All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

Foxhole

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Being an adult can be hard – very hard.  Sometimes, being an adult just plain sucks.  B and I have been talking about this off and on for months – that we’re getting to the age when bad things are going to start happening to us, to our friends, etc.  Things like sickness, divorce, dying parents, etc.  We can’t stop time, and we’re all marching closer and closer to these types of events, if we realize it or not.

My grandpa passed away just before Bryson was born.  He was my last living grandparent, and although I took the passing of Grandpa quite well, I still couldn’t help but feel fearful and sad thinking, “I guess our parents are next.”  What I mean by that is that our parents’ generation is next.  I’ll begin losing aunts and uncles, watching my friends lose parents, and possibly lose my own parents earlier than expected.  It’s “the cycle of life,” as my dad so coolly puts it whenever the topic of my grandpa comes up.  When I was a little girl, I would get all worked up thinking about the fact that my parents would die some day – but every day that I age – that “some day” gets closer and closer, and it’s sometimes hard to fathom.

I am 37.  Thirty-seven.  I’ve had a breast cancer scare, a bone tumor removed from my rib (found to be benign after removal), and a scary uterine situation all in my 30’s.  None of these events have been brushes with death by any means, but they’ve been scary for us.  They’ve made me think about my own mortality.  My mother has MS and isn’t doing well – she gets worse every month.  Watching her lose more and more mobility as she ages is hard on my heart and mind – and impossible on her body.  We have countless occurrences of cancer in my family (both sides) that for some reason, have never killed anyone.  But one day – someone in our family will die of cancer.  That one day is getting closer – it’s just inevitable.  All of these types of things make me feel mortal – they remove that invincible feeling I had in my 20’s.

Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce in this country.  That’s a big number.  B and I were talking about this several months ago when one of our “couple friends” started having serious marital problems.  Statistically, 50% of our “couple friends” will get divorced, and as we’re ending our 30’s and entering our 40’s (well, I am – B is still a spring chicken), we are very aware of the fact that some of our friends will get divorced.  That’s amazing to us.  We grew up in an in-tact families, so the thought of divorce really is abstract for both of us.  We never experienced it growing up and can’t imagine what it’s like to end a marriage.  When/if this happens for the first time to one of our “couple friends,” I think we’ll be a little shell-shocked by it.  Statistically, this is going to happen to at least one of our “couple friends,” and probably sooner than we think.  And it could happen to us.

A dear friend of ours was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 30.  This friend’s story is not mine to tell, but I will say that it shook us both to our cores.  At least, we thought it did at the time.  When the cancer was clear, we sighed a big sigh of relief, celebrated and moved on.  The cancer came back this past summer with difficult circumstances surrounding it.  Things are looking positive for this friend, but we struggle daily with the situation.  What we thought was so hard to even think about two/three years ago doesn’t hold a candle to what we struggle with today.  We think and talk daily about how our friend is coping, what our friend may be thinking, what our friend’s spouse is feeling and thinking, and the fear that everyone surrounding them is living with on a daily basis.

Being an adult is hard – and sometimes it feels impossible.

With all of the challenges we’re seeing surrounding us, and realizing that things are, in fact, falling apart for many of those in our lives, B and I talk a lot about us.  We talk about how to take care of us, our family, each other.  We talk about how we would handle the challenges that our friends and family members are facing.  We have some hard conversations, we talk about divorce, we talk about infidelity.  By observing others and talking together about their situations, we ponder out loud how we would handle certain situations, what we need to do to ensure we’re protected from those situations as best as we can be, and what we can start doing today to keep working on us, our health, and our family.

One of my parents will die before the other one – that is a fact.  The same is true for B’s parents.  One thing that we are very insistent on is knowing how to help the surviving parent when this happens.  In my parents’ situation, I have asked my dad who to contact about his will, his life insurance, his social security, their health insurance, etc. in case he dies first.  I know the first phone call I am to make if/when he dies before my mom.  If my mom dies first, there is no phone call to make – I just need to drive my ass home to my dad.  We need to have this conversation with B’s parents, but it’s hard because his family doesn’t talk about death at all.  My family talks about it too much.

In regards to our health, we take everything seriously enough to have it checked out.  There is enough cancer of all types in my family to question every mole, every bump, etc.  We are not too young to come down with a fatal disease – we’ve learned that the hard way (and really, it hasn’t been as hard as it could be given that it hasn’t happened directly to us, but you know what I mean).  In the past, B would tell me to get this or that checked out, and I’d blow him off.  Now, I make doctor appointments.  We don’t overreact at all, but we do react.  We are in our 30’s, after all.

In regards to marriage… oh boy.  B and I have both made some big relationship mistakes in the past with other people – the types of mistakes that hurt other people a great deal.  I used to wake up every day and think about the people I hurt, but I don’t anymore.  I’ve let the guilt lift over time – and part of the reason I’ve let it lift is that I learned so much from it.  I take what I learned from my mistakes and try to keep my marriage strong because of it.  B and I talk about our prior relationship mistakes very openly and talk about how we will keep from hurting each other, even if times get difficult.  I usually sum up these conversations by referencing “our little foxhole.”

From In Good Company

Carter Duryea: Dan, you seem to have the perfect marriage. How do you do it?

Dan Foreman: You just pick the right one to be in the foxhole with, and then when you’re outside of the foxhole you keep your dick in your pants.

Carter Duryea: That’s poetic.

I love our little foxhole, the people who surround our foxhole, and especially the two littles who live in the foxhole with us.  As time marches on and we get inevitably closer and closer to having bad things happen, I want to be prepared.  I want everyone in our foxhole to be strong and to feel confident that we can overcome anything that is thrown our way.  I want us to keep talking, to keep reviewing the happenings around us, and to keep taking care of ourselves and each other.  Bad things are going to happen, but with a little preparation and a lot of talking, we can overcome them as they occur.  At least, I think we can.

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Author: Courtney

Hi, there, I’m Courtney. I never planned to stay home with my kids, but I got sucked into motherhood when my first baby came into our lives after years of infertility and multiple rounds of IVF. His brother followed closely behind, something we didn’t plan on after having such a rough road with achieving parenthood the first time around. My boys are IVF cycle twins, conceived on the same day but born two years and one day apart (they were both transferred on the same day in October, but with two years between them). My boys are the best of friends and my husband is a terrific husband, father, and most importantly… friend. He fully supported my desire to stay home (“I just wanted it to be your idea and not mine, I totally want you to stay home and raise our kids!”) and encourages me in everything I do. I am a lover of projects, spreadsheets, fitness, healthy cooking and eating, crafts, selling my stuff on FB (HA!), and the outdoors. If I’m active, I’m pretty darn happy!

10 thoughts on “Foxhole

  1. I’ve been thinking about this lately as well. Last weekend I went to “About Time” — and without being too much of a movie spoiler, I can tell you that when the guy’s father dies, I was SOBBING. The trigger? The image of the young granddaughter crying coming out of the funeral. It just hit me that I’m 31 — and my Dad had lost both of his parents by 33. One of my very earliest memories is seeing my Dad cry in the bathroom, and I walked in and asked him what was wrong (I was 3) and he told me his Mommy had just died. MAN. I just can’t even imagine… yet you’re right… we’re getting closer and closer to the age that it’s just reality that our parent’s generation starts dying with more regularity. UGh, I hate to even think about it.

    As for marriage, my sister started dating her husband a few months before I met Charlie – they’ve been together 10 years, married almost 5… and I’m pretty sure a divorce is happening in the near future. It just breaks my heart for her – like you, my parents are still together, and divorce is just such an abstract thing in my mind. It’s hard to imagine it happening to my own sister. Life sucks sometimes….

  2. This is heavy stuff, but things that need to be thought about or talked about. Ray and I had a few of these talks earlier this year when we added extra life insurance to cover ourselves.

    I definitely don’t talk about this stuff enough and though it is sad and uncomfortable, it is important!

  3. I feel the same way about my family too. I can easily see both sets of parents dying in the next 20 years and it makes me so sad. I keep reminding myself to soak in every opportunity to spend time together, just in case it’s the last. These are such hard things to talk about and think of, wouldn’t it be nice if we all lived forever?! 🙂

  4. This is a weighty post, but I’ve been thinking about these things a lot lately, mostly because of some stuff I’ve been seeing in blogs and on FB. It really gets you thinking. Unfortunately my partner doesn’t really like to talk about this stuff, he finds it morbid. I’m like you, I want to start thinking about things now so that I have a handle on things if tragedy hits. I mean, I know I won’t ever be READY but it would be nice to have thought things through before I’m an emotional mess.

    All our parents are relatively young (early 60s) and in great shape but I know that tragedy can strike at any time. I worry a lot that my mom will go first because I honestly don’t know if my dad could manage his life without her. I worry about my in-laws too because they don’t have any friends and I worry that when one dies, the other will be incredibly lonely. It’s all just really, really sad to think about.

    I commend you for thinking about all this now, for talking it out and making sure you’re dealing with possibilities instead of running away. A lot of people are too scared to think about this stuff but you aren’t, and that is really important. Good for you for working so hard to keep your family, and marriage, healthy and happy.

  5. Ugh, definitely not a fun topic but I think it’s smart that you and Brian are discussing it and being prepared as best you can. I am all too familiar with family members passing away much too early – my grandma of a heart attack, mom of a brain aneurysm and cousin over in Iraq. Those are the closest examples, but unfortunately I’ve lost many other family members too. It is crazy to think that we aren’t getting any younger, only older and closer to these types of events becoming more common. My mom also had breast cancer so I’ve already started having mammograms done in my 20’s because I can’t even begin to think of my kids growing up without me or my husband for that matter. I am so glad that things are looking positive for your friend and hope they continue in that direction. She has been very blessed lately and I’d say a miracle is in order for her! 🙂

  6. I almost couldn’t continue to read this post, because the death of my parents is one of my greatest fears. I am an only child and the thought of losing one or both of them terrifies me. I have a wonderful husband and in-laws, but with my parents gone, my life will be completely different. The reason I really want to have at least 2 children is because I don’t want my only child to grow up and feel somewhat alone, I think siblings help share the burden when parents get ill or pass away. Death is inevitable, it’s just hard to face.
    It’s wonderful to know that you have such a strong family in your foxhole. We should all count each of our blessings every day!

  7. So much in here that I can relate to and that has been weighing on my shoulders for a while lately. A’s parents are in their mid-70s. They are healthy and doing well now but we know that it can’t last forever. My parents are younger, but still, it is getting to that time when these things are not that rare.

    And divorce… it blows my mind that 50%, because A and I also came from parents who are still together now and all of my best friends’ parents are still together so divorce wasn’t around me very much growing up. But now, both Anthony’s brother and sister have had divorces and three of my pretty good high school friends. None of my closest friends just yet, but with those stats, it makes me think it could happen, even as unlikely as it seems now.

    It is so much to think about. And I often find myself fearing all of it, but I think what you and B are doing is so great. To be able to sit and talk to eachother about these things and have plans in place.. soo imporant. Not easy for everyone so really, good for you two for doing that. You four are an amazingly strong little family and I do believe, together, you will get through whatever comes your way.

  8. So much important stuff here and it has obviously resonated with lots of people. Talking about it is great. Nothing can ever prepare you, but if you, like me, are a worrier, it is sometimes good to figure out what your practical steps would be, so you know you have those taken care of. Having lost both my parents, I can say, don’t take anything for granted. And have discussions with them so that their affairs are in order. We need to talk about this with our parents so that we aren’t left dealing with messy practical matters when we’re trying to grieve.

  9. This is such a thought provoking post and I’ve been thinking about it since I read it yesterday. I read Josey’s comment and my family is in a very similar situation- no divorce in our family at all, but my brother and his wife have been separated since last summer and it looks like divorce is what is going to (and honestly, should) happen. It’s rocked us significantly. I think about death all the time (for obvious reasons) but I still can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my parent. And I hope I don’t have to find out for a very long time.

  10. Such a heavy post. C and are in our early 30s (he’s 31, I’m 30) and we’re just starting to worry about all of this. We were the first of our friends to get married and we’ve seen friends marry and divorce, my sister marry and divorce, and it’s all heavy. Of course you think and hope it won’t happen to you but as time goes on, your really have to work to keep things alive. I actually have been thinking a lot about all of this and have a post brewing about how I feel like I have so much to work on (or we have so much to work on) but little time / energy to devote to it.

    As far as mortality goes, we have life insurance set up but really need to get wills together so we know what will happen to the kids if something happens to both of us. so hard to think about.

    good for you for being so proactive and together about the realities of this life.

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