Every year, this same week, I sit down with my calendar, and one for the following year. I carefully transfer all the important dates I need to remember. I write the birthdays, anniversaries, and other important “days to remember.” There is probably some much more high tech efficient way to do this on my iPhone, but this is a job I am not looking to simplify, or give up. I enjoy the time spent reflecting on the year that passed, and wondering what the next year will bring.
During the course of the year, around all the birthday and anniversary reminders, the basic events of life fill in the blanks. I can look back on some weeks, and months – where there doesn’t seem to be an empty box, and wonder how we got through. There are the basics, PT, swimming, dance class, music class. There are some parties, and celebrations. Around them are peppered annual exams, like the cardiologist and the eye doctor. There are some “sick” visits with the pediatrician in there too.
But last year was a “special” year. Between us there were three surgeries. Tonight as I reviewed the calendar I saw a higher than normal number of pre and post op visits. I saw consultation appointments with surgeons, and each month seemed to remind me of a surgery that was, well life changing in its own way. There were certainly a lot of firsts in 2012.
And, sadly there were some lasts too. I couldn’t bring myself not to write GGPa’s birthday on the calendar. It would have been in just a few weeks. Instead I wrote it with a heart around it. This year he will have his cake among the angels. Nor could I stop myself from remembering his and GGMa’s anniversary the same way. It didn’t feel right to leave it off. I am sure she will appreciate a call or an Email anyway.
I remember lots of birthdays on my calendar. Some for the very young, and others for those quite senior folks I love so much. But, even as I ink those special days into 2013, I know there are no guarantees. I know that my writing their special date doesn’t ensure that we will all celebrate together. It is reality. It is sometimes tough to swallow, but we are not in control.
In Newton Connecticut many young lives were tragically altered. “Calendars” forever changed. No rhyme or reason. No notice. Gone way too soon.
I attended the wake of a colleague tonight. A 45 year old, happily married father of three. He died suddenly Christmas Day. I can not say we were “friends” outside of work, but I can tell you not a person that met this man easily forgot him. His every breath was consumed wither with song, or words of his love for his family. And tonight as I paid my respects I carried a heavy heart, and the reality again, that there are no guarantees.
Meghan was sick this morning. Sicker than I have seen her in quite some time. I was home alone, as Felix works this whole week before New Year‘s. As she lay screaming on the bathroom floor, begging me to make the pain stop, I was terrified. I called my sister to bring me Pedialyte and some essentials. We lay there for quite a long time, at points her eyes were rolling – reacting to the pain in her stomach. I held her as best I could and I prayed, hard. I needed guidance. I needed answers, and I needed that pain to be relieved. He heard me, as He always does. She vomited several times over the next hour or so, eventually ridding herself of whatever she had eaten that was bothering her. I hadn’t seen that agony since the days of the gall bladder attacks when she was three.
We had had plans today, to celebrate my grandparents 67th wedding anniversary with them. Even as the color came back into her cheeks, and the spring back into her step. we stayed home. The lunch date that was on the calendar – unattended. Our warm wishes sent with a phone call instead.
The calendar is a nice guide. A road map of sorts. It tells us where we hope to head. But, as every day reassures me – it, like life, offers no guarantees.
This week the phone will ring. Appointments will be set. A thyroid biopsy will be scheduled. A surgeon for my spleen may even get written in to the calendar as “consultation.” 2012 for us will end as it began.
Although as I tossed the calendar into the trash tonight, I couldn’t help but feel… somehow older, wiser, and even more appreciative of those who somehow come across my calendar each year.