If I had to sum up 2011 in one or two words, they would be "Bi-Polar". I work very hard to maintain equilibrium and a calm focused center core, but this year was as manic-depressive (I still prefer that term) as they come and calm focus was a wistful dream for much of it. So this post is going to be the first of my "Year In Review" posts and one that I never thought I would be writing - a post where we say goodbye to old friends and end on a cheery note by saying hello to a new one.
Death is a natural part of life. I know that, I accept that, and I accept that whether I approve of it or not is really not relevant. But I remember my Mother mentioning years ago how she had hit a year when her view of death was changed dramatically because the people who died that year were not "old people" but her age. For me, that happened in 2011.
The first loss (I knew about) was Jim Schultze. At 64, he was not quite "my age", but was certainly shockingly too young to go. And the suddenness of his passing left everyone who knew him reeling. Jim, we miss your passion and stubbornness, which can be a trying combination, but you made it work.
Then Jim's daughter, Beth Kilpatrick, suffered a brain aneurysm a few months later. She rallied and we thought we'd get to keep her, but she passed a few weeks later from a second aneurysm. She turned 29 between the 2 events. This article: A Paddle Out for Beth Kilpatrick describes her better than I ever could. Beth, I miss your invigorating conversations about everything from astrophysics to Harry Potter.
Finally, we lost Jim Edwards on Dec 27, 2010 at age 41. I just found out about Jim yesterday and my heart is aching for his wife, Karin, and 3 little kids. Words fail. Jim, Karin, I miss our rousing games of Spades and trips to the K Wings hockey games. Those years together in Kalamazoo hold some of my favorite memories.
As the Solstice is the time where the sun "rests" before being reborn with longer days and more light, so life goes on. This Solstice we celebrated the arrival of a new friend, Freya. She's 6 months old and still trying to figure out where she fits in our pack, but she's already bringing more light into our short, dark, cold days.