It's hard to believe that 2014 is but a memory. What a unique year to have experienced....filled with the "all of life" and many powerful life lessons. It was a year of grief and joy, struggle and resolve, turmoil and peace. It was a year of grace manifesting in magnificent and miraculous ways that will carry me through future ups and downs. Here are 14 lessons that I'm bringing into the new year:
1. There was continued celebration that my mom shows no signs of cancer. And that even as her cancer is in the past it has indelibly changed our lives forever.
2. The world around me stopped when my dad had his stroke. Simple everyday abilities like lifting a foot, taking a step, holding a pen, or even uttering a word should never be taken for granted.
3. Becoming caregiver when Ronnie was recovering from his accident brought grander understanding to the sacrifices he makes daily as we face life with terminal cancer together.
4. The things that I believe will certainly happen do not always happen when or how I expect.
5. The mystery of life and death and why one person with the very same diagnosis of stage 4 cancer lives and another dies is beyond my comprehension. I try not to question. I mourn the losses with a heavy heart. I celebrate the victories and hold them tight.
6. Two friends have lost all of their material possessions to fire this year and I am reminded that the value placed in "stuff" cannot compare to the priceless importance of life, of breath and love for one another.
7. Empathy is a great teacher. The connection with others; placing myself in the shoes of those I meet and sensing the agony, the pain, the joys and the triumphs, no matter how fast the encounter is enlightening. It allows me to see beyond my own struggle, process the strife and fortune of others, and to discover even deeper meaning embedded in my own feelings.
8. It is in the lowest of despair and the biggest of fears that I often find the most hope. I've felt and seen hope change minute by minute throughout the year.
9. The hope I have is not just for myself but for my family, my girls especially and for my friends. No matter how young or old my children are the worry, pride and hopes for them is ever present.
10. The circle of life is indeed amazing and how lives connect and intertwine awe-inspiring. Is it a chance encounter or divine intervention? One meeting, one conversation. Sometime just a single meeting for minutes in time have the ability to change the direction of our lives. Profound!
11. Wade Hayes, fellow stage 4 colon cancer survivor and country musician, "Go live your life, go chase your dreams."
12 As Randy Pausch once said, you will never know if a dream was worth dreaming unless you see it come to fruition. It has been a year of dreams coming true. I've yet to find one that wasn't worth the effort!
13. The importance of living in the moment never escapes me, nor has the importance of goals and dreams. For as I have learned to savor the second at hand I have also found that it is the anticipation and hope of what is around the corner that often helps move me forward.
14. True love is a great gift and Ronnie, who wakes me up with the reminder each morning that "everything is going to be ok and that we are 'Gonna BEAT This Thing!'" is the greatest gift of all!
My wish is that 2015 is a year filled with love and laughter, kindness and compassion, happiness and hope! Happy New Year!