Acts of God
Last week the Phoenix area was hit with nutty weather — not yet another day of 100-plus degree heat, but tornadoes and hail the size of bricks. Car, house, window destroying bricks. My little car happened to be parked in the midst of chaos.
I sat in my boss’s office and watched as the skies turned an eerie shade of yellow before crashing, banging and otherwise throwing a giant tantrum that left much of the Valley in disarray. The car dealership nearby reportedly lost 300 cars to severe damage; it was unreal — a bit of mayhem for people who rarely if ever see snow, much less golf-ball sized hail clumped among the cactus.
This storm arrived the day after a much scarier one thankfully began to dissipate. For the last six months my my mom’s been sick. It started with a backache and quickly progressed to something obviously more serious. It took four months before the specialists could figure out the region of her body causing the pain and another two before surgery was scheduled. There were countless appointments and even more tests. She was poked and prodded and thoroughly annoyed by the time they got her into the surgical suite.
My parents mean everything to me. These two, and my brother, are my world. Somehow, out of 6 billion of us, I got lucky with these three as my clan.
The last six months have been an ugly blur. Many nights that I woke up at 1 am crying. Bags form under your eyes, your belt gets a bit tighter as you try to eat away exhaustion, your mood is snippy and nothing seems to be good enough. The looming darkness that could be wrapped us in blankets of anxiety. I reverted to a selfish child. What if she was really sick? What if she couldn’t come to my wedding one day? What if she never met my children? What would my dad do? What would we do? I want my mommy!
Night after night I made a list of things I had to ask her, things I wanted her to teach me, sentiments I had to say again and again to make sure she really knew. Just in case.
It’s that space of “just in case” where we do so much needless harm. My dad and brother weren’t coping any better. Thankfully, we took turns calling each other to cry — rotating who was the strong and who was the one overwhelmed with grief. To hear my dad and brother cry — I would have given anything in that moment to change life.
We rallied her and made sure she had no idea how very worried we were. She was showered with cards, flowers and prayer. My dad’s adoration for my mom was even more clear — he did everything he could to make sure she was comfortable and as happy as could be.
The surgery came and went last week. I sobbed and later celebrated when we got the news — no cancer, completely treatable, she’ll be fine.They finally figured out exactly what it was and she would be good as new.
The day after the storm, two days after the surgery, I called my insurance company about the damage to my car. The agent apologized for “acts of God” that caused the destruction. I couldn’t respond. What do you say to a “storm specialist” after this kind of week? How do you adequately communicate your pure relief that this act of God kind of damage could be repaired with a $500 check?
The same way you say, “I am so glad you didn’t die. I’m not ready. I’ll never be ready. I love you.” You just do. And then I recommend hugs and margaritas all around. Because, oh sweet God, it is time to get back to celebrating life!