Family problems galore

When it rains, it pours is more than just a good sales campaign slogan for salt. It’s a maxim of life’s harsh unpredictability.
It has been pouring at our house.
At first it was a summer storm. My daughter-in-love called to talk about her mother’s most recent hospitalization: Pneumonia on top of the terminal illness diagnosed a couple years ago.
We should have been prepared for the next downpour. After all, it has been several since first one and then a second family member was diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Plus, my husband and I have listened to many other families’ stories about repeated hospital stays for their loved ones. And … we have taught two sessions of Family to Family classes on dealing with family member’s mental illness.
We should have been prepared but the next downpour hit us like a heavy thunderstorm.
The erratic behavior of one family member resulted in an arrest followed by a week-long hospitalization last month. We definitely were not prepared for that hospitalization nor the one last week of another family member who has been just fine for years.
It was time for Super-Mom and Super-Dad to kick into action. Time to swoop in and do everything we could to fix everything up. I began mentally packing my bags to go visit the most recently hospitalized one and sit through, what we hope, will be the final court hearing the event precipitated by the other’s erratic behavior.
But, as I said, it has been raining at our house.
When I called to notify one far flung family member of the most recent hospitalization, my son said, “Wow! What a day!” He went on to ay his mother-in-law had died earlier that afternoon, a couple hours after the rigors of a spinal tap for a bone marrow biopsy.
Two little ones contended for my seven-and-a-half month pregnant daughter-in-love’s attention just when she needed all her time and energy to deal with her mother’s death. She needed her mom: All I had to offer was myself, the other grandmother.
Following that phone call Super-Dad and Super-Mom looked at each other. We may be super, but we can’t be together in two places at the same time. We decided to split the cars and to our separate ways. He isn’t as good with babies as I am, but his list of things to do and relatives to visit between hospital visits is, as always, impressive.
As I write this, a flood of ideas reminds me of all the things I need to do before we leave to go our separate, but united ways on trips of mercy.
I need to call and check on the one in the hospital, make notes concerning the one waiting a court hearing, talk with the grandkids bereaved mother and send letters, electronically and otherwise. I need to pack clothes and toiletries, calling cards, extra cash and credit cards.
Plus, I need to pack in time to sit down and reflect on the affect of everything that has happened as I sit under the umbrella of love of the One who controls the unpredictable rains in our lives. He knows it has been pouring at my house.