They can be pretty special.
That first kiss with someone you'd been dying to kiss - remember that?
Your first trip to a vacation spot you'd been dying to visit?
If you're a writer - seeing your first piece published? Your first book on a shelf in a bookstore?
If you're an artist - seeing your first piece hanging, seeing your first piece of pottery in a gallery?
Remember? Of course you do.
Moments that cannot be explained in words that could ever match what you feel inside.
But you remember.
There are others.
There are the firsts that will tear a person's heart out.
The first holiday without that person you loved.
I've gone through some firsts recently.
Now I'm trying to learn how to balance them.
Learn to live with loss, but at the same time not let it cast too long a shadow over the things that can bring joy.
I've suffered losses recently.
The toughest of them on July 28th.
Several of my friends have also suffered losses in the recent past. It seems like an awfully high number, honestly. Is it the fact of growing older that increases the losses? I suppose.
But knowledge, in this case, does not make it easier. Does not ease the pain.
What can help ease the pain of loss?
Opening yourself, I guess, to the joy of the firsts that can, if allowed, bring you a bit of happiness.
Those are things that your missing loved ones would share with you, and embrace. And want you to embrace.
I recently opened a box of my mom's things that has been sitting in our sunroom since July. I thought it was a box of old photos and I just wasn't ready.
Finally thinking I was as ready as I'd ever be, I fixed a cup of coffee, invited Harley up on the sofa with me and opened the box.
There were, indeed, photos. Photo albums. Envelopes full of photos.
There were also stacks of magazines.
Stacks of three separate magazines.
A regional magazine that included an interview with me done by my friend Marlisa Mills. A local magazine with an interview of me along with a review of "Whimsey." A regional magazine which included an essay I had written.
Why so many copies?
And how did she even come to have so many?
Questions, I can't ask her. Will never know the answer to.
and hitting me like a slap in the head was the knowledge that I had made my mom proud.
I was lucky.
I had a mom and a dad who could easily tell me, and show me, that I made them proud.
I know there are many not so lucky.
Finding those magazines . . .
So while I'm dealing with the fact that my mom won't be here to help me fix this year's Thanksgiving dinner - a first. I'm going to temper it and try to find some kind of balance in remembering how proud she was of me. And place next to her spot at our Thanksgiving table another first - a copy of a magazine that named me one of their winners in a short story contest, Southern Writers Magazine. The joy in this is mine. It would be a much larger joy if I could share it with my mother.
So. Reds. Let me tell you - this was not the piece I started out to write.
Anyone want to share anything here?
Anything concerning losses, firsts - balancing?
sending out hugs to all of you.