As 2015 draws to a close, I thought this was a good time to reflect and look back on an eventful year. One of the many “highs” of the year was my trip to Hawaii in early February to cheer on the OU Softball team in their first games of the season. From the team starting off with many wins, to learning (read: attempting) to snorkel, to stopping multiple times along coastline to take breathtaking photos, soaking up history at Pearl Harbor…the trip was a blast and one I’d repeat in a heartbeat.
While that was only the beginning of 2015, the year seemed to go by fast and with a monumental event like losing a parent, you realize just how fast life can go. From early spring, we knew my Dad’s days were numbered and saw this as an opportunity to start preparing ourselves (not everyone has this chance and we were grateful for the time). Dad started to go downhill and throughout the whole ordeal of being on hospice, he maintained a great attitude, still having the energy to roll his eyes and yell at the TV for some political comment made on Fox News. Dad passed peacefully on June 6th and with no regrets. We were so touched by all the phone calls, notes and people showing up at the various services to be there for us. My sisters and I were once again able to see just how many lives our parents have touched.
Once back home in Norman, I dove into work and also into helping to plan the 50th anniversary of my grammar school. One of my former teachers and I exchanged texts and emails on a daily basis trying to put together what we wanted to be a memorable, fun event. As with most everything she does, she sets the bar high. This was no different…and she met those very high expectations quite easily (well-done, Ardie Herring). The evening was a success filled with alumni ranging graduates of the 1970’s to 2000’s and teachers, both current and former (including one we hadn’t seen in 27 years). This short weekend “home” (San Antonio) increased my interest even more to be there on a more permanent basis and I headed back to Norman this time with a determination to do whatever it took to move closer to family. In late October, I received a text from a former teacher (see how it pays off to keep in touch) about an opening at my old grammar school. A week later, I interviewed with the committee and a few days after that, I accepted the job of Admissions Director. Two weeks later, my house was ready to be put on the market and my Mom, middle sister and I drove two cars full of my things down to San Antonio.
While we knew it would be hard, we also made this past Thanksgiving an inspirational and productive one. For a while now, my middle sister Kathy wanted to do something to honor our Dad. After bouncing a few ideas around, putting them on paper and getting the green light from her very practical husband, our new venture of Live.Simple was born. I would love for you all to read “Our Story” about how it all began.
I’ve been told that all of the “firsts” are hard…holidays, birthdays and various events without those people we’ve lost. The tears still come but thankfully the laughs and smiles outnumber the sad moments.
It’s now December 31st . Having just turned a year older, and from the events of this year, I’ve gained an even bigger appreciation for the people in my life. I’ve made efforts to enjoy all the little moments, forge new relationships and reignite old ones. Life’s too short to have regrets.
Happy New Year and all the best in 2016!