Recently, my family has been going through some pretty difficult things. Actually, as a family we've faced a number of challenges and, for lack of a better word, interesting times. But the past few weeks definitely take the cake.
All of it though, every thing we've dealt with as a family unit, has led to our family motto, our mantra, our driving force:
Let me go back a few weeks, when my Paternal Uncle suffered from a heart attack, and found himself on life support in ICU at Toronto General.
A terrifying couple of weeks as my young cousins coped with the idea that they might lose their Dad before their 20th birthdays, as my Dad and his younger brother dealt with doctors, legalities and heavy decisions. As the rest of my family rallied to do whatever we could to be there for my Uncle and each other.
I'm happy to say my Uncle is on the road to recovery, he's off life support, he's out of ICU, and though he's still at the hospital he is talking, starting to walk again, and in excellent care.
In the midst of all that, my Dad was trying to get to the bottom of his own health issues, when after years of being told "it's IBS" or "there's nothing wrong", doctors confirmed that there was a mass on his pancreas, that it looked like cancer.
I've never been hit by a truck, but when your parent sits you down to let you know that he likely has an incredibly aggressive and fast moving cancer, one that has a dismal survival rate, I imagine that the feelings are very similar.
After what might have been the longest week of my life, the news came back fairly positive. My Dad has a rare form of cancer called an NET, and he was able to have surgery to remove the tumor. Yesterday, he had the mass removed, unfortunately he's not out of the woods yet but we've been told to keep positive.
So where does the motto come in?
If you've ever watched "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" she talks in one of the episodes about how you can handle ANYTHING, for 10 seconds. Just take it 10 seconds at a time.
When you're faced with a challenge, with overwhelming odds, with a medical emergency (or two) with anything that stands in your way, thinking long term can be difficult.
Sure, it's great to have goals and to think positively, I'm all for it; but sometimes you just need to deal with taking that first step, and then focus on the next step and the next one, until one day you look back and realize you've run a marathon.
Our family motto is what got us through the last few weeks (and years), by reminding ourselves not to dwell on what might be or how hard it will be to get there. All we could do was take that first step, tackle that first day and embrace all the positive and negative that goes with it before taking that second step and tackling that second day.
Life is lived, for better or worse, one day at a time. All you need to do is make it to tomorrow.
PS: I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to my family, friends, blogging peers and co workers who have been so supportive over the past few weeks. You are all sensational.