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I can’t make this stuff up. I often sit and wonder if my friends and colleagues think that I’m the girl that has those small things happen in life, but when retelling the incident it becomes embellished and bigger and bigger the more times the story is retold.

So, here are the facts. I’ll simply report them.

January, 2006 – Houseguests/Friends/Business partners moved out of our home after an 8 month extended stay to help them get on their feet. That business folded, I am financially liable for more than $20,000 in debt.

February 2006 – My grandmother collapses while visiting my Mom in Northern California and is care-flighted to Reno. I fly from Texas and spend a month at the Holiday Inn getting her off a ventilator and into a rehab.

April 2006 – On the flight home, I stand up to get my laptop and tear my ACL, surgery needed and rehab started, but not completed. My volleyball career is officially over.

May 2006 – Hubby retires from teaching music to help run the business. Health Insurance is now on COBRA, just to offset medical cost from blown knee.

June 2006 – My Dad passes away unexpectedly at age 56 after beating cancer. Side effect of chemo is heart arrhythmia which results in heart attack the night before discharge. My grandmother, fresh from rehab, is diagnosed with cancer the same day my Dad dies. I fly from Texas in time to say goodbye to Dad and plan to stay the summer to take care of his affairs.

July 2006 – My Mom has a nervous breakdown and leaves my Grandmother in my care. Her home, and all her doctors for Proton Radiation are in Southern California. My home, husband and kids are in Texas. I stay to see her through it all with husband’s blessing. He holds down the fort in Texas.

December, 2006 – Grandma and I drive cross country, with doctor’s blessing, to have Christmas in Texas. She develops a minor cold, which becomes a massive infection, and the paramedics rush her to the hospital Christmas morning before the kids even wake up.

January, 2007 – The house in California floods from a burst pipe. It will be 10 months before its habitable. Grandma stays in Texas with me until March, then we drive her home and she checks into assisted living close to doctors while contractors finish house.

May 2007 – Other family members in California are telling Grandma her house is almost ready under their supervision. A family friend takes her to see the house on the sly and discovers that the house is down the studs, sits with no work, completely mildewed, and no one overseeing the contractors. I start commuting back and forth from Texas.

July 2007 – Husband takes over project, starts planning to move everything out of storage, including Grandma. He brings her home for weekends while he builds a new deck with a ramp and landscaping for her to enjoy. She doesn’t have much time left, we’re told. Its a race to get her home.

September 2007 – With only one more week before move-in to her finished home, Grandma collapses and is placed on a ventilator. The doctors call me to come from Texas. Its discovered when I leave her room from that point on her blood pressure spikes dangerously high. I am her new roommate in the hospital. She begs me to take her home.

October 2007 – We finally get her off the ventilator, and fairly stable, and I bring her home with hospice. She pulls her feeding tube out during the first night, gives it to me (sleeping next to her) and quietly tell me, “I’m done” and passes peacefully later that afternoon. She got her wish to die in her own bed, in the mountain cabin she lived in for 55 years. Five days later two wildfires come within 2 miles of the house. I remain in the house despite the mandatory evacuation order to keep the newly renovated house from burning to the ground.

November 2007 – I finally come back to Texas, sick from the smoke from the fires. Server crashes the following week with 11 days of business insanity. The worst in the history of our business, in fact.

(* Note: I’ve edited some of the dates to keep track after this original post date, in case you are confused by my sudden power of clairvoyance.)

So, the moral of this story is – I don’t know. Roll with the punches? Define your own normal? Embrace every day? For me, I thank God. It seems weird, but I know that throughout all the strife I’ve come to realize what’s important and what’s not. Who is important and who is not. What is worth fighting for and what is not. I don’t understand the “why” of everything that happened in the big-picture scheme of things, but I’ll embrace the fact that I really do live on a lovely tropical island, with my husband of 18 years, and my two amazing daughters and I have very, very good friends that mean more to me than the ones that I’m related to by blood. I will have a very hard time making a house payment for a while, but we’ll get through this – we’ve gotten through worse, and I’ve definitely learned to NEVER say, “It can’t get any worse”.

Because it can, and sometimes does.

However today the beach calls. Must answer.