A year ago, we were watching my mother in her final decline, which culminated in her passing on December 4 last year.
Not very long after that, I gave up on a 30-year career in the healthcare industry.
Over the summer, my father also got the dreaded "Big C" diagnosis, and we faced the small, but real, possibility of losing both parents within the same calendar year.
But some months later, how things change.
Mum is still dead - there's no denying that one. There was much ajita earlier in the year when we sold the house and my aunt moved to Florida for good. It's funny how we attach to physical things instead of people sometimes. That home was in the family fifty-four years...and I have only set foot in my hometown once since the sale was completed.
I was talking to an old friend of mine over the summer - he's a Scout Leader too, and my lifelong friend from home is also still wearing the uniform. I was musing then that as long as there is a Troop 61, Saugus I will still have a tie to my hometown. Blood is thicker than water, after all. (using the proper context.)
Pops is doing surprisingly well. He had the same surgery I did, an ascending cholectomy, but his cancer was detected earlier than mine, and he's on a less-severe chemotherapy regimen. He's only taking pills, and has virtually no side effects. His surgeon and oncologist have both cleared him to play music again, and he's looking forward to a busy holiday season with the symphony. Like me, he's done big things - just last weekend, he played the Mahler 3rd symphony
, which is a major undertaking.
And then there's Your Loyal TriSec. I get to drive one of these every day:
This trolley is called a "Stadium" and you'll see Faneuil Hall and the Customs House tower there in the background - two of the major highlights along the waterfront.
You know how much I push this city to all who will listen. Imagine that I get to do that every day...and get paid for it now, too! Of course, we have a set script that we all work from, but depending on the traffic, I can insert any number of anectodes and stories throughout the tour. Sometimes I mention the Cocoanut Grove and my grand-dad narrowly missing being there. I've got stories around Berklee College and Symphony Hall, with my father working at both places. Northeastern, where I did my EMT Training, and of course the Boston Molasses Disaster are all part of my driving around the city.
It's not without challenges, but what job isn't?
I always do an exercise around the holidays. I'll often gaze around the table and muse on who might not be with us next year. Now I must include my father, but he is on the mend.
It's unknown what 2018 will bring, after all "Man will make many plans, but only Allah's plan will happen."
Looking back over the last 11 months, it was very unclear what that plan may have been, but there is reason for optimism and thanks as the year draws to a close.