(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

Driving down the road this morning I thought, I’m not ready to return to this road. Oh the specific road and the weather conditions were not the same, but the task was. Sometimes an aged love one just hits a phase in life when it is always something and each time it’s hard to tell whether or not the something is really, really big or just limiting and/or painful.

Either way, it’s hard to watch strong people you love grow weak. And now an even harder part for me is to keep my past experiences with my mother from filling my heart with worry that may or may not be warranted. My job is to provide support and ask questions, not to freeze with fear in light of all sorts of imagined possibilities. Truly I need to remain in the moment—neither in the past nor the future.

I have my own physical limitations these days, which means I’m trying to plan my runs for the perfect time. My PT says not to run until I’ve been awake for two hours and yet I know that waiting for the heat of the day does me no favors. As I reached that two hour point and started to finish getting ready to leave, the phone rang with a change of plans. My chauffeuring skills were needed sooner than previously planned. Hadn’t showered, but at least I hadn’t added the sweat from a work-out yet.

Out of my running clothes and into something more suitable for a hospital, I jumped in the car. But as I drove off, my emotions fluctuated between mourning running in the cool morning breeze and realizing that this wasn’t really about me—someone’s life could hang in the balance and this trip was an opportunity to help him in a difficult time.

Gripping the steering wheel, I remembered just how hard it is to keep living your own life between each phone call and any actions those calls require you to take—and how aware you have to remain of the awesome responsibility of working with medical professionals when answers aren’t clear. You really can’t rely on the outsiders to care as much as you do, but at least this time there are many minds to help remember symptoms, actions, and possible questions to share with those outsiders.

I came home weary from the short trip, not because it took long or required much effort from me, but because of the uncertainty surrounding someone else’s pain. No run for me—I just wasn’t up to hitting the road in the heat of the day. But it’s not good to sit and stew—and so I danced—albeit inside in front of my fan. I got in my “me” time—a few hours to forget the past troubles and the worries of this day—after all.

And thank goodness the next call I received brought better news than expected. Whew, right? So back to the original plan—until the next phone call.

The walls in the hospital room we visited were covered with inspirational expressions which no matter how true, may not always bring comfort in the moment to those seated in that room. Still, I need to take whatever comfort I can from them—this is not about me or even about my mom or what we went through together. As the sign read: Every day is a gift. One phone call at a time. Now to remember that life is best lived in between those phone calls.