride back to California. The next thing I knew (literally 15 minutes later) I was in their hotel room with an ambulance crew and my Dad who had fallen was being carried out because he had broken his femur. Boo-hoo! I didn’t like it one bit! It’s no fun seeing anyone in pain but seeing your Dad in pain (especially for a Daddy’s girl like me) was especially upsetting. He was a champ though and somehow making us laugh even through his pain and it occurred to me he was acting very Buddha like. So after a 2 1/2 hour surgery and an entire day in the hospital, I reflected, “well that’s not exactly how I thought I was going to spend my day.”

Life changing on a dime isn’t always necessarily negative either and sometimes (often) it’s wonderful exciting new things.

But either way, it can change and change quickly. So my reminder is and I know you have all heard this a million times but how many of us practice it on a daily basis? I hope this doesn’t sound preachy (that is the least of my intentions)…it’s just what I remind myself.

  1. don’t take things/people in your life for granted (even the very subtle things or people), count your blessings, show your appreciation for your loved ones, reach out to your friends and let them know what their friendship means to you, be present and spend quality time with your kids…AND….
  2.  if you are in a difficult situation, remember everything is impermanent and things are constantly changing, often for the better. I say this with a few people in mind, who I know have been suffering (actually quite a few) and I know in my heart with time and effort things will change for them too. I speak from experience.
Now I am off to the hospital for a challenging day of PT for my Dad. But I know as each day goes by, it will get better and better.
(This picture is 10 years old from my Dad’s 70th bday in NY. All he wanted to do for his birthday was to walk from Soho (downtown) to Clinton’s office in Harlem (125th street)…which we did! One of my all time favorite days with my dad.
Love and veggies,
Nancy

20 thoughts on “One of the many lessons of 2011

  1. Hope your dad heals quickly Nan! And, Happy New Year to you guys… I enjoy reading your blog, I had an experience today that turned on a dime and I thought for a moment, maybe this is good news and I can cancel all my work appointments and focus on my family. I didn’t have to, but when I thought I might have to, it made me smile and happy to focus on what’s important to me, when I need to.

  2. Nancy:

    What a lovely note for me to read today Nancy. Thank you so much for your kind words….

    You, Lance and your beautiful family are always in my thoughts and prayers.

    Love, Aunt Nonny

  3. Thanks for the blog…great words for me at this time. My dad went in for an unexpected quadruple bypass last Thursday and in a moments notice we have become his caregivers. He is very independent and not handling this well…he keeps asking for his car keys (he can’t drive for at least another week or he may strain the wiring in his sternum). 🙂 I realized that there are some things I have wanted to say to him that need to be said NOW and your blog is a good reminder of that :).

    I will be thinking about you and your dad! Sending prayers…

    Missie

  4. Can’t our Dads stop rushing us to the hospital! God forbid they should be distracted from their jobs… you know, the one where they are our biggest fan… that job must happen for ever and ever and ever! Big healing love to you and your extended.

  5. Nancy..It’s your Mom’s and Dad’s old friend Jean writing to thank you for your insightful thoughts and to express concern for your all of you dealing with a broken femur in that handsome 6’7″ body. As you know I have been all to close to the glio thing; your Mom gave me your site information and so I have been following yours and Lance’s postings for all this time. Your tenacity and creativity in challenging the “illness” model inspire me and the work I sometimes do with people who are living with a changed reality. Tonight, opening up the story of Bob’s fall and resulting surgery/post-surgical PT, I went into panic for you all. Seconds later, when reading your thoughts on the impermanence of things, the nature of suffering and the danger of complacency. You could not have said it better. Life throws you curve balls…all those little phrases like that….they are so true. it is how you chose to catch the ball that will make the difference. Breathe deeply and move into the space..not driven by fear or panic but knowing that things will resolve with being calmly in the moment . I appreciate your developing skill in doing just that! Also I know you are familiar with the power of laughter. Remember that too!
    And I have such deep attachments to the friendship your parents have given me through the years (ask them about the red wine I spilled on their huge wall of draperies when Lynn was a baby!) , give them hugs for me and let them know how much I love them. (I can’t imagine Bob looking at those films of his femur….or Sue checking the med levels !) So we move on to the “wellness” model, right???

    Great pix of the two of you!! xxooJean

  6. Such good lesson and reminder to say afoot and awakened. Thanks for sharing. Feels very potent considering he was just here, sitting at my dinning room table eating soup with two solid femurs. My heart to yours, as always–I can’t only imagine he is happy you are by his side. xoxox

  7. nancy,
    I struggled with the “holiday blues” but it seemed the world would not let me live there long and every time i read someone else’s uplifting words i feel even better. I am surrounded by wonderful family and friends and although my health is not always what ide like it to be, i could be worse!
    I dont know or trample on anyone elses beliefs but i say glory be to GOD for all that i have and for people like you who remind us to stop an appreciate the little (and big)things we were givin. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  8. Thank you Nancy! You are the furtherst thing from preachy I can imagine. Adding your dad and his recovery to my prayers. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.

    • Thank you Charlie. We always welcome prayers. And thanks for letting me know I don’t sound preachy! Confirmation is always appreciated!

  9. Thanks for the wise words. But I’m so sorry to hear about your father’s fall, and I hope he mends quickly. Love to all of you.
    -Susan

  10. Nance,

    Sorry to hear about your Dad, but glad he is handling it with zen-like grace. Having broken a femur, I know it’s not fun, but the good news is generally no cast is required! I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery, which I’m sure he will with nurse Nancy in his corner. Love the pic–you are both blessed to have each other.

    Much peace, love and health you and Lance and both of your families in the year to come. It promises to be a good one!

    xoxo,

    Ethan

  11. Ah, …life’s lessons. Knowing how much you’ve been through, Nancy, when you impart them we pay attention.

    Thank you for continuing to spread wisdom and joy throughout the world.

    Wishing you ever more happiness to share in 2012.

    Mark & Marianna

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