Due to my job I come across a lot of interesting families, dynamics, situations and interesting turn outs. There is nothing common about them and none two alike. However, I have realized that one thing is always the same. Uncertainty about what each of our futures hold.
I have been reminded in a big way this year that we have no idea what life is going to throw our way. As soon as we think we have settled in and are along for the ride, we speed off into an unexpected path full of land mines. If we are lucky we will eventually turn off into safety….if we aren’t then for better or worse we learn how to cope, develop and become better because of all those land mines we hit on the way. Outside of my own personal life work has also shown me that we have no idea what tomorrow holds. For years we all live in these bubbles of good health, productive living and routine. We could wake up with cancer tomorrow, our loved ones could die in a car crash, or someone we deeply love could get dementia. We all pretend that it won’t happen to us. Those are only things that we see on Dateline or a movie. Those don’t happen to ordinary people…..or so we say.
I have to tell people every day that their loved one shouldn’t return home with them….they are unsafe, unable or may harm themselves or others. I advise families to make impossible and terribly difficult choices that most of us will have to make ourselves one day. I hear day after day from these families, “We expected to have to make these choices one day, but not this soon.” All of us expect these one day but never soon.
So as I have been thinking and processing I realized that life never turns out how we planned, it rarely has the fairy tale ending and our paths are often not as pretty as we hoped. Many would think this is tragic. I choose to believe that the only tragedy is not living each day as if something bad could happen tomorrow. Invisibility and denial is tragic. Reality and choosing to participate in your own life and those of your loved ones is victory……no matter how many land mines are put in your path. We can’t change fate or destiny but we can choose to go out swinging or laying down. Which way will you decide?
So as you get together with family tomorrow for the holiday, hug them tighter, smile and soak up each moment. You never know when it will change.