Joy and tragedy

It’s been a busy month so far.

It’s hard to pinpoint the highlight of the month. Graduating was a big deal, but so was getting married. It was great to have a small intimate graduation ceremony — by that I mean having Erik and Alex along with me in Iowa for the first and last time. At the same time, it was great seeing all of my familiar LA and Seattle faces again that I missed so much at my wedding.

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Tragedy also struck my family this month. My uncle passed after a few weeks in the hospital due to a number of different ailments. In between graduation and the wedding I flew in to see him, and in between my bachelorette festivities and the rehearsal dinner I went to visit him. I knew he was close to passing, and it was confirmed when the nurse was on the phone telling his sons that they needed to get to the hospital right away since he was not going to make the night. I kissed him goodbye and as I left, I knew it would be the last time I would see him. It was hard to see him hooked up to so many machines, laying there helpless, gasping for air.

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It seems like adult life comes around full circle. You get the good with the bad. The joyous occasions mixed with the tragedies. One is followed by the other, or in this case, it’s simultaneously served. I wouldn’t say it put a damper on all of the festivities but it gave me a lot of perspective. I watched my aunt — someone who had been married for about 25 or so years, someone who loved this man dearly, hang on to the hope that he would get better. She showed up every day to the hospital bright and early, and left each night long after the sun went down. Meanwhile, amidst the chaos, she tried to forecast and balance all of the potential issues and the “what if”s. He had been hospitalized before, but this time, we all knew this was different.

Being there for his final days made me think about how my life and marriage would unfold in its final decades and years. How would I make it count? Do all of these long hours working really matter? What about the foregone opportunities to spend time with friends and family? How many times have I been absent in the presence of others? How many times have I come close to throwing in the towel in my chosen profession because I pushed myself too hard, too fast?

I’ll try to keep things in perspective. There isn’t a whole lot that is important in life outside of a few things: Have fun. Love fiercely. Do good work. Am I missing anything else?

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