Monday, February 14, 2011


I've been reflecting on the idea of my life having seasons. You know that clear cut transition from autumn to winter, winter to spring, spring to summer, summer to autumn...... cyclical, rhythmic, following familiar patterns. I've had the expectation that since I've been through the long dark winter of my husband John's diagnosis and death from melanoma cancer, at some stage I should be moving into spring and summer. I've had glimpses of it and have definitely felt optimistic about what the future holds for me.... but there always seems to be the chill of autumn and winter around. Last year it was really hard to walk alongside my sister Karen as she dealt with her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. It was definitely a cold, dark, chilling winter experience.

Then I had the most amazing trip to New York and Pennsylvania over December and January. It was a wonderful, exciting, restorative holiday that fed my body, mind, spirit and heart. It was so special!! Definitely that lovely, relaxed, summery holiday feeling season (even though it was winter!!).

When I got home I found myself once again, looking out at the new year with optimism and hope.... thinking this is my year for winter to truly be gone and for me to move fully into spring and summer. But once again life's circumstances seem to be conspiring against me. I am currently waiting on the results of some tests that I have had done on my beautiful dog Bunny. They will confirm whether or not she has an inoperable brain tumour. She is physically deteriorating at quite a rapid rate so the confirmation of cancer is looking more certain. It's so hard to look at her and know that I am going to have to make a hard call for her very soon.

Yet in the midst of the sadness and concern that I feel for her, I have lots of things that are good and worth celebrating. Yesterday my family plotted and conspired together to make Valentines Day a very special day for me. In the morning Holly's hand appeared through my door and stuck a post-it on my mirror, then it came back and put two presents on my dressing table. She wished me a very happy Valentines Day as she rushed off to work. So exciting..... then I unwrapped the gifts from Holly, Beth & Mike!

So gorgeous, thoughtful and meaningful!

Later in the day I came back from a delicious lunch with the team of girls that I work with, to find gerberas with a vintage card (also from Holly, Beth & Mike!!) on my desk - delivered by my other daughter Beth.

That evening Holly took me out for dinner only to "accidentally" bump into Beth and Mike at a lovely restaurant in Ponsonby. It was a perfect day and a perfect evening that made me feel very loved, special and incredibly grateful for my beautiful family. So winter and summer in one day. Joy and sadness, hand in hand. Maybe it is unrealistic to expect a perfectly sunny summer without a cloud on the horizon. In reality that's not our experience of summer in Auckland, especially this year. We've been flooded twice with torrential rain and are currently sweating it out in sauna-like conditions. And maybe it's time to expect that a winter might just have the odd sunny, even warmish kind of day. So I'm revising my expectations. I'm going to enjoy the warmth and beauty of my summer experiences even if they come in the midst of the cold, wintry dark. 

And anyway I really enjoyed the cold, snowy winter that I experienced in the States. I was prepared for the weather. I dressed up warmly so I could enjoy being out in the snow. I was prepared!! I'm not saying that from now on I'm going to enjoy all the winter experiences of my life but that if I prepare my heart and spirit for them, maybe I can keep weathering them without being overwhelmed.... and with that I'm also going to try to cultivate the expectation that there is still the opportunity for the loveliness and surprise of a spring flower pushing through the cold earth or the feeling of a little summer warmth on my face in the midst of a winter season.

So that's how life is for me at the moment - a mixture of seasons, feelings, emotions and circumstances that aren't orderly, rhythmic or cyclical and at times don't make a lot of sense. I'm beginning to suspect that this is probably the norm for a lot of other people too. And throughout all of this, I'll try to keep you updated on what's turning out to be the very messy, mixed bag of experiences called my life!!

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