I had all these grand designs to pick this year apart month-by-month and write about all the things that have happened over this year, reflecting on what I learned from each of them. But for some reason, my recall is limited by either: 1. My inability to remember, and not wanting to waste my energy by researching old files to decide what is important to share, or; 2. My lack of desire to examine the bad with the good, as one comes with the other.
I declared several years ago that my purpose in life is “to inspire others to see BEYOND…” If I am also to lead, by example, over-analyzing things that have already passed me by seems unimportant to me now. I do not need to understand the “why” behind it all.
Some things simply ARE.
“It is…what it is.”
So, as I reflect on 2013, I will recall some of the situations that seem to have been especially important or impacting to me. They brought me great joy, taught me valuable lessons, allowed me to love and feel loved, or acted as a vehicle for me to live my purpose. Some came with ease; others with sorrow and pain. I will offer no explanations or analysis, but simply recall.
January –Met my online writer friend, Gwen N., face-to-face for coffee; attended Vision 2013 with Birgit, and was in the company of other wonderful people–Joanna F., Wanda B., and Patrick S.; was there when my youngest sister woke up from surgery and saw her smile; stepped out of my comfort zone and allowed Kate P. to take photographs of me.
February–Attended the wedding of friends Amy and Sarah; the following week was the baby shower for their yet-to-be-born son.
March–A visit with my dear coach friend, Stan, who lives in Canada; walked the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge as part of a wonderful hike; met fellow zebra, Jewels; performed “Come Rain or Come Shine” at the “Sami Awards/Bruce & Sami Wedding.”
April–An unplanned attendance at a Thai New Year celebration at a Buddhist Temple, and was blessed by monks. I then realized it was my one year anniversary of going to the emergency room with the symptoms that changed my life.
May–One year anniversary of diagnosis; attended graduations of my dear friend, Mieko from university and my granddaughter from high school; met Skip, Mary G., and Tom G. on a trip to Portland, receiving the gifts of compassion, massage, and music.
June–Follow-up appointment/MRI with my liver specialist and celebrated one year after surgery, and asked why he didn’t buy me roses for our anniversary!; attended niece Lynnea’s graduation; walked Tacoma Relay for Life; Fremont Summer Solstice Parade with Eva; saw Brynne G. perform in “Passengers.”
July–The pain of an abrupt loss of friendship without warning, an opportunity for closure or a chance for understanding. Outpouring of love and acceptance by total strangers; self-recognition and acceptance that I am not required to be responsible for all that happens.
August–Delivered speech at a friend’s retirement and was presented with the American flag; attended the yearly family summer get-together; celebrated my 58th birthday at the home of friends, Trina and Jimmy; attended the Harmony Hill Survivorship Fair, meeting and having conversation and dinner with author Mark Nepo and many other supporters of the Retreat Center.
September–Attended Komen Survivor Luncheon on Holland America Cruise Ship, then had dinner with my dearest friend Tami (aka “Lisa”); signed lease and moved to Kitsap County from Tacoma; went to the closing ceremonies of the Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day and met or reconnected with friends from around the country who came out for the event; attended Nadia and Blake’s wedding; sang the National Anthem at Tony’s Retirement ceremony.
October–Was panel member and closing speaker for the 4th annual Naval Base Kitsap Women’s Symposium.
November–Attended Veterans’ Day event at the Kitsap County Pavilion; sang the National Anthem for the “Heroes Welcome” event on-base; went to the dentist for first time in several years; Thanksgiving at my daughter’s.
December–Visited with friends; cooked Christmas dinner and brought it to my daughter’s and had quiet, relaxing time with six of us.
Throughout the year, I have:
- Reconnected with many people and met new people, as others have slipped away.
- Seen more movies and theatre productions this year than in years past.
- Spent more time making or listening to music.
- Delivered 36 career transition 3-Day workshops to approximately 1400 people.
- Celebrated births of children, additional birthdays, danced at weddings, and cried at celebrations of life.
- Hugged old people and snuggled up on babies.
- Laughed so hard, until I thought I would pee my pants, and cried that I have.
- Felt extreme pain, sorrow, grief, disappointment, and fear.
- Also felt tremendous joy, satisfaction, accomplishment, and connection.
If there is nothing else that I have learned in 2013, the one thing that stands out to me more than any other event was when my friend, Sue F., spoke these words to me:
“Coral, do you realize just how lucky you are? When many get a diagnosis like you have, they are gone in a few short months. You have a chance to look at life from an existentialist point-of-view.”
I am grateful that she said these words to me before her decision to sever the friendship.
2013 brought with it many experiences, each unique to a moment. But 2013 was not particularly any different than any other past year. It brought LIFE with it. One more year of LIFE.
And that, my friends, is as good as it gets.
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Copyright © 2013 Coral Levang, and not to be used without permission. May be shared, if properly credited and linked back to this source
Adapted from original by the author at: Remembering Moments of 2013