The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.|
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.