Monday, March 11, 2013

The Ides of March

March is a tricky month for me.  My history with March isn't great, yet there have been great moments through the years.

* All through college, I ended up in the hospital each March.  We have hypothesized that- given my hospital admission each March- there had to be some sort of environmental trigger.  Apart from the usual UNC vs. Dook game, the only thing we could determine was that was when the Bradford Pears would begin their stinky-yet-beautiful blooming.  Without fail, sometime during the "true" Ides, I would be admitted to the hospital.  I began to dread those dates- March 9-15- on a calendar.  I lived in fear that I would never get out of the bondage of hospitalization... or at the very least, a prednisone taper.

* Upon moving to Winston, no more hospitalizations occurred in March... until 2010.  That's when (on March 14, no less) we discovered that "random" non-cancerous tumor on my kidney which needed to be removed.  (Sidenote: during our prayer and research period when we were determining whether or not to have the surgery, Dan sought out the advice of a friend who had expertise in that area.  Dan handed him the "If this were your wife, would you want her to have the surgery?" line and the friend responded, "Yes, especially if you are planning on having more kids.  Having a tumor like that while pregnant could be detrimental."  Dan responded- with great confidence- that while we were not planning on having more kids, our friend's advice pushed us over to the "let's just remove it" camp.  Little did we know that three years later, we would indeed be expecting a child... and we are beyond grateful for that advice, Dr. Steve!)  That surgery led to a week's hospital stay, followed by nearly six weeks of recovery... some of the hardest weeks I've ever experienced- physically.

* March 2012 was when my world got turn on end- when I unexpectedly lost my Daddy.  I've blogged about that time upon time this past year, so I hate to rehash it all again... but I'll say this: if you have never lost a parent, it is the worst.  Not a day goes by that I don't miss him... I want to call him... I want to yell at him for "leaving me"... I want to hug him and smell that hairspray/cologne/mint/Daddy smell... I want him to fix the part that is messed up on the grill he bought us... I want to tell him all the funny E stories he has missed... I want to hear him say "How the hell did that happen?" when I tell him that I'm pregnant... I want him to threaten to kill Dan... I want him to get frustrated with me for missing him so much... I want him to say inappropriate things about my girlfriends... I want him to get angered about the loss we experienced last year... and I want to sit outside, drinking a beer, and laughing with him telling me stories- just like I did almost a year ago today.  I daily struggle- struggle- with missing him to the point of pain... and yet life goes on.  I've never lost a child that I've held on this earth.  I've never lost a spouse.  But the pain of losing my Daddy- TOO SOON- is crippling.

* Also in March 2012, Mom received her official diagnosis and we began the journey of getting her the help that she needs.

Needless to say- I don't love March.

In fact, I dread it a lot of the time.

This February 28, I sat at the dinner table with Dan and one of my oldest friends and cried over the turning of the calendar page.  I was filled with dread over what this March would "feel" like.  I wanted to make sure to honor the "one year mark" of losing Daddy in an appropriate way... and at the same time, I didn't want to spend the entire month re-mourning.  They allowed my tears to flow without awkwardness (something I have become more and more thankful for in the last year)- and we talked through how this month "should" look.  I've enjoyed being intentional to look at the world in a way that is both honoring to my Daddy and pleasing to the Lord... and it's helped March not be quite as painful as I anticipated.

And isn't that the way of life?

While I dread March, I also love the TONS of people who are born this month.  I have some of the very best memories of this very day back in high school: I baked birthday cakes for my two best friends (twins) and two years in a row, we found ourselves enjoying a snow day on March 11.  Both years- because of my Mom's travel schedule- I was staying with Daddy and Mary.  Mary (a school teacher) and I enjoyed the girls' cake(s) as breakfast, and had to re-bake those cakes once the driveway was passable to go back to the store for more Funfetti mix.  I would not trade those March Snow Day Memories for anything.

The afternoon I referenced above- one year ago- was a beautiful March afternoon... Dan and E were working in their garden, I was sitting in an Adirondack chair with a Blue Moon and my first "real" conversation with my Daddy in weeks.  He had just returned from a cross-country trip and we were able to catch up on all that we'd missed in our snip-it conversations during his travels.  As we hung up, I looked at Dan with tears streaming down my face and said "No one in this world makes me laugh like he does."  (Sadly, to this day, that remains to be true.)  (Work harder, people.)

March 2006 our life changed when I officially learned that I was pregnant with Elizabeth.  I remember the world looked different that spring... it seemed that there was new life everywhere.  Trees and flowers were beginning to bloom... baby geese were trailing behind their Momma when we went to the bank... it seemed like a month of hope and promise.

Just yesterday, I stood in our driveway talking to a neighbor just long enough to have evidence of the sun remaining on my neck.  The time we had outside- our kids playing- gives some of that same hope and promise.  I see some of that hope in the sidewalk chalk left on our driveway... I notice it in the "flowers" E keeps picking for me.  ("Why do some people call these weeds, Momma?")  And I have to choose to continue to look for those glimpses so that I don't drown in the Ides.  Both exist for me this month... in fact, both exist most month.  And yet still, we go on.

Psalm 34 reminds me that The Lord is Close to the Brokenhearted... and it also reminds me to Do Good; Seek Peace and Pursue it.  Apparently the Lord knew that those concepts, for me, would be March.

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