Celebrating life

My family had a big scare last week. My niece was rushed into the emergency room on Saturday unable to breathe. She was immediately put on a ventilator and by the following Friday, she was still unable to breathe on her own.

My sister (her mother) lives in Texas, 1500 miles away from her daughter in Michigan, and we were scrambling to get her a flight to be at her daughter’s side. In the midst of searching the Internet for a flight that didn’t cost as much as a mortgage payment, she had a heart attack.

Stress can have such a powerful effect on us.

Meanwhile, back in California my granddaughter and son had birthdays coming up, and they wanted to go camping to celebrate. And my granddaughter wanted Nana to come.

As wonderful as that sounded, a big part of me wanted to just stay home and worry.

I know how to worry with the best of them, and staying home glued to my phone waiting to hear that my niece and sister would pull through seemed like the right thing to do.

I even thought it would be a betrayal to go off into the mountains away from cell service and have fun celebrating life. What if something happened? How would anyone get ahold of me?

But then I thought of that 8-year old girl with the sweetest smile who adores me and wanted her Nana there on her birthday.

And about her Daddy who still says, “I love you” every time he gets off the phone with me.

So I said yes to camping in the wilderness and celebrating life.

Worry wasn’t going to fix my niece. Stress wasn’t going to help my sister get better. And if the worst happened, not getting the news immediately wouldn’t change a thing.

Instead, I said yes to life. Yes to a celebration and yes to calm. I said yes to sitting around the campfire early in the morning with a cup of coffee and no phone. Saying yes not only made my granddaughter and son happy, but it also helped lower my stress level.

My granddaughter took this photo of me

And by Sunday morning as we were coming down off the mountain towards home, I got the good news that both my niece and sister were out of danger.

I smiled as I read all the wonderful messages waiting for me and knew I had done the right thing.

Life is full of reasons to worry as well as reasons to celebrate. Worrying won’t change the outcome of whatever I am stressing about, but celebrating will change everything.

I learned a valuable lesson, and I’m going to keep saying yes to celebrating life.

Reader Comments

  1. Amy Kennedy

    I am so glad you chose to make that moment with your family camping! So many things I am learning these days, thank you for showing a great example in choosing to not let worry steal the show. To recognize that joy and love has a very important seat at the table.

      • LeAna

        Hi Loretta:

        So happy to hear your sister and niece are out of danger. And I’m so glad that you were able to honor your relationship with your son and granddaughter. Life is all about choices and it sounds like you made the best choice for you and your family. Happy 4th of July!

  2. Barbie Holmes

    It certainly was a stressful time for you. Thankfully you chose to follow joy by celebrating your granddaughter and son’s birthdays, rather an being held hostage to worry. I believe it is joy that fills our tanks so we can deal with the difficult times. I love your photo! Those PJ bottoms are so cute!

  3. Wendy Allott

    Such a hard decision. I would have struggled with it so much. I’m a sucker for guilt and doing what I think others will perceive as the right decision (I’m working on it). So glad you chose to live life. You couldn’t have helped your niece and sister, but you could bring joy to your grandaughter.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      It was a good thing I had an example right in front of me of how to let go of worry and live. It took me a bit to realize I couldn’t do anything more for my niece and sister, but I could do so much for my granddaughter and son. Then it was an easy choice.
      Thank you, Wendy!

  4. melanie silk

    I’m so glad all turned out well for your sister and niece. And girlfriend, I’m saying yes to celebrating midlife ++. We never know what the future holds, so trying to be and appreciate the present is what we can do.
    Hugs,
    Melanie

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