Saturday, December 29, 2012

"my advice to you is to remember how vital family is"

Below is something I just came across that I posted about two years ago. Even though I realized the lessons I talk about when I wrote it, I can never be reminded enough about how important family is and how I should never take them for granted. Too often I do the opposite of what the post teaches. For example, I get frustrated with my dad's memory loss way too easily. Granted, it's extremely difficult adjusting from college to home life. I go from being able to (for the most part) remove myself from it and "forget" about it to having to come home and face it every day with expected unlimited patience. It's impossible! However, that's not an excuse. I need to learn to take a deep breath and simply try my hardest to give him a break and remember that he CAN'T remember and that he's trying his hardest. Every day spent with family is precious, and I need to especially remember that with mine.
Through the years, I have learned how important family is. You always hear how important they are, but it’s one of those things that goes in one ear and out the other, at least that’s how it used to be for me. That all changed about three years ago when my dad had a non-cancerous brain tumor. He had to have a surgery to remove it. During the surgery, there was a complication, and it resulted in him getting short term memory loss. Because of this, our family had to adjust to a new kind of living. My dad can no longer work. At night, he can’t remember what he did that day, etc. Our family had to become a lot stronger because of this. This kind of abrupt change in a family member is impossible to get used to- I am still not totally used to it. We had no choice, though, to accept it the best way we could and learn to live with it. It came as a surprise then, when about a year ago [almost four years ago now], my dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a rare form of blood cancer. A million questions ran through my mind- Why him? He’s very religious and goes to mass almost every day- why did he deserve this? Was it a punishment? Why did God let this happen to him and my family? For the next couple months, he was in and out of the hospital constantly, reminding me of his six week stay at the hospital three years back. Now, luckily, he is in remission. The doctors say that the cancer will unfortunately come back some time, but we are very hopeful for him to stay in remission for a long time.

The thing to get out of this story is very simple- family is the most important thing you can have. Before all this happened, I never thought about how lucky I was or how blessed I was to have such a loving, supportive family. Unfortunately, it took devastating changes in my life to make me realize it. I now never take anything for granted that I do with my family. Even family dinners can mean everything. Of course, this is easier said than done and at times, I’ll be annoyed at my mom or mad at my brother, but I try my hardest not to. Also, because my dad has short term memory loss, he doesn’t remember little arguments I have with him or if I am ever in a bad mood. It teaches me to focus on the important, loving aspects of my family and to not get caught up in the small stuff that gets me upset. My advice to you is to remember how vital family is. Also, no matter what they do, it is because they love you. Don’t take them for granted. Try to let the feeling go that you’re too cool for them- stay in one night and just spend time with them.

Also, remember that God is always there for you with any problems you have. Since my life has changed, I look to God a lot for strength and hope. Without Him, I do not know how I would have the strength to keep going and be positive. When my dad first was diagnosed with cancer, I was so confused with God. I wondered why he would do this to him. I didn’t know if it was a punishment or he just simply let it happen. Now, I have realized that He does not put anyone through anything that they cannot handle. He has made me a stronger and better person through all of this. He is looking out for every one of us and we just have to have faith to be able to see it.