Family, its All that Really Matters!

Our family is our greatest asset.
Our family is our greatest asset.

Has a member of your family faced a life-threatening situation?

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Crisis!

There is nothing like a crisis to change a person’s perspective on life. When my husband, Dan, went through colon cancer surgery, my world was shaken. I had recently started graduate school and we had purchased our first rental property. Being in the hospital with him brought back memories of all the times I had come face to face with my own or a loved one’s death.

This time, however, things were different. As I watched Dan struggle, I realized how much I had depended upon him in the past. During every crisis we had weathered together, he had been there for me. His presence had been an anchor in my life since the time we were married. What would I do if he were gone? Who would be there for me when he could not? How would I face the cold, cruel world from which he had sheltered me for so long?

Time stood still as these unanswered questions filled my mind and heart. It was not until I heard the same words echoed from the lips of our children that I was able to process through my own feelings, pull myself together and move on. I needed to find strength, and make a plan for my own, and our family’s future.

Family member
Issues
Questions
My husband
Hospitalization, possible death or future disability
What if he doesn't make it? How do we decide what treatment to use?
Minor children
Daily care and supervision
Who will provide for their needs? Where will they go if we can't be at home?
Myself
Confusion of priorities
Why are we going through this? When will it end?

Confusion

When we are faced with a crisis situation, uncertainty clouds our judgement. For me, the possibility of losing my husband was like being hit by a freight train! I was standing on the tracks staring at the oncoming light and was frozen with fear. I knew that I needed to move, but where and how?

We were dependent upon his income for our survival. Our housing was connected with his employment. If something happened to him, we would be penniless and homeless. This reality did not sink in until I was with one of my daughters and we were talking with the school counselor. She asked if my daughter had any questions. What came out of her mouth shocked me back to reality. She said, "What will happen to me if Dad dies?"

Up to that point, I had been so concerned about myself that I had not given thought to the needs of our children. The counselor assured my daughter that she would not be an orphan, as she would still have me. From that moment on, I realized that the medical people would take care of my husband, and that I needed to be there for my children.

I put a contingency plan into place. We completed the purchase of the rental property where I was attending school. If necessary, I could move the children to live with me there, finish my schooling, and move forward with full-time employment.Our needs would be met.

Even when crisis occurs, it is not the end, rather a new beginning.
Even when crisis occurs, it is not the end, rather a new beginning.

Adjustment

With my husband in the hospital bed, both his and my needs changed. He needed my support, and I could not receive it from him while he was suffering. At first, I tried to be brave, and sacrifice my sleep and comfort to see that I could be there for him.

I was driving back and forth from our home in Ray, a distance of 70 miles from where he and my schooling were in Minot. Our family did the local paper routes, and someone needed to drive the car for the route to be done. With winter upon us, riding bike and walking were not an option.

I thought I could do it. My children needed me and my husband needed me, and I needed my schooling. After just a week, I was exhausted. As I stood in my husband's hospital room and a winter storm was on the horizon, his aunt reminded me that my first priority was to be with my husband. For the first time since he was diagnosed with cancer, my husband put his foot down.

He told me that I did not need to drive back and forth any more. His brother-in-law offered to drive the children on the paper route, and his wife, my husband's sister, would see that they received nourishing meals on a regular basis. As I lay down to rest that night, I slept peacefully for the first time since the crisis had entered our lives.

Survival

Just as Steven Curtis Chapman so aptly sings in "Heaven is the Face of a Little Girl," our heaven on earth is within the walls of our own homes. God is our Father, and when we feel close to our family members, we feel close to him. Life becomes precious indeed when we draw loved ones around us while weathering a crisis.

When the life of one that we love dearly is threatened, we automatically turn to God, pleading for his grace and mercy to be with us. We realize that our family is everything we have. There is nothing more important or sacred than the love we have for one another.

Until the storm passes, we may have to leave the comfort of our homes and take up temporary residence somewhere else. Doing so means that our sleeping, eating, and routine habits are interrupted. It is easy to become impatient and get on each other's nerves.

We are like a ship being tossed about by the ocean. We never know what will happen. We could be swept off the deck by a crashing wave, or plunged to a watery grave when the ship takes a sudden nose dive. As a result, we are physically and emotionally exhausted.

If we are not careful, our emotional reservoirs will run dry. We know that this is happening when we start feeling that we do not care anymore, that we just want the crisis to be over. This is a dangerous place to be. Getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and obtaining emotional support are high priority.

When crisis comes into our lives, we need each other even more profoundly.
When crisis comes into our lives, we need each other even more profoundly.

Afterward

Even after we get back on solid ground, it takes time for things to develop some normalcy. Much love and patience is required by all members of the family. Adjustments in responsibilities are necessary, especially when the crisis turns into a long-term care situation.

My husband's cancer was a big part of our lives for several years. He went back and forth to his chemotherapy appointments while I completed my schooling. Ironically, we were able to spend more time together as a result of the crisis than we would have otherwise.

We recently celebrated the tenth year since his surgery. He has been free and clear of cancer and the affects of the chemotherapy are just a memory, but the lessons we learned as a family are ongoing. We value each other much more deeply than we ever thought possible.

We thank God for the gift of life each day because we know that at any given moment, things could change. We have talked about our future and have a plan in place, should something happen, we know what we will do.

We cherish each moment that we have with our children and grandchildren because we know that in the end, family is all that really matters, for your emotional health!

©2014 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. This hub is an Emotional Survival Resource. For more information on Emotional Survival, see www.denisewa.com.

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Comments 28 comments

Whidbeywriter profile image

Whidbeywriter 24 months ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

Hello, I can certainly relate to everything you just said in this beautiful heartwarming hub. It is so good to hear that your husband is doing better, Praise God. I too can say my husband who went open heart surgery about 7 months ago is doing better, by God's grace we get through those tough times. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and may God Bless you always and your family!!!!!!!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

A beautiful message with a very happy ending. Congratulations to your husband, and to your family, for hanging in there, together, and learning to deal with life surrounded by love.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 24 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Whidbeywriter. It is tough when those that we love have to go through such difficult experiences! Thank heaven that we have God's grace to help us through, as well as the love of family and friends! I'm glad that your husband is doing well, also.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 24 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Bill. I appreciate your kind comments.


Carol McCullough profile image

Carol McCullough 24 months ago from U.S.

Wonderful Denise, family matters during the holiday season and all through the year!


clivewilliams 24 months ago

my friend, if God answers prayers, he must have heard yours. I felt your pain in your writing and i rejoiced with his cure. Yes, it is sometimes when we are in critical situations, we truly see what is in front of us and what really matters. God bless you and your family.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 24 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Carol. Our families are our most important asset, any time of year! Thanks for stopping by!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 24 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Yes, Clive, he did answer our prayers, and we rejoice in his goodness. When our oldest daughter had leukemia at the age of three, we knew of others who were less fortunate. Hopefully, God heard their pain and pleas as well. We never know when it will be our time to go, that is why each moment on our knees is critical!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 24 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

What a wonderful hub, filled with great things to ponder and develop in my own life. Thank you


Kate Mc Bride profile image

Kate Mc Bride 24 months ago from Donegal Ireland

this is a very hopeful,positive hub Denise-about learning lessons about life from your husband's cancer journey. Have a good Christmas.

Kate


lifegate profile image

lifegate 24 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Hi Denise,

The lessons of life's trials - although when we are in the midst of the trial we don't always see them. thank you for helping us to prepare for whatever the future might hold.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 24 months ago from The Caribbean

So happy that your husband made it through and that now you have the memories of God's faithfulness and the togetherness of your family. Your point about being selfish in the struggle is so common; we are never alone in our suffering or in our joy if we have family. Thanks for your inspiration.


maramerce profile image

maramerce 24 months ago from United States

Merry Christmas, Denise! You are so right!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 24 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

I'm glad that you found something that would be helpful for you, Eric. I appreciate your comments.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 24 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Kate. The holidays are much more precious to us when we realize that we won't always have our loved ones around us. The lessons we learn in crisis make our lives that much sweeter. I appreciate you stopping by.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 24 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

That is an interesting thought, lifegate. When we are in the midst of our trials, all we can see is pain and heartache. We don't understand the purpose behind the journey we are called to endure. It usually isn't until after the fact that we realize how much we have grown and progressed. Then we start preparing more for what lies ahead. Thanks for your comments.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 24 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, MsDora. You are so right, we are never alone when we have family around us. I guess that selfishness simply comes from looking inward instead of outward. It is so easy to do in a crisis. Our fears leave us feeling that we won't or can't make it given our current circumstances. It is only when we turn to God in faith that we find the peace and comfort that we need. We thank him daily that our lives were spared in this instance.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 24 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, maramerce, I appreciate your comment. May you be blessed this holiday season!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 23 months ago

So happy that your husband is still in good health. With the loss of my sister this year, I can agree that one must make sure to appreciate every moment of your life and to share your love with others. Your message is beautiful and I hope many are able to walk forward after reading your words of hope.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 23 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks, Teaches. My heart goes out to you in your loss. With the recent death of my own mother-in-law, my husband's cancer incident has come to the forefront of our memories. We realize that our lives are in the hands of God, and that we never know when our time will come. We cherish every moment we have together as a family.


DDE profile image

DDE 23 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

When one takes life for granted they never see anything until too late. Family is so important and you can always count on family members.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 23 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

You are right, DDE, so often we take our families for granted. We don't realize how important they are to us until they are about to be taken away. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 23 months ago from Home Sweet Home

family is important t me, regardless of situation even my boy urinate at the door, he is still my baby


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 22 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

It is amazing how much we love our family members, no matter what they do! We used to be emergency shelter care foster parents for the local county. We took care of children who had been used and abused, but no matter what had happened in their past, they still loved their parents and wanted to return to them.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 20 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Family crisis often brings us to the reality of what really and truly matters. Your story is important for each of us to remember every day, in sickness and in health. I'm so glad that your husband is there for you.

When my sister was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer it changed a lot of my priorities and woke me up to the finite span of life.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 20 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

It is interesting what happens when we don't know if a loved one is going to make it, PegCole17. When we don't know how long someone will be here, it is very unsettling to us as human beings. We start questioning our own mortality, and realize that life could end at any moment, no matter who we are. I have a very different perspective having gone through this experience. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your experiences.


Charito1962 profile image

Charito1962 16 months ago from Manila, Philippines

Greetings, Ms. Denise! Thank you so much for believing in the family! I perfectly agree that in a time of crisis, family members should stand together and support one another. It really helps!

It's just sad that today, there are many issues undermining the family such as divorce, abortion, and same-sex unions.

I'm glad that you're still one of those who believe in the value of marriage and family life. God will surely bless you all the more despite your trials. All the best!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 16 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Yes, Charito1962, today's families face many challenges, as you have mentioned. It is imperative that those who still believe in and support the family speak out, otherwise, the opposition will assume that we agree with their point of view! Our society depends upon the unified strength of our marriages and families. I appreciate your comments!

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