The start of a new year is a time of reflection for most. We look back at what we have accomplished and set goals for the New Year. Often times we see the dawning of a new year as a chance to start anew.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of my forty-eighth year. I choose my birthday as a time to reflect, determine what I have learned and how far I have come. So much happens in a year’s time.
Last year was the first year my mother did not call me first thing in the morning. She always said she wanted to be the first one to call me and wish me a happy birthday. My mother not calling last year hurt my feelings and even more so when I did not hear from her at all. What I thought was stress from my father’s passing was her dementia stealing her memories.
After dealing with a natural disaster that killed 42 people and forced me to evacuate, there were two other major events at work. The first targeted my fellow employees riddling their workplaces and cars with bullets and injuring one of them. A few days later I had to respond to a school shooting that took several young lives. When all these events occurred in one year, it made me want to move as soon as I finished out my term at work.
After the New Year rolled around my mother’s health took a turn for the worse. I had to find a place for her to live where someone could assist her with daily functions. I had been out to see her in January and I thought all was well with her having full time caretakers. I soon found myself having to learn about dementia, it’s effects on those afflicted and those tasked with caring for them. Six months later I was back in my hometown having to sell my mother’s home and all her possessions.
I hated having to be the one to rid her of what used to be her memories. Yet it was healing for me to close the door on the house that held so many negative memories. I am finally free of the baggage I have carried for so many years.
Being in the middle years of life means loss is a constant companion. After losing my mother to dementia, I will have to one-day deal with the loss of her presence in this world. A few weeks ago I lost my dog. I spent seven years loving this dog that had nothing to give me but his love, lots of laughter and sweet memories.
I like to take my birthday off from work. The weather usually takes a turn into fall right before my birthday. Every few years I am granted a reprieve and can take part in my absolute favorite birthday activity, taking a nap on my porch swing. This year, I managed to talk one of my coworkers into making me a German chocolate cake so I will go to work. With any luck, I will cut out early. The weather this year is looking promising. The temperatures should be in the mid seventies. It will be perfect for some reflection then a nap on that porch swing.