Monday, September 8, 2014

Life as a rush job

It started this winter. The feeling that I had to hurry. I didn’t know what for, I just knew procrastination wasn’t advised.

In the back of my mind, I was cognizant of having two elderly parents living a thousand miles away who might need help.

This get-it-done-now attitude had some benefits: an earlier-than-usual vacation; home repairs attended to; and paperwork kept up to date. Projects came in and were turned around without delay.

The opportunity for a mid-summer trip to the Midwest cropped up, and on my last night there, my hurry-hurry strategy began to seem prescient. A telephone message from my dad revealed just how much things were unraveling for my folks in Florida.

Over the following days, concerns shifted from one parent to the other, as both dealt with their own medical issues. The calls were what I had dreaded but expected.

The month of August was a blur of flights back and forth, helping out as much as I could and then heading home. I conferred with my brother over medical options from wherever I happened to be – even on a layover in the Atlanta airport.

As I rushed between crises, time ran out for my father. He passed away after a tough four weeks navigating all the healthcare system had to offer.

There was more rushing around as my parents’ children, grandchildren, a great granddaughter, a niece, a grandnephew – plus spouses – gathered to honor my father’s life. After the service, we all rushed back to our own lives.

Because I had fulfilled my commitments to client projects early on, I was able to spend as much time as needed with family throughout the whole medical morass, from hospital to nursing home to hospice to final arrangements. Good thing, too, because I wasn’t good for much else, finding myself unable to string together cogent sentences.

Now, as life settles into new patterns, I’m ready to jump back into the flow of work; and new projects are appearing on my schedule. 

I don’t feel as much need to rush through deadlines, but I probably will to an extent. There’s no immediate need for me to fly back to Florida at a moment’s notice, but you never know. Time will tell. And I will be ready.

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