New Year 2015

Hello dear readers. Welcome to 2015.

I hesitate to say "Happy New Year," because the last two years I did that turned out decidedly less happy than we'd hoped. In 2013, we said goodbye to my mom-in-law. In 2014, my dad passed. I think I'm suffering PTSD on January 1 this time around. I keep wondering what else could be awaiting in the weeks and months ahead.

Mom has started calling her pew area at church "Widows' Row." At least three other women have lost their husbands also within the last year or so. I guess the older you get, the more likely you'll be surrounded by people who have suffered losses.

My mom has been having heart concerns, and is going in for an echocardiogram next week (and will also find out the results of her 24-hour relationship with a heart monitor a couple weeks back). I'm scheduled for a colonoscopy on the 9th. Hopefully these issues will lead to a whole lot of nothing. I am learning to live a little more "in the moment" and celebrate the small things rather than sweat them.

We went to St. Louis just after Christmas to spend holiday time with Tim's dad and brother. It felt a bit strange to cook in the same kitchen Darlene used to. I found myself pulling open the cabinet drawer of spices and staring at the bottles, deliberately picking them up, feeling them solid against my palm and fingertips, wondering how many times she had reached for those same containers of dill and basil, black pepper and thyme.

After a few glasses of wine, Tim, his brother, and I were hanging out in the basement, lamenting some frustrations with coping post-parental loss. I announced that I wished I could have just 15 minutes more with Darlene; I said I desperately wanted to ask her how she motivated my father-in-law to make decisions. I'd like to know how she would approach convincing him to move on and live a life without her.

Really, if I had that 15 minutes more, I'd give her a hug, tell her thank you, and ask for her advice about how we can all move on. I'm sure she would have sage advice for living life to the fullest. I didn't find it in that spice cabinet, though.

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