Life is Short

Seize Each Moment

A few weeks ago, my father-in-law suffered a major heart attack. On a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of severity, he was a “9”. Usually, the odds of someone surviving this is low. But he survived. And we are thankful.

Life or Death situations like these can bring families together. Or tear them apart. The choice depends on how we see the world.

And I choose to see the world through the lens of hope.

The Hope of Easter Past

Calgary is host of the 2015 Canadian Amateur Standard Ballroom Championsships this Easter Weekend.

In our past life, Easter was at time of great excitement. And stress.

The Canadian Ballroom Champions were always crowned on the Easter weekend. Legions of gladiator teams of women in shimmering crystal rhinestones and men in black suits would do battle for their “shires” — with alternating years in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver, and Calgary.

Mobs of families and fans witnessed the crowning of their champion on the Saturday before the first Sunday after the first full moon of the vernal equinox.

My father-in-law and mother-in-law make a surprise trip to the Ballroom Battlefield of Vancouver.

Among our moral support team were my father-in-law and mother-in-law. For fourteen Easters with their daughter — eight with their son-in-law — they journeyed as protectors and cheerleaders.

Our hopes fueled their hopes. And their hopes fueled ours.

The Hope of Easter Present

When we retired from the competition dance life, our Easters returned to normal for a while.

But over the past three Easters in particular, my father-in-law has been battling the ravages of time on the body: the pain of arthritis, removal of a kidney, and more recently the heart attack.

A few days ago, he was hit with a double dose of diarrhea and vomiting of blood. It turned out that his esophagus had ruptured, but thankfully the bleeding stopped. These ongoing battles would wear anyone down. But not my father-in-law.

Today was the first time that my mother-in-law was able to see him in many months. No words were needed as they looked at each other in silence: father and mother with daughter; husband and wife with loyal hopeful child.

And then the tears flowed.

Dressed in Easter colours, with yellow gowns and purple gloves.

But the tears soon turned to laughter, and in laughter came strength. There was no deep conversation about the meaning of life. Just small talk. Which became comfort talk.

The Hope of Easters Yet to Come

As visiting time ended, my mother-in-law willed herself out of the wheelchair and made her way to my father-in-law’s bed.

Life is Short. Seize Each Moment..

The fear, anger and regret about time on on her own body and life … seemingly transformed to acceptance.

He reached for her hand in strength and the hope of more Easters to come.

Vita brevis. Carpe diem.


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