It’s been a busy – and at times – quite stressful time around here lately, with many, many things that have challenged us in a lot of different ways. Here’s what’s been going on:
First off, Tristan began college, but it almost didn’t happen: 4 days before he was set to begin we got a letter from the school saying that he lacked pre-requisites for the courses he was signed up for, so, sorry! He’s out! Then, after hours on the phone and a trip down to the college office to deal with this head on, a clerical error was discovered (on their behalf) and he was quickly re-instated and things were back on track. He went to both classes and performed like the Rock Star that he is, but I won’t kid you, two days thinking that my guy would sitting out this semester conjured up all sorts of images in my head, all of which were pretty stressful and anxiety-inducing, but as you can tell, it all worked out in the end.
In addition to this, work has been a real bear lately, with lots of mindless “running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off” logic flowing down from the ivory tower, which creates stress that’s never easy to deal with. However, on a bright note, I did go up island and attend a work-related golf tournament this week where I got to meet some really cool new people. The tournament was a lot of fun – although later in the night I lost (“lost” being forgot somewhere while in a drunken state) the brand new hat I brought home from Mexico which was a bummer. Quite remarkably, the four hour drive home the next morning was rough – I know – and for some reason it wasn’t enhanced by the jackhammer going off in my skull! Just hours of a dull, thumping reminder of my consumption of many beers and the odd glass of wine, mere hours before… ouch. But the headache is now gone, so it worked out in the end.
And not to be outdone, the previous day I performed another act of utter brilliance, by losing my visa card somewhere along my way up island to the golf tourney. This is a pretty big deal since rarely – as in not since 1905 – have I used cash, and am not even sure how it works anymore. It seems that in an effort to avoid unsightly bulky wallet and iPhone lumps sticking out from the pocket of my slacks, I made the brilliant decision to take the card out of my wallet and put it in my front pocket and carry my phone. No more ugly bumps in my pants – if you know what I mean~!
Except I soon got annoyed carrying the phone, so I slipped it into the same pocket as the visa…. so far, so good. But then I began taking the phone out and putting it back multiple times, all whilst walking around the market. I was trying to establish the E.T.A. of the friend meeting me for lunch, and probably pulled it out and put it back five times in the process. We finally got together, had a terrific lunch and then, when I went to pay, guess what? No visa! I figured during the excessive “in and out” movements of the iPhone from the same pocket that crafty visa saw it’s chance to escape, and took it, hitched a ride; and once it was free from the prison that is my front pocket, it hit it running and scurried out of site! Either way, an hour of searching the grounds yielded nothing, so (after my friend picked up my lunch tab) I continued my journey (and the rest of the week) armed only with a Costco Amex, a credit card which is welcome in about as many places as lepers and terrorists. Oh, and by the way: I’m still waiting for my new visa to arrive, so it will all be fine in the end!
But hardest thing of all these days has been that Paula has been away for two and a half weeks now, and for a very sad reason. Her dad was diagnosed with cancer about a year and a half ago, and with his condition worsening, was moved into a hospice about a month ago. Within 24 hours of getting the news my girl was on a plane to Australia, where she’s spending time with her family, well, just waiting for the inevitable. Well, the inevitable finally came this morning, and Jon passed after a long, brave fight.
As anyone can imagine, this situation has been very hard on everyone in the family, those present and those far away like us. Being half way around the world with an 18 hour time difference makes it extremely difficult to stay in touch on a regular basis, and get updates. It also leaves one with a feeling of helplessness in the situation – in other words, you want to be there for support, offer to do what you can from afar, but when contact is so difficult, it’s more a feeling of wondering, anxiousness and hope that everything is as good as it could be. Again, it’s a very, very difficult time for all involved. Now, with the news this morning, it will bring all of this to a close; and after taking care of a few responsibilities, Paula will be able to come back home and resume her life, although now with a piece now missing from her heart. My Mother-in-Law can, and will begin the grieving process, as can their son and daughter; and over time things will slowing get less painful, and the long term memories of the good times will overtake the more recent, and painful images.
This Much I Know For Sure
When I look back at the first three items listed above – those being a clerical error at college, daily work annoyances and then a lost visa card – I see that they aren’t really all that bad… in fact, in the big scheme of things, they are pretty tiny and insignificant. If I’m to be really honest, I’ll even say that such inconveniences and problems are all part of life, especially as within a few days, they all seemed to be remedied or solved.
On the other hand, losing a loved one is quite the opposite. Watching someone important from your life, someone who has been with you from day one finally, and after a long struggle, draw their last breath is not life, but death – and not just figuratively, but literally as well. Those who are touched by this experience know that they don’t get a second chance to do a “do over” at it. What’s done is done, and this is not something that can be fixed by correcting a clerical error, nor is it something that can be written off as annoying. It can’t be replaced like a lost credit card, and it isn’t simply an inconvenience to get used to. Death a final thing, and often leaves much sadness in it’s wake, for a while at least. Those least affected by this sadness are those who loved the person while they were alive, and made sure they told them, and demonstrated that love over and over again, so there were no regrets. This is absolutely the case with my wife, and so I know that in the long run she’ll be okay, knowing she was (and is) a good, kind, loving daughter who expressed that love to her dad often, and he knew it.
And as I write this I’m feeling less stressed about the annoyances in my life; in fact, what I called problems before aren’t problems, but just wee bumps in the road of life, and that’s how they should be viewed – as minor inconveniences that, with a bit of time and effort will soon be solved. Moving forward it would behoove me to remember this – if I don’t, please feel free to call me on it, and remind me that it’s really not such a big deal when it isn’t; I’d appreciate that.
I’m also feeling a lot of love and appreciation for those who are important to me, so for that I say “Thanks” to Paula and Tristan, and want them both to know that “You guys mean the world to me, and I love you both so, so much. xo”. And with that said, I’ll finish by simply saying:
R.I.P. J.D. ; and don’t worry, I’ll take good care of your girl. Love, David