All My Life’s A Circle

When I was younger one of my favorite musical artist’s was Harry Chapin.  He was a great balladeer who wrote and sang of ordinary people like you and I and life as he saw it.

His song, “Circle” has been running through my head for the past few days.  It is  a cheery, happy-go-lucky song on the surface.  “All my life’s a circle, sunrise til sundown.”  “The seasons spinning ’round again, the years keep rolling by.”

Coming home from Mother’s Day brunch this year, Sam tearfully said “I am so fortunate that  your family took me in as their own and truly love and care about me.”  From the moment he went to my parents for permission to marry me, they the loved the man.  Until the day he died, my Dad joked about the money he gave Sam  for taking me off his hands.  Yeah, right Dad.

Our lives are circles.  There are our family circles, the seasons are cycles that make up the circle of years which makes up the circle of our lives.  Get it?  It sounded better in my head.  Kind of circles within circles.  To me the circle of our life is not totally round.  There are highs and lows.

Sam says that when we look back on our lives, it appears more as an arc.  As we start our life we gently go upward and grow  in knowledge and wisdom, trying to make a better life for ourselves.  In that circular motion our lives continue (if we are lucky) completing the arc.  We must be prepared for disasters in our lives.  Otherwise, the arc will turn jagged, plummeting to the bottom.

Not until we reach the end of our life can we be sure of the shape.  So then does it really matter?  I think so, as we leave a legacy to those who are left behind , to carry on our traditions, our rituals, our memories that all live in the Circle.

"And Isn’t It Ironic?"

“Life is bitter-sweet,”  my friend Sandy said with tears in her voice. My dear friend in Vancouver knows from experience just how true that statement rings.  She lost her Son, Tony just over a year ago and still struggles as any parent would, yet she is preparing for her oldest daughter’s wedding which is a very joyous time.

Over the past seven years I have done nothing but hope and pray to be closer in proximity to my family and friends.  Finally making it to Chicago in December 2009, I was ecstatic!  Just a three hour drive to our family and friends.

On April 19, 2010, Sam was diagnosed with stage four head and neck cancer.  He went through radical surgery which removed a softball size tumor in his neck, 50 lymph nodes, his right tonsil, right jugular vein, thyroid gland, and a baseball size tumor from the back of his tongue.  Enduring six weeks of radiation and chemo just to make sure they killed anything left.  Compared to that, the bleeding ulcer, 6 unit blood transfusion and high blood pressure episode narrowly missing a massive stroke were a walk in the park.

Fast forward to January 2011.  Hoping it would be a better year, we talked about trying to take advantage of the housing market and look for a home in Michigan where we would eventually retire.  We found our dream home on Lake Allegan, about 30 miles northwest of Kalamazoo.  We closed on the house in mid-March.

A month later we discovered Sam’s cancer had returned, this time in his right lung.  This time no cure.  This time palliative care is going to be the only treatment.

Are you sensing the pattern here?

The sweet is living in our dream home, being closer to our friends and family and living each day to the fullest.

The bitter:  well….you know.