Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Year Later: How Our Lives Have Changed

My office window looks east toward the Chugach mountains. On a clear day I can see the bright, white snow topping nearby peaks, and spot eagles that are starting to reappear, soaring high above in lazy circles. Today started out like this, but since has become cloudy and a bit distorted, with naked Cottonwood and Birch trees sticking up from piles and piles of wet, heavy snow.

Was it just like this a year ago?

Yukon has obliquely mentioned the one-year anniversary of his bicycle accident with a typical Yukon-style approach: "It's all good, now." I know he hasn't forgotten the whole thing - a long, winding scar on his elbow and constant trips to the hemotologist and occupational therapist won't allow him the luxury of completely erasing that day.

I thought I had done a pretty good job of moving on, even commenting just last week about the swiftness of time. Here we are, looking at the calendar, 24 hours away from the day a hole in the ground made us all think good and hard about life, and love, and the value of both. All in one long, short year.

This is the beginning of my busiest season, as it was last year. I mentioned to someone the other day how very behind I felt - way, way behind, when actually I was way, way ahead. It finally dawned on me that I feel this way because I don't even remember last April. The span of time between March 30 and April 30, 2011 is a nebulous sort of black and white cloud in which I barely managed to care for more than the basic needs of body and soul, and I'm not even sure about the soul part. Tragedy will do that to a person.

The external signals of spring are what prompted me to double-check my emotions. Last week I was driving to the U-Med campus for a meeting (the same meeting I had attended this time last year). It was a sort of dreary, early-spring day, with low clouds and wet streets, and I didn't pay much attention to my environment until stopped at the traffic light.

"Emergency" the bright red sign said.

I remembered clearly, then, the frantic trips, fumbling to talk on my cell phone as I hastilly arranged childcare. I remembered the gritty car, leaving it sitting in the loading zone for over an hour while everybody tried their best to help my husband. I remembered friends who met me there, not once, not twice, but three times, each visit watching further deterioration and sharing my agony at the moment we realized things could turn out very, very badly. I even remembered what I was wearing and what song was playing on the radio that final ER visit as I swung my car into a restricted parking spot, not caring a damn if I was towed.

But Yukon made it. He's still here. We're all still here. A bit older, perhaps, a bit wiser to the ways of fate, but we're here.

Life is far, far too short to realize that, every day.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Smiling and tearing up all at the same time. So sweet.