Sunday October 20, 2019

The days, weeks, months continue to fly by. I guess that's a good thing. It must mean we are busy and engaged in what we are doing. Life is good.

Dan is very busy with work and a couple of other projects, Erin is having a great fall quarter, and I am working my way through my first two classes of my master's degree. We're all doing exactly what we should be doing, I believe.

Erin is loving apartment life. Her roommates are great and the location of her apartment is even more convenient that her dorm was last year. With no cafeteria food plan this year, she is in charge of her own meals and she's been sending me and Dan photos of her creations. The other night it was a chicken breast, green beans and over roasted potatoes. I have to say, when it comes to working in the kitchen, she's way ahead of me. And I don't mean me at age 18, I mean me now at age 50!

I'm sure that she will tire of making her own meals as the year progresses, but for now, she's empowered by her "adulting" as she calls it. Her classes are going well and she even got to touch her first dead body in anatomy lab the other day. Exciting times!

School for me is going well, too, although it's taken some work to get up to speed. I had a bit of a meltdown the first few weeks as I tried to get back to being a student. Doing research and writing papers with APA in text citations and an annotated bibliography?!?! WTF? It has been 30 years since I wrote an academic-type paper and I was a bit out of practice. Dan and Erin supported me... and laughed at me... which was supportive in its own way :)  I will say I've enjoyed thinking and stretching my brain in different ways as I work on the various assignments. It's good to get out of my comfort zone.

I was listening to a favorite artist of ours, Eric Hutchinson, on my walk the other day. Dan and I got to see E Hutch perform in Minneapolis back in August and he's been back in my music rota of late. I had just completed a big assignment and my work was done for the week. I was watching Gus run in his happy puppy way (He's 18 months but still a puppy, trust me) and the song "Best Days" came on in my ear buds:

Give and take, we catch our breaks
We all learn to survive
Oh, but don't look now
I said don't look now
Cause here we are
Living the best days of our lives

It stopped me in my tracks to realize that I was thinking about whether or not I could call these our best days. Do I ever have the right to have a "best day" again? Can I ever say life is as good as its ever been, or was that door closed when Shannon left us?

It is a strange thing to wonder. We all want to say we're working towards our best lives and our best selves. Dan, Erin and I are doing the work to make life as good as it can be. But do we have to accept that it's never "the best" it could be? Can we accept that it's the best it can be considering what we've lost? I think so. I hope so.

And we're not alone. Loss is a part of the human condition and, as time passes, Erin, Dan and I meet more and more people who have their own struggles and their own grief from whatever loss they've experienced. I don't know if it makes grief any less lonely, but it makes me feel more connected to the world. I have my thing, but others have theirs, and we're all doing our best in our own ways. And right now, our best is pretty good.

So, these are the "best days", with a caveat. We're allowed to be happy. Even without Shannon.