I keep asking Marc when life is going to be easy again. When everything will just go back to normal and I won’t have trouble sleeping or wake up in the morning with a pit already sitting in my stomach.
Neither of us knows what to say to that. But what we do know is that when our lives settle down it will be into a completely new normal. Things will never be quite the same again. We may feel like we’re “back to normal” but that normal will forever be different.
I’ve opened up a few times on social media about what we’re dealing with right now as a family but let me share a little more here. In July, after months of preparation and work, we launched The Life Actually Company™. The morning of the launch and the launch party Marc’s mum called from England to tell us his dad was going into the hospital and that the situation wasn’t good.
Let me back up even further. Last year we found out two weeks to the day after our wedding that my father in law was diagnosed with kidney cancer. About four weeks after that my dad would find out he had a very aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Both fought extremely hard but my father in law was simply running out of time and options. Which became abundantly clear to us the morning of the launch. We thought Marc might need to fly out that night, but his mum insisted he stay to support me. So, the next day we both flew to England to be with his family. Three days later my father in law, John, died.
On the day of John’s passing my dad began radiation treatment to deal with a recurrence of his own cancer. As we stayed in England for two and a half weeks my dad fought back in Minnesota, only to find out on the day of the funeral that his prognosis was far more grim than anyone had expected. His prostate cancer had mutated and was no longer acting as prostate cancer. It was extremely aggressive and there would be no cure. All they could do was treat it in order to improve his quality of life for as long as possible.
Now here we are two months later still struggling to grieve for my father in law while also trying to help and support my parents through the toughest time of their lives, as my dad fights for as much additional time as he can get.
To say this has been a depressing time is an understatement.
And I’m embarrassed to admit this, but as my parents were giving me the details of my dad’s latest prognosis, I couldn’t help but worry about what this would all mean for my brand new business. Of course, my first concern was my dad and my family. But I also recognized that my company was in a very fragile state. This is its infancy and so much care and attention is needed.
Where on earth was I supposed to find that now?
So, yeah, you could say I’ve been struggling. I want so badly to grow my business, turn a profit, help other women, and make myself and my parents proud. But I also find that most days I simply can’t focus on anything but my dad and my own fears and struggles about what the future will hold for our family. I have so little focus and so little energy to devote to this business that needs me so much. But my family needs me even more and I will always choose family.
I kept telling myself, this is all happening at the WORST possible time.
But is it?
As I thought about our situation more and spoke with some of the people I trust most, I started to realize just how lucky I might actually be. I know, that sounds crazy. I feel anything but lucky these days. But hear me out…
If I were still in TV I would be confined to a demanding and completely inflexible schedule. I would not have been able to pick up and leave for England at the last second and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to stay for over two weeks to support Marc and his family. And now that my dad is sick, I would have a really hard time taking the impromptu trips to Minnesota that have been so necessary to helping him and my mom. Instead, I would be stuck worrying about the baseball playoffs and an unrelenting schedule that would have forced me to miss some of the most important time I will ever spend with my family.
And if I had a successful and thriving business I wouldn’t be as flexible either. If I had employees and contracts and commitments and projects in the works, I would have to spend nearly all of my time dealing with those details and logistics. I might be able to up and leave for Minnesota whenever needed, but it would bring about a lot of headaches, rescheduling, and delays.
Right now, I’m completely in the middle of both of those worlds. And while being in the middle means I’m not a glowing success in either, it also means I am about as free as I’ll ever be to take care of family matters and family members.
I tell myself constantly that one day I will look back on this time in the grand scheme of things and realize just how fortunate the timing was. There is never a good time for someone you love to get cancer and to have to fight for their life. But there is certainly a bad time for it to happen. And thankfully, that time is not now for me.
It really is all about perspective. And while I am a work in progress and have to remind myself every day that it’s okay to focus on family and not work right now, I honestly know it’s the right thing for me to do.
And the right time for me to do it.
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