Sad. Happy. Surprised. Taken back. Helpless. Confused. Hopeful. Still.
I have been without words and mixed emotions for almost an entire month. Shortly after my last post I was fortunate to be able to return home to celebrate my Grandfather's 90th birthday and Easter! Little did I know that one month later I would still be at home. This has potentially been one of the craziest months of my life.
For a little bit of back story, my family notoriously and traditionally never has a good month of May. May is when the deaths, accidents and bad news occurs with the Tates. May arrives like a unwanted grocery store reunion of a high school acquaintance. You look down the aisle just in time to make eye contact with Awkward McGee and now begrudgingly await their approach. Each year my family grind our teeth, squint our eyes and pray to successfully make it through this month. This year May got a head start.
After only a few hours of being back home for my visit, my mother sat down beside me on the couch. She began to explain that she had breast cancer. Welcome home to me. Cancer is something that is constantly happening all around us, but for some reason we tend to believe we are invincible. What do you do, what can you do, when there is literally nothing you can do; it is completely out of your hands. She explained that they caught the cancer early and that it had not reached a stage yet. She was to have surgery in two weeks and then begin five weeks of radiation. I originally was planning only to stay two weeks; immediately my plans changed. I could not believe that this was happening. It was a Tuesday.
Friday, Good Friday, was my Grandfather's birthday. He had no clue I was coming into town and I could not wait to surprise him. He is my last living grandparent and he means the world to me. You should have seen the look on his face we I showed up! At first he did not really pay attention to the fact I was there. Nothing new, just Wes. Then you could see it click. I was supposed to be 2,000 miles away, not in Alabama. His mouth opened and he just stared. I will cherish that moment forever. To add to that excitement came Easter Sunday! I mentioned in a earlier post how Easter was my favorite holiday. I was so excited to be able to spend it at home with my family. Beautiful day!
Then came Wednesday. The day Alabama was ravished by tornados. Nothing is a stranger feeling than having to sit back, helpless, and watch such an event unfold. Even trying to write this now I do not know what to say. I watched a tornado plow through Cullman and a few hours later I watched as one tore through my town. How do you express that? You can't. I would shortly find out, that feeling would only increase as the sound of sirens sang me to sleep that night. It is just mind boggling to live somewhere for twenty-four years and not be able to recognize anything. To drive down streets where you went to high school, and point out which pile of rubble someone used to call home. To not know where your friends were at the time and if they were okay. To be thankful for your safety but so torn over others.
Recovery is not a new word but one I am beginning to understand. It seems to be the stage that my surroundings and I are in. Recovery is a word that appears to be very positive, and it is. It is no longer the worst, you have already been there, and now you are on the way back up. That however does not mean you get off easy. Through watching my mom post surgery and Tuscaloosa in the aftermath, I see just how much pain is really involved in the recovery. It is in the recovery that you grow, learn, are challenged and changed. The people who lost their homes during the tornado may have been injured and hurt. But the pain is in the digging in the rubble to find the remains of your life. After injury and surgery the pain comes in the rehab and the rest.
All through out life each of us will be faced with hard times. Wether it be spiritual, physical, psychological, troubles with relationships, finances or health we must be strong in the recovery. The recovery maybe the toughest and most crucial times in our lives. It is important to desperately cling onto the truths and foundations of our lives. This song and scripture has been constantly playing in my head through this month. It is filled with much promise and reminds me of the greatness that is to come!