This week has been a very sad one for me.
On Monday, I learned that my parents, who have owned their own small business for the past twenty some-odd years, will be losing it come December 31st. It was a business that my dad especially put his heart and soul into, and with it goes their livelihood. They're worried, naturally, about finances. About whether or not they'll be able to find jobs in this economy. About starting over in their 60's. I can't say those fears are unfounded.
I haven't always seen eye-to-eye with my parents, but I still love them, and their loss still pains me. I hadn't quite recovered from their news when I got the phone call Tuesday morning that my uncle, who was very dear to me, died unexpectedly of a heart attack while he was visiting his wife in the ICU. My aunt's not expected to make it much longer either.
I've cried more these past few days than I have in several years, until I didn't think there could possibly be any more tears. But then I'd see something, or hear something, or think something, and it would set me off again--the bench my uncle made for me when I was seven that has probably seen better days, but which I've always found a special place for wherever I've lived, or the antique fishing pole he gave me when I got married, making me promise we'd go fishing together the coming spring.
The coming spring, I was pregnant, and we never did go fishing. Of all the regrets I have, somehow that one eats at me the most. Still, I know he wouldn't want me to wallow in sadness. He'd tell me to buck up and get on with life, just as he'd done any number of times in his own. Despite whatever hardships he faced--and there were many--he was always kind, always positive, and always determined. It's what I loved most about him.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about my own life lately and what I want to do with it. I'm blessed with the option to choose which direction I take it, but I've squandered perfectly good opportunities in favor of waiting for the "right time" to take advantage of them. When will I ever learn? If anything, this week has reminded me that there is no right time, there is only right now.
Although I'd already planned to go back to school before all of this happened, this cemented the decision for me. Now I'm all signed up to begin my first class in a one year online digital design program at the Art Institute on Monday. It's the first step toward a career in graphic design, which has always interested me.
I'm nervous and excited, but most of all, I'm grateful--for the parents who raised me, and the uncle who inspired me.