As I watch my coworkers and many people I know watch their kids, babies and their firsts I step back and ponder on how fast time flies by. While they are watching their firsts with their kids so am I. In my case I’m watching a lot of things coming in all directions. Firsts and lasts are happening every day last firsts and last lasts.
By that meaning for example my son started his first day of his senior year in September. I was thinking this is his last first day of school. Today he started his last trimester of his senior year. It’s his last trimester of school before he graduates. He will never again have a first day of the start of a new trimester. He also just finished his last varsity basketball game on home court. It was his last ever game on an organized team. On the first game of the season I cried at the thought of his last first game ever.
It’s funny that when they are little we celebrate the firsts. We celebrate the first words, the first steps, the first laughs, the first time they ride their bike and so on. But as they get older such as my situation we are celebrating lasts. Just like the firsts you are taking lots of pictures and you are taking in every moment. Sometimes there are tears. In both cases they are happy and sad tears. You feel happy and proud but miss the days of the past. You raise your kids to grow up but sometimes when that begins you are celebrating but it feels sad at the same time.
Graduation is coming quick and there is going to be many lasts in the months to come. It’s a reality there will be tears and they will be happy and sad at the same time. I’m very proud of all three of my kids and the young people they are becoming. however I can’t help but think back to all the firsts and wish my little boys back and my little girl back.
I have come to realize firsts are lasts and lasts are first. When you do something for the first time you won’t do it again for the first time. And when a last comes around there will be a first behind it with a new journey. We will never get these days back and I can’t turn back time. So I figure I need to take every moment in stride and love it. Live my life to the fullest every day. No time for the negative.
This day last year was different. This day last year didn’t start like any other day. This day last year I was freaking out. Did I get everything done to prepare my life, my kids, my family and my house for the long road ahead? Will I remember my kids smile or a hug from my husband? Will I be the same when I come home? These are thoughts that were going through my head that day. A lot of things would go thru my head that day.
This day last year we drove to the hospital and we heard a song. The song was “Thinking out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. It was too much and it made me cry. I was on my way to a Grand Rapids hospital for my brain surgery. I had a craniotomy resection lobectomy, an epilepsy surgery that hopefully would take care of my seizures in which it did. When this song came on all I could think about was what could happen? Will I remember our life together? Will I remember my family and friends? Will I act the same and be the same person I was? But the other thought was what if I don’t do this surgery there is a huge risk they would get worse or I could die. The song is about remembering your significant other as you get older and possibly forget important little things about each other and how much we care for each other.
This day last year as I got to the surgery waiting room my pastor his son and my parents were there and before we were. My kids were on their way with my sister. This day last year I was prayed for and said “see ya after my surgery” to my family. Not knowing what things would be like.
This day last year my husband stayed right next to me holding my hand until I was out. The last thing I remember is my pastor and his son praying over me. And that was it everything went black and I was out.
This day last year I woke up in a hospital room all stapled up after a 3 1/2 hour surgery I think. Honestly I don’t remember how long it was. My whole family was around me and I remembered them even though I was still partly out. I was severely dizzy but I remembered.
This day last year my whole world was spinning literally. This day last year I couldn’t walk at all without help. Not because I didn’t know how but because well I just had brain surgery and I was severely dizzy and had a headache from hell. This day last year changed my life and changed my day to day living.
This day last year my life slowed down but only for a little while. I had to walk with a walker or have someone help me. It hurt to eat and my head just hurt. There is still recovery time for another year maybe two. Lots of dizziness and lots of headaches in which I will deal with probably the rest of my life. The best part of this day last year was I was given a gift of a surgery to get my life back to normal. It was a gift of a better quality of life and to begin to live out loud.
My sister is and has been the strongest woman I know. Today marks two years of the death of her husband. He was 38 and diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and 6 months later was gone. He left behind a 5 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. Thus leaving my sister a single mom. I feel like through all the medical care and chemo she did her mourning before he died. They talked a lot about what he wanted for her if and when he didn’t make it. Because of this she has stayed very positive and optimistic about her future. She has bad days as that is a given with the situation. And it is hard for her to do things as a single parent when both parents are present for school events or tball games. She even took my niece to a Valentines father daughter dance. She has given inspiration to most people she knows including her older sister which would be me. I’ve had a hard year myself medically. She has made me see the positive in everything I am and have been going through.
Today is a hard one for our entire family as my kids lost their uncle in which they were very close with. He came to every football game of my oldest on the worst of the worst days for him. He was a huge football fan and wouldn’t have missed his nephew playing if he didn’t have to. He came with his fold up Lions chair and screamed his head off for my son. It meant the world to him to be there and my son to see his uncle Matt there. My middle son had a big connection with him for super hero and nerd movies. By nerd movies I mean the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit and so forth. My husband and I are not into movies like that so it was a huge thing for my son to have someone interested. Every movie that came out they saw it in Imax. My daughter was just getting to know him and they loved running around the yard together. All three of them would play catch with the football in the yard no matter where we were. He didn’t get to see my oldest graduate and go off to school which he was very excited about.
Matt worked for the Coca Cola company and the day we dropped my son off for the start of his freshman year in college we were driving into town and there is a coca cola plant as you drive into town. It was a sign to all of us he is here and with us.
Cancer is a monster that took a loved one from us and we miss him horribly. My sister is doing very well and obviously misses him horribly as well as my niece. My nephew will never remember only through pictures. As far as pictures my sister has taken no family pictures or pictures of the two of them down and never has. As I said she sees this as something that happened and insists on seeing the good. She has two little ones to raise and they can’t see sadness every day. She makes the best of every day and for that she is the strongest woman I know.