When I got married almost ten years ago (is that right?!), I inherited a huge Cuban family. These folks love life and love hard. When one person celebrates, we all celebrate and when one suffers, we all suffer.
On Friday night we flew to Maryland to be with my father-in-law who is in the hospital with advanced pneumonia. Luckily our flight wasn't cancelled due to Tropical Storm Andrea but we were delayed for over an hour. We had to eat dinner sitting on the floor and after I read my magazine a few times, I stuck a kindness card in it and passed it along for someone else to enjoy.
As the saying goes, this 'isn't my first rodeo', I've been in hospitals before and have dealt with the waiting and stress of not knowing so I thought I would share a few things I've learned about handling life's unexpected interruptions.
1. "Worry is the misuse of your imagination."- One of my favorite quotes. I tend to give up precious real estate in my brain for negative thoughts. I'm working on this. Half of the things I worry about never even happen so I've wasted time and precious energy on a fantasy.
2. Find a quiet spot: The hospital has a Healing Garden near the entrance with the most beautiful flowers and benches set up for those that need to get outside or away from whatever they may be dealing with. I think every hospital should have a garden. I meditated outside for 10 minutes and felt so much more at ease and able to deal with the stress better. My mind was racing but I focused on listening to the birds chirping nearby and how the sun felt on my skin.
3. Laugh (a lot): Although there are periods of sadness and worry, there are also moments of craziness that make you laugh and stay connected. Laughing is a great release and I've found that just spending time with family, telling stories and enjoying each other's company makes you feel better.
4. Acknowledge kindness: I've always said that people who work in hospitals have tremendous hearts. We've received so much kindness and understanding from the hospital crew that it makes my heart swell with love for these strangers. I always make a point to look everyone in the eyes and thank them.
5. Move! Sitting down for hours on end wreaks havoc on my body. I take every opportunity to walk around and stretch my body. It's tough leaving the waiting room, because of course I don't want to miss anything, but it's necessary to keep the body active, even if it's just to do a bunch of coffee runs.
My father-in-law is in serious but stable condition. We pray his progress continues. Not to sound cliche or trite but I invite you to OM the moment for your mind and soul today and connect with a loved one. Lock into your memory the way they laugh, the way they smell and any mannerisms that make them unique. Tell them you love them and how much you appreciate them being in your life. Don't leave anything left unsaid.