Archive for July, 2009

The Beginning of a New Year

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Today is my birthday. Most people say 40 is a milestone, but the day wasn’t anything extraordinary. Many of my friends wished me well and many did not. It’s funny how some people that you expect to contact you don’t and others that you never thought would, do. It just goes to show you that life is always unpredictable no matter what the circumstances are.

The majority of people were surprised that I wasn’t having a big bash. I’ve been to quite a few 40th birthday parties over the years. I’m just not the party type and I prefer as much quiet time as possible to sit back and privately reflect on the years that have passed. The rain is pitter pattering off the leaves right now as the light is quickly fading into darkness. I really have no idea what the coming year holds for me. I’ll keep pushing forward in hopes of opening a door with many wonderful scenes on the other side.

I know where I want to be a year from now, but it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to get there. The road isn’t paved that I must follow. I will have to walk on a fairly new path in the woods. It’s a path that hasn’t had many feet beating on it up to this point. It’s a virgin to the forest floor. There aren’t any mud holes to walk around yet. There aren’t any fallen trees or upturned rocks which will play havoc with fellow travelers. The path is unobstructed right now and I plan to keep it that way as I travel from one end to the other. My feet will be light and my back will be strong to carry the weight of the things that I will need to help me.

I’m pretty sure that I was meant to walk alone on this path, at least until I find the uninhabited area at the end. I can vaguely see the end, but I give it no more attention than is necessary right now. Sometimes the gold dust can get in our eyes and obstruct our vision. I have to make sure that I don’t let this happen.

My parents leave for San Francisco tomorrow. My father will be competing in the archery event in the senior olympics. I hope he does well. I kind of wish I was going, but it’s a vacation for them. When I take a step back and look at their relationship it is nothing short of incredible to me. I know of very few people that have been with the same person for an extended period of time. Relationships seem so disposable now. People blame their unhappiness on their partner and move from one thing to the next, rather than confront the problems up front and finding a way to better themselves. We’re all guilty of it, but some make a habit of living this way. My parents will be the first to tell anyone that relationships aren’t easy. There’s a lot of give and take. We must understand why our partners do what they do and somehow find a way to accept it. Of course, many things can’t be overlooked, but the nuts and bolts of the relationship must always be checked, changed and polished.

I’ve heard many people say that they fell out of love with their partner. For some reason I can’t fathom that and I’m not really sure why. What we do is our own choice. Sometimes we make the wrong choices which lead us to where we end up. However, we can choose to make anything better or worse. Too many people become stubborn and refuse to accept responsibility. The finger pointing begins and it boils over into communication problems, disappointment and anger.

I’ve always watched my parents communicate. They take time every day to go over the day’s events. They both discuss their days and interaction is very natural. This generation is much different than their generation. Nothing seems forever anymore. I’m sure it exists out there, but the majority of people don’t fit into the profile.

I could probably babble all night tonight. I’m not sure if I would feel any better or worse when I’m done. The darkness has just about consumed the daylight. I can see shadows of things out the window right now. It seems as if I’ve been chasing my shadow for a long time.  I can see it, but I’m almost afraid to grab hold of it and put it back where it belongs. My shadow is my inner being which I have neglected and let run wild. Sometimes I’ve watched from afar and witnessed how out of character I seem. I don’t have any answers for anyone, not even myself. I’ve acted distant to the people closest to me which I regret on a daily basis. Somewhere along the way I lost a small part of myself (my shadow), but I”m going to do everything I can this year to reel it back in and place it where it belongs. Many days I look in the mirror and roll my eyes. I can’t believe where I am or how I got here, but then again I know the answer.

We got good news from Boston yesterday, well as could as you could want. The doctor said my cousin’s operation went well. He’s pretty sure the tumor isn’t cancerous. They will have more information soon. In some small way I would like to think that my prayers for him every night have helped. It’s funny how most people don’t believe in a god until they have to ask him for something. I’m not overly religious, but I do pray for all of my friends and family every night when I go to bed.  One of my friends is going through a nerve wracking time right now. I can’t imagine walking in the same line. Every night I pray that the doctors figure out what’s going on with her health.  Her mom is suffering right now too.  I pray that they are able to treat whatever they find after the tests come back. Life is so unpredictable that it’s scary.

More than anything I’m thankful that I’ve had 40 birthdays to celebrate so far. My parents have given me the ability to live a complete life. As I tell everyone, if I died tomorrow I could honestly say that I’ve lived a complete life. I’ve done almost anything I’ve every wanted to do. I’ve experienced the highs and lows in life. They picked me up when I was down and kept me grounded when I was high. I’ve had the ability to experience many things that all children and adults could benefit from and I’m still open for more. I am who I am because of all of those who have helped me along the way. Even if it was a small gesture I remember people for what they do. I might seem distant to many, but I’m very thankful to what you people have given to me.

Now it is completely dark outside. The daylight has faded on another year of my life. I’m now committed to marching down this new path in the forest that I spoke of earlier. As a whaler sails the sea in search of tails, I’m now committed to finding some type of normalcy once again. There are sure to be rough seas ahead, but I’ll get to the whaling ground before long.

Birthdays, Fear and Hope

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Tomorrow is my cousin Kyle’s birthday. Don’t ask me how I know, but he is the only cousin that I know the exact day. I know a few cousins are in November right around Thanksgiving and I believe one is in April, but I could never tell you the exact dates. I remember when Kyle was born because I had spent most of the summer with my Aunt Kathy (Kate) where I was able to swim in Lake Sunnyside and experience the finer things in life as a child. For some reason I can remember how hot it was. It was definitely a far cry from what this summer has been so far. Another reason I can remember his birthday is because it’s the day before my sister’s. With each passing year it becomes more and more evident that I can’t make time stand still. Although I wish I could, it’s just a fact of life that I can’t. I’ve always been pretty good at making the most out of my time, but I’m beginning to think that I lost that skill sometime in the last couple of years.

Next week will be my niece’s birthday. Up until she was born I always had my own day, but I was actually glad to have someone to share it with when she came into the world. It’s even better now, as she’s in her teen years, because it’s almost as if my birthday gets overlooked which is just fine with me. It tends to give her the attention that she needs in her growing years and it allows me to hide in the background.
The last few weeks have brought me to a place I haven’t been in a while. I’m not sure how to explain it. I don’t have a lot of motivation, but at the same time I’m still moving forward with the things that are necessary. I wrecked my leg this week playing softball. It’s cut from one end to the other and is an open wound of raw flesh. Everyone has commented on it and tells me that I should give it up. They think I’m too old and act as if I’m stupid for doing what I love. I will play sports as long as I have the ability to do so. I know the day is coming, but I won’t give in until I absolutely have to. Every year I tell my friends that I will quit softball if I don’t hit any balls over the fence. Well, it looks like I’m safe for at least another year because my stroke has been more than sufficient this year to get the job done. I enjoy the competition and I like the team concept. That’s what brings me back every year. I don’t want to abandon my hobbies when I still have the ability to do well while participating.

Well, my mind is all over the place so I’ll move to another topic. I thought my cousin Rich went to Boston last week, but he’s headed there this week. I saw him today while he was sealing my uncle’s driveway. I didn’t see him to talk to, but when I drove by I tried to imagine the thoughts that must be in his head. He knows that he’s in for a battle. The doctors found a spot on his brain and the debate as to what it is will soon be ended. He’s a tough guy and I know he can get through it if he’s given an opportunity to fight. We always think the worst when we first hear the news, but if anyone is like me they will try to find the hope in the darkness that surrounds them. I’m sure that he’ll keep a positive attitude and do his best in this battle that lies in front of him.

Once again it seems like there are a lot of unfortunate things striking my extended family all at the same time. We’ve encountered many tense and stressful situations over the years.  All we can do is pray for one another, stay positive and hope for the best. Once you lose hope everything else is gone. We’re very fortunate to know that there are others in our family that have survived some traumatizing news and events. What we all face now is sure to test our mental strength, but we’ll somehow find a way without showing our fear on the outside.

Fear is unfortunately a part of life. We fear things simply because we don’t have an answer. We can only let our imaginations run wild and hope that we don’t get consumed with any negativity that might arise. We all search for answers that will never be found. However, we have to find a way to come to terms with everything that is thrown in our laps as our lives move from one day to the next. Everyone deals with it differently and that is what we all have to remember as we glance into their world from the outside.

I can’t tell you what will happen as the summer fades into fall, but I will pray every night when I lay my head on my pillow that everything will happen as it is meant to happen. I won’t say much as I will just let the scene play out in front of me. I know that we’re all fighters and fighters never quit.

On to another thought that I’ll close with. This evening, shortly before the daylight faded into darkness, I found myself driving down a road I don’t normally drive on during the weekend. As I glanced out the window my eyes burned from the inside out. My blood sugar was high and I felt like a sack of sand. Although I didn’t feel well, I saw something that gave me a little life. It was something that made me appreciate where I was, where I had been and furthermore, where I am going. Sometimes things come out of nowhere to slap us in the face and bring us back to reality. The visual that I received did this to an effect. It made me realize that things happen for a reason even if we don’t know the reason at the time. I’ve learned along the way to let the wind blow as it wants to and watch the water glide toward the sea. I can’t stop any of  it from happening, so I’m just along for the ride. I smiled as I continued down the road, as I was truly happy just to be alive. Things might not always be good or great, but I’m surrounded by great friends, a wonderful family and hope that burns bright inside of me every night when I click the light off and fade into a land filled with dreams.

I’m still breathing in and out and one foot is still going in front of the other. I’m getting closer to the reality of my dreams. I was gifted with patience as a child and I’m very thankful for that now. I might not get there right away, but I will get there. I have been consumed by darkness before and although I  was lost, I  found my way to the light on the other side. If you jump on my back I’ll take you with me.

A Bump in the Road

Monday, July 13th, 2009

As I was walking through the woods tonight my mind meandered back to my childhood. It’s amazing how many memories jump out and others have all but disappeared. When I thought back to certain things I began to realize that up until my early adult years everything is kind of a blur. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t take time to smell the roses or if it’s because the mind can’t store as much information from that early part of my life. Either way I guess I’ve kept the moments that meant the most within reaching distance.

I, like anyone, tend to take some people and things for granted. I always think that everything will be fine and it sometimes allows me to turn my back on reality. A few years back when my world was caving in around me, my mom was battling breast cancer. Instead of bowing her head and sulking around feeling sorry for herself she did everything she could to ensure that I would be ok. She was facing an illness that could claim her life, yet she stood up to protect me and help me through the heartache that I was feeling. I almost let it control my every action from one day to the next. Although I tried showing my support when she battled the cancer I knew that my efforts were far too inferior compared to everything that she was doing for me.

I remember seeing the concern in her eyes, but I also recall when she chose to look the lion in the eye and roar back at him as if to say, “you might intimidate other people, but I will find a way to survive.” Sure enough as one day led into the next she became more determined to beat the illness that kills so many. It made me realize that I most likely have the same survival instinct inside my own body.

Every day I see all of the pills that she has to take and it’s unfathomable that she never complains. Instead, she takes care of her business in her own quiet way and pretends that absolutely nothing is wrong. Therefore, it makes me forget about the uphill battle that she faces every day.

Tonight I was slapped in the face with some disturbing news. It was similar to walking down a gorgeous beach and having it suddenly turn into the Arctic circle. That’s the only type of explanation I can give to the feeling that encompassed my body. As dad and I walked through the woods and talked about this and that while shooting arrows at our 3d targets he casually dropped the bomb in my lap. The fuse was burning and I was paralyzed when it landed near my belt. I couldn’t do anything but sit there and watch it burn. As it burnt I stood motionless and lost in my own world. I was at a loss for words and even more starved for an explanation. At the bottom of the fuse was the unnerving fact that a spot had been found on my mom’s lungs.

Although it was hard to swallow I took it the best I could and realized that we’re all in this together. My family has been the backbone of my life and we’ve all helped one another at one point in time. We all know that she will need our support, encouragement and positive aura as she begins yet another battle. We will surely try our best, but each one of us knows that we could never give what she gives to us. It’s simply impossible because she is the strongest root of our family tree.

As I took it all in I just asked myself why bad things happen to such wonderful people. It’s an age old question that I will never have an answer for. I actually won’t even bother searching because it has a deeper meaning than anyone can find. I never wish evil onto another, but I don’t understand why it comes as it does. It comes without warning and strikes like a lightning bolt out of a sunny sky. When it does happen we have to find a way to rally around one another and show the support that can make a difference. I’ve realized that without hope a person doesn’t stand a chance. We are very fortunate in the battle that lies in front of us because we have all had our bouts with illness. I have battled a killing disease since the age of 5. I’ve never given in although there were many times that I could have. I could have bowed my head in defeat and done myself in, but I chose to push forward and make the most of the hand that I was dealt. I might not be happy about it and it most definitely scares me that I live with the leading cause of kidney failure and blindness, but I will not give in. I’ll show that I can be a survivor. I can beat the odds and I’ll do everything under the sun to keep on that path. My mom will do the same now. She will continue to be positive and move on with the don’t quit attitude that she instilled in me. We are a team and our team has good chemistry. We help each other to succeed and we share our depressing moments as well.

Many people wouldn’t look at this event as a positive thing, but that’s what we’re going to do. We will do everything we can to come together and beat this thing. There’s no sense in getting ahead of ourselves so we’ll breathe in and breathe out while we put one foot in front of the other. We’ll slowly walk down the road less traveled and we will find a way to come out the other side together. For some reason we have been dealt a lot of bad hands in this card game of life, but we continue to buck the odds. We will once again try to find a way  to survive. We’ll go through the hell in the hallway if we have to, but you can bet that we will never give in. That’s our nature. That’s what  gives our last name meaning.

As you wake up each day try to think of all of the people that never complain even though you know they are burdened with things that are unimaginable to most. Be at peace with the cards that are dealt to you even if you don’t like the hand. Make the most of what you have and find a way to survive, because in the end survivors never quit and quitters never survive.