Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009 -- not that great a year either

Last year at the end of December I wished for more rest and no deaths. I said, “Those are definitely the things that mean the most right now. I’m forever tired. And I’m tired of the losses in my life.” Like last year I’ll have to celebrate Paul’s birthday at the cemetery again this year – the 11th of his birthdays I’ve spent there with him. So, again, I wish for “no more deaths. Only happy occasions. And stop with the bad news already too. I’ll take the tiredness any day over sickness and death.”

So, looking back on 2009 I find an abundance of sickness and tiredness. Three of my friends spent a lot of time emailing friends and family and asking for prayers, light, hope, good thoughts, and love relative to their loved one’s illnesses and recovery. These emails resonated with me because I have used writing to heal for the last 16 years – ever since Paul was first diagnosed as bipolar. But, I never thought to get my writing out there almost daily to friends and family. These emails have been updates on progress and/or set backs, and in all cases show much frustration because the writer can’t do something to make everything better quicker. Yes, writing is a way to get the frustration and guilt out too. In Jack’s case, his first reaction was guilt that he wasn’t injured in the accident too. He just couldn’t understand how he could walk away from it without a scratch and Annie was so beaten up. The other emails are from a mother and mother-in-law. These are so close to home they make my heart hurt. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been reluctant to open and read the emails coming from one of them – for fear of the worst. Thankfully, the last email showed some improvement. Any improvement is good in this case although there has been improvement, then a set back, then improvement, then a set back – and so the vicious cycle has gone month after month throughout this year. I’m thinking light, light, light that this latest improvement will stick and her young son will regain his health permanently.

So, what else happened this year?

Bob’s sister had successful back surgery – something she put off for years and now that she finally had it she’s totally free of all pain.

Bob’s brother has just been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer – his lung cancer has now spread to his liver and bones. And, this was a cancer that was discovered during a routine exam to find out if he could withstand knee replacement surgery. Bob would like to beat him up for smoking all those packs of cigarettes a day for over 50 years and doing this to himself, but it’s too late for repercussions. We just need to visit with him. Ben spent most of a day with him a few weeks ago. I’m so glad he got to do that.

It was one of the busiest years at work. I worked on one proposal throughout the whole year with a few extra assignments in between. The one I’m most proud of is the LCROSS Aviation Week award application. We got the award and the satellite was instrumental in finding water on the moon. Because I worked for a short time on the application I felt very much a part of its success. Not so much regarding the year-long proposal. Though we successfully delivered it the day after Thanksgiving, I found it one of the most frustrating efforts I’ve ever participated in. There were a lot of people changes, a lot of strategy changes, a lot of interference from upper management, a lot of last minute changes to the written document, and in the end it’s hard to tell whether what we ended up with will sit well with the evaluators. It certainly didn’t sit well with our in-house evaluators. I felt so bad at the end of it because of all the time and effort I put into it and that all the last minute changes did more to ruin it than make it better. We’ll see what the customer thinks soon enough.

I had several poems published this year and now I’m volunteering as a reading for a great on-line and print magazine. I also completed two poem-a day-challenges – one in April and one in November. I’ve learned to fit my writing in no matter what is going on in the rest of my life. I have to. It is my salvation. However, there’s still no light at the end of the tunnel regarding my memoir.

This year also was a year of loss socially. A friend of over 25 years has left my life – because we’re geographically incompatible, because we don’t have the same interests anymore, or because of a reason totally unknown to me. At any rate this was the first Christmas in all those years we didn’t exchange gifts or even cards. It’s amazing how a close friendship like that can deteriorate so fast – and without any clear reason. I lost another friend simply because she refuses to spend time with me in my environs – she always wants me to come to hers. But, I don’t feel such a loss with her – she and I had newly connected just a couple years ago. It was nice hanging with her, but she’s not a big loss in my life. Like I’ve always said, life is too short to deal with such pettiness. I guess that’s what it all boils down to. Like Annie said to me a few days ago, her accident has made her realize what’s important in her life. She acknowledged that I discovered that concept years ago as a result of Paul’s death. It takes a big event to create that kind of epiphany. The pettiness of where we should meet for lunch or when to have a cup of tea is just that -- pettiness.

And, now for some good news from this year:

• Ben and Marissa’s engagement
• Jeremy and Kelly’s wedding
• Bob’s successful partial knee replacement
• We've grown back our nestegg almost to where it was before the crash
• And, we’ve finally made a firm plan – actually put a deposit down – for a cruise trip in late May – our first real vacation in three and a half years.

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