What a Difference a Year Makes

Where to begin.

In the last blog I posted before this October, I was in the process of helping my husband renovate the main floor of our home. We did get the house pretty much pulled together. The patience was well worth the outcome and carried me into fall. I enjoy fall, but it has a melancholy to it as it reminds me that winter is on its heels. The winter is long and dark most years and this year carried an extra bit of angst with it. I was crossing a milestone- 5 years post-diagnosis. This milestone would have been a dream five years ago. The odds were not favorable. But here I was on the same initial treatments and holding steady.
Maybe it was the big milestone birthday right around Thanksgiving. 50. Double whammy. This birthday looks nothing like I thought it would. It was quiet. Quiet. This season has been a time of rebuilding on so many fronts. But I faced the birthday with reflection and gratitude.
But I still had a nagging uneasiness. I kept feeling that nudge to remember. Remember what carried me.
We rounded out the winter with another “C” word…COVID. The world had ground to a halt. Everything felt hard. It was amplifying any anxieties that came my way. My treatments continued, but there was an added element of dread. Go alone. Wear a mask. Check your temperature—hyper-aware of everyone around me. My husband’s job was brought to its knees as hotels were closed almost immediately.
The non-profit that I work with has had to reimagine ways to serve the teens we support. Welcome to Zoom. I was grateful to have a brief time to see faces on my computer, but it was still nowhere near the same.
Each week I could see the teens pulling away into their bubbles of dread and isolation. It was difficult to watch and feel so helpless to do anything. My fabulous young teammate came up with creative ways of engaging students online and then dropping off surprises at their doors- as well as writing so many encouraging letters. We were trying to remain hopeful and set our sights on the possibilities of post COVID fall.
Early June, I get the worst phone call I have ever received.
I was told that my dear coworker, who was like a daughter to me, had passed suddenly and unexpectedly. Her life stopped in a heartbeat. I cannot explain how painful this was. Still is. She was my answered prayer. “Lord, I will be so grateful and be a trooper with this cancer stuff if only you would bring me someone to carry on my heart’s mission.” I had often praised God for this young woman, half my age, who was a joy to work beside. She took what I had to show her and ran with it. We rode out some of the most challenging moments and also celebrated some of the most beautiful. There was no way that this could be possible.
The following weeks were incredibly painful. Facing each day.
Turning the calendar page felt wrong. Time is an odd thing in grief. You want to get distance from the loss, but the passing of time also feels like a betrayal as you move further away from the one you have lost.

Then I get a call from my sister and am told that my only brother has passed suddenly. This cannot be happening. He was out living life when he was found passed away in his truck. This makes no sense to my already torn and weary heart.

To Be Continued…

4 thoughts on “What a Difference a Year Makes

  1. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart, Melissa. It has been a rough year….and especially rough for you. I didn’t know Madie well but I know what a blessing she was to everyone who knew her. I am keeping you and Pat in my prayers. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Melissa, love you ! You are amazing and I can’t imagine the grief you are dealing with. I’m sorry for your many unbelievable losses. You are strong and I pray for you everyday!


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