Friday, December 30, 2011

One Day

When this movie came out in August, I would have liked to had been able to go see it.  I don't know if it was the British accents, Anne Hathaway, or the song "Good Life" from the previews, but for some reason this romantic movie actually appealed to me. However, the timing was bad.  August was a tough month.  It held both my husband's birthday and our anniversary and it seemed best to wait for a better time to watch a movie from the genre of romance.

This past month, while shopping at Barnes and Noble for Christmas presents, I came across the book, One Day by David Nicholls, and I purchased it.  This little purchase actually represented two feats for me.  The first one being that I regained the mentality to relax.  I felt as though I could redirect my thoughts during those quiet times and focus enough to read and for pleasure.  (That may not sound like much, but for anyone who has lost a loved one, I am sure you can identify with thoughts that wander and the difficulty in containing them.)  The second one being able to intentionally choose to invite a bit of romance back into my life.

((Spoiler Alert))
I just finished reading the book.  I am happy to say that I was in fact able to focus and the romance wasn't too much to take in. It was in many ways a very realistic portrayal of love and relationships.  In fact, it was a bit too realistic for me.  The ending was one that I just did not see coming and it hit home and it hit pretty hard.

If you have not read the book or have not seen the movie, it is one where you want the two main characters to end up together because that is when they are at their best. That is when they are truly happy.  After years and years, they finally do realize this. They marry.  They are happy.  She dies.

I recently posted "Carpe Diem," my views on living one day at time.  So much can happen in one day. In my own life, I can think back to specific events/days that have changed my life, both good and bad. I can even think past the realm of myself, to events and specific days that will forever be remembered in history.  In my lifetime, it is 9/11 that holds that significance.   It is just one day, but a day that changed so many people's lives.  It changed so much of the world.

So as I sat deflated as to the ending of my once book of enjoyment ended, I realized that's life.  We don't know what each day will bring, how that one day will impact us. Perhaps it is that unknown which makes life so precious and gives us so much to hope and live for.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Table for Two

Ironic that "Table for Two" would have been the post title for yesterday's blog had I had the time to sit down and write.  However, today as I am writing, this title serves a more literal meaning today than it would have yesterday.  But I will tell you both stories...

Yesterday, I took my son to go see a nearby neighborhood that boasts a spectacular display of Christmas lights.  Truly, it is amazing how so many houses on so many blocks are so decked out for the holidays.  I had wanted to take my son because I thought that he was finally old enough to really enjoy them, and he did!

However, as I was walking up and down the streets, I couldn't help but to think about the past.  My husband and I used to live in this neighborhood.  Even before our son was born, we used to walk up and down these streets before, during, and after the holidays with our dogs.  It's amazing how things can change... change in ways that seem incomprehensible.

Yesterday, it was just the two of us, my son and I.  After my husband passed, his parents asked if they could keep one of our dogs.  I didn't have the heart to say no.  He now lives five hours away and I rarely see him.  My other dog has been with my parents for the past few months and will stay there throughout the winter.  They are keeping her just to help me out so that I do not have to take my son out into the cold to walk her.  So for now, she is gone too.  In this new life that I often refer too, it is just the two of us, my son and I.

Today was my last day of work before Christmas break.  Since I had to work today, the plan was to leave for my parents' (who live about 8 hours away) early tomorrow morning so that we could join in on the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities.  Well, I got a call at work from my son's day care asking me to come get him because he had a high fever.  Fortunately, my boss has been wonderful to me and she told me to leave before I even asked.  I was also lucky to get into the Dr.'s right away too.
It turns out that he has an ear infection and he is now on antibiotics.  However, our plans have changed and instead of leaving tomorrow, we will be traveling on Christmas instead.

Today was a long day and a late night.  As we waited for his prescription to be filled, we ate dinner at a little diner.  Indeed it was, a "table for two."  As I was sitting at the table with him waiting for our food, I realized how my figurative thought from yesterday was my literal reality.  As we were waiting, I also got to see him smile and laugh as he sang along with the Christmas songs on the radio.  I knew he was starting to feel better.  So I too smiled, laughed, and sang.  We are both going to be okay.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem... Seize the Day.  I don't know if I speak for anyone other than myself, but when I used to hear this, I used to think that "seize the day" meant that you had to do something spectacular or extraordinary with it.  Now, I see it completely different...

I am a teacher.  Sad to say, but we teachers like to countdown.  By Monday morning, we are counting down the days to the next weekend.  We countdown the weeks until the next three day weekend, or better yet, the next long break.  We even have a 100th Day of School Celebration which really just makes it easier to countdown until summer vacation.  I was never very extreme, but I have been guilty in counting down.  The unfortunate thing is, I love my job.

In May, things changed.  After my husband's death, it became extremely difficult to look into the future, a future that didn't include him.  It's hard to accept the loss of a loved one, especially one that was so much a part of your everyday life.  Especially one that at one time, you believed and envisioned yourself growing old with.  The best way for me to cope, was to take each day one at a time.

That was seven months ago.  Time can be a great friend.  I can look into the future, not without heartache, but I can look ahead.  I have to admit that there are so many unknowns that it makes it hard to envision my future.  But I have made some plans in the future that I am looking forward to and as for everything else that my future holds, while I don't see specifics, I do see a light... hope and happiness.

I said that time can be a great friend.  People can also make great friends too.  There are some great friends, no... great people in my life that have also helped me to see that living in the moment shouldn't just be a coping mechanism.  Being able to live in the moment is a gift.

It has been seven months and I have not counted down or written off a single day.  I still take it one day at a time.  It's not because I have to in order to make it through the day.  It is no longer a way for me to cope.  It's my new perspective, my new found knowledge that I hope I never lose and that I hope I can pass down to my son.

Today was not an "extraordinary" day.  I did not fly to some foreign country, eat exquisite food, drink expensive wine, tell profound stories or the funniest of jokes.  Today I was greeted first thing in the morning with the warmest of smiles, walked hand in hand with my son to day care, proudly said goodbye to him because he no longer cries when I leave him, chatted with some friends, taught students new skills and celebrated other accomplishments,  benefited from two different people going out of their way to help me out, had my heart burst with love just like it does everyday, my favorite time of day... picking my son up from day care, and then listening to him babble and sing the ABC's on the ride home.

An extraordinary day?  No.  This is pretty much a typical day for me.  Carpe Diem?  Yes.  Why? Because I took the time to appreciate and enjoy all those moments.  Were there some bad moments today?  A few, but not worth mentioning and especially not worth counting this day away.  I wonder what moments I would have missed if I had?

I know that life is not always butterflies and roses and there are events in my days that I don't look forward to.  I just look at them as an experience and that helps me to get through them.   Days will come and go, good and bad.  But each day is precious and we have to make the most of it with whatever it is that we have.  To me, that is seizing the day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Comfort to Just Be

There are many things that I do, things that I seek out, things that I absorb all for the sake of finding comfort.  One thing that I have been able to find comfort in, as time passes, is music.  Music was and can still be a trigger of memories and emotions, but what I find the most comfort in, is in music that I consider "mine."  It's in music that had no previous sentimental meaning, a blank slate, if you will.  A place where I can get lost, even if it is for just a few minutes.    

Today I was reminded of a movie, The Piano.  Today I found comfort in the beauty of a piano, in The Promise by Michael Nyman.  To me, it was one of those pieces that found its way in quickly and I immediately felt a sense of longing, a sadness.  However, the elegance of the piano and music equally created a sense of peace and hope as time passed.  In The Promise, I had found a place outside of myself where sadness, peace, and hope all could coincide. 

It is a gift that I have taken from my experience and that is in finding a comfort to help live in the moment, to find joy in the moment, and to just be. I hope this helps you to find your own comfort, even if it is for just a few moments.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Little Moments

This week my son and I were both sick.  Not fun.  I had to take a day off of work (before I even got sick), the babysitter came one day, and fortunately, my parents just happened to be visiting for the weekend, so they watched him the third day before the weekend began.   However, over the course of those five days, sleep was scarce and by Sunday, we were all fighting the cabin fever.

It is tough being a single parent.  However, it's not situations like this past week that make it tough.  Those come and go.  (I am very fortunate that my son only had strep throat, myself only a cold, and that other than those occasional illnesses, we are healthy.)  It's the time in between that is the toughest.

There are many people who love my son.  He has grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and countless other family members and friends who all love him dearly.  They are always interested in what new things he is up to, the milestones he has conquered, and I love that I have so many people to share those accomplishments with.  However, I am finding that there are many moments, "little moments" that occur quite often that are funny or sweet or sad or embarrassing that either pull at my heartstrings or make me burst with pride towards my son.  I think the reason that those little moments have such an impact on me is because he is my son.  Those little moments feel like an inside joke, but there isn't anyone on the inside who gets it with me anymore.

I know it's the little things that mean the most and that those little moments do hold a great deal of value that can be shared with the people in my life.  And I have.  It's just different.

I found a button today that I added to my blog.  I've heard the saying before and I always really liked it,  "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it's about learning to dance in the rain."  The storm definitely has not passed yet, but I am trying my best to dance in the rain.  And I can't help but to look forward to someday meeting someone who will find great joy in sharing those little moments that will pull on his heartstrings and will make him  beam with pride too.  (My little guy is pretty amazing.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It Takes a Village

To say that this past year was tough would be an understatement.  However, I am okay and for now, okay is good enough.  It's very good actually.

They say that in the face of adversity one's true colors are shown.  There have been so many people who have been there for me with both unconditional love and support and I am truly amazed by them.  I live hundreds of miles away from the people with whom I am closest with and for them to take away the loneliness and to make me feel as if they were standing right next to me is remarkable.

There have been many others with whom I have become closer with throughout these past months.  Sadly, I never realized before what they meant to me and how important and happy I am to have them in my life.

There have also been some people that seemed to have come out of nowhere.  New friends, who extended their love and friendship to me in such a warm way; I feel as though they have always been there.

I was having coffee with a girlfriend (one whom I have become closer with) earlier today and as we were talking I realized that a year ago, we probably wouldn't have been meeting for coffee.  Would I exchange all that has happened for a cup of coffee? Stupid question.  Life doesn't work that way.  But life does work best when you can adapt and make changes to help you move on.  I was always a person who only kept a few people close.  I can't do that anymore because I would be losing out on all of the other people who have enriched my life in their own special way.  

So what I have learned is that you need people.  The people that are worth keeping in your life are the ones that will walk beside you down any path with a hand held out in case you get lost, or fall down, or just to remind you that you are not alone.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then that child in us never truly grows up.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Glimmering Through Aspen

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing laundry. My son came over, grabbed a bunch of towels, and began to help me "fold" them. That simple act made me stop. I wanted to fully absorb that moment because it was one where he reminded me so much of his father. My husband was always so helpful, with laundry, with so many things and I never even had to ask. I could feel the tears start to well up and as they did I looked away. What I realized as I looked away was that I really wasn't looking away. I was surrounded by him, my husband, and the life that we built together. In that moment, I chose not to feel angry for losing him much too soon. I chose to feel blessed. And I am, blessed. I am blessed in that I married a man that I adored, I am blessed for all of the happy memories that we created together, I am blessed for the family and friends that I have in my life, I'm blessed in that I am able to independently support and maintain our home and lifestyle, and I have been absolutely blessed with our son.

My heart is broken and I am very sad, but at the same time, I am thankful for my life. This past year, life has thrown the unfathomable at me and much of the life that I once knew has been completely changed. I have learned how precious life is and I cherish it. For that reason, I fight everyday to "keep truckin'" (as my husband used to say)to move on or more accurately stated, to live.

In choosing a title for this blog, I wanted something that would capture the essence for what I wanted to accomplish by sharing my life with the world. Trees, I love trees. They represent life... perfect. But what kind of tree? Last week, my aunt bought me a necklace made from the leaf of an aspen tree. It was dipped in copper and is simple and elegant and I love it.  Aspen trees also create a breathtaking view of colors in the fall, which I love. But perhaps more meaningful than anything else, aspen trees are one of the first plants to regrow after a forest fire, a renewal of life. This blog is about my new life. A life in which I am wiser and stronger. A life that I know if I keep my head up I will find the sun glimmering through and happiness once again.