Mother, Daughter, Granddaughter Challenged

The early winter months of 2018 proved to be an especially challenging time period for my family. At one point, both my mother and daughter were hospitalized, in different cities. I truly felt stretched to the absolute limit.

My elderly mother developed severe knee pain; I spent the night with her in the local emergency room, waiting for initial diagnostic test results to come back. I had never seen her look so frail and vulnerable. She cried out in pain.

After her admission was finally processed, I came home to catch a few hours of sleep. Truly, my fatigue was so crushing that I felt like I had been run over. The combination of being worried about my mother, as well as having stayed up all night, was just too much for my vulnerable body to handle.

After I rested for a few hours, I phoned the hospital where my daughter had been admitted. She was again having severe complications related to her 2016 pancreatic transplant. She had recently undergone yet another surgery. I spoke with one of her nurses, to receive an update about her medical status.

How much heartbreak can a mother bear, I thought. She had already been through more than most people ever encounter in their entire lifetimes, and she was just age 30. I felt beyond helpless to know that she was hospitalized a full hour away.

It would be several days before I’d be able to go see her again. After all, I needed to make daily trips to the local hospital, to see my mother. I tried to complete all of my daily tasks as best I could, feeling pulled in opposite directions by my family’s medical crises.

I casually went to the mailbox, as I do each afternoon. A letter from the social security administration quickly caught my eye. I immediately opened it, only to learn that I would need to complete re-evaluations, to determine my continued eligibility for disability benefits.

This is beyond absurd, I instantly thought. Only eighteen months had elapsed since I had been awarded full disability benefits. Benefits for chronic conditions. In the very best of scenarios, such medical conditions are stabilized. They are never eradicated, and never reversed.

Yet, inconceivably, I was already being asked to provide proof that I still met the criteria for reception of disability benefits. This is just way too much to take, I thought. I can’t believe that all of this is happening, all at once, I thought. Unfortunately, there have been so many junctions where I have said exactly those same words.

Sure, on the surface, the details were different. Nevertheless, the common denominator was feeling helpless, hopeless, and completely overwhelmed. I prayed. Prayed again. Prayed some more, too. Asked God to give me His strength, since my own resources were surely beyond depleted. I reminded myself of how many times He made a way, when there seemed to be no way. I chose to take comfort in this timeless fact, regardless of my feelings.

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