You often hear, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” or, “when life throws you a curve ball hit it out of the ball park.” Both are pieces of common advice about what to do when life turns upside down and you face a difficult situation.
Those common advice quotes are my favorite, but the one that fits my life currently is from actress Drew Barrymore, who said, “life is very interesting… in the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.” So far, 2012 has been a tough year for me. There have been good days and bad days. When the year started my Granny passed away. It was tough to come to terms with her death, but with help of my family I was able to cope with her passing.
I’m not going to lie, it was really hard, and even though it has been nine months since she passed away I still miss her. There are times when I find myself flashing back to when my aunt said she was gone, and it triggers tears. Every day people lose loved ones and go through the mourning process. I often wonder why we must go through hard times— is there a point?
Do these difficult situations make us stronger? I have been asking myself that question for a while now and it wasn’t until this summer I found the answer to my question. In June, my other Grandma went into the hospital to be treated for an infection. What should have taken just a few days to get over turned into weeks in a nursing home. My mom took her to the doctor to see if there was something to help my Grandma standup. Her knee was giving her pain and she needed a knee replacement.
Thinking this would be a good thing and to give her a chance to walk again, a date was set for a surgery. It was scary because there was a chance my Grandma would not make it, but my family and I needed to be strong, we were. Everything seemed to be going well and we went out to get something eat. While we were out getting something to eat my Grandma had a bad reaction to the anastesia.
She suffered a stroke and the doctors had to bring her back. My mom told my family and I what had happened and, for a moment, I went blank and froze. Is this it? Is my Grandma going to pull through and be okay? All these thoughts ran through my head while sitting in the ICU waiting room with my mom and other family and friends.
It felt nice to be around a group of people I loved and cared about. It made things calmer. In the end, my Grandma couldn’t have the surgery because of the stroke and the risk of her not making it. Weeks have passed and it’s September; my Grandma is still in the nursing home and, although she’s doing okay, she is not the same. It’s hard to see my Grandma not talking like she used to, not telling me stories or making jokes. For me it feels like I have a completely different Grandma and it hurts seeing her like this.
It also hurts seeing my mom stress and worry about what to do— questioning her own motives and wondering if she’s doing the right thing in selecting care for her mother. Even though my mom is worried, she’s been positive and tries to keep our family positive too. Thinking about everything going on is tough, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s that when we go through troubles in life it can suck. So why do we go through these loops and road bumps in life, are they to make us stronger?
My own rough journey has led me to realize that yes, it is about building emotional strengths. No matter what comes our way in life, whether good or bad, we must take it and try to make the best of it. I’ve also learned that family and friends are a big part in helping us overcome life’s struggles. At the end of the day, “make lemonade.”