I wish…

2020 has been a year, hasn’t it? I’ve mostly kept my head down and just moved forward, but recently I was hit with an event that felt like the collapse of a brick wall.

My sister died.

The week it happened, I don’t think I felt much after the initial blow. We had family to house and board, a funeral to plan and attend (no mean feat in the days of covid), and constant sound and movement to keep my mind occupied. Then, the next week I had to catch up at work for the week I’d missed. No time to grieve for this gal.

A previously planned dive vacation was rudely interrupted by dueling hurricanes, so a week I had hoped would bring healing didn’t materialize, just more busyness and putting my grief in the corner.

Then, time slowed down. The grief hit with the force of that hurricane. Every day has brought fresh waves of pain, but thankfully they’re mitigated by sweet, sweet memories.

What do you do with grief? I’ve lost loved ones before. Both my parents have passed away, but their lives were full and long. I’ve lost friends before, and grieved for them over the years with a poignant melancholy. But, I’ve never lost a beloved sibling before. Blood ties run deep. It’s an entirely new type of grief that I’m not sure where to put or how to deal with.

And there are regrets. I wish… I wish I had more time. We always think there’s time, don’t we? I lost a beloved uncle a few years ago, one who was in his 70’s, but that’s young these days. I remember thinking, “I thought I had more time.” More time to connect. More time to reach out. More time to share lives. But, I didn’t. Suddenly, he was gone and I couldn’t ask him anything else or talk to him anymore.

That’s the way this grief is hitting me. I wish I had asked the photographer to make a picture of the three of us sisters at my daughter’s wedding. I wish I had called her more often. I wish I had driven to see her the Sunday before she died instead of just having a phone conversation. I wish… I wish I had more time.

My prayer is that I stop wishing and start acting. That I spend more time with my loved ones while they’re here. That I remember to reach out to them on their birthdays, even in the busyness of my life. Nothing is promised.

Family is important. Friends are important. Relationships are important. Make the phone call. Have the hard conversation. Mend fences. Reach out. Get in your car and make the trip.

Don’t wish for more time. Make it.

Memories and milestones

We all remember where we were this day twelve years ago.  It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, the memories are still so fresh.  It’s important to remember, to have days set aside to honor those who lost their lives to vicious attacks by mad men.  But, it’s equally important to look forward with hope and joy.

I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but one of the things I do love on days like today are the tributes people post as they remember and honor on this day.  They’re all beautiful and eloquent, but my absolute favorite was by a long time friend and client.  Her beautiful baby girl turns one today.  On a day that so many of us remember with horror, that sweet family has been given a special gift.  A reminder that there is joy, hope, and renewal, always.  Here is her post (their names have been removed):  Today, our country remembers those we lost 12 years ago, and my family celebrates the one we gained – Beautiful Baby Girl – was born at 12:19 a.m. one year ago today! Praise the Lord for His goodness and for creating a day of blessing for our family on 9/11/12. We are so grateful for our little sweetheart!

As I read this, I was reminded that there will always be evil on this side of heaven.  There will always be mad men and women who do truly abominable things.  Satan seems to win too many battles.  But, there will also always be joy and hope.  Life continues and can be lived always looking for evil and doom, or always lifting our eyes to heaven and looking for good.  As sad as this world sometimes makes me, I choose to live my life looking for and believing in the good.  It’s not always the easy way.  Somtimes, like it was on 9/11/01, it feels impossible.

My training plan called for speed work this morning.  If you know anything about me, you know that me and speed are not good friends.  I’m a slow, easy runner who likes to stop and smell the roses, rather than run for them.  I’ve been known to stop dead still in the middle of a hard run, whip out my iPhone, and snap a picture of something that made me smile.  But, I am trying to get faster, so occasional speed workouts are part of the plan.  This morning’s run included a one mile warm-up, then six one minute intervals in zone 4 (or, as I’ve renamed it, zone vomit), with two minute recoveries between.  Ten minutes to cool down, and I’m done.  Simple, huh?  I actually did seven intervals, as I thought I turned my timer on, but somehow didn’t, so had to start them again.  By the last interval, my coffee was threatening a violent reappearance, but I got it done.  And, as  I cooled down, I was rewarded with the most spectacular sunrise, which I captured inelegantly on my iPhone.

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As we remember the people we lost on this terrible day, twelve years ago, I pray that we celebrate the simple, joyous milestones that fill our lives as well. The ability to run three miles and be rewarded with a magnificent sunrise. The birth of a beautiful baby girl. Earlier this week, Gary and I celebrated a huge milestone in our lives – he is one year post broken leg. We celebrated in the way we usually do, low key and with activity, me by running, him by cycling. In fact, it wasn’t until later in the day when I was paying bills that I remembered the date, and posted a before/after pic on Instagram. He’s running some, too, but cycling seems to be the best fit for him right now. I have to say, he has frustrated, aggravated, infuriated, reduced me to eye rolling, and inspired me (sometimes all at the same time) with his pig headedness perseverance.
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I guess the point of this post was this. Don’t let evil win. Remember to celebrate with joy, abandon, and gratitude – even the little things. Like almost throwing up during a speed session. I celebrate that I was able to start my morning with coffee, a run, and the ability to praise in the sun drenched morning.