My Facebook memories have been hitting me right in the feels this week with pictures of our family vacation to Ruttgers on Bay Lake from last year. Those memories have me thinking a lot about “firsts” and “lasts”…sometimes you know they are important while they are happening…sometimes not. Some are milestones that we mark…almost religiously…first and last day of school for example…that are more developmental. Some are more life-altering…some become the moments that we measure our lives by…the ones deeply etched in our memories.

The summer of 2020 after Jason had his first surgery and chemo and radiation we rented a cabin on a lake Up North with Jeremy and Cheryl. I remember feeling so clearly that it might be our last family vacation that I put all sorts of expectations on it and pressure on myself to make it “perfect”. And of course, it wasn’t perfect. It was rainy. The fish wouldn’t bite. The kids were all a little “extra”…understandably so…they were trying to get a handle on reality as much as I was. I had myself so wrapped up in the idea of “last” that one night Jason and I were in the shower and I literally had a break down…ugly crying so hard I coudn’t stop…hyperventilating…sitting naked in the shower with my head between my knees…on the verge of throwing up or passing out or both. And all I could say to Jason was “What if this is the last? I can’t do this by myself” over and over. And Jason did what he always was able to do…talked me down…held me…put me back together.

And that horrible experience stuck with me so much that I vowed not to do that with the “lasts” anymore. Not too hold on so tight to expectations. To just let events unfold organically. Even when I KNEW they would be the lasts….because I did know. Our last anniversary. His last birthday. Last Thanksgiving…Christmas…Easter. And then our last family vacation last year. It was at the place that we had enjoyed as a family for so many years…and it was perfection.

As I have been reminiscing about our last perfect family vacation I have been thinking about other things that make me smile day-to-day…and I tried to write a poem that is maybe a little more uplifting…I’m trying.

Good in Life

When so much of life doesn’t make sense
Trying to get through moment to moment

Reminding myself of the good left in life

The things that make me smile
Feel peace for a second
Give hope for a future
Without you.

Pieces of you
Pieces of me
Mingled together

Crazy antics
Kisses on my face
Force me to face

Birds in the backyard
In hand
A pair of cardinals
Feed each other

Check on me
Don’t let me

Make me laugh
But also
Let me

Purple flowers
Bring simple beauty
To a gray

Perfect words
A lyric
A poem
Encapsulate emotion

Ease the unrelenting loneliness

Underneath it all is so much sadness
But, Babe, I’m trying.

Moment by moment.


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