I started thinking about how my time off began. I was still on leave after the death of my mother. She had fought ovarian cancer for more than five years, but in the end it was too much. I was tired and mentally and emotionally worn out, so in addition to the time allotted by my company, I had extended my leave. Then, one week after mom died, I got a call from my boss to dial into a department meeting and give her a call afterwards. I, along with almost 200 other people, was getting my sixty day notice. So what did DH and I do? Celebrate of course! We went to a local winery, bought a bottle of our favorite, and sat out on the hill overlooking the reservoir and watched the goats.
These past two plus years really have been a gift. To me. To my husband. To family, friends, church. I could be present in ways I hadn't been able to before.
Only one month after mom died, my sister got married. And mom promised us, and if you knew her you would believe it, that if the wedding didn't go on she would come back and haunt us. Thankfully I got at least a portion of her talent for sewing and was able to tailor the flower girl's dress that mom would have done. And I could be there for my sister when she went to pick up her dress and learn how to bustle it.
And mom's wasn't the only death our family experienced. My uncle died suddenly and unexpectedly and my cousin's wife died six months after mom of the same thing. I had the time to be able to got to Jane's funeral 600 miles and 3 states away. My my aunt's grand kids came for visits the following summer I was able to take them to baseball games and to Cedar Point.
I had time to reconnect with my dad. We had lunch often. We took drives to Amish country to get cheese and butter and just watch life go by. We even built a bridge. And when he took flying lessons at a nearby airport he came over and gave us the scoop on what happened. I got to know him as I never had before. What a gift that is!
I had time to do things I like. Walk the dog. Read. Sew. Learn to make bread. I finally perfected DH's favorite egg bread. I made three quilts. I read, and actually enjoyed, Chesterton. I discovered a few new authors and read some old favorites.
I am so grateful for this time I had. I pray that I can take lessons learned and the relationships formed and keep moving in the right direction. I want to use my time wisely. Do what's important and right, not what is expected. And still be grateful for what I'm doing and where I'm at with the time I'm given.