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Lessons Learned

I am my mother’s daughter. My family will sometimes call me T. Way, when I sound or act like my father – worrying about everything. But I am very much like my mother too. She had numerous admirable qualities, making the raising of seven children appear effortless. Unfortunately, those qualities I did not inherit.

If you were sick, in a household of nine, on a busy school morning, you got short shrift. Mother didn’t spend a lot of time fussing over you. In later years, when she got cancer, most of her friends didn’t know. Never knew about the weeks and weeks of radiation treatments. She continued going to meetings and offering to help on various committees. My sister Patti was truly mother’s daughter, working fulltime through her cancer treatments up until the last few months before she died.

These women taught me that sickness is not something to be pitied or rued. So what am I supposed to do with a man cold? Seriously, I grew up in an unsympathetic household in which sickness was no big deal. So, when my sweet, affable husband turns into a different being entirely, how am I supposed to react? It has always mystified me, for we have been here many times before.

All the day long, never stirring from the bed, then thrashing the sheets and blankets off at 3:00 in the morning, turning on lights, coughing and hacking his way to the bathroom, coming back and falling into bed, wheezing with ragged breaths, too exhausted to care or notice that all the lights have been left on. I get up, rearrange the sheets and blankets, and turn out the lights. Is this done in saintly fashion? Heavens no! It’s more than mild annoyance that propels me out of bed to set things straight. Then I lie there at 3:00 in the morning - wide awake and fuming.

What’s the lesson here? I know there’s a lesson to be learned. I know God is smiling, trying so hard not to laugh – at me…at us. My silent annoyance begins to fade and I too smile. One thing God has blessed me with and for which I am eternally grateful, is a healthy sense of humor. It has carried me through almost 40 years of marriage – and marriage, as we all know, can try the patience of a saint. Though, what saints have and what I sorely lack is patience. God tests me on this attribute (or lack thereof) often. It’s a daily struggle for me, though it is often an easier hurdle to overcome at any other time of the day.3:00 in the morning is really pushing it!

But, let’s look on the bright side - 3:00 am is an ideal time to have a chat with God, who will always calm us down and set us back on the right path. (And that path for me, to the relief of many, has never included a career in nursing.)

Margery Frisch

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