As years go, there have been better and there have been worse.
1999, for example, was a wonderful year. 1999 was the year I remembered my worth and reclaimed my strength. After years of living a “less than” life, I gave the rudder a mighty jerk and set sail in a completely different direction. And I never looked back.
Given what I now know, I might have chosen to skip 2003, altogether. I had emergency surgery in March. Four weeks into my six-week recovery period my mother died. And while she’d been ill for most of the previous four years, her death came suddenly as the result of a blood clot. The call came while I was shopping at Target in what was my first foray into the outside world since my surgery. My daughter and grandson had left me in the house wares department. He needed t-shirts.
I remember a voice inside my head shouting at me to breathe and finding it difficult to follow directions. That same voice reminded me my family was counting on me, if for nothing other than a ride home. And then there was the question of when to tell them. Did everyone need to carry that knowledge around Target? Or would waiting be more appropriate?
The words flowed from me as soon as I saw my daughter’s face and everything after merged into a days-long blur, with a few exceptions. I remember sitting, powerless, around a polished, wooden table meant for a high-powered board room, wondering why my sister hadn’t removed her sunglasses. I remember my dress. It was vintage, late 60’s I think, and gray. Embroidered flowers trailed down the right side of the skirt. And, I remember standing under a large, green tent, alongside my sisters, next to the casket holding my mother. The four of us sang “Amazing Grace”. It was her favorite.
2011 was significant in its own way. This year, for the first time ever, I drove several hundred miles across several states alone. And, before I did that, I drove several hundred miles across several states in the company of a friend who, up to that point, I’d only known online. The two of us were on our way to meet many more friends with whom we’d had years-long online friendships. The experience was wonderful and proved what I’d always felt; online relationships are real and can be every bit as meaningful as those we experience 3D.
Here are a few other things I learned this year:
- - I do not have to react. In fact, in many cases its better I don’t. Action, in almost every case, is preferable to reaction.
- - I can be most childish with those I care most about. Not behaving in a childish manner is a decision that benefits everyone. And it’s easier to do than you might think.
- - There is a place in my life for religion, and participation in a group of spiritually like-minded people feeds something in me, making me more whole.
- - You can’t fully appreciate the angst of desire until you’ve wanted something for your child that you are powerless to provide.
- - Acceptance, in all its forms, is a major component of happiness.
- - I’ve spent a considerable amount of time looking for something I already had but wouldn’t see.
- - Despite disagreements, disappointment, and geography, some people will always have a place in your heart…because they live there.