You know, I've had some time to think about it and I've come to the conclusion that words are so subjective depending upon the circumstances. For example...tragedy.
Let's see how our friend, Webster, defines it. Tragedy: (noun) a lamentable, dreadful, or fatal event or affair; calamity; disaster
On Monday morning, I suffered a tragedy: My toenail fell off. Look, I understand that this is absolutely gross information that everyone would be perfectly fine not knowing, but it's my blog...I'll discuss my physical ailments if I want to. I immediately thought about [and discussed with my co-workers...sorry y'all] how in the world I would ever make it through summer sandal season with a nail-less toe. [Vanity - quite the stronghold, indeed.] I won't bore you all with the gory details of why I was considering the possibility of having a Lee Press-On nail glued to my second toe, but let's just say that I knew what I was talking about when I said that Music City and Zumba don't jive. Tragedy.
Early Tuesday morning, tragedy struck yet again: My dog ate a ball of aluminum foil that PeeWee Herman would be envious of. [Time-out: If you were a child born in the very late 70's or early 80's and do not remember the foil ball from PeeWee's Playhouse, I regret to inform you that you led a sheltered life. Or your parents just had the sense enough to not allow you to watch that ridiculous show.] Back to the tragedy. I was going through my usual morning routine and I thought that Cash was still piled up like the lazy dog that he is in my bed. Wrong. He had somehow gotten into the trash bag [that lives in the laudry room off the kitchen] and dug through until he found a bright and shiny object. I'm sure the fact that said aluminum foil was the wrapping for my baked sweet potato from dinner the night before only made this find more valuable. By the time I figured out that he was not in my bed, but was instead laying in the dining area with shards of foil around him while licking his chops, I knew that the damage had already been done. So I called Mom to get her perspective regarding how much damage some tin foil could do to a dog's insides. Because moms know everything, right? Tragedy.
Then after I got to work on Tuesday morning, tragedy struck yet again. I got a voice message from mom on my work line that went something to the effect of this: "I just wanted to let you know that Daddy is breathing, but we are on our way to the Emergency Room." Because that's what every daughter loves to hear from their moms who know everything, right? As I type this at 3:15 AM from the waiting room of the hospital in my hometown while my youngest baby brother is sleeping in two chairs that have been pushed together and my oldest baby brother is laying in the floor curled up like a little boy next to my mom, my dad is undergoing dialysis and is in a fight for his life. He was admitted into the hospital because he is suffering from a very severe case of pneumonia. Oh and while it's not some random strain of Swine Pneumonia or anything, he has COPD which makes it much more difficult for his body to fight it off than it would be for those of us with healthy lungs. His pulmonologist Dr. Graves [seriously, that's her name, it's unfortunate], who we know and love very much from his last little bout with pneumonia and respiratory failure a couple of years ago, came and spoke to my family tonight. All the time I was thinking "wait, I'm not supposed to be one of those family members that the doctors and nurses look at you with a forlorn expression as they say the words that you never want to hear." We are taking this hour by hour and to be honest, his doctor has not given us much hope. She said that it will be amazing if he makes it through the night. Tragedy.
Suddenly my toenail doesn't look so bad after all. When I went to my parents' house to let Cash out about 2 hours ago, he was wagging his tail and jumping up and down because he was so happy to see me. Apparently aluminum foil is easily digestible. It's amazing how one's perspective can change in a moment. When I woke up this morning [ok, technically now it's Wednesday morning but I'm still referring to Tuesday morning because I haven't been to bed yet], I did not have "possibly losing my father" on my to-do list. Instead I was going to get my oil changed and have my breaks checked, vacuum out my car, and clean my apartment. Those are much more appropriate for a to-do list if you ask me. It turns out that those things are going to have to wait because I'm in a bit of a tragedy right now. But do you know what? Somewhere in this crazy world someone else is experiencing an even bigger tragedy.
And this is what I'm learning about tragedy. It is accompanied by victory. Like for example, I'm not going to have to have a Lee Press-On nail put on my toe because the new nail had already begun to grow in before the old one even fell all the way off. Victory. There was nothing shiny, metallic, and slimy all over [again, gross, I know, but it's the reality of owning a dog] in Cash's crate when I went home to let him out earlier. Victory. It's 3:44 AM and my daddy is still hanging in there. His heart rate is stable. His blood-oxygen level is high. His blood pressure remained stable when he underwent dialysis. Other things started to improve even before the dialysis. Victory. Small, Hour-by-hour victories, but victories nonetheless.
Another thing that I'm learning about tragedy is that when it strikes, people respond. I am once again humbled beyond belief at the outpouring of love, support, and prayers that has been bestowed upon my family. There are people praying near and far. I'm amazed and comforted because I feel absolutely surrounded by care and support. And I know that I am. It's a good feeling. There is nothing that I can do physically to make daddy better. Micah is willing him to live with more determination than I've ever seen come out of his little 11 year-old body. Mom's faith is absolutely amazing. God is in control of this seemingly out-of-control situation. Victory.