Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009

The year 2009 was a menagerie of emotional highs and lows, the likes of which I had never experienced in my lifetime. Overwhelming and awe-inspiring joy. Deep sorrow and loss. Heart-touching moments. Seemingly unending worry. Dark hours. Sparkling days. Anger. Bliss. Depression. Hope.
2009 brought with it a gift of unending love, joy and pride. The birth of my daughter, Marissa is the single-most important thing that has ever happened to me. With the sounds of a first cry, the center of my universe was changed forever. My perspective tilted a new direction. My purpose clearly defined. I went from being a woman to becoming a mother. A word which defies all definition. It is all-encompassing. It is overwhelming. It is humbling. The last 9 months of this year have been defined by Marissa. She has given me more than I could ever imagine giving her. She has structured my life and replenished my soul. Only a gift so perfect from God could do such a thing. I thank Him for her every day and will continue to do so the rest of my life. It is a privilege to watch her grow, change, learn and explore every day. My life will never be the same.
It is because of her that I have been able to weather the darkness of this year. Disease. Cancer. Death. Funerals. These words unfortunately have defined much of the year as well. The pain cut deep into our family and took two very important people from our lives. My Dad. Mike's Mom. The pain of losing a parent is ongoing and persistent, but seems to lighten with time. Seeing reminders of these special people every day help me to remember that they are only gone physically. Their spirits are with us forever and live on through us. I pray that 2010 gives us some reprieve from this type of sadness and despair.
2009 ushered in a world of uncertainty. Politics, the economy and the world around us have created an air of fear, worry and anxiety. I hope that 2010 brings in some resolution to these problems that will make us feel better now, but more importantly, not hurt our future any further.
I am not sad to see the year 2009 end tonight. I look to 2010 as another new beginning that I hope to describe as joyful, prosperous, and peaceful. I look forward to venturing into another year in the journey of life. I'm sure it will hold many surprises.
Happy and Blessed New Year to all!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

This year, I experienced the true spirit of Christmas. Of course, Jesus is the reason for the season and it is because of His love and His works that I was able to have a magical holiday.
With the terrible losses our family has suffered in the last few months, Christmas could have been a very dark and sad time for all of us. But it wasn't.
On Christmas Eve, I had one of those moments like you see in the movies, suspended in time almost. I looked around the room. My 9 month old daughter sitting on her Grandpa's lap. My sister-in-law and her husband, sharing a comfy armchair. A 2 year old cousin happily playing games with his aunts. Our 5 month old Goddaughter in her mother's arms. Relatives sitting around talking and having a beer. Others putting finishing touches on food in the kitchen. A fire in the fireplace and a pile of presents by the tree. I suddenly realized that this happiness and togetherness are the true magic of Christmas. It was in that moment, that I felt the spirit of my mother-in-law. She was with us in that celebration. Smiling down on all of us from heaven. All was right with the world.
On Christmas Day, we spent time with my mom and 2 close family friends. As I watched the joy come over their faces as they watched Marissa play, I knew that my Dad was enjoying the show as well. His spirit was with us too. And again, everything felt right.
The key to all of this lies in a special little girl. She embodies the spirits of her grandparents and the magic of Christmas. She brings light to a family who has had it's share of darkness. She brings hope and new beginnings where there has been despair and endings. Like baby Jesus, Marissa let all of us experience Christmas in it's purest form--as something shiny and new.
Thank you, my sweet daughter for giving us this wonderful and precious Christmas present.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pieces of a Life

I feel badly that I haven't kept up on this blog. I really haven't had the time or motivation recently. On November 22nd, my mother-in-law, Terri, found her peace with God. Since then, it's been quite a struggle to get back to some form of normal life. It's happening slowly. I guess I can't expect it to happen overnight.
Since I've experienced so much loss in such a short time, I've been thinking about death quite a bit. It's so strange how a person can just suddenly be gone from this world. Whether you know the end is coming or not, the loss is still so sudden, so final, so consuming. I guess the best way to continue on is to hold on to those pieces of a life that still remain. The memories, the possessions, the traditions.
Terri was in the hospital for several days before she finally passed away. As I walked through her house, the very walls screamed her name at me. It was overwhelming and sad and comforting how she surrounded us through pictures, wall paper and cut glass bowls. Even when I was at home, after the funeral was over, I felt her presence everywhere. The towels she bought for us on a great sale. The pajamas she gave to me last Christmas. The toys and clothes she gave to Marissa. All of these things are pieces of her life--represenations of her love, care and concern for her family.
Right now, these pieces of Terri are sharp and painful, but I know, over time, they will be treasured and comforting. That's what is starting to happen with the pieces of my dad's life. The physical reminders of his life are becoming a welcomed part of my life.
I think the lesson I take away is this--make your pieces count. Material things aren't important in the grand scheme of life, but the feelings and memories associated with physical reminders are very important. It can be the difference in just disappearing from this world or leaving your mark and making it count. Terri and my dad both left their mark on this world. I hope someday my pieces will make a difference to others.