As another Christmas passes and we move into saying goodbye to 2016, I continue to be reflective wondering about how life moves on even when sometimes we can be stuck. This past year has been a challenge yet immersed with moments of great wonder and joy. I am constantly moved by the extremes of emotions one feels when they have lost a child especially by suicide.
I am blessed to have a deep connection with Chloe as she pulls me away from sadness and grief by her positive and thoughtful way of living. It is strange to have her show me how to live for the moment, to embrace gifts that come her way, and to jump whole heartedly in making her life purposeful. Chloe has moved to Dawson Creek to be with her boyfriend and obvious to me her life partner. She is content, happy, and so sure of herself. It is a blessing to see her create a home for her partner and her family of pets. The way she does not let her pain or past struggles determine how she will live her life is so inspiring.
She is teaching me that staying in one place, one moment, or one event is not what Ryleigh wanted for us. Ryleigh made a choice for herself and as we are learning for Chloe and myself. Who am I to NOT embrace her choice and try to live a meaningful, joyful life. I think because I am just a “bit” older and somewhat entrenched in my own experiences and beliefs it is a bit more challenging.
I am not afraid of the challenge yet so many memories and so many what if’s swim through my mind. I have not only spent the last 18 years as a parent (much like most of you) but I have spent the last 15 years immersed in the lifestyle of being a hospital mom, full time teacher, and full time care giver at home. I did not imagine that in the span of one year I would only have one of those responsibilities. Eighteen months ago – I believed that I would be the lifelong care giver of Ryleigh. That although she was bright, clever, and independent her body would not let her live the life she wanted to live. I had not even planned or thought that I would be an “empty nester”. I had not prepared mentally and emotionally for it. So now I am adjusting…slowly but surely.
I am trying to figure out my new life. Living in a home that was made for a family – not for a single. How do I use my time that was so immersed in hospitals, medicines, emotions, ostomy changes, doctor appointments, travel arrangements, teaching, making specific meals, and other typical parental responsibilities?
I am slowly trying to renew past interests and hobbies. Trying to immerse myself in my own healthy pursuits and not spend all my extra time working on classroom and school “stuff”. To retrain oneself from a busy lifestyle to try and relax is very hard. I am not complaining but I wish it were because of different circumstances.
Spending time this holiday season with family has continued to enlighten me on the importance of those moments we often take for granted. I am reminded that even during the temper tantrums, family arguments, long lists of things to do, balancing all aspects of one’s life that one should never wish it to be different. One can manage the stressors differently but when it is all taken away from you – you realize how precious those things are.
As a new year comes upon me. I realize the what I need be (not do) this year. I sincerely hope that as the new year comes upon me – I continue to truly figure out what matters in life. I will continue to be strong in my beliefs. I will advocate for those that cannot advocate for themselves. I will dare greatly. I will continue to build strong and heartfelt relationships and try to find peace and hopefully some resolve in relationships that have been damaged over time.
I am going to try and be adventurous and live life in a way where I will dare greatly and continue to live strong.
All the best in 2017!