I’ve been on a hiatus these past few months to focus on some urgent and unexpected family matters.
In September, my brother-in-law, Bill Cowherd, suffered a massive stroke. Unfortunately, he was alone when it happened and wasn’t discovered until six days after the ischemic attack. Paramedics found him alive, but severely dehydrated, paralyzed on one side and unable to move or communicate. He was hospitalized for three weeks, during which time he came around enough to recognize, even talk with the family and friends who traveled to be by his side. The trauma, however, proved to be too much and Bill passed away on Sunday, October 5, 2014.
As families do, we came together to be with each other in our grief and to celebrate Bill’s time on this earth. His legacy lives on in his three accomplished and loving children, daughters-in-law, son-in-law, grandchildren, brother (my husband), sister and many life-long friends and co-workers. We acutely feel his loss and will, I suspect, for some time to come.
The doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who took care of Bill showed great compassion for him and his grieving family. While they could not save his life, they helped him live his last weeks in comfort and dignity. Their caring nature so impressed Bill’s young adult children, that they established memorial contributions in the caregivers’ honor to benefit The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, a wonderful organization dedicated to “strengthening the human connection at the heart of care.”
Somewhere in the tangle of this past month, I also caught a bug that morphed into pneumonia; God’s proverbial “two by four” – a mandate to stop, slow down and recuperate.
This is my first week back on the road. Back to normal, I’m tempted to say, but “normal” is not an appropriate descriptive term for these crazy, wonderful lives we lead. Our lives are not normal; they are extraordinary. Not in terms of fame or wealth or accomplishments, but in the precious moments and unexpected events that shape us.
Loss is one of those events. It changes us. Humbles us. Strengthens us. Reminds us that we are blessed with loving families and treasured friends.