It is with mixed feelings that I bid farewell to 2009. It is one of those years where there were many firsts and lasts. As these “firsts and lasts” are happening, the opportunity to experience these moments will be something of the past. That’s the funny thing about time. Time can be kind, cruel, temporary, although the lasting recollection of these events when you wax nostalgic can be so fresh that you sometimes think you are reliving the moment for the first time.
2009 started out with so much happiness. We started the year with a celebration, it was my daughter’s 3rd birthday and she was surrounded by all of her family. It was the first time she appreciated birthdays and all of the fun that can be associated with this event. It was also the last time that all four of her grandparents would be in the same room, feeding her cake as she clapped in enthusiasm for time passing by, even though all she cared about was cake.
In February, I watched my father and mother leave for the United States to return to their homeland, India. It was my father’s dying wish to visit his birth city of Dwarka, of course hoping it wouldn’t be his last time to visit his hometown. I knew there was a chance he wouldn’t return, but hoped I would be able to see him one more time. He did return, but in March 2009, he would never walk again and never be able to breath without his oxygen at his side. It was the last time I said I love you to my father and on March 22, 2009, he passed. I wasn’t there at the exact last moment he exited the earth, missing him by thirty minutes. It was the last time I hugged him, of course, his lifeless body still quite vivid in my mind. Time didn’t allow me to linger too much on this reality. It shoves you forward, pushing you from behind even though you are not ready.
In July 2009, my husband finished his medical training and accepted a position in Phoenix. We celebrated his accomplishments and as he graduated, we left our apartment in Houston to move into our new home. So for the first time, I left Texas, when I never thought I would leave the state for anybody or anything. Our family gained an additional member, not by way of a new baby, but by way of my mother. I think about her presence in our home and think about my childhood home, and realize it is hollow, nothing but empty space dusting the rooms. It was only in 2008 that all of us gathered, my father sitting in the living room playing with my daughter, my mom in the kitchen making my favorite food, and my husband and I talking with my sister about nothing in particular.
Time doesn’t care, it lures you in so you can experience, setting you up for the next moment. I know that firsts and lasts will keep happening and I will, like so many others reminisce about past events and anticipate what is to come. What I’ve learned is that because time is so unforgiving, you should embrace each event, whether painful or happy, with as much intensity as you can. Immerse yourself in the current time and accept that this is where time wants you to be. I realized that in the past, so much of my mind was dedicated to moving on, instead of pressing pause. I am trying to learn that it isn’t really time that is out to get me, but my neglect of it. So as 2009 ends, I head to Flagstaff to experience snow in the mountains for the first time, knowing time will move on, but how I immerse myself in it is completely up to me.