It’s been a rough and bumpy couple of months.  I turned 30, and on the same day, I mourned the one-year anniversary of my dad’s death.


mixedemotionsNothing should surprise me anymore, but it does.  When someone else close to me has been felled by something bad, I still have no words, even though I have experienced this before.


About two months ago, I got a call from my previous boss.  She told me that they needed me to come back, as one of my fellow co-workers was sick.  We didn’t know at the time, but the person who is sick has a brain tumor.  This person literally went from being healthy one day to incredibly sick the next.


When my boss called me and told me this, I told her she needed to hold on and I needed to process what she was telling me.  Our job involves helping patients during difficult, high-stress times.  But when it’s one of your own, it’s a completely different situation.


I have a lot of mixed emotions about this.  I’m glad to be working again (especially at a job I love), even though it is not clear how long I will be working for.  But I now have a job at the expense of someone else.  And even though I have a job right now, I am still actively looking for full-time work, as it’s not clear if and when this person will be returning to work.


Maybe some people are sensitized to bad things happening, but I’m not.  I was diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 22.  I lost an uncle and close cousin to cancer. My dad died as a result of a natural disaster, a flood the likes of which won’t be seen for another 500 years.  And yet, the world still surprises and upsets me.


Don’t get me wrong.  I have no illusions that life is fair and just.  But when something bad happens, the lack of fairness and justice is pointed out in full relief.

My 30th birthday should have been a high, but it really wasn’t.  It didn’t feel like my birthday.  It’s the day my dad went missing and presumably died.  It’s hard to celebrate when someone who was such an important part of my life isn’t there anymore to celebrate with me.


Thankfully in all of this, my health has remained relatively stable, but I didn’t really expect it to.  I really didn’t.  I remember right after my dad died, I never imagined how life would move forward.  But it has to.  Or it doesn’t.


But it doesn’t automatically get easier.  There is no magic moment when you move from year one to year two.


And that’s what the past year has really meant to me.  It has been full of highs and lows.  And sometimes it has been hard to face both the highs and the lows.


What I take from this experience is that if you are actually going to live life, you have to take the bitter and the sweet.  You have to experience it all.  The good only seems so because of the bad, and the bad only seems so because of the good.  As much as we would like to skip over the bad and only experience the good, we have to have both.