Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Finding My Center Amongst Life's Challenges


Posted by PicasaIt has been a week filled with endless activity. My husband and son working long into the nights to finish our model home for Pringle Creek Community. I, myself, struggling to help them and yet still help my mother-in-law, who we had managed to get out of the nursing home and back into her own little home. Trying to make sense of change, trying to accept new limitations and many new adjustments. Trying to find a place of balance for her, a place of balance within myself.

Amidst all of this, we faced some milestones. We completed the house with a wonderful sense of accomplishment and had possibly double the normal traffic of a Tour of Homes house. We attended all open house hours, greeting visitors, answering questions, and keeping up with the organization and clean-up afterwards. We were delighted with the turnout, proud of the house and our part in it, and happy to be able to share our passion and our knowledge with others.

Sunday the 17th, was Father's Day, it was also my husband and my 35th wedding anniversary and sadly, it was the 10th anniversary of the death of our best friends and neighbors of over 20 years. Ten years ago, I had to face the death of a best friend I had known for 28 years. I lost her and I lost her 12 year old daughter, a talented young runner who had been my own youngest daugher's best friend since birth. Driving from from Oregon, enroute to the Jr. Olympics in Florida where the daughter was to race, and expected to win, a national title as a Junior Olympian in her division. The five of them were in a car accident and rolled over on a long stretch of highway in Idaho, a tragic and unforseeable accident.

I lost my best friend and next door neighbor of over 20 years and my youngest daughter lost her own life-long best friend. We had to deal with our loss, our grief, and the loss and grief of her surviving husband and two sons. People we had seen and shared every single day of our lives with, now seeing and sharing in loss and grief. They had all been in the family car when it lost control and rolled. But only the husband and the two teen boys survived. Survived only to face the loss of their wife/mother and daughter/sister. A dear and precious family that we had raised our three children each with, shared every day with, and now had accept the loss of.... and go on without. It was a crisis point in all of our lives, one that changed who we were, and how we saw ourselves, forever.

Each and every year without them has been hard, but some days are harder than others. As I have sat in this lovely model home, admiring the quiet beauty of earth, wood, stone, and fired glass... I could feel myself reflecting all of those qualities within myself. I have had to grow and to change like the seasons of our mother earth, be willing to change and become a catalyst through fire like wood, learn to cope and seek to be strong and durable like stone and yet still open my heart and soul and become transparent, through that fire, like glass. It has not been easy,but it has taught me to me so much that I would not have learned otherwise. I am grateful for these gifts, as challenging as they have been to learn.

My heart is open now to loss. I understand grief and grieving. I know the value of love and loving. I know that nothing is certain and nothing lasts forever. We treasure each day and each gift that we are blessed with and we allow that which hurts us, or takes from us, to have its turn within us.... and then send it gently off again.

Finding my center amidst life's challenges is not easy. But it is something each and every one of us is called to do for ourselves. We must balance, we must center.....in order to grow, to change and to transform into that which we are destined to be. I learned that then, ten long years ago, and I am learning it now. It is all a part of the cycle of change, all a part of the on-going cycle of life.

6 comments:

  1. OMG, my sister-witch. GO and read my new entry from last night.
    Talk about 2 brains hundreds of miles apart in the same head. (((HUGS)))
    The word 'balance' will always mean what happens when you spin around on the front lawn and stop suddenly; you balance or fall. Thee and me will not fall, we will balance.

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  2. Just a note: my 35th wedding anniversary was on June 17 also.

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  3. Hi!!!!
    I'll be onorated if you'll be in my 'strange swap'. For others swap see in nextes mounth my blog.
    I've many swap ideas!!!!!!

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  4. Your post is very poignant - I feel so much for you in this long term loss - when a person loses someone dear to them people are usually kind and supportive but often only until another sad event takes over in their field of view. Of course the original tragedy doesn't disappear and is as real as ever to the sufferer. To everyone who's helping someone newly bereaved remember this and be supportive but think again a few days/weeks/months/years down the line as the pain doesn't go away even if often the level of support diminishes.

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  5. Dearest Michele, what a lovely and touching post. I feel as if words fail me, in speaking of your loss and adjustment. The strength we need is within, we just have to trust that, with time, we'll 'be' the fire, earth, wind, and water as well as the stone and glass. The circle completes itself,stand and stay, called to the circle dear friend. Hugs and love, Finn

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  6. Unfortunately there are events that change our lives in hard ways. Sometimes they make us deeper people, more grateful, more caring, but even so we would like to avoid them. I hope my family will never have to "learn" from unexpected grief but I acknowlege that it may be in my future. I'm grateful for the peaceful times now...

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.