Friday, June 20, 2014

A Normal Life

Originally published in Chrissie's Confessional on Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Life Was Normal Once

So, I was cleaning up some files at work today. At the back of a drawer, I found a folder that contained some personal stuff, some business stuff, and some combination stuff. Including an appointment calendar from 2005. I know, right? Throw that thing out, for crying out loud!

But, wait:  2005. That was the year we went to New Orleans at Mardi Gras, and then we went to Aruba for the first time, and then we went to Houston and embarked on our first Caribbean cruise. There were also personal milestones of others which are their stories to share but helped make up the rich tapestry of that year. So, why did I hang onto this relic of memories past? I think it must have been so I wouldn't forget how tenuous "normal" can be.

You see, in 2005, my life was just about perfect. In fact, I remember thinking to myself that life was beautiful, and I couldn't imagine it getting better. You know that advice older people give you about doing things while you can and not putting everything off until retirement? Well, that's what we were starting to do.

And then, maybe a year later, things just didn't seem right with my husband. We attributed it to exhaustion, overwork, and so on. I'm sure most people do that. It was hard for his work to get done on time and with excellence. He was working ridiculous hours, leaving home at 6 a.m. and sometimes not returning until after midnight. I started helping him with his spreadsheets and reports, because he was so busy and working such long hours. In retrospect, I was helping to cover for him, to help him get by. He only had a few years to go before retirement.

And then he lost his job. It became obvious to others that his memory wasn't what it used to be. That he was having trouble picking up conversations where they'd left off. That he was repeating himself and asking questions over and over. And we began the testing process. The rest, as they say, is history.

All of that to say, your life as you know it could go on and on swimmingly until you someday ride off into the sunset with your love by your side, having lived, shall we call it, a "charmed" existence. Or, the fairy tale could be over tomorrow. Pack as much gusto as you can into today. You know that advice I was talking about a couple of paragraphs ago? Just do it.

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