Around this time every year it is time to buy a new calendar and start filling it with all the sporting events, parties, Dr. and DDS appointments made 6 months in advance, and get generally organized as we approach the starting of a new year.
I usually take about 40 minutes to pick out a new calendar. This year I grabbed the one with Asian images and Thich Nhat Hanh quotes on it because if the last week is any indication, I need to calm the heck down and mindfulness quotes can do that for me.
As I settled in to filling in the crisp new pages without any cross outs, arrows, or kids' embellishments of "yay!" for sleepovers or "don't go!" for trips, I grabbed my current calendar to copy birthdays down. And that is when I stopped and just stared at all the pages.
What a year.
And I don't just mean the heavy stuff. I mean, I saw an elaborate meal crossed off the dinner menu one night because a friend called for a walk. I remember that walk.
A dentist appointment that started me seething. I don't even go to that dentist anymore.
A birthday I write down every year even though I am not in touch with that person- do I not write it this year?
A birthday of a friend I never hear from lately. I texted her a hello.
Whoa! So many birthdays in February, March, August.
I looked at Little Brendan's birthday and he shares it with the Dalai Lama.
(Of course he does.)
April. My Father's birthday. My Dad's day of first breath. And, there. Two weeks later he had died. I kind of had to meet my new April. The whole month had just become so much different than the Spring, new life, daylight filled days that it was back in March. What struck me was that my Dad died on Good Friday. This upcoming year Good Friday lands on his Birthday. That spoke to me. Not so much in a religious sense since I am not religious. But Dear ol' Da grew up a good Catholic boy into the man who made sure we all got the foundation of a religion that so shaped his family, neighborhood, and men he worked for. I thought it a decent nod to a life well lead. I also liked that the day he was born the first year after he died was labeled a Good Friday, because his death was a blessing and his presence in the world was quietly powerful.
As I hung up the calendar I faced the quote that tells me that my looking ahead and looking back needs to come to an end.