Don’t Let Fretful, Futile Preparations Cheat You

Photo of an old-fashioned lamp and flower basket

Today I wept for Judy.

I woke feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Too many tasks, too little time and energy. Farm bookkeeping. Church conference preparations and fundraiser contributions. A long list of writing and teaching tasks. A longer list of household duties, most of which I’ve allowed to build up while occupied with more important matters. The number one matter: my parents. Before my feet hit the floor, I was praying for direction.

What preparations should I make in anticipation of my mother’s upcoming surgery and recuperation? We don’t have a date yet, but it’s a safe bet I’ll be staying with my parents for a month or more, partly to help Ma, partly to take care of Dad while she’s in the hospital and laid up afterwards. Late December and early January are ground zero for the farm bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes, so I started making a list of things I might be able to do in advance. That kicked the old brain into overdrive! I put on my clodhoppers and went for a walk on the flat.

The sun and wind and river would have been very pleasant if all the uncertainties of taking care of my parents during this surgery, and beyond, hadn’t been banging in my head. Ma has done an amazing job of taking care of Dad at home, but he’s an 89-year-old guy with diabetes, a pacemaker, and advancing Alzheimer’s. We’ve had some tough discussions already, and more lie ahead. The worst of it, I thought, is that I could make the smartest preparations in the world and get caught short by the unforeseen, just like when … Judy died.

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