Tuesday 2 January 2018

Our Role in The Circle of Life: What's Your Title?

Over the holidays this year, I've been thinking a lot about birth, mortality and all that's in between. I guess you'd say, I've been pondering the circle of life and my role in it.

A week before Christmas, the wife of a lifelong friend gave birth to a perfectly beautiful baby girl. Jim and I visited our friends and I was lucky enough to cradle a newborn for the first time in many years. Standing, the shifting of my weight from side to side came naturally and tiny Sophie settled in my arms peacefully. I was filled with memories of my own babies and felt the awe of new life awaken in my bones. 

On Christmas Eve, my Mom turned 96. Born in 1921 in Montreal, she was a child of the depression and was scarred by losses during the war. Her birthday was a day of celebration and reminiscence. Everyone in our family gathered for Mom's special party except that is, for our daughter Natalie. 

Natalie and her partner arrived home late on Christmas Eve - they were delayed by the grave illness of Nat's partner's grandfather in the midwest. No one knew how long this dearly loved man's life would last, but everyone hoped that hospice at home would translate to at least a few weeks. It was not to be. Grandfather passed away just days after Christmas.

I'm a mother, a daughter, a caregiver and a friend. But it struck me over the holidays that we often describe ourselves in professional terms instead. Usually, I use words like 'consultant', 'advisor', 'coach' or 'writer'. But those professional descriptions don't matter in the grand scheme of things. What matters is understanding the limits and possibilities within our most vital relationships. And keeping love and life going is our greatest burden and our greatest reward.

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