It’s been a really rough few months. Life has a way of knocking you down to reality. My dad passed away last week after a brutal two and a half year battle with stage 4 throat cancer. The week before he passed, I flew to visit him. He was 6’4” and used to be the strongest man I knew. When I saw him, he was down to 165 pounds, his chest was black, as though he had been poisoned, his entire face and neck were swollen to the point that he was unrecognizable, he ate through a feeding tube because of the tracheostomy he had earlier in the year, his hands shook, he was cold to the touch, and he could barely walk from the couch to the bathroom.
The night I was supposed to fly home, he started to bleed from the tumor on his neck. The hospital had said that he couldn’t come back, so we called hospice frantically. They told us it would be at least 15 minutes before a nurse arrived. Blood was spilling out onto our feet and I was sure he was going to faint from the blood loss and nose dive straight into the cold, tile floor. My stepmom and I did everything we could to put pressure on the wound and support him in case he fell as she whispered in his ear “thank you for being my best friend”. The bleeding subsided, but I will never forget what I saw that night.
I’ve never felt so torn. I desperately wanted to stay and help, but my husband and my twins needed me at home. We had sold our house in preparation for our move into our tiny house and had to be moved out in four days. There was still so much to do and the new owners were moving in. After returning home, I spoke with my stepmom everyday (my father hadn’t been able to speak since he had the tracheostomy) and things just continued to get progressively worse, which I didn’t even think was possible.
I will miss my father every day. I long for the relationship we didn’t get to have when I was a child and the relationship we were trying to foster in my adult years. I’m so sad for my boys, who no longer have a grandfather. He loved projects and was such a perfectionist. I know he would have truly enjoyed helping us build toddler-sized Murphy beds in the gooseneck to make the boys’ space even more special.
The day my dad passed, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I know, right? Like I said, 2018 is off to a rough start. She had it removed the following week and will be following with radiation, but she should be fine (get your mammograms ladies…an early diagnosis literally means the difference between life and death). She chose to move forward with a two-day spinal surgery she already had planned; turning my mother into a living pin cushion for the entire month of February. She is still working to heal as it was an incredibly intense back surgery and can use all of the love, light, positive thoughts and prayers that you can send. I flew up to help her during the first five days after her surgery, but again, my husband and my twins needed me as well and I couldn’t stay as long as I would have liked.
Here’s the thing – going tiny and traveling isn’t like going on vacation and escaping the realities of our day-to-day lives. There are just as many ups and downs and life can always take unexpected turns. There is still laundry to do and dishes to clean and mouths to feed and diapers to change and floors to vacuum. Life’s responsibilities don’t magically disappear when you embrace the nomadic lifestyle. There is a newness and sense of adventure and simplicity, but along with it comes the unknown, which can make people feel incredibly uncomfortable.
I have learned that the temporary feelings of discomfort are worth it. We can never know what tomorrow holds, so taking full advantage of all of life’s offerings is the only way to live. There are no certainties in life and we will all come and go from this earth, so make the most of every moment and make a difference in the ways you are able.
Sending love, light and strength to everyone going through a rough 2018. I can empathize, so know that I am thinking of you and lifting you up.