2010 Started with a bang. I had huge plans and tons of motivation. I had a plan. And I dove right in. I talked to Dad several days a week and he was my biggest cheerleader. I was completely enamoured with photography and with the connection it gave Dad and I. I entered photo contests, and I was constantly out with my camera, getting awesome and different shots. Fast forward to early, early morning on Feb. 13. I received a call from my brother that Dad was non-responsive, but the EMT's were working on him. A hour or so later, he called back. He said "I'm sorry, but he didn't make it." I crashed hard. Part of my world was gone. The next month or so was a blur. His funeral was amazing, such an outpouring of love from the entire community. I don't know if this is just the way it's done in Small Town USA, but people came out of their businesses on main street to see the funeral procession and pay respects. They stood there, solemn, on the sidewalks...
Since that day, I have only been out with my camera maybe 5 times. The connection is not there, though I would like to get it back. I began to bounce back from the loss a bit about 3 weeks after Dad died. I was spending hours on the phone with his wife of 28 years, hearing lots of stories about Dad. His love for Benny Hill, for instance. I was so thankful for that connection, because it was a tie to Dad. Then, 28 days after Dad died, she passed away as well. The doctors said it was from a broken heart. And the connection was lost. My heart spun out of control again, and I was so tender.
I have never been one to cry much. But 2010 has made me more tender. It has also made me connect to people I wouldn't have before. It has made me reach out to those that are hurting. It has taught me more than I ever cared to know about grief.
Oh, one other very important thing happened in the early part of the year. Shortly after Dad's death, a loved family member, but known crazymaker did the unthinkable and waged an attack on his character to me. Love, grief, death and struggles made me fierce. I would not tolerate such an attack and so far it's been unforgivable. So... tender and fierce. Odd combination, huh?
At the end of September, I got the call that my brother's wife had passed away in her sleep. Days before her 32nd birthday, leaving 3 children and my dear brother. Seems we weren't done learning about grief. I see the struggles Tony is going for and my heart breaks. I am thousands of miles away, so all I can do is talk to him, be there for him. I cry often now, thinking of his broken heart. Thinking of his 13 year old daughter who reminds me so much of myself. And I would claw anyone to pieces if they hurt them.
2010 has taught me that life is fleeting. It has taught me that love is worth fighting for. It has taught me that sometimes fierce and tender live in the same body. It has taught me that there is some behavior I simply will not tolerate. It was a rough year, indeed. But the lessons were plentiful.