to have Courage....In Family Life, In Spirituality, In Health, In Living Simply

I'm on a journey...... as we all are. Learning, remembering, re-discovering about health, spirituality, relationships, emotions and the mind.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not What One Expects

I have no creativity lingering around me so don't expect much on this blog, as it was almost instantaneously sucked dry when on Sunday we got a phone call to say that my 48yo brother has a mass on his brain.  I couldn't even recognize my mother's voice on the phone, she was so upset.

I caught the next ferry to the mainland. 

I can't fix what they found on the CATscan over the weekend, or possibly later today on the MRI scan.  I can't give him back his cognitive function, nor his mobility skills that diminish daily.  It's come on suddenly he doesn't know what's happening to him.  It's terrifying to him and his family.  And I can't do anything about it.

But I'm here.  I care.  In my own puny way I've come to give hugs, to be a listening ear (although I need to work on that cuz my mouth seems to be in motion far too much still), to be Mom's companion and chauffeur as she watches her youngest son experience a challenge they'd never imagined they'd be facing.

I'm torn between the brother I grew up with, (who was my friend through the teen years and let me be his near-constant companion on his motorcycle--even riding it to highschool in the snow!!!  who I helped write University English papers for) and my husband and children back on the Island--who of course, I devote my life to.  And then there's my own Mother, who just turned 78 last month and is struggling with her memory and simple tasks more now then ever because of the stress with her son.  She's struggling with the elements on the stove (ie turning the right one on, or even turning them on at all when she's got the chicken sitting in the pan already and expecting it to be cooked sometime soon, or turning the oven on when she isn't even planning to bake anything!) 

I had a hard time yesterday deciding whether to stay here or go back to my family (I brought Maret and Toveli with me).  Today David spends the day at Royal Columbia meeting new doctors and getting the MRI.  I can't do anything for him and his family.  But Mom still needs help.  She's afraid of getting bad news tonight and wants me to be here, so I will be here.  But my family always needs me.  I know I'm an integral part of daily life with the Johnsons :)

Maret wants to go back to the Island, because she says 'It's kinda sad here.'  Yup.  That's unfortunately what happens when your Loved One's life seems to be falling apart.

We've gone swimming, and watched a comedy called "Shanghai Moon" and bought new books at the Sally Ann and Value Village.  They had a sleep-over at a Gramma-Ladies and read the folklores of "Blinky Bill" that has been part of Australian childhood's since 1933.

But Maret goes back to daddy, and Danaka is coming to mama.  Making the Switcheroo today.

No one knows what's around the next bend in their day to day life.  I was busily working on the children's Student Learning Plans for this school year.  We were arranging the final details on moving to Sooke this week.  I was planning to get my new website up at www.crunchyminimalist, and continue to help Everette hash over his ideas for his own business and website at

Now all that seems in the background, as my brother jumps to the foreground.  But when these things arrive unexpectedly, its nice to have margin and flexibility so you can be where you need to be, or where you want to be.

So for me, at least for today, I am right where I need to be.  Since I can be only in one place at a time, this is where I choose to be.

Tomorrow I might choose differently.  But for today, this is it.  And I need to be fully present here, and make a difference where I can.  As subtle and insignificant as that may be.

I'm a sister and a daughter and a mama today.

I'll be the best of those that I can muster, today.

Breathe deeply.


  1. My heartfelt thoughts are with you now. I am in a similiar situation. Well, part of it. My grandmother's dementia is worsening since we arrived and she needs someone home with her all the time. Cory has not gained weight, thus no travel for us. Colonoscopy next week- naturopath says crohns and GI suspects it. So we decided to move into grandma's house with my 60 yr old divorced uncle till Jan. anyways. So dealing with Cory and grandma. Lots on the go and just living day by day. I pray for strength for you right now:)

  2. As we travel through each of our days, we take joy in all the good that surrounds us and strive to rise above the hardships that challenge our resolve. It is indeed a test of our strength, our character, our love for all that we are a part of.
    Even though you may not be able to do anything to help your brother or your mom, I would be certain that just having you there will keep a smile in their hearts. You are indeed a Sister, a Daughter and a Mother. I believe that if you combine these three treasures, the result would be a "Friend" and I know that a true friend will always be there for you, when they would rather be anywhere else. I believe your mother would see this in you.
    My heart is with you Karen and your family.