“This is the lesson of age – events pass, things change, trauma fades, good fortune rises, fades, rises again, but different.” Mary Oliver
A friend of mine introduced me to Mary Oliver’s writing a number of years ago. Her words watered a languishing seed of hope within my spirit that was in deep need of accompaniment and encouragement. The phrase above walked and journeyed with me as I participated in counseling and therapy. There was a period of time in my life, in my mid teens, when a series of unfortunate events befell our family. Four relatives passed away within about a year of each other, my Dad was diagnosed with heart disease and underwent open heart surgery, and my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer. It was a lot to take in and it was years later that I actively pursued therapeutic help and guidance.
My Dad survived his heart surgery, lived and thrived, endured and survived another heart surgery, and then passed away five years ago. My brother persevered, fought and courageously battled cancer and lived. I am thankful that he is alive today. He has courageously and tenaciously battled other illnesses and side affects that have wreaked havoc upon him physically because of those years of chemotherapy and radiation. I am thankful that he is still present in my life. I was reflecting on this as I was going through old ‘Christmas photos’ of the two of us from when we were much younger.
It is good to remember. I am 49 years old and was thinking about the number of Christmas seasons that have come and gone. Many were filled with laughter, joy, and wonderful adventures and some, well, not so much. Today I am choosing to practice remembering bits and pieces of both. I am simultaneously practicing being present to this Christmas season. My daughters are heading home today from University and I’m looking forward to having their laughter, spirit and presence fill the house. My son is performing in his first High School play and it is so much fun to watch him act and grace the stage with his presence and persona.