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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Year on the Brink: On-the-fly decisions towards a Joseph Calling???

Chapter 8 of My Life and Times at Purdue University

I am by no means a completely spiritual person. Quick meaning: I don't usually dwell too much on the esoteric nature of why we are here, what is my purpose, or who is this being we often call God. Not that I have never done so, or not done so recently, but, in general, I leave that to the Alan Greenspan's of spiritual musings and metaphysics. (Greenspan was known as the 'maestro' in the capital markets.)


So why does this matter? 

The recent year was not a usual one for me, or my mom. It really started off around May of 2010. Things went downhill for my mother - she began losing weight, falling down (while climbing steps to deliver the news), and not making decisions I surmised she should have. (Not drastic stuff - but enough - to know something was wrong.) By September 27th, she was admitted for surgery to remove cancerous masses from her abdomen.

Her 115-year house (and her sister's home for 50 years) was up for foreclosure. Not a special home either - and they had 15 cats. The crisis had reached a breaking point. I had tried to consul her sister to make a drastic change - and that my mom was in a serious crisis. (Obvious.) I had hardly anyone else to talk to - or able to talk sense to the aunt that would not listen.

Meanwhile, mom's condition got worse. The cancer spread to her brain. The crisis now determined that I was to decide if my mother got emergency surgery to remove the tumor from near her brain stem. It was not hard to decide that. However, the surgeon basically said he was only buying her a little time. He unfortunately said it was all but over. (He did not say that directly - but it was understood.)

Now, the choice was made on November 17th to operate. My beat up 22-year old car suddenly overheated regularly. (By Thanksgiving, it would be unusable.) I moved out on November 19th because the aunt's irrationality got to the point I called the police on her. The cops did nothing. Not seeming to grasp the gravity of my crisis. (I also had contacted adult protective services. That was the level of my own distress about all issues.)

So, I took control of my life - and by legal extension - my mother's. I made the best of what I had - took a car (my mother's debt) from her sister to keep a job; moved to motels/hotels; made arrangements for my mom that fell through  - her brief stay at a VA home. My mom's condition was irreparable - she was aware she did not 'think' right, but her emotions were all over too. It was hard to keep up with the fluctuations - dementia setting in - but I managed to keep her safe. That's what mattered.

I made plenty of mistakes too. I spent more money than I should have to keep us in a place - but moving around with bad credit (no refs either) made that hard to solve. Mom's radiation treatment was for two weeks; then was supposed to intensify for spot treatment later. (By the time she came out of round 1, she was not functioning well enough to go on to round 2.) Other conditions - diabetes - made things more difficult.

She left us quickly - one month of a truly terrible life. (I can't even imagine how it must have been for her.) I can only state this final fact because it is just true. I think about her daily. Sometimes wishing I had been quicker to act. Again, mistakes were made.

Doors close.

And I took my time to grieve too.

Then, I started a plan to reeducate myself. It was a long shot - no real chance to go back to a university that I did poorly at in Purdue. I applied. I wrote to this story after a 1st rejection. I was tentatively accepted. Then financing was reviewed. I cracked that door open too.

Other choices later were done on-the-fly. I moved out of the hotels. Got a cheap place. Found out my mom's car was not going to stick around. Broke towards school and found another place.

While it was not my goal, or intent, six months or a year ago, I am here.

Later, I stumbled upon a concept called the Joseph Calling. It is very important sounding. Basically, you gotta get kicked around a lot. Humbled. Doubt God. And somehow, find another way to go ahead. The more hardship, the more setbacks, the more likely your purpose is a bit greater than you contemplate.

I am not saying I know this for myself. As this blog over the past six years (or my blogging) has bounced around from sport, to personal victimhood (reliving certain poor choices), to politics, to society, to reviews of whatever, something must driving this.

Is my mom helping to lay this all out? Did she pass when she did so I could do something about my education and the writing I do in other ways? I do not know. People seem to always put a label on things to solve their inadequate explanations.

So I did so too. Better to see yourself as overcoming, designing a better reality than to just equate it to what was meant to happen (and that you got luck from that).

Because I do not feel lucky. I'd want mom to be with me this Thanksgiving and many more. I'd take more paper routes if she was around to talk to about whatever. So, while I am less stressed (to a degree), her presence in my life is a hole I can never fill.

The idea of a great upside from such fall - in this case going back to 2000 - is a spiritual novelty. Not that I can not believe it is operative at all. But...well, that's why spiritual maestros exist. To contemplate so we don't have to...determine what is the reason for such years lived on the brink.


For my mom, her spiritual calling was not blessed with the people that made stalwart friends in the pinch. She was there for others: that was her contribution to the grander scheme.

A song possibly about Guardians: Stay (Faraway and so Close)




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