Monday, December 31, 2007

Hopes for Y2K+8

2007 was a mixed bag for me; filled with absolute joy and intense sorrow. The lessons learned this year were hard-won and life-altering. Attending my 40th high school reunion demonstrated that I need to stop burning my bridges. It has been my habit to live in the present and to jettison the past. By doing that, I now realize that I also abandoned pleasant memories and great friends. In Y2K+8 I'd like to change that. Family has always been a mainstay that, admittedly, I took for granted. We're shocked to hear about siblings who hate each other or off-spring who haven't talked with one or both parents in years. Estrangement is not entirely foreign in my family, but each of us knows the others would be there in an emergency. When we learned in October that our Dad had cancer, all five of his children and their families went into research mode to learn about the latest treatments. Hope was an important element for all of us. Our family had dealt with cancer before and we all decided survival was our goal. Prayer chains among friends and family around the country provided powerful motivation and comfort. Practicality came in the form of chemo-therapy. Two weeks of grueling, expensive treatment brought no improvement, so hospice services were enlisted. Within a week, Dad was gone. The suddenness of his passing stunned all of us, but we agreed that it was better that way because he didn't have to suffer any more. No words were needed to know that our family unit would remain strong and offer whatever support Mom needed or wanted. Love and appreciation take priority now. Family is often a fragile conglomeration of members who are related by genetics, adoption or marriage. Confronting such a huge loss either splits members apart or strengthens family bonds. I plan to do a better job of showing appreciation for my strong, connected family. I also hope to continue Dad's efforts to strengthen the ties between more distant family members. Early on he knew the value of strong family roots, most of which are Norwegian. He wanted very much to learn and share more of his mother's ancestry with living and future generations, a task made more difficult by natural Norwegian reticence. [Note to Nancy: Are you up for it? Maybe we can succeed together.]
Y2K+8 may become one of the most trying and enlightening years of my life and I look forward to the challenge.
Happy New Year!


Nan said...

Happy New Year to you too, AP!

Kari said...

Happy New Year. I love your post.