Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Up the Down Staircase

It's been a while since I posted something new.  Apologies for that.   I actually have been writing... but in my private journal.  I've been writing about my struggles to grasp the realities of finding out that my dad, my hero, is sick.  Really, really sick.  I'm trying to stay positive but it's just not a good situation right now.

I figured I'd spare y'all the day-to-day emotional ramblings and report back here once I'd stumbled upon something useful.

As it turns out, there's a life balance strategy which is helping me in multiple areas right now.  It's an "oldie but goodie."  

One step at a time.  
     One thing.
          One answer.
                One moment at a time.

The "one step at a time" thing works great when I'm freaked out about a project at work or a specific financial situation. Thank goodness.   Eat the elephant one part at a time and all that.

Many times, I've had the experience of seeing an overwhelming mess in front of me and not having any clue how exactly it was all going to get straightened out by a certain time or towards a certain goal.  Yet, I've gained the confidence to know that I will figure it all out in time and that somehow it does all get done.   It's not life and death afterall.

All of these experiences now seem like trivial examples thanks to the instant perspective provided by metastasized adenocarcinoma.

So, what about when it is about life and death?  What then?

I'm finding that I need to use the ol' "one step at a time" strategy right now in order to function.  I simply can't think about the whole staircase or where it lead.  I can only think about one step at a time.

    What do I know as absolute certainty today? 
                 What choices need to be made or what actions need to be taken today

Usually it's not even about a whole day.  It's really moment by moment.

Of course it's hard not to jump many steps ahead, especially for us control freaks. (Have we met?)  How I wish there were a possibility for a known, effective plan which would lead to a known, positive outcome.  There just isn't.

Even for the most optimistic, it's hard not to think about all the dark, painful places where those staircases can lead.

It helps me to slow down mentally and emotionally to a more myopic perspective.  I'm not sure if "protective myopia" is a real term or I just made it up, but it sure is coming in handy.

In the meantime, you know how much I believe in the power of prayer and positive energy.  Thanks in advance for yours.  Much appreciated!


PS:  Here are a couple of past posts about my Dad if you want to get a glimpse into what an amazing man and father he is...

10 Things I Learned From My Dad

Dear Ol' Dad - the Consistent Parent
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Sarah said...

I'm in that overwhelming mess right now. For a couple of days I was in deep with the depression after the visit, but am trying to pull myself out. The fact that the post office lost the mail I put on hold did not help. Best to you and your family at this difficult time.

Vivianne's Vista said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your family is going through such a difficult time. I will most definitely keep your family, and especially your father in my prayers.

Missa said...

Sending some good thoughts your way.

Charlene said...

Sarah - My heart is with you as you know. One step, one moment at a time my friend. When you feel down... think of what an inspiration you are. To me and many others I'm sure.

Thanks Viv and Missa for the good thoughts.

The Guy's Perspective said...

Yes, THE GUYS and I are keeping you and your family in our thoughts. So difficult.

Your strategy of one step at a time is really the only way, otherwise the mind will take you on a ride that you won't like very much.

Just try to enjoy every moment you can. Hang in there.

Charlene said...

Thanks GUY, I really appreciate the support... more than you know.

foxy said...

Oh girl, I am praying for you and sending positive thoughts and energy your way. That is such a great photo of you two.

Accustomed Chaos said...

Sending hugs and thoughts your way. I hope you can enjoy every moment.

Devan @ Accustomed Chaos

DebA said...

I lost my Dad in December 2009. It was not unexpected and still so very sad. Faith is an amazing companion for certain. Sending prayers and hope your way.

Heather said...

Hey, Charlene, I'm so very sorry to hear about your dad. I think I have something that might cheer you up. Have you checked your email? wink wink. (This is Heather from SITS)

Charlene said...

HOLY MOLY! Thanks Heather!!! Just wrote you back!

webb said...

Dear Charlene,

As much as I hope your Dad will survive this, we all know that someday will come the day when parents don't survive. The great blessing that you have been given is time.

Time to be with your Dad. Time to tell him how much you love him. time to tell him all the good things you learned from him. time to share good memories. Time to say "thank you". time for your children to spend with him and add to the pile in their "memory boxes".

You are too smart a cookie not to spend that time wisely. You will treasure it for the rest of your life. Thinking of you.

Jenn said...


One day at a time... love him. and know that when he is gone... there will be tears and sadness... but there will also be joy in remembering all the things you loved about him!

My mom passed away when my first baby was 4 months old.. I love remembering my mom out loud to my kids... I love enjoying the memories of her and the positive things she left behind in me... which helps me be a better mommy! I love seeing lilacs and remembering her... so many ways to enjoy remembering her... looking up rather than focusing on the loss.... in time. Time. One day at a time...
May your heart find peace in the journey!
new follower from sits....

Shannon E. Kennedy said...

Hi Charlene,
My Dad is living with Parkinson's disease - its very difficult to watch his decline, my superman is transforming into a frail man :( I write about him often on my blog. Journaling is very helpful, I'm glad to hear you are incorporating this into your mental wellness.
Writing about my Dad helps me focus on the little things in life that are so important. Sometimes its something as simple as one line - he'll say it and I'll crack up laughing :)

Best to you and your family, I'll be following you :)

Shannon aka Green Monkey

Lanita @ A Mother's Hood said...

As a cancer survivor, I learned that the full journey, where ever it lead, was just too long and overwhelming to look at the whole map. So I started focusing on "one day at a time." The hurdle in front of you is small enough to focus on and not overwhelming. Just worry about the hurdle in front of you. It worked for me, I got through my cancer, but also worked when I lost my husband in a plane crash. As you can tell, one day at a time is my mantra.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Sorry to hear your dad is sick. I know what you mean though. My dad is currently fighting stage 4 lymphoma.
One day at a time.

Cathy said...

Congratulations on your SITS Day!! Love your blog - so friendly!! Sorry to hear about your dad. I can tell from your post that you will be an inspiration to him. I am a 3 year breast cancer survivor and 2 years cancer free. You and your family will be in my prayers. I will be following your blog.

God Bless You!

Hugs - Cathy

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