Monday, December 1, 2014

A Year of Making Memories

I had a blog post sitting in me all day yesterday but I just had 'a few' things to do before I allowed myself the privilege of sitting still with my thoughts and bringing them to life.

I was going to write about how my thoughts were skittering around in my head. From the moment I awoke with the perfect 'theme' for my annual Christmas letter ... to some words that mean 'nothing' but have the potential to mean more-than-they-say ... to realizing it is almost the end of the year which led my thinking to year-end-financial recaps and income tax ... digging through receipts and the calendar for missing tax information led me down a path of reminiscing.

Oh, inside of my head was a wonderful place to be yesterday morning. Thoughts were pinging around in rapid succession and I could barely keep up.

I wrote notes and documented that-which-needed-documenting. As I flipped through the calendar pages, my bank book and my credit card records, the year flashed before my eyes.

I remembered moments. The losses. It has been a Year of Great Loss for almost everyone who touches my world. There are ongoing physical and mental health issues that are still of great concern.

I remember sitting still with those thoughts on so very many occasions. I have walked beside people who have faced devastating losses and I feel for them on so very many levels. But I am not walking in their shoes. So there is still the ability to disconnect and continue on living my merry little life.

The year 2014 was not a year of great adventures or spending or extravagances. It was a year of incredible memories instead.

One cold week in the middle of January, I planned a few adventures. Two out of three came to fruition. The third was preempted by a death in our family.

I attended that funeral and one sentence by one cousin rerouted my year. She suggested something I had been thinking about and not acting upon for quite some time. Someone in our family should plan a family reunion. Why shouldn't that 'someone' be me?

Two weeks later, on the coldest weekend of the winter, I reopened my dad's family's book project. The following Monday, I started making inquiries about a family reunion. The weekend following that coldest weekend of the winter, a plan was formed and reservations were made. We just lived that fantasy a month ago.

The common theme among the family who was able to attend was 'it is good to gather for happy times'. There have been far too many funerals. Not enough celebrations.

I had not even walked out the door from our family reunion and I was already making new plans and inviting others along for the ride.

I got lost in the adventures of 2014 yesterday morning and it was a most wonderful place to be.

I remember sitting down one day last year and writing down the months. There was a name of at least one close friend or family member who had lost a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, a sibling, an aunt or an uncle (and the list goes on) beside each and every month. It would have been so easy to focus on death last year. It was everywhere.

When our own (Mom and Dad's) family gathered for our smaller scale reunion this past summer, Mom said from the onset "I don't want to talk about sickness or death or sadness!" but it was unavoidable. One niece had spent the days prior to our reunion dealing with an urgent health situation, her father-in-law ended up needing emergency surgery as they were making their way to our reunion and my sister's grandchild ended up in ER while we were gathered. We stopped to visit Mom's sister enroute to our reunion. She passed away the following Monday.

We shared a lot of laughs, stories and made memories throughout that weekend gathering despite it all. And that is basically what it is all about, isn't it?

'Life' is going to happen no matter what we do. We cannot hold onto the ones we love forever but while they are living, we can certainly make the most of the time we have.

The year 2014 was one of making memories. It was a year of forging connections with family I used to know by name only, into something 'more'. It was a  year of stepping outside of my quiet and comfortable oasis within my head and home and inviting others to join me along my way.

I forecast more of the same for 2015 (more on that after I talk with my sister tonight ... we may have a 'date' to go on a weekend adventure in February if all goes as I hope!!).

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