This post took a long time to assess. Primarily because I didn’t know what I was feeling when the New Year hit. What prompted me to finally write this was an unexpected Holiday card that I received in yesterday’s mail.
The card was from a couple I’ve never met. I only “knew” the husband, Chuck from a previous Accounting position I had. I had spoken to him many times on the phone, mostly to discuss his expense reports and was used to his pleasant, easy disposition. We often exchanged friendly banter and shared tidbits of our lives: my life with Carlos, his life with his wife, Phyllis. I haven’t thought about him in years. What struck me most were the little things: the envelope addressed to both myself and Carlos, the two-sided Year In Review summary insert, the hand-written message in the card. It took time to create and involved recalling information that not even my closest friends remember. The card was upbeat and hopeful; inclusive and reflective.
If I had my way, that is what I expect of 2012.
Now For The Sharing:
There is a valid reason why people write a lot about Love. Love lifts us up where we belong. Love will keep us together. All You Need Is Love. Love is a Many Splendored Thing. Love is a Battlefield. It is the reason for getting up in the morning and the reason for staying in bed.
So when I was thinking back on 2011, I’ve learned that love is a collection of our best human attributes: faith, compassion, kindness, sacrifice, patience, empathy, selflessness. I’ve lived it firsthand through my husband, Carlos who is disabled. Although it hasn’t been an easy road, what’s made things easy are all of the angels that spring up when we least expect. Conversely, all of the devils that tried–as my mother would say, “sticking [their] tails in”–to disrupt the normalcy of our daily life. Aside from frequent hospital visits and some close calls, it has been relatively normal.
When Carlos was diagnosed with diabetes, I’m sure the effect barely made a ripple. He was still seemingly healthy and active. But the years were not kind and he finally lost his right leg (below the knee) about three years ago. Since then, we’ve had to make obvious changes but it hasn’t been all that difficult to implement. What has helped make it easier is one majorly HUGE thing: Love.
So I decided to share these two amazing quotes from children who were asked what Love meant to them:
- “Love is what’s with you in the living room on Christmas morning when you stop opening your presents all of a sudden and just listen to the air.” ~Robert (Age 7)
- “Love is when my grandma got arthritis really bad and so she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandpa does it for her now even though he has had arthritis longer than she has.” ~Rebecca (Age 8)
As the Bible quotes: “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings…” So what is the thing that jades us and prevents us from being our best most noble selves? That’s not fair. There’s many reasons why we hold the precious gift of Love for ourselves and our kin. But, as we learned in kindergarten, it’s important to share. I can’t change others, but I can change myself. So this Christmas, I didn’t focus on gift-giving (most of which I re-gifted) or decorations or anything like that. I just “listened to the air.”
It is the reason why I didn’t know how to feel about New Year’s. I know that Carlos and I have had a lot of changes, but we’ve come out the other side renewed. The New Year didn’t come with fanfare or blowing whistles or fireworks displays. Carlos and I were switching channels between a Twilight Zone marathon and The Mob Wives.
All I Want For Christmas:
While others make resolutions around weight-loss and self-improvement, I realized that I have no need for anything. I am lucky to have my family–as crazy and neurotic as they are. I’ve kept in my heart every memory of all of the people who treated us as human beings and those that didn’t. Especially close are idiot floor doctors who (as recent as November) misdiagnosed Carlos and told him that he “should get his papers in order” only to discover that the deathly prognosis was for a neighboring patient. Yeah, there’s a special place for people like that.
But what will prevail should the world really end in 2012? Love.
So be good everybody. If you’re hurting, doubting, sad, depressed, unemployed, scared, worried, angry or whatever, just know that it gets better. That’s the only infection I love to catch…and so I’m passing it along…
Happy New Year everybody!