You’ve probably noticed that my blogging slowed down quite a bit in the last month. Besides having moved to a new apartment, my dad’s health took a turn for the worse. He spent a bit more time in the hospital, and then in hospice care. Sadly, he lost his battle with cancer last weekend.

So for the past month I’ve been just trying to survive. Trying to keep up with my teaching career and my 170 students. Trying to spend some time with dad, and help my mom care for him. Trying to find the things I need in this mess of a new apartment.

And through it, I’m reminded of some life lessons for tough times. I thought I’d share them here, in case you could use a reminder, too.

1. It’s ok to ask for help. I’ve always been independent, and with that uncomfortable asking for help. (I feel like Sheldon Cooper when he receives a gift, concerned about the reciprocity and if I’ve done enough to earn the help.) But I have learned to take people up on their offers to help. And I have learned to ask for what I need. I couldn’t have made it through the last month on my own.

2. People will come through for you. It might not be whom you think or how you expect to receive help, but people will come through. And we can’t be upset with those who don’t do exactly what we hope. We have to accept our friends as they are and be grateful for what they do offer. What we give will come back, sometimes in unexpected ways. As long as we are open to the help, it will come.

3. It’s ok to feel however you feel. Sometimes our feelings of fear and anxiety get magnified during tough times, and that’s ok. Sometimes we just hate the world, and that’s ok, too. It will pass. But in the moment, it’s ok to feel however you feel.

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4. It’s ok not to be perfect, and not to live up to your usual standards. I’ve always been an overachiever, setting high standards for myself in anything that is important to me. But during tough times, it’s ok to just get by. I wasn’t able to post as many recipes as I would have liked during the last month, and that’s ok. I would have liked to offered more help to my students before finals, but I couldn’t and that’s ok, too.

5. You only have to make it through today. As I’m sure so many of you know, it’s tough dealing with the loss of someone close. I still can’t believe my dad is gone. But I don’t have to imagine the rest of my life without him; I only need to make it through today. And today I can be ok, because I have some great, supportive people around me. Today I remember to be grateful that I had him for almost 40 years of my life. Today I can be ok.

I’m reminded of the words a dear friend and rabbi once told me. “Tomorrow will be a better day.” Maybe because life will be a little easier, or maybe because we just get a little stronger. But yes, Rabbi Ted was right. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Thanks to all of you for your patience and kind words of support. Many more recipes to come for you!