Thank you for waiting…patiently. It has been a year since my last post and longer since some real content. And I’ll be honest, I’m struggling to find the words to share now. And not for lack of want or things to say but getting started again. How does a writer pick up a pen after so long being so empty handed? How do you begin…again?
The best I can say is thank you for patiently waiting. For not giving up on me or on Wife, Mom, House…Oh My! My last post marked a milestone, so to speak, in my life. What happened after, well, that is such a blur of events and yet so clear in every detail. I find that my husband and I both remark, “Has it really been a year?” It seems so short and yet so very long.
A friend said it best, “The years are so short and yet the days are so long.” The days of this last year have been a heavy load, born in love but heavy nonetheless. And yet as I reflect back on these days that seemed so long and unending, I see a year has just as miraculously flown by as if the days were merely seconds that fill a minute. Short. Brief. Momentary. I thank you for your patience and am so grateful because in my silence I have been able to do something that I am so humbled and proud of beyond all measure. I was able to be present.
Our family faced unimaginable loss this year, loss that is still very raw. As I mentioned in my last post, we were waiting to find out what illness my mother was facing. Shortly after writing my last post, we did. Sadly, her cancer had returned. As I shared before, her first battle with breast cancer was in 1997. Almost 20 years later, it was back but this time without warning and it had metastasized to her bones. In her case, there really wasn’t anything that could be done. We lost her on January 26, 2017 but I was given the most amazing gift. I was able to be present with her every step of the way. I was able to be her advocate. I was able to speak for her and fight for her wants. I was able to hold her hand and love her through the bad days. I was able to enjoy each and every precious good day. And I was there when she was letting go. It was without a doubt the most humbling, difficult and emotional grueling thing I have ever done in my life. And yet I am so grateful, feel so blessed and so honored that I was able to do it for her.
We lost her sister on December 23, 2016. She had fought a long and grueling battle of her own but truth be told, I think the thought of losing her baby sister was too much to endure. She loved my momma so deeply. I will never forget the many intimate moments that our family bore witness to that showed the depth of that love. Two women laying in their respective hospital beds, each telling the other to obey the doctors, eat your food, you know you need your strength, each insisting that the other get better and get back home. A hilarious FaceTime call, neither knowing how to use FaceTime, so they could each see each other. Ironically, that would be their last phone call together. And my aunt, in no shape to travel, trying to figure out a way to travel some 400 plus miles by ambulance no less, to see her baby sister. As my cousin put it, “Picture this. Aunt Toni being wheel on a gurney into a hospital where she is not a patient, with Uncle Larry right behind her in a wheelchair, three EMTs and a nurse in tow…can you imagine the hilarity in this scene. Let alone, them wheeling her in to your mom’s room?” IT sounds like the beginning of some bad joke. But that was the love and dedication she had for her baby sister. Just for clarity, no this did not actually happen.
My mother-in-law, Saint Eleanor, went in for her first mouth cancer surgery in June 2016 just before her 80th birthday and then again on her anniversary, September 10. She went home to our Lord on October 6. Again, I am so humbled and blessed by how things have been orchestrated in our lives. My husband was in Southern California for a business trip and because of this business trip, he was able to be present. My mother-in-law was admitted to ICU late October 5 suffering complications of her recovery and slipped away the next day. Had he not been down there, my husband would not have been able to be with her, nor would he have been able to be with my father-in-law over the weekend. She was surrounded by her children and her husband and peacefully left this world with the grace and sweet equanimity for which I will always remember my mother-in-law.
The remainder of this year has been picking up the pieces. Some the are ones that are new and left behind from the whirlwind of events that had just consumed our lives. Learning to live without loved ones. Processing their loss, the absence from our life, especially when they were truly apart of our daily life. Figuring out our grief. Others are the ones that are temporary. The ones that exist as we process the legality and paperwork of losing someone. Others still are the pieces of our life that we set aside so we could be present. And there are so many pieces. And life doesn’t stop. So new pieces from new challenges or joys get added the pile.
Life isn’t something that passes you by, even when you try. Its something we experience. We often don’t choose what comes our way but we can learn from it and embrace what lessons it has for us. I guess that statement, “Life will pass you by if you let it.” really means if you don’t learn from it. And this last year, I have had lesson after lesson after lesson. Many emotional. Some practical. Others both. Most I hope I can pass on here in this blog. I hope to give voice to areas we don’t often think about and sometimes purposefully avoid. Or credence to the things we all feel at time to time. Or wonder about. But that’s always been my hope for this blog…to pass on what I learn.
One of the blessings in this challenged year was getting to bear witness to the depth and vast arrays of love. Its an interesting concept. It was once that my mother and I would talk about on many an occasion. Our English language is so lacking for vocabulary to fully and clearly express the vast multitudes of loves that exist and one that would take a whole post to explore…perhaps my next. Suffice to say I was immensely blessed many times over to participate as well as play innocent voyeur to many of those facets of love. And while this year has been intensely difficult and frankly, sometimes down right shitty, that gift is something I will cherish forever and always. And no, it doesn’t make it easier.
With only the smallest of glimpses into the challenges and changes of our last year, I hope you understand that I have and am continuing to give myself time to process and regroup. I love my blog. I love having a place for my voice and where I can share my lessons – both my successes and my whoops moments. But I also recognize that I’m still finding my bearings in this new world order of mine. I will post and my content will continue to be informative as it has always been and based around my life. Real in other words. But I’m giving myself permission to not be on a schedule. I’m giving myself permission to still give myself time. I will post but on my timeframe. I’m okay with that for now. I will say I’m also looking forward to tackling some heavy topics that I don’t see discussed enough. Things we keep to ourselves for fear of being seen, of being judged, of being wrong or broken or sometimes just fear of voicing what we are experiencing or because its a difficult topic we don’t want to face. I’m also looking forward to sharing our new home, my designs, and my little projects. I’m looking forward to sharing life with you all in my little corner of the web.
So again, I thank you for waiting.