Last week, Doug and I faced the reality that he could no longer work. His cancer treatments and complications had taken a toll on his body and mind and it just wasn’t realistic to expect him to focus on complicated IT work and heal at the same time. Once we’d made the decision for him to take an extended leave from work he sank into his recliner, closed his eyes and said, “I actually have hope now.”
I was certain it was the right decision but I also felt twinges of panic deep in my belly, wondering how we’d make it without his income. The next day I helped Doug complete applications for various benefits, like long-term disability, and wracked my brain searching for additional resources that I might be forgetting. I held myself together, more or less, for a few days...until…a man at Social Security told me that there was a five-month waiting period and Doug had earned too much for any of his year-long illness to count toward that. That’s when Annie lost it.
I’ll admit it; I threw myself an all-out pity party. Then, as I swallowed the last drop of my sugar bomb coffee drink I saw my mantra, “Support is all around me,” in my mind. I pulled my car over next to a beautiful park, took a few deep breaths, repeated that mantra and slowly dried my tears.
It’s easy to say that my thoughts are my choice, but it’s difficult to apply in those moments when my heart is breaking and I can see “evidence” of reasons to worry. Even so, my thoughts are my choice. I might need to allow myself a meltdown first, but when I eventually give my mind the job of repeating “Support is all around me,” I free myself from anxiety for a moment, calm my racing thoughts and bring a little ease to my heart.
Less than three minutes later my phone alerted me to a text message. It was from my coworker Brigette, letting me know I was on her mind and in her prayers. I called her and that’s when she told me that she had donated some paid time off to me – that very day! While I’d been having my panic-induced, coffee-fueled meltdown, she had been completing the paperwork to donate paid time off to me. Twenty-four hours later two more friends announced they were organizing a benefit for us and donations started pouring in.
I still don’t know “how” we will have enough; I just choose to believe that we will. My job is to focus on the experience I want to have, like spending time with Doug, and then trust that our angels/God will arrange the “how.” That’s what I believe, anyway, and it’s what I’m practicing right now, even as you read this.
Support is all around me. Support is all around me. Support is all around you.