Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Begin Again

I panicked when I woke up this morning and realized it's been 6 months since I turned 40. I'm already half a year in to this significant year and what do I have to show for it? What of all those good intentions to get healthy and be a better me? Will I always be stuck in good intentions that never go anywhere?
Time is rolling away from me and I can't catch up. It takes my breath away when I think about it. I need to begin, today, right now, I need to begin again.
So this morning, after I dropped the kids off to school, I laced up my running shoes and drove to my parents cemetery. It is one of my favorite places to be. Rolling hills tucked within old towering trees. Huge old historic monuments. A paved road weaving through the sprawling grounds. The morning is gray and it's drizzling but it's warm for February. Winter isn't over yet but there's been a reprieve from the cold and the snow this past week.
I can't remember the last time I ran. I don't even think I CAN run but here I am, running, or more like shuffling, but it's a start. It’s so peaceful and quiet. I can only hear my breath, my footsteps, and some squirrels playing in the trees. My legs are tired but I'm coming back to me; I'm coming back to life. I’m determined to be as alive as I can these days.
I turn a bend near my parents monuments and there right in front of me are three deer, munching on grass. I stop and watch them and feel the wild life within me grow. I had no idea how dead I have felt for so long.
It doesn’t matter how many times I have to begin again. It's ok. I can begin again and again.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Apple of My Eye

Not only is it my brother's birthday today but it is also my dad's. I've always thought it was so cool they shared a birthday. My dad would have been 79 this year. April will be 15 yrs that he's been gone. He died only 4 short months after his Glioblastoma diagnosis. The Christmas before he died, he wrote me a note. I was in Seattle at the time in grad school and received his note in the mail. At this point, due to his illness, writing was very laborious for him and his once beautiful handwriting was now chicken scratch. But I could still read, "You are still the apple of my eye." At the time, I didn't really know what it meant but through the years, I've looked into the meaning and discovered: "treasured, protected, precious, able to withstand much hardship and difficulty and still be preserved." I didn't know he was dying when I got this note. I didn't know this would not only be the last thing he ever wrote to me but also the best Christmas gift he had ever given me.

I love this watercolor painting by artist Angela Moulton. It's not perfect; it's messy. Like relationships. Like my relationship with my dad. We were not close in the years before his death. That was both his fault and my own. I deeply regret our distance but am so grateful for the healing we were able to find during those 4 months before his death and how it has continued for me, even after his death. I love this apple. This is me. This is my dad. This is our relationship. And still I'm the apple of his eye.
Happy birthday, dad. Pie and ice cream must be amazing in heaven.