Slice of Life: A Year of Discovery

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My One Little Word for 2015 was “discover.” I feel now like the housekeeper in the Bing Crosby movie White Christmas when she says, “sometimes you find out things you wish you hadn’t.” How could I have known that I’d discover what it was like to watch my 32 year old daughter-in-law lose her battle with metastatic melanoma? Or that I’d learn that hearts really do ache when they’re broken?

Everything else I discovered this year has the shadow of Julia’s death hanging over it. We’ve gone back to a semblance of daily life; I’ve even done most of the Christmas baking I usually do. But thoughts of Julia and Michael are never far from the surface. My grief for their lost life together is sometimes paralyzing, as is my worry about Michael’s life to come.

I know that our family is not the only family missing a loved one this holiday season. Sadly, the headlines have been too full of violent and untimely loss. That doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m not sure I’ll choose a word for 2016. Maybe I’m being superstitious, but it feels like tempting fate. Or maybe I will choose a word. That word is love. Because love is truly what has helped us all survive the past four months. And maybe that’s the most important discovery of all.

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnnaBeth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

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10 thoughts on “Slice of Life: A Year of Discovery

  1. I’ve thought of all of you often, Katherine, and wondered how you were doing. Connecting with your word, “discover” is daunting, isn’t it? Yet, I imagine that you also discovered the power of friendships and family during this terribly sad time. And there, at the end, maybe from your writing, you discovered “love”, the only thing to me that counts. Hugs to you and your family. Grief is different for each one touched by it. Just know you are in my thoughts with care.

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  2. Your post stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been trying to think about my own OLW for our January TWT post. When you wrote yours was “discovery” and then referenced “White Christmas” and the nosy housekeeper (“White Christmas” is one of my all-time favorite movies), I wasn’t prepared to read on about the terrible loss of your young daughter-in-law. Oh my heart breaks for your family and your son. I’m glad love has seen you through. Life is so dreadfully unfair. Sending loving thoughts to you and your family and I love your 2016 OLW. It’s really all that matters.

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  3. Wow! You never know what is going to be in a post when you click the link. Now I have tears flowing down my face as we are nearly at the end of the same horrible battle with my step-dad. Yes, 81 is a HUGE difference than 32, but I would guess that having the disease reek havoc on organs and tumors popping out on the skin are not so different. We fly home on Friday. I know he wants to see his six year old grand daughter, but she tells him she wants him to be with Jesus so his body doesn’t hurt any more. Blessings on you and your family as you grieve.

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  4. My heart aches for you and your family. I agree with Linda that grief is a very personal journey and I hope that your and your son’s journey is eased by the love of friends and family. I’m holding you and your family close in my thoughts.

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  5. I am crying for you. I get extra sentimental around the holidays. Remembering our quiet conversation at NCTE, I feel your heartache. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. For whatever it’s worth, writing helps and heals. I know that love will get you through this, but give it time. The wound is still so fresh and fragile. Sending a warm hug your way.

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  6. Catherine,
    There are no easy words because all the FIRSTS are so incredibly hurtful as you remember both what was and wonder what might have been. Take comfort in the time and memories that you did have and share that love. You are not alone, but yes you do have a new loneliness! Wishing you a measure of peace during the holidays.

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  7. This is so heart felt and very, very true. I’m very sorry for your family. I just lost my mom after a very difficult year. I feel like slicing is just impossible, though I keep writing personally. Today I’m trying to clean my office. Everything reminds me of her. I love that you keep on sharing. I will pray for your family and all of your tender hearts… my bookshelves are done, that is all I can do today. xo nanc

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