Friday, November 09, 2007

Bittersweet Days

If you are a Chocolate lover, like me, then I’m sure that you have sampled your share of everything from those rich, creamy, sweet European delights; you know the kind I mean, those white and milk chocolates in fancy shapes like sea shells that you can only afford to buy on the 75% off after Christmas sales, to those semi sweet to very tart dark chocolates that can be as much as 80% Cacao.

Well, Forrest Gump’s mama was certainly right; sometimes life is like that box of chocolates. It can be rich and sweet one minute and bittersweet the next. A few days ago I posted about how blessed my life is at present. While that is all very true, there is some bittersweet mixed into these days as well. It is hard for me to have things going well without getting caught up reflecting on the not so well times in the very recent past.

Yesterday, was one of those blue days when the past and the present where destined to collide in a bone mashing head butt. November Fifth is the anniversary date of my first husband Tim’s birthday. Actually, to be truly honest, the whole of last week had reoccurring moments of bittersweet walks down memory lane. One of Tim’s brothers was born on Halloween day and another on Nov. 1st. So every year I would host a birthday dinner for the three of them during that week. Birthdays were not celebrated in their family until I came along and started making the usual Knight fuss over the occasions; so each year the three brothers took on a childlike quality with the anticipation of what surprises I would spring at their party. It meant so much to them that I was continually trying to top the year before, and I am not sure who enjoyed it the most, me or them. All three of them are now gone, two passing within a few weeks of each other as if they had planned being together in death the same way they were together in life.

My life could not be more perfect right now, but, this time of year holds so many memories that I find myself thinking a lot about my deceased husband and his brothers and find myself missing my three Musketeers. While I would not want to change anything about my current life I do regret that it took so much sickness, suffering and even death to place me on the road that lead me to this wonderful new life. How can someone be so happy and so sad all at once? How do I move forward without feeling guilty over the past? How do I keep the past from sneaking in and adding discord or embarrassment to the present? How do I keep my ghost from coming between me and my wonderfully understanding Frank?

It seems that time is the only answer to all those questions. With time all things will be as they should be.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

What a Difference a Year Makes

At this precise moment my life is so blessed. Wonderful things are literally falling from the sky in such a rapid downpour that I am completely discombobulated. A year ago I would have taken a sworn oath that events like the ones happening to me this last year just did not happen to people like me. I can only attribute them to blessings from the Almighty and I am past thinking that my daily prayer of thanksgiving is adequate repayment for all my good fortune. My brain is in overdrive trying to figure out how I am expected to repay all of my blessings one minute and overloaded with dread the next, fearing that today is the day I will wake to find it has all been a dream. And at the same time I am trying to grab each moment and lock away all the love, joy and excitement so I will have it forever in my emotional memory bank to continue to enjoy for the remainder of my life.

I am just amazed that so many changes and so much happiness and joy have happened to me in one short year. It all began on Thanksgiving Day last year. One of the traditions my family has continued to celebrate despite its ever growing size (80 at last count) is to have everyone mention the things from the past year that they are grateful for and list the petitions they want the family to pray for. When my time came I asked for prayers that I would meet a nice man and some day remarry. It was the very next day that I received the first contact from my dear Frank on a personals website.

Since then I have had many firsts in my life. My first plane trip, my first cross country car trip, my first winter spent in the sun, and my first year of complete retirement. In March I married my wonderful Frank and started a new life with him in the same apartment where my first husband’s life ended four years ago.

Even though we thought financing was going to be impossible, we are now packing up to move into our first house together and by some miracle we will also be starting off with almost everything in that house being brand spanking new as well and all on the anniversary of that first contact one year ago. What a difference a year makes.

I am just blown away at how everything in my life has been coming together. As someone whose furnishings came from auctions, garage sales and thrift stores most of my life and who often worked more than one job and was still drawing straws to determine which bills got paid each month, having a house filled with things that are not previously owned is mind boggling. But, actually being able to move from a small apartment into a house, and not a rented house at that, is more then I can fathom. The last time I walked out of my last house the repo man was standing there waiting for me to hand over the keys. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever see myself living in another house that had my name on the deed; and, after losing his house in the divorce settlement Frank was of the same mindset. So, we have many reasons to celebrate this Thanksgiving Day.

The list of things that we both have to be grateful for may take so long to recite that everyone will be forced to eat cold food. But, despite the many things on this year’s list the one item I must list first is my gratitude that Our Lord answered the prayer made last year in such a spectacular way it give me nothing to request prayers for this year.

Thank you Lord for bringing me my Frank and all the good things that have come to both of us as a result of our love and the joy of living we share.