Hello everyone and welcome back to Have A Little Faith in We! It has been a spell since my last post – life has been full. There have been some wonderful experiences that I thought of blogging the whole time! What I can’t wait to share, the interesting things I learned, and the memories that have been made to grace these pages. But there have also been some tough moments that remind me that our professional careers as patient/caregiver are never too far away.
In some ways the highs and lows of just two weeks have been an incredible eye opener. This time in our lives is a true roller coaster and there is not much that can be done to change it. So instead of fighting it, I have been working on boarding the ride, reaching for the seatbelt, and just hanging on. Taking those steps have required some very serious conversations, different choices, asking for help, unsubscribing from certain aspects of life, and being more gentle with myself. If more sleep is required – I sleep. If more tears fall – I grab a tissue. If eating an extra cookie happens, I try to savor it. Oddly finding the silver lining, looking for the deeper meaning, or marveling at the serendipity of the world, brings me a lot of comfort. While at the same time it also has set up an expectation that I am holding myself to: understanding what each change means so I can weather it. The truth is – that moment of clarity is not always going to happen on this roller coaster and learning to accept that has been a challenge.
So my new plan has been to just try being in the moment. Don’t wonder what it all means…. don’t categorize every reaction/decision/choice as “good” or “bad” ….. don’t be concerned with what is “right” or “wrong” – just be exactly where I am. If I am on a plane and I want to get lost in a book, that is what I do. When I am at Starbucks- I focus there: I hear myself order, I appreciate the smells, let the coffee linger on the tongue, and savor it. When I am talking to folks, really hear the words they are saying and the emotion they are using – don’t wonder what they think of me or how I am going to respond. This quiet stillness is freeing, yet really hard and does not come naturally. It has been an experience just trying to do live presently, but to really help the idea take hold I have tried to fill my world with experiences that feed this way of thinking. I have dived head first into my bible and Jesus Calling to cement my strength. I am connecting to the people that help to keep my heart full (and thank them when I am not being an engaged friend/family member in return). I have read some really unique books and tuned in to excellent podcasts that inspire hope. And when I need an escape….a break… a nap…. a movie…. I escape.
This week has been the first that I am feeling a bit more like myself and so I return! What better way to get back to it then a little life lately post! Because somewhere between the lessons, the experiences, the faith, and the sharing ….. we are also here to just do life! So here are a few of the highlights from the rest of our summer and welcome into fall!
Over this summer we said good bye to our beloved family dog, we struggled with health questions, and my family welcomed a new member under some challenging circumstances. But through it all, life keeps going and it would be leaving out a big part of my summer if I didn’t acknowledge that my tribe got me through it! Through the weekend of my sister having her little girl, Lola Grace, it was emotional – but thanks to my husband and friends my heart was very full. What I thought might be a time of pain – turned out to be marked with moments of love, support and generosity! Danny was sure to fill that weekend with just fun – dinner dates, the movies, sun bathing and getting lost in books and movies (is there a better escape)? Oh – and margaritas…. LOTS of margaritas!
All of my close friends kept me grounded with calls, emails, texts and cards. I was reminded of how much God works in mysterious ways and that love really can conquer it all. And somewhere between all these chats and support – I was also given the greatest gift you can offer another human: hope! A time that I worried would leave me feeling lost or confused, instead left me with inspiration to look ahead, the power to dream, and the strength to fight the hurt by living in the power of possibility. It is hard to put into words what these people showed me – but it reminded me that it is OK to say “this hurts and I am not sure I can do it” because the people you love will be there to catch you….. and take you to get a pedicure. For ALL those that loved on us…. visited….had us to dinner.. sent cards… thank you, your friendship is so cherished!
When we said good-bye to our big love bug, Walker again I was shown the beauty that can come from the pain – even if it seems like unimaginable pain. The friends, the cards, the coffee drop offs, the calls, the texts, the flowers…. I was blown away yet again (haven’t I realized how amazing you all are yet?!?!?!?) with the hearts of my people, who don’t care about the reason you are hurting – just don’t want you to do it alone.
And as our pup left this world…. he gave my sister and I reason to reconnect and remember family is stronger together than apart. We love you Walker.
Danny’s hospital stay this August was a tough and scary one. He was just not doing well and we couldn’t really pinpoint it. This made for changes by the hour and a lot of unexpected – but there was a Saturday in there that Danny and I had a really good date. One of Dan’s favorite shows is “The Knick”. It chronicles a doc in the early 1900s who is considered a crazy nut – but while he is exploring all these “unheard” of treatments, he is ultimately laying the foundation to the medical world we know today. Besides the dirt, grime and gore (I watch a lot of it with my hands over my eyes), it is an incredibly unique story and one that has absolutely got us hooked! The best part – it is based on a doc that was at Johns Hopkins! So when Saturday rolled around and Dan was not going anywhere, we had a date on the inside! Taking a walk down to the cafeteria we grabbed coffee, and then took a tour of the original part of the hospital that also tells the story of this infamous doc!
This afternoon turned out to be one that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. Here we are coming off a tough medical week, a week of loss: our Walker Dog and Dan’s aunt to cancer, and no clear end in sight – yet we had a little date right in the middle of it all. Danny was able to make me laugh, we shared one of our favorite activities – museum wandering, we took pictures to share on the blog (love that we BOTH are thinking of HALF often) and I was actually able to forget that we were in the hospital. CF life is tough…. it is REALLY tough…. and I can admit it, these last two weeks I have hated it – BUT it is in these moments that I am reminded the fight for us to have a “normal” life is worth it…. we love each other. And since we are being honest – that can be really hard to remember when you are in the hospital walls (#truth).
Also throughout these past few weeks we had a few Heppes events that were just fun:
On Sunday, August 14 Lola Grace was baptized into the Catholic faith wearing the same baptismal gown as my siblings, my mom and her siblings, and my grandmother. The passing along of our faith is an incredible gift. For thousands of years us Catholics have marked ourselves with the sign of the cross, prostrated ourselves in front of the Eucharist, marked ourselves with the sign of Ashes and just like that we will pass it along to the next generation. All while wearing a symbol of our family – it is such a blessing to witness that miracle of faith…. the miracle of family.
Then on August 18 we all gathered for a family dinner to wish well UVA’s newest Cavalier…. Bridget! And just like that the little girl who could never quite wait to grow up – grew up and forged anew into the world!
That following weekend we then wished my brother Sawyer a Happy 29th Birthday! For many, 29 seems a little scary…. I mean your staring the old age of 30 right in the face…. but for me, I have LOVED entering my 30s! I have found them to be still full of adventure (yup – that is what we will call it), but also a better sense of self. At this age you know you don’t have the answers, but start to be comfortable with what you do know and excited to explore more about yourself. I have found a lot of my own passions at that age and hope that Sawyer too will find nothing but good things as he enters this next chapter!
And the rest of the days in these weeks…. well those were full of puppacinos and sunny days…. and somehow just like that we have said good bye to another summer!
So we are back and I hope here to stay for awhile! I have missed you guys and have so much to share, so stay tuned! While you wait – just know how much I love being here, sharing my experiences with each of you, and for your love and support – we feel it all.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!