A life changed in 30 days

I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile but kept feeling like I needed more time to grasp any meaning or to analyze what happened but I don’t know if there really is enough time to comprehend entirely the how and the why.  So a little more than a year later here’s my take on what happened to my dad and his wife and how their lives were upended.

You know… it can happen so quickly.   Your life as you know it completely changed; unmistakenly different from it was just the day before.  In the case of my dad and stepmother… 30 days.  It took  exactly 30 days for the transformation of their lives to be different to a point that it will never be what it was before.

In December of 2008, my dad’s wife of 30 years went to visit her brother near Dallas.  An important fact I should note is she has a disease that suppresses her immune system.  As a result she needs to be as careful she can about getting near any one who is sick or should cut herself.

Well she wasn’t as careful as she usually is and something got hold of her in December of ’08 that made her very sick.   The bacteria that attacked her body was strong and aggressive and in a matter of hours she was in an emergency room fighting for her life.  It quickly moved into her blood stream.  And within a matter of days, she became septic and her vital organs were on the verge of shutting down.

That was December 19th when she got sick.   The medical team that cared for her tried all they could to get her stable and stop the advancement of the infection but it was extremely difficult. Their only course of action was to amputate.  About a week after she was admitted the first surgery was scheduled to remove one of her arms just above the elbow.  About a week later, her other arm was removed above the elbow.   By the time exactly one month had passed she gone through three surgeries that had left her without her limbs.  She is now a quadriplegic.

As for the why.  Who knows.  Some might say, “God only knows.”  Some have the philosophy of “shit happens.”  Perhaps it was just being in one place at the wrong time.  Some who believe in karma might think she was in the right place at the right time.  Who knows.

My dad has been a religious zealot for about 25 years (it could probably be argued even longer since he was a rabid atheist for decades and considered the priesthood in his youth)… attending his seventh day adventist / messianic jew church every Sabbath since finding that faith.  His explanation for why this happened comes from a verse in the New Testament that says:

Mat 5:45   He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

So for him he is able to understand and make sense of this by believing that despite following his faith as best he can… stating repentance and asking forgiveness.  Feeling that he is doing everything right… a bad thing has happened to a good person.

That’s how he sees it.

From my Deist perspective I make sense of this by using my sense of reason and understanding that our human bodies are subject to the laws of physics developed by the Creator.  Things happen that cause us to get sick and hurt.  A parasite entered her body and physical reactions occurred.

But from my Buddhist leanings, I think,…

“karma is a bitch.”

You see, the reason she is my dad’s wife and my mother is not his wife is because my dad and this woman became involved while my dad and mother were married.  The situation played out to where where many feelings were deeply hurt, a family with five children was torn apart and the idea of “happily ever after” was destroyed.

I don’t know nor can I say whether their actions were for better or worse for me, my brothers and sisters or my mother as well as all the periphery of people who were pulled into the cause and effect of their disregard for monogamy.


I believe every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Perhaps Newton’s Law applies to other aspects of life other than just physics and perhaps it takes some time for the equal and opposite reaction to take place.

Who knows…

3 responses to “A life changed in 30 days

  1. Wow.
    How is she doing now?

  2. Hey Erin… believe it or not for being in her early to mid-60s, she’s doing rather well. Of course she has her down momemnts and why-me moments but she seems to be doing pretty well. She’s been the one whose been lifting the spirits of my dad when he gets down.

    My dad has had it really rough. He’s used an enormous amount of their savings buying a handicap accessible van, motorized chair that insurance refused to pay for, retrofitting his house for handicap accessibility and then there is lost time running his small business. He’s aged. It’s quite visible on his face.

  3. Hey Jules, I haven’t been checking the blogs like I used to and just saw this. I’m really sorry for you all. It sounds like your father and stepmom have found a way to deal with the “what next” rather than being stuck in the “why me.” That’s tough to do and shows a depth of spiritual support not many of us have. I wish you all healing energy throughout this. With love,


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