I started the New Year with high hopes that this year would definitely be better than the previous year. My business was doing great. I was getting exposure in the local media. I finally had money to really market and advertise my business. Things were chugging along.Just when I thought things were turning the corner –bam! My life as I knew it started to unravel. I was sitting at my desk diligently working one cold Feb. afternoon when my brother called. They had rushed my Mom to the emergency room because she was having stomach pains. I knew my Mother was resilient and thought this would be a temporary setback. Besides, other than cataracts and arthritis she had been pretty healthy for her age. The doctor scheduled a colonoscopy and they found a blockage. We met with the surgeon who told us that Mom would have to have surgery. We were cautiously optimistic.
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For me sitting in a hospital waiting room is one of the worst things you can go through. You are literally on pins and needles expecting the worst case scenario but hoping for the best. After several hours the surgeon came out and confirmed the worst. Our Mom had Stage 4 cancer and her prognosis was about 1 year. Chemo was an option but at that point our goal was to get her home. We rallied around my Mom trying to get her over her initial shock and depression. She wanted to go home and she did for about a week. Unfortunately, she developed a severe infection and had to go back in for more surgery. This time the outcome was devastating. On top of the infection the cancer had spread. There was nothing they could do for her except keep her comfortable. Her doctor said a couple days. She wanted to go home. So, we made the decision to take her home.
While we have control over a lot of things in life – death is not one of them. My Mother’s doctor told us a couple days. The days turned into weeks. In the beginning, I did manage to stay on top of things and actually do some work. But, as the days wore on my zest for the business waned. I just couldn’t do it anymore.My Mom passed away on April 2nd-Good Friday, surrounded by her family and the things she loved. The next day we euthanized our beloved dog Leo. Leo was a gem—he found us after he had been hit by a car. My daughter told me that Grandma needed a pet in heaven and that’s why Leo died.
The shock and emotion of the last 6 weeks have taken a toll. It’s been difficult to get back into the swing of things. Some days are better than others. Despite everything I have learned some very valuable lessons. Always tell those around you how much you love them. Never take anything for granted. Make peace with those you are estranged with. Take one day at a time. Do what you love to do. Give yourself time to heal.
As I slowly heal—I realize how much I truly love the travel business and why I got into it. Never forget why you do what you do even when you are having an “I hate people day.” Keep the passion and be prepared for the unexpected. I made a vow to travel more. I will try not to sweat the small stuff and to keep everything in perspective. And, when life hands you lemons—make lemonade.