Yesterday my Aunt Arnie lost her courageous battle with cancer. My heart breaks for my cousins and their families who lost their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who they loved so much. It makes me a little sad to know that I can not be there when they hold her service, but geography, work, and economics make that impossible. That is one of the unfortunate realities of being a grown up and living so far away.
My Aunt had been a widow for many years and lived in the house she raised her family in. No return visit to the Midwest was not complete with out stopping by her house. We would visit around the kitchen table catching up with her.. It was always wonderful to spend time at her house hearing how things were going and sharing with her what was happening on my end of the world.
Last night with my husband, we reflected on all the things that made her special. There were so many things I remember about her, but the thing that I will always remember most of all is her smile. I can’t remember a time when she did not have that smile that wrapped you with warmth. To go with her smile she had a special kind of eyes that twinkled and went perfectly with her smile. I am not sure what it was about her eyes but they truly did twinkle with little crinkles around her eyes that some joined up to go perfectly with her smile.
Somewhere in heaven today, Aunt Arnie sits with those who have gone before us, looking down on us as each of us figure out how life will go on differently now that she is gone. She is enveloped in love with those she is reunited with, and smiling down on us with love, because she knows we will be ok and some day she will see us all again.
I recently gave notice to my employer of nearly seven years that I was leaving the organization. It was not a decision I entered into lightly or without nights of loss sleep. The analytical side of my brain was calculating and recalculating the impacts on my life, personally, professionally and financially. There were tons of pros and cons to my decision that rolled over and over in my mind with no clear winner. For the first time I was leaving a job without a clear plan of what I was going to do next. The only sure thing was that I needed to close one door before I could move to the next phase of life. Both RangerSir and I knew it was the right time and the right thing to do for me and for us. We knew this was the time for me to stop procrastinating and see what could happen if I tried a few of those “what ifs” and explored some of those tucked away dreams.
I spent the last week in Great Falls, Montana working my last conference for the organization. It was a great to be able to see my board of directors and many of the members of the organization one last time. It was a full of questions from folks about what will you do next? The honest answer was I don’t know yet. It felt sort of lame when I said it out loud. It was another moment of second guessing a carefully weighed decision.
I got home yesterday. I was catching up on all that had happened while I had been gone; reading the newspapers,stopping into my favorite local craft store for creative supplies and catching up with some of the women who I teach card classes to. In just six days, two friends had lost their wives and another had lost a son-in-law who was only 43. A beloved local doctor continues his fight against an aggressive cancer, and my dear aunt was once again hospitalized l fighting the same disease. A friend who has been struggling with symptoms and was seeking a diagnosis finally got one, ALS. It was a reminder that time can be short or long we don’t know. When it is within our reach we should risk it and seek what is possible and not assume that there will be plenty of time. Circumstances don’t always allow us to take the risk, but when the stars align and it is possible to do so. Don’t let yourself be caught up in regrets, what if’s or die wondering. Time and health are both finite. We have no idea how long with have of each, but the supply is not limitless, don’t waste it. For me the time is right to take the risk and see what is possible.
I have been offline for the most part recently. I traveled away from home in January for work and then I broke a shoulder. I had lots of personal things going on and really did not feel sharing. When I blog, I want it to be something more than woe is me. I want each post to give at least one person who reads it a one moment of pause, reflection, inspiration, a smile, a laugh, jog a memory, or shed a tear. I never want you to feel the time you spent on my post was a complete waste your time.
I was laid up with the fracture such that typing was slow and cumbersome. I was ready a few days into the discovery of my broke shoulder to have my life back. I did online research and talked with my orthopedic surgeon about my type of break. Together with the doctor, I examined two options and I elected the most restrictive option initially, but with the shortest period of restrictions and most complete physical recovery. I will freely admit that it has been rotten being so restricted. I have been on restricted movement for four weeks and have two more to go until the intense restrictions are lifted. Or at least that is the plan and so far things look to be running on schedule.
During the time I have been laid up, we have had four contemporary colleagues and friends who have passed away. It has caused a lot of reflection here. RangerSir and I have started to reexamined our end of life directives. We are making updates and making sure everyone is on the same page regarding our wishes. We did them when we moved to Montana and not have reexamined them in too long. Not only have we started looking again at our end of life plans, but we also looked again at how we were spending our current lives. We left the high stress, competitive lifestyle of Fortune 500 companies behind for a reason. We are again talking about those reasons. We were raised with the good Midwestern work ethic, and Lutheran guilt. It makes us great hard-working employees, and we easily find self-induced guilt to make us work longer and longer hours. We have been reminded time is short. We need to do our best job; give 110% and the go home and embrace the life we want to live. Here is to working towards that goal
We recently had to put our dog down. Ruby had been with us for 14 years. She had moved with us from Colorado, to Michigan and back west to Montana.
Like all our previous animals Ruby had been a discarded animal. We got her from the Steamboat Springs pound. She had been someone’s great winter pet, but when the ski season was over she ended up at the pound. Like every rejected animal she came a few idiosyncrasies…she hated the UPS truck…she loved people, but barked like she hated everyone who pulled in our drive. We worked with her to change some of her bad habits, but other we just had to learn to deal with.
We have no children and people say our pets are ours. I don’t really see it that way, but I do see them as part of our family. Working from a home office some days the phone never rang and Ruby was the only thing I talked to that day. I never realized how much I did talk to her, until she was gone. I didn’t realize that her asking to go out, forced me to take a break and enjoy the day. I miss her.