Birthday Reflections

Since today is my birthday I was doing some reflecting. I think people tend to do that when they realize they are another year older and mortality starts to become a little more real. So, at the ripe, old age of 24 I am going to share my life-reflections with you (most of which are from this past week)

This has been a week of huge ups and downs, an emotional roller coaster if you will.
I thought this was a really funny pic- and festive! 
Sunday night I barely slept. I was terrified of going into work and facing my first week flying solo.

But, the worst thing that happened is that I ALMOST lost my donation of Christmas decor. No worries! I got it all back! :)
Then, Tuesday, I had a face-to-face conversation I was dreading with a co-worker. But hey- that went well too! God has really been blessing me work and guiding me through everything.
Tuesday also reminded me of why I used to hate the holidays. Family "Stuff" always comes dredging up - I am not sure why things are a big deal in December, when it doesn't seem to matter the other 11 months of the year.
Wednesday - hump day! - Was a pretty normal day- was feeling a bit headache-y at the end of the day and went to leave work when I got some really sad news. Our receptionist, Carolyn, had been very recently diagnoses with lung cancer, and yesterday she passed away. She was fairly young, in  her 50's, and this all went incredibly fast. She was so well-loved by families and residents and had a huge heart and caring spirit. She will be missed.
So- now we are up to Thursday. My birthday. It was a strange mixture of celebration, mourning, connection, disappointment, inadequacy, and surprise.
Celebration: I felt very loved via the electronic world- phone, email, and facebook blew up with many well-wishes.
Disappointment: Thought some relationships I had with people were more than they are, but then again, I often expect too much. (That's cryptic, I know, but there are some things the world doesn't need to know- if you care, ask and I can share)
Inadequacy: At 24 years old I am the head of an entire department. Every. single. person. in that department is older than me. I learned a great philosophy about managing people back in my landfill days. My boss there said that he always tries to be the type of boss he would want to have. I really want to apply that philosophy to my management. My staff has been very gracious about overlooking the fact that most of them are old enough to be my parents or even grandparents. But I feel like I could be walking a thin line here.
Surprise- My darling hubby sent me flowers at work AND I got to share dinner with him tonight at a restaurant. It was amazing to be able to actually spend an itty bit of quality time with him. 
And finally:
Mourning and Connection: We had a memorial service scheduled at work today for staff members to gather and talk about residents that they have cared for who have passed away. With the news of Carolyn so fresh and shocking, the service really evolved into something else entirely. I sat in this service with people I see nearly every day and watched them cry, mourn, and share some incredibly personal stories of loss. My eyes were really opened to the journeys these people have been on. I see some of them in a totally new light after today and I know that they are looking at me through new eyes too. I did open up about my mom a bit, but several of the staff came up to me and were like "I had no idea and your story touched me". One woman was impressed that I was able to stay composed and not cry while sharing.... but I felt weird that I was so emotion-less in a room so full, brimming over, busting at the seams with emotion. It was a safe place to let go and I just really appreciated that I was able to be a part of that today and share grief with others. It was not exactly celebratory for a birthday, but it was special.
So I leave you with this video of the song that my amazing mom chose to have played at her funeral. This is probably going to be the one thing that does make me shed some tears today :)


Joyce LaPier said...

This song brings tears to my eyes everytime I hear it, I guess it always will. Your mother, my sister will always be remembered and never forgotten. She was an inspiration to all around her. Love you Ashlea,
Aunt Joyce

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