Transforming Turdy Times Into Treasures

An Oldy but a Goody…..found this lounging about in my computer. I felt this was an appropriate time to share because the holidays are certainly considered Turdy Times by some. Try some of the suggestions included, and see if you can transform Turdy into Treasure.

2011 began in the usual manner. Tomfoolery with friends and darling spousal unit at the White Rabbit in Fountain Square, laughing till I thought my gut would bust at Burlesque Bingo–Pabst Blue Ribbon at midnight was just divine! Pffft…a jolly good time was had by all.

I was all a’dither with plans for my business–this class, that blog, yada, yada. Gonna reconnect with my arty side and begin drawing again…and how to add salsa dancing back into my life? Then “it”struck.

“It.” Crap you don’t want to happen in your life, the kind of crap that turns you inside out and upside down, shreds every sense of normalcy, and leave you wondering WTH??? is going on. My “it” arrived in the stealthy form of my dad’s at first just failing health, and the really unexpected and quick death of a father’s friend. “It” spun totally out of control when Dad’s hospitilizations began in March, culminating with the one  on August 8th that he is still recovering from. I won’t go into all the details, but 2011 pushed showed me stress and misery that made graduate school seem like a kindergarten tea party. I don’t know how many times I just didn’t think I could take any more. But I did. To the point that on Dec. 13th, I developed a monumental migraine that morphed into temporary vision loss, Prednisone eyedrops, and all the lunacy that accompanies a good dose of steroids.

Now before you pull out your violin and start playing “My Heart Bleeds for You”, let us return to the title of this letter–“Transforming Turdy Times into Treasures.”  Despite the horrific stress, there have been very wonderful treasured times too. I had the joy of staying up until 4:00 a.m. holding Dad’s hand as he labored to breathe after a particularly grueling transfer to a long term acute care hospital; too weak to even hold his head up, he let us know that he just didn’t know if he could keep trying. Being able to give him my hand, strength, encouragement, and love was the one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Time and again, I have had the opportunity to learn and grow as a human being in ways no other experience could ever have taught me. Did I like it? NO!!! But hey, ya may as well make lemonade when handed lemons, right?

So when life gets all turdy on you…..job suddenly vanishing, spouse cheating, dog dying, whatever breaks your heart and soul into tiny pieces….here are some tips to making the best of it.

1. Find joy each and every day, somehow, some way. During the worst of it, I just felt so grateful to see the sun. It really did help.
2. Get help. Talk to friends, family, pastor, counselor…. get talking. Don’t hold your feelings in. The more you talk it out, the better you will feel.
3. Cry when you need to, laugh when you need to, honor whatever you feel. There is no guide book with a definitive answer on how to handle every disaster that befalls us. All we can do is pay attention to what we need to get through the day and do our best to give it to ourselves.
4. Stay grateful. Sucks to have your parent in the hospital for 2 months straight, but I reminded myself to feel gratitude to have such wonderful parents, a trusty car to get me to Shelbyville daily, and a hubby to care for the house and furry kids in my absence.
5. Positive self-talk. I would wig myself out thinking I couldn’t take watching him on that machine any more, couldn’t handle this, couldn’t handle that….then I switched my thoughts to, “Yes, I can handle it.” Having empowering conversations with myself was critical to not having to buy a wig. LOL! Thought I would be trying out some Rogaine if the hair loss kept up.

And most important of all, try to keep your sense of humor. Now that one is hard at literally life and death times, but it can be done. As they sing at the end of my favorite Monty Python movie “The Life of Brian”, always look on the bright side of life

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