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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Circle of Life

TLC and I were hoping to post something silly and/or funny and/or interesting by tonight. Instead, something happened Sunday evening that caused TLC to be shocked. Confused. Profoundly sad.

It’s made me think about losing people we love. Not only to death. But to change. Change in circumstances. Change caused by moving to new homes/towns/states/countries. Change due to misunderstandings or different philosophies or different perceptions about situations. The loss of innocence. Of love. Of energy. Of will.

I’ve always thought I handled change okay. Beginning with my parents’ divorce when I was five years old and continuing through the next 53 years of my life, I’ve believed I’ve coped, at least adequately, with the losses I’ve been forced to endure. Small losses. Huge losses. I’ve felt I've coped fairly well. Surely. Right? I guess I could be wrong.

I put myself through college. When I had (technically) three parents who could have helped me—but apparently thought it would mean more to me if I wondered, sometimes, where my next meal was going to come from—I found strength and encouragement through my own determination. And through friends. Incredible friends. Friends who made sure I did have food to eat. That I also had the support I needed to succeed.

At 24, I married a divorced man with four sons. Ages . As you may know, we’ve hung in there for 34 years of marriage—in September. Even through all of our mistakes. Even when it seemed like it might be easier to throw our hands up and run away.We’re still here.Waiting for our seventh grandchild to be born. Loving every opportunity to experience laughter, joy and gratitude.

I struggled to get pregnant with TLC, only to learn, a little over a year later, I needed a hysterectomy. I was 31. I battled breast cancer at 40 and am convinced that, eighteen years later, I continue to pay the price for the chemotherapy treatments I had in order to survive. I don't regret my decision. I regret there has to be bad. With the good.

I’ve lost friends. Not only to death. But to stupidity. Maybe mostly my own. Because I ran away from hurt feelings instead of being brave and dealing with them. With candor. I’ve lost family. My Nana. My husband’s mother, Ada. I’ve lost faith. Hope. Trust.

I’ve learned—over the past 28 years—that TLC doesn’t like change. She likes order. Organization. Precision. Clarity. She’ll easily admit she doesn’t like surprises. I can attest to this—it is 1000% true. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t like the words “flexible” or “spontaneous.” (Hey, Little Mama, get ready—you will need to not only like these words, but BE these words! Little Leighton will make sure of that, Sweet Pea.)

Sunday night TLC had to confront—after a lovely, easy, wonderfully delightful weekend, a weekend full of shopping and planning and Baby Princess Preparations and well, yes, I’ll name it, perfection—the unexpected. The loss of a kind, dear, special, elegant, strong, and amazing Christian woman TLC had come to love as if she was her own Grandmother.

In one awful phone call, perfection gave way to despair and pain. Unbelievable, gut-wrenching pain.

Change and loss is thrown at all of us. Every single day. In little pieces. In big, hard, hideous chunks. With God's help, we can overcome the anguish and fear of both. Because somehow He encourages us to understand we simply must.

Until next time…please be safe…


Autumn said...

Loss is hard. Life is hard. But in time, you learn that the memories of the one you lost can bring comfort and healing. And gratitude that you had them in your life.

The Leightons said...

You are exactly right, Autumn. We have no choice but to figure out how to cope. And move on. Not fun. Sadly necessary.

And it's smart to tell the people you love how you feel NOW. Before it's too late.

I love you, Precious Friend!