Happiest New Year!

Long time no write . . . We’ve been busy. Here’s the highlight reel:

  1. I’m trying to figure out the new WordPress layout it’s been SO LONG since I blogged.
  2. Jim graduated from college! He starts his new teaching job on Monday!!!
  3. Liam graduated from high school!
  4. Liam wrote a BOOK! I need to help him edit it, but I’ve been kind of busy with ye olde job.
  5. Moira has been modeling – she’s gorgeous! (All Moira professional photos are courtesy of Photography by Desiree – hire her!)
  6. No one has gotten COVID in our house (yet) – I did mention Jim starts his new job in an elementary school on Monday.
  7. We adopted two tiny and elderly dogs from Bounce animal rescue and now we are a four dog family.
  8. We had two deaths in the family – Jim’s Aunt Ginner and my sister Megan’s husband Aaron. That is hard news mixed in with happy things.
  9. I have some more skin cancer I need to have cut off my face – and I’ve been procrastinating. Ironically, my basal cell carcinoma post is one of my most visited.
  10. A lot of drama happened in my personal life (not at home) that I’m going to not write about because there’s no point. Let’s just say this is the year that I learned boundaries and not to overshare – see me stopping here and sharing no more. Yay me.

So, here’s the weird thing that I need to write about, the reflection not just over this year but over this life of mine. Today two traumas intersect from history into the present. People who’ve experienced a lot of trauma have changes to their brain that make them see patterns other people don’t readily see. I’ve had a lot of trauma, and here are the weird coincidences of this day.

  1. 19 years ago today I had that ultrasound that altered the trajectory of my life – when Liam was diagnosed with half a heart and misdiagnosed with Downs Syndrome. It was a day I wrote a chapter of my book about and you can read it and a new chapter about PTSD here.
  2. Today, I am 17418 days old. Twenty six years ago today, my dad was 17,418 days old. 365 days later, he died.
  3. Also this year my mom will be the same age her dad was when he died, and I will be the same age my own dad was when he died. . . very strange.

. . . today I am the same day my dad was on the first day of the last year of his life, and it seems meaningful that it falls on the day that the old me died. I’m not a fatalist. I don’t see death in every number or sign. I simply see the opportunity for me to embrace the life I have and be grateful for it – for all of it: the celebrations, the losses, the tiresome dramas, and the let downs. They are part of being amongst the living.

Next month my dad will have been dead 25 years. I was 22 when he died. He didn’t see me graduate from college. He never met my kids. He has been completely gone for a painfully long time now. What losing my dad when I was young taught me that loss is not an event, it’s a state of existence. I lose something every time something great happens because my dad is not part of it. I lose something extra when I suffer because my dad isn’t alive to give me a hug. My dad gave good big bear hugs. He was a big man until cancer erased him until he was like a piece of paper you could nearly see through and I had to help him out of his chair. He was my age then, when he was disappearing before my eyes.

My son has survived for nearly nineteen years, though he nearly died three times. These brushes with that loss have taught me to be grateful for every little moment. Liam was housesitting or almost two weeks and finally came home for good yesterday. When I woke up this morning, he was sleeping in. To be fair I got up at 5:00 am and was working before 6:00 am, but I couldn’t wait for him to wake up and see him. Yesterday, when he got home he gave me a huge long bear hug. I think he gets his hugs from the grandpa he never met.

I’m the living link, between the blonde man that died at 48 and the blonde boy who nearly died three times before his third birthday. I’m the connective tissue between generations that never knew each other, and that is a not a burden, but it is a bittersweet blessing.

It’s not every day that worlds collide like they did today. So, I decided to write about it. I hope to write more in 2022. I will end with things to look forward to:

  1. Moira graduates from high school!
  2. Both kids will be in college!
  3. I hope to republish Heart Warriors under a revised title with many changes to reflect the ten years since it was published.
  4. I hope to help Liam publish his first book.
  5. Jim will start his career as an elementary school teacher.
  6. Who knows? I read a quote recently and wish I’d written it down, but it went something like – meet uncertainty with curiosity rather than fear. Though I have a battered heart, I have a curious soul, and we will see what 2022 brings.

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