Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Longest Year

I just stumbled upon someone commenting on 'A Year Ago Today...' and I had no idea what they were referring to. As the clues slowly revealed that they were speaking of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut I could not believe that was only a year ago.

December 14, 2012 ...

I heard the news on the radio as I made my way over to my friend's home. She was dealing with the loss of her mother. I stood at her side as she released balloons into the sky and felt her mother's reluctance (yet relief) to join her husband and son. As the world mourned for the unspeakable losses of innocent young children and educators, my friend's loss was up close and personal. That was only one year ago...

Ten days later, my aunt was admitted into the hospital. When my uncle walked through the doors of that hospital on December 24th, it was beyond his comprehension that he would not bring her home again. One week. One week of fighting the good fight. One week of family coming from near and far. One week to come to the slow realization that things were not getting better. A mother of nine, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a friend ... didn't come home again. Time stood still yet the calendar pages kept turning. Almost one year ago?

My friend that was dealing with terminal cancer passed away in October. One year ago, her prognosis was sounding brighter. She was planning on seeing her yet unborn grandchild start kindergarten. She was looking toward a five year goal. One year ago? She would have not predicted that she had barely over ten more months to reach for the goals within her grasp.

My uncle's cancer has returned. I do not know all of the details. They are making plans for the entire family to celebrate Christmas on Boxing Day this year. I cannot help but think that they are not expecting the same opportunity a year from now ...

On the flip side, my friend that was laid off at this time last year has found a better job and has never felt so happy and valued as an employee.

Another friend who's broken heart was so raw that she could not even speak of it ... is moving on and is rebuilding herself and starting over. New and improved.

A year can feel like a very long time. I often look back at 'a year ago today' to celebrate that which I have overcome and appreciate the present tense of my life. The years that mark loss, heart break and devastation are tough. One cannot help but look back and feel the anguish all over again. Yet life goes on. One day rolls into the next. The calendar pages turn and eventually we have to bring out a new calendar full of empty boxes.

It has been a very long year, yet it has sped by all too fast. I do not even want to guess what the next year has in store. Sometimes a person is better off being surprised.

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