There have been a lot of things going on in my extended family recently. Health things and family matters/problems that have really made me sit back and think about the choices we make as individuals. How those choices reflect on our lives for years to come and how those choices affect other people in our lives.
For instance, take my Grandmother. She has battled breast cancer resulting in a radical mastectomy at a very young age, she has been battling diabetes for nearly thirty years, along with high blood pressure, heart problems and a gamut of other health issues. She underwent a surgical procedure last night to prevent her from having another big stroke. She has over the last few months been suffering from a series of small strokes which is caused by her carotid artery being clogged. The diminished blood flow has also been causing her to have seizures and periods of blackouts. She has had seizures recently that caused her to blackout and fall, coming to laying on her kitchen floor or in the bathroom. She lives alone and these episodes are extremely dangerous and life-threatening. She has been in and out of hospitals for going on four years to deal with her expanding heath problems and her health just keeps getting worse. If it's not one thing, it's something else. Needless to say, this whole experience has caused a lot of stress to my family. My mom, my aunt and uncle, and her grandkids. We're all worried sick about her and are trying to find ways to keep her healthy and alive for as long as possible. The problem is, it's going to take work on her part and she proven in the past that she has no desire to make better health choices for herself to keep these things from happening to her. She has chosen not to get out and exercise. She has chosen to not eat healthier meals. She has chosen to abuse prescription painkillers. Moreover, she has chosen to refuse the help she so needs from friends and family. All of the choices she has made in the past years have greatly affected not only her but all of the people involved in her life. Now we, as her family, are left to pick up the pieces of a situation she has created with her decisions.
While at the hospital last night (which I will say is NO fun with two small kids!) my cousin disappeared with her estranged husband for big chunks of time. He is estranged from our family for very good reasons, which I cannot get into here. She has been contemplating getting back into a relationship with him even though she knows the consequences of that decision. The loss of her family is the biggest consequence I can imagine. My uncle, her dad, has been sick as well. Hodgkin Lymphoma which is curable if caught in time. This is the last thing my aunt needs from her daughter right now. With her mom and her husband very ill, my aunt needs her daughters to be strong and supportive. Not making decisions that have the potential to devastate her further.
With all of these things going on, I've really been thinking about choices we make. The choices I've made in the past that have affected my family in some seriously harsh ways. Things that I still deal with today. I have to say, it's really difficult for me look at them and have much pity. They continue to blame other people and other "things out of their control" for their problems. I say, take responsibility for the choices you've made. After all, you did at one time think it was the right thing to do. Own it and if it was a bad decision try to make it right. Knowing that you are responsible for your own destiny is an empowering and beautiful thing!
I've made my share of bad decisions. I KNOW that and I use the the experiences I have to make better my future better. I don't want to repeat the same bad choices over and over again. I do not like being stuck in a rut going round and round in circles. What's there to gain by that? If we open our eyes and our minds to what life has given us and what we have done with those gifts, we can make our lives better. We can learn from the past and make something beautiful for ourselves and our families.