Lessons in Serenity

I probably sound like a broken record, but this has been a busy week! Daniel goes into the hospital in little over a week, and his transplant is less than a week later. With such little time left, noticeable steps have started taking place. Asides from the many appointments he has, on Sunday, we had an open house for family and friends to come and show their support for Daniel. It was amazing to see such a wide group of people be there for Daniel however they can. After, there was a family dinner, after which everyone got an opportunity to cut Daniel’s hair!! I think I was more nervous than him as one cousin gave him a bald spot right at the very front, and the craziness continued when his sister began cutting our initials into the top of his head. Once everyone left, he went and shaved his head completely and now looks similar to Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender, haha. The next morning, Daniel went and got a mainline IV that comes out of his chest. These have both been drastic changes that make it very hard to ignore what’s going to happen in only nine days! 

Throughout all of these big and scary changes, I can’t help but admire Daniel and the strength he possesses. It really makes me wish I could be stronger as I can’t help but feel that I’m slowly breaking into a million pieces. I don’t know what’s going to happen and there’s nothing I can do to shape the outcome of his transplant, and in part, it’s that helplessness in the face of the unknown that has left me feeling especially small and weak. In all of this, I’m reminded of one of my favourite prayers, the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

I’ve never been very good with waiting and patience. I live in the future more often than the present and being with Daniel has continuously been a lesson in serenity as plans I make for next month or next year can get blown to pieces because of his health. It continuously reminds me that I can’t anticipate what’s going to happen, and instead of trying to plan the unknown, I need to take a deep breath, take a step back and try for serenity instead. While serenity is much harder, hopefully I’ll have Daniel around for a long time to continue to teach me. 

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Before, after cousins and after he shaved his head. These were all taken the same evening! Pretty crazy!

 

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Our initials which Bridgette cut into Daniel’s hair. While it makes for a great picture, I have to admit that it makes me cry inside a little, haha.

 

 

There and Back Again

Hello world! Sorry for my absence, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks since I’ve left Hamilton and journeyed back to Winnipeg.

A few weeks ago, I finished my Master’s degree in English at McMaster University. This time last year, a year seemed like such a long time. I was excited to begin a new adventure in Hamilton, but at the same time, couldn’t imagine a year away from Daniel. Looking back, it’s been a year of ups and downs, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity! Because most MA programs are now only a year, it may not sound like it will be that difficult, only one extra year of school for a whole other degree. However, it’s a crazy year. I spent the first three months just trying to keep my head above water.

A perfect example of this (as my fellow classmates will agree) is the Magic and Witchcraft in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries course I took in the fall. I was a TA for the professor and she had already terrified me before classes had even started. As her TA, I was supposed to attend all of the lectures for the course, but I had a class at the same time. I emailed to tell her and received a response that I would have to arrange to miss my class on certain days. Entering her classroom for my graduate course with her, I didn’t know what to expect. Well, she gave us an assignment, we had to read an academic book on witchcraft and write a review, but she didn’t give us an exact due date, so we expected it would be due in two-three weeks. The second class, the first thing she did was ask for our book reviews. I remember the blank faces as we all looked at each other in panic, haha. Thankfully, we got another week, but it definitely foreshadowed the coming few months. Eventually, after taking my computer with me everywhere (even to church) and frantically writing 500 words at a time, I made it through the first stretch.

After Christmas, I began to get the hang of the grad school thing: mounds of writing, even more reading and lots of binge TV watching to preserve my sanity (I cannot even count how many TV shows I have devoured over the last year). But despite the constant state of hazy panic, I made it through and I had a blast! I had great professors looking out for me, ready to interpret my jumbled thoughts and help me turn them into intelligent papers and even better friends and classmates to laugh with and share our struggles.

In many ways, a year is just too short. It was just long enough to get settled and start making really good friends, but now I’m gone. I hope I can maintain the good friendships and communities I began to establish in Hamilton. I found a fantastic church filled with an amazing community and people that I’m really going to miss this next year. So to all my new Ontario friends, thanks for an awesome year and all of your support!

At least there’s a lot to keep my attention in the next couple of weeks. Appointments leading up to Daniel’s transplant, wedding planning and job hunting! Hopefully there will be some time to sleep in there somewhere!

Laura