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Giving Thanks for the End of the World

Giving Thanks for the End of the World

What we call the
beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end
is where we start from. ~ T.S. Eliot

The Thanksgiving selfie.
The necklace is a gift from Sheila.
There are crushing
periods in many of our lives that I think of as The End of the World As We Know
It, when we experience catastrophic change that evaporates our comfort zones,
rips away what we believe we hold most dear, and leaves us feeling sucker-punched
to the point we can’t breathe, much less cry. Sometimes The End comes without
warning, and sometimes it arrives in a slow motion, inevitable slide downwards,
one that we can see coming – but wish oh so hard never will.
We know that Very Bad Things
happen every day. Most of us have seen The End of the World as We Know It
within our own families, among our friends, and on the news. We cry then, and
we try to help as much as we can – but it doesn’t change the fact that
someone’s world as they know it is ending. And maybe we even imagine The End
happening to us, but it seems like a remote impenetrable theory rather than
anything real that we can apply to our own beloved comfort zones, our own
experiences of holding people, habits, and what we think we know dear.
When The End of My World
as I Knew It happened this year, it arrived with no warning, but also with
plenty of warning. It came as complete surprise when a life-saving chemotherapy
medication that had worked for eight years stopped relieving the symptoms of my
youngest daughter’s painful and incurable disease. Yet I saw the handwriting on
the wall for at least a year, probably longer, before a career that defined me
professionally, and perhaps too much personally, for most of my adult life
ended. I’m not much of a crier in my middle age, but twice, I fell to the floor
and cried great gulping tears – oddly months after I was sucker-punched with
devastating medical and job losses. The rest of the time I sleep-walked through
each day, and clumsily grieved for the end of what I believed I knew about
myself and my future, and for the failure of the medical science that had held
my fears of losing my daughter at bay.

But The End of the World
As We Know It is also The Beginning of a New World As We Will Know It, whether
we’re ready for it or not. A different kind of medical science was offered, one
that we’d always been told was never a possibility. My youngest daughter was
accepted into a FDA clinical trial for a ground-breaking treatment to attempt
to cure her incurable disease, one that holds hope not just for her, but for
many adults suffering from previously incurable metastatic and genetic
illnesses. But the trial is brutal in its own right and has more than its share
of heartbreaks. A different career path, one that will use much of the medical
and life experience I’ve already earned, has become possible, but will be
grueling to pursue while keeping my household afloat. I’m staying focused on the
new found discovery that what I believed I knew about the rest of my working
life is now filled with more opportunities for fulfillment than I ever imagined
before The End.
The beginning of my life with a beloved feline, thanks to Megan Mae.

So maybe it seems odd to
be giving thanks for the End of the World as I Knew It, but I am. The End seemed
unbearable, with so many comforting routines and long-held expectations – even
if some were self-limiting – gone forever. But it’s where our family is
starting anew. It’s the hardest beginning we’ve known so far, but we’ll take it
and welcome the hope that comes with it.
Peace, grace & love,

18 Responses to Giving Thanks for the End of the World

  1. Wise words. We humans tend to focus on routine and trivial concerns until life disrupts us from that slumber and forces us to confront larger issues. Then we either get strong or collapse. You have gotten stronger — but I wish you hadn't had to.

  2. Lynne and the Teen and the rest of your family, Happy Thanksgiving! You are so right– the end is sometimes just ahead of a beginning we are not yet ready for but nonetheless thrust into. Three cheers for optimism and unknown strength we find in these hard times! –Melissa

  3. Wow, what a journey you, and your family, have been on, Lynne. And so eloquently told. It's wonderful and inspiring to hear of you embracing a new beginning. My very best wishes to you and yours. I can't imagine what it would be like having a child with a chronic disease, even though my folks went through it with me, but I can relate to losing one's professional (or as you say, entire) identity, for a while, anyway. Then I became a Mom, and a wonderful new chapter started. Xo

  4. What a thoroughly brilliant post, Lynne. You write so well, and speak with such honesty.
    I thought about you (again) this week; someone I know is nursing their daughter (an adult) after she was involved in a terrible car crash and has sustained serious injuries. It's really hard for them both, and the prognosis is unclear, but my friend said she was glad to have the chance to look after her daughter like this, because the alternative is that she could have died in the crash. I'm not sure I would have the positivity and optimism to view it in such a way, but she really, really meant it.
    And you are so right – the End of Everything is the end of ONE way of living, and begs the question, what next? You have a wonderful "what next" planned, and you will bring so much wisdom and empathy and kindness to your new role.
    Much much love to you, and of course to The Teen, who is on her own journey of new beginnings. xxxxx

  5. I wish I could find the right words to encourage or inspire from your post, but I've never been very good at that. Instead, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers and I wish the best in new beginnings for you.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving, Lynn! As always your attitude comes through as sunny, even when the world seems to be raining. Love the picture of Sasha Jane, and happy to see that necklace is still floating around. I feel the love.

  7. So beautifully said, Lynne, about endings becoming beginnings. You are brave, and gracious, and have the talent to put your thoughts into words – for that, I am most grateful!

  8. I love the quote you chose to start this post.

    A very difficult emotional year for you for sure. Your strength and outlook is inspiring. You've never lost hope which requires so much determination and energy.

    Big hugs to you and your family as you begin your new journey.


  9. I am always so humbled by your posts, courage and words, Lynne. Your family is very lucky to have each other and finding the light in the darkest of times is the most admirable and brave thing one can do. I can't express enough how inspiring you are as a mother, woman and friend, but you are. Wishing you and yours all the best this season. I hope that this is a beautiful beginning for you and your family.

  10. Wow, I'm left speechless after reading your words. How you can put such big thoughts, ideas, feelings…all in one post so graciously is beyond me. The very best to you and your family for always.

  11. Being thankful when life deals hands filled with challenges takes courage and shows ones depth of character …. You are both courageous and have amazing character … Happy Thanksgiving Lynne

  12. What you and your lovely family have been through this year constantly amazes me. You cope with grace and aplomb. I'm so lucky to have met you here in bloglandia, I feel you have been put in my path for a reason. big hugs my dear friend. xoxoxoxox

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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