I know it’s been 7 years since Noel died because my son is 7 years old. I will never forget the morning I was nursing my newborn son when I saw on Facebook that he was gone. He’d been in hospice after battling a brain tumor. For a short time it appeared that he won the battle, but it wasn’t long before it became clear he would succumb. And my heart ached for his pregnant wife, for his HUNDREDS of best friends, and his unborn daughter who would never know how incredibly fun her father was; at least not in an up close and personal kind of way.
I write about him every year, not because he was MY best friend. I write about him because his life and death had a very profound impact on me. We attended undergrad together and mostly lost touch after that, except for maybe a like here and there on Facebook. And every year, his life and death teach me something new.
This past year has been one of the hardest and most rewarding of my life. You would think being married, having a child, getting divorced, getting into a major accident and breaking my femur, and getting married again…you’d think somewhere in THERE would be the hardest and best year.
Alas, last year my husband and I started a business. (If you’ve ever done this, you just laughed.) And it has, without question, caused my most honest of total breakdowns. Not knowing if we’d make the bills some months caused me to lose 30/40% of my hair, my husband’s perseverance making me feel so strong that I decide to open my own small business, paying off debts, incurring new ones, hiring people, firing people…it has had more ups and downs that any other era of my life so far.
Ups and downs that I took VERY seriously.
This year, though, I can look back over the past 7 years and say – hey. Wow. Some of these years were awful. Some were great. Some were funny. Some were really weird. But all of them I spent here, on Earth, with the people I love. This is by no means a guilt-blog; I’m not feeling badly about being alive when Noel isn’t. I know for a fact that Noel is feeling incredible, loving his experience in his new realm. No, this blog is more about me deciding that whether I lose it all or gain it all, the most important part of my day should be the zoom out and the zoom in.
Zoom out – is what’s happening with the property taxes or the sod or the water stains in the garage ceiling going to matter a year from now? Two years from now? Five? I can guarantee you that 95% of my day today won’t even matter in 6 months.
Zoom in – I have love. I have a loving husband, a loving mother, loving dogs… And I have love for my children, love for my close friends, love for my dogs. (Dogs are important.) If I can zoom in and find love? Everything else is going to be ok.
Of my 36 years, only about a total of 20 days contained major experiences that still matter now. And zero of them contained a day without love.
It doesn’t minimize my struggles. It doesn’t mean I don’t have issues that knock me down. It means that those things only matter as much as I let them. I can complain and freak out and bitch about the property taxes. Or. I can say, “Well, damnit.” And stroke the check. And move on. Because when and if I die, I won’t care about the property taxes.
Noel didn’t care about student loans and car payments when he was facing the end of his life. He cared that the people who loved him most were there, and that he had the chance to love them back.
I can’t live every day like my last. It’s not reasonable to ask myself to do that. I can just remind myself to zoom out, zoom in, take a breath, and keep laughing.
Laughing like he did.
All my love to his beautiful wife and incredible daughter. <3