Today is a day of reflection for me as it marks the one-year anniversary of my father’s death. I never really intended to get too personal on my blog but I couldn’t let this day pass without putting my feelings out in the world and giving them wings to fly away.
You’ll often hear me say that 2017 was a year of transformation. Everything changed and it changed drastically. Everything I thought I knew about myself and what I thought was important came into question. I spent the first part of the year figuring out what had become of my life and the second half reimagining what I could be… something I never thought I’d have to do at this phase of my life.
We started the year by losing two people who were incredibly dear. My mother-in-law passed away suddenly after only three weeks. She collapsed one day in December and declined quickly. Close to the end, we learned that she had brain tumours that attacked rapidly, likely a result of undiagnosed lung cancer. She was 72 years young. My father passed less than a month later after weeks in the hospital and declining health, ultimately succumbing to pneumonia, which can be devastating for an 88-year-old man. Their hospital stays overlapped each other and our only saving grace was that they were in the same place, which allowed us to visit from floor-to-floor. In seven short weeks, everything changed.
While my work was incredibly understanding, I found myself reeling from the experience and reprioritizing what was most important. My job was everything to me, I worked hard to build a career and reputation that made me feel accomplished. It’s hard for me to say this, but I now realize I sacrificed a lot of time with friends and family in order to live in that corporate world. After that, my heart wasn’t into it and when the opportunity to take a package came in the summer, I took it.
Since then, I’ve been teaching courses at the university and college level. I love guiding the students through their studies and watching them learn new skills. I’ve always been passionate about team management so teaching came naturally to me. I love every moment of it and am working to expand my network and opportunities to teach more. Teaching has given me the chance to be with my family and balance my life. Only time will tell if I can make this a new career but for now I’m going to have faith that it will all work out.
On January 1, I wrote the following post on my Facebook wall. It pretty well summarizes what I’m thinking today and I wanted to share it with you:
Yesterday we said a quiet goodbye to 2017, without fanfare and without sadness. If ever there was a year that I could rant about and be angry, 2017 might be it. There was a lot of sadness and loss. Things changed drastically and paths went off course. It was a difficult year.
But, I’m not going to do that because with the sour came the sweet. For those moments, I’m thankful.
There was new life and love. Friendships strengthened and some rekindled. Happy memories made and opportunities presented. For the first time in a very long time, I found time itself and cherished it.
So long 2017, I will remember you forever as a year of transformation. Hello 2018, I look at you with optimism and the hope that you too will have balance.
Happy New Year to all. May 2018 bring you strength, joy and love. Life is hard. In those moments, may you find your spark.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story. I’ve never considered it a tragedy but rather an opportunity to stop, look around and choose a new path to follow. I sincerely hope that if you ever face a time in your life that tilts your world sideways (and maybe you already have) that you’ll remember my words and know that windows truly open when doors close.