Last year at the end of March my boss took me into his office and told me that our unit was being closed down due to budget cuts and that I would no longer have a job after three months. Admittedly, I was in shock. I loved my job and the people I worked with and was looking forward to the next big project to work on. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect situation than the one I was in.
Then a month later my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Then I heard that a colleague of mine lost his 19-year-old daughter. Looking back I realize that this period was one of constantly re-framing the events taking place in my life. Losing my job seemed like a spec of dust compared to watching my mother die: and yet watching a person die who had lived a full life seemed so different than the loss of someone in the beginning of theirs.
Everyone has different ways of dealing with these things. Mine was to over-function. I had to find a great job right away. I had to fly to Toronto right away. I had to, I had to, I had to. Letting go of everything is one of the hardest things we have to do. But life has a way of pushing you to get to the important things. A friend of mine gave me Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Albom. It’s about a man whose lessons in dying teach him what it means to truly live.
I’ve learned in the last year that there are times when you have to act and times when you have to accept things. This year was a year of finding grace in acceptance.
Getting to this point isn’t a solo journey although it often feels that way. My number one as always is Dave who calmly assured me that I didn’t want a job, that I should be careful about the things I wish for, that I shouldn’t do anything to add further stress to my life, that I need to act in a way that means not having to say sorry, or feel regret. Without pushing he confirmed my rattled instincts to embrace my mother, to be with her, for as long as she and I needed, and as often as we needed.
So I let go and did that. That hearing about my colleague’s terrible loss didn’t negate my own. When you lose anyone you love, you suffer.
Once I was able to embrace that, the frantic energy that I carried with me for a few months fell away. I was calm for my mom, and when I came home Dave and my constant, ever-loyal companion Reuben kept me sheltered from the storm.
But life isn’t lived in isolation and I have to say my sisters, my brother, their children and my amazing circle of friends all contributed to getting me to a better place. If I didn’t know it before, Forced Relaxation has made me fully aware of the amazing people in my life.
So I’ve found a new place to work. My instincts tell me it’s a great place and I listen to these a little harder these days. After a year of Forced Relaxation, I’m getting back into my life again. And I’m ready. I’m a little nervous, but I’m ready.
I just want to thank everyone for their love and support. I don’t know how I would have done it without all of you.