Sometimes you just do things

Today I resisted the urge to cry when a kind coworker brought me a packet of tissues, only to lose it on the phone with my mom and admit I was crying over tissues/kindness.

I posted in the group chat that I had a case of faucet nose and asked if anyone had some tissues. J.H. brought me a packet of tissues, which I thanked her for several times. L.W. offered up tea, honey and some lozenges if I needed them. I might have to take her up on that later.

Life offline has been something else. Do you all remember when I told you my grandma was in the hospital and then rehab? Last Wednesday she came home. Physically she’s still adjusting. Mentally and emotionally she’s getting better with each day. I think being in the comfort of her own home and surrounded by family has been a boon and source of relief.

Then we had another blow. I had to work on Saturday and run some errands. I got home around 3:30 and couldn’t wait to slip into my softest jammies. Mainly I wanted to get my bra off. Important stuff, you see.

At 4 p.m. I got a text and a call from my mom. My grandpa fell down and hit his head pretty hard. She was following him to the hospital and I needed to come home to be with Grandma.

So I spent the weekend with Grandma, which was both a joy and exhausting. I always knew that caretaking isn’t for the faint of heart or the weak, and this weekend confirmed that. Grandpa is still at the hospital but okay – he called us on both Saturday and Sunday to let her know how he was doing. He’s in good spirits and Mom has good things to say about his nurse, although we still have no idea how long he’ll be there.

It’s been almost a month of running back home to be with my grandparents. I want to make it clear that as much as a resent the situation as a whole, the timing and the fact it happened, in no way, shape or form are my feelings directed toward my grandparents. If anyone is having a hard time, it’s definitely them.

I’ll admit there’s a lot I’m not saying in today’s blog. Primarily because my grandparents are private and wouldn’t want overly personal medical information online, but also because I don’t want this to turn into a furious diatribe. I’ve had several of those over the last few days and God was getting a piece of my mind when I was coming back to Columbus last night.

“Why did it have to be her? Why did she have to go to the hospital the night before Thanksgiving? Why this time of year?” I sobbed.

Then it became, “Why him? Why is he suffering like this? Is this the end? Are we going to lose him?”

From there I started cursing God on Mom’s and my own behalf. “How long is this going to last? Why is it only the two of us doing all the work? I want my life and weekends back. I can’t just got to work and then speed home. My place is a mess, I still have groceries all over. I want some time to work out again and not live in a drive thru. I want some calm again. Mom needs her life back – why aren’t you giving any of us a break? What do you want?”

This wasn’t the first time I cried, but it was the most. I got home, had enough time to run my dishwasher (only after realizing I didn’t have any clean bowls for Marina) and did some laundry. Afterwards I laid down with Marina, who was pretty concerned about her mom.

There’s a saying I keep hearing a lot. I don’t know if it’s Biblical or a mommy blogger thing, but I constantly hear someone talking about how “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” I get the message behind it – you’re not going to do a good job taking care of others if you fail to take care of yourself first, so take care of yourself. However, something about the phrase has always irritated me and I could never put a finger on the why.

This weekend with Grandma gave me that answer.

Not only is “you can’t pour from an empty cup” dismissive of people with very real challenges and barriers (e.g. single parents with very little to no support), but it’s almost always used by people who aren’t going through something right now and therefore have no idea how useless or dismissive this adage is.

No, I can’t pour from an empty cup … But my grandmother needs help pouring from a full one. I’m not the one risking dehydration the same way she is, so her needs have to come first and mine later on. Until home health care arrives and Grandpa can come home, it’s Mom and I tag-teaming with my stepdad stepping up to the plate when Mom needs him and I can’t leave the city. It’s obviously hard, but it needs done. We all have to pour no matter what.

I was thinking about it this morning and I remembered one of the books I read five years ago, when I was training for my first half marathon and going through a rough time in my life.

Scott Jurek is an ultra marathoner (yes, non-runners, this is a thing. If you all thought running full marathons was something else ….) who didn’t originally plan on following that path. But the wheels of fate were turning, and with his victories as an ultra marathoner came Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness.

Jurek tells a fascinating story – even if you could care less about running, his memoir and stories from races suck you in. It’s a fun but impactful read that I recommend to anyone looking for new reading material. There’s a passage in Eat and Run that is so simple but profound. Growing up, Scott’s father would tell him “sometimes you just do things!” in reference to why they had to do certain things in life. That phrase stuck with him and he thinks back to it throughout Eat and Run.

I thought about that phrase – “sometimes you just do things” – in reference to my grandparents and what we’re all going through. I’ve decided that’s the only answer to everything currently going on. Sometimes, you just have to do things when life or an emergency demands it. Nothing more, nothing less.

So that’s how I’m looking at it. I’m doing things because this is the time life and two people I love need me to. That’s not to say some days won’t be scary or stressful, but I have to show up and get out of my own head for them. We all do at some point in life. Mine just happens to be now.

So with all this being said, I hope you all have a better week ahead. I think today is a good day for a lunchtime walk to clear my head.

Yours in writing and running,


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