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An Anniversary — Springs to Life

Some anniversaries aren’t meant to celebrate but to remember and learn from — while you make plans to move on. This is one of them.

Last month we marked one year since our world stood still, but a global pandemic does not call for anniversary champagne toasts. One year in, and we still have few reasons to celebrate this milestone. You’d think spring didn’t get the memo, however, since it still sprung, right on schedule. The season, however, is so much more than fuzzy chicks and bright pink peeps, April showers and May flowers. At its core, spring symbolizes an escape from despair and dark times, and that pretty much defines this past year, no? Despite the heavy, colorless winter past, confused crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths still stubbornly refuse to give up. Uh, little dudes, did you see the weather?

“Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring”. Lily Pulitzer

Living like it’s spring can be a tough directive, especially in times of loss and quarantine and this past year was the poster child for lost jobs, livelihoods, and people we loved. Sneeze-inciting ragweed may be in bloom but the pandemic elephant still reminds us daily that the deadly virus continues to infect and kill. Confusion reigns about what we can or can’t do once we’re finally vaccinated and social distance is still the norm. Even so, spring proves we have the strength and heart to bloom again, even when we often push through frozen ground to get there. And one thing is for sure. Life, like every season, inevitably goes on even if it might not be the same on the return trip — neither will we.  

Nothing is more intrinsic to nature and humanity than change. From hurricanes and earthquakes to fires and epidemics, nature can transform our world in a nanosecond. We can try to control it, but like a pandemic, it laughingly tells us who’s boss. The virus will eventually lessen its stranglehold. Life will slowly return, but not to ‘normal’ — and that may not be a bad thing. We are so due major reset. The wealthiest 5%, remain at the head of the line, while the rest struggle exponentially from job loss, and financial difficulties. Some will still have no healthcare, live from paycheck to paycheck, often in abject poverty. In a country divided by affluence and lack of it, political party, race and gender, this pandemic has been definitive proof that illness does not discriminate and the more things change, the more they remain the same.

“You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming”. Pablo Naruda

As life begins a baby-step return, we see defaults as clearly as we see change. Time is inhabited by both good and painful memories, love and loss, joy and tears. Happy times are no less happy when they are joined by sad. Like the lion and lamb of life’s seasons, they inhabit the same space. And, while they are polar opposites, they are part of the same equation. That’s life’s eternal dichotomy. No one complains when the pendulum swings the fun way, but our little world teters on its axis and hands us things that suck, whoa! Yet, that life is exactly that; conundrum of all things good and bad. It’s up to us to find the aha moments.

Continue reading “An Anniversary — Springs to Life”
Grief is Grief

Keeping It…REAL

pakiet.na-zdrowie.3Newsflash – No matter how any of us try to be perfect – that’s not happening. Neither people – or marriages are born to be perfect. Sure, we may WANT perfect, the ideal — but  REAL is what we get.

Marriage is rarely a Hallmark movie or 24/7 euphoria. Instead, authentic marriage means sacrifice, issues, chores, schedules, love, irritation, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, anger, affection (not always in that order). It’s also idiocyncrasies, snoring, worries, richer and poorer. When critical illness and its side effects enters the mix, now that really transforms the playing field. One partner undergoes endless procedures/surgeries, diminished quality of life, anger, pain and fear. The other juggles worry, research, is the keeper of the medical records, and caretaker extraordinaire. That was our  marriage; that was our REAL.

I’ve poured my heart out these past months, writing about deep grief, and the missing of a husband I loved beyond words. It came to me recently, that the painting was incomplete. It was in black and white with pieces missing. While stark pen and ink art has always been my forte, when it comes to portraying a real picture of real marriage, black and white doesn’t cut it.  Grief outlined only in high contrast is pretty flawed and does a disservice to the flavors and colorations a real marriage holds. Continue reading “Keeping It…REAL”