“Ordinary World” (8 months today)

I’ve mentioned before that Lucy enjoyed music. Two of her favorite songs were by Duran Duran, “Come Undone” and “Ordinary World“. Simon LeBon, the lead singer of Duran Duran, wrote “Ordinary World” in memory of a friend. The lyrics are both wistful and hopeful, what you would expect after losing someone close and trying to rebuild a life without that person.

Even after eight months, the world is still not ordinary, but it’s a lot less cold and dark. Much of that is attributable to one amazing person and several wonderful people. At this point, the new ordinary is a world with almost no joy and fleeting happiness but I’m adjusting to it OK. I still miss Lucy, and I always will.

Joy and passion are inexorably intertwined. My career in software development lasted as long as it did because I was passionate about quality development. Development requires a great deal of creativity and creativity blooms from passion fueled by joy. As such, I won’t re-enter the software development industry any time soon. It’s hard to do a great job when one’s heart isn’t in it and I refuse to merely put in time or be a burden on a development team.

Perhaps that sounds much dourer than it really is. Lucy spoiled me in the years we were together, and I spoiled her in return. I cannot remember a day I spent with her where I was not happy, and joy filled nearly all our days together. Looking back over the past 240+ days since her passing, I can count one day of joy and maybe a dozen with happiness. The rest of them are just days, though thankfully only a few can count as bad days and a few could actually count as good days. I had to adjust expectations for the first time in many years. It’s part of the healing process. The landscape has completely changed and I am learning my way around and finding new landmarks. Happiness is a faint glow on the distant horizon that gets a bit brighter as I plug away at moving forward.

Of course, there are positives. I am thrilled for my friend Gerry after the birth of his fourth grandchild earlier this morning. Lucy’s cousin Chris is waiting on the birth of her first grandchild in late March and perhaps some of her stories will be in “The Minnesota Farm Woman” blog. I also reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple of years and had quite a bit of fun despite my newly acquired anxiety of crowded places and each of us changing our appearance over the past few years. There have also been friends and family starting new jobs, moving to new homes, or becoming newlyweds. It’s been a very busy few weeks. I wish all of them well on their new endeavors.

I finished the house decorating. I’m finishing off a couple Christmas letters to get the last of the Christmas cards in the mail. It’s hard to believe, but the kitchen is presentable after the whirlwind of baking. Getting housework done is still a challenge. My hat is off to the single parent maintaining a full- time job, a house, and a child or several.

The 10.7″ snowfall Saturday night has settled a bit because of some above freezing days and sunshine. We are expecting another round Saturday. This may start as freezing rain with some ice accumulation first. I hope the forecast is wrong, as I would rather deal with a foot of snow than a tenth of an inch of ice.

Christmas plans are always fluid because of weather. Lucy would have her Christmas shopping nearly completed by Labor Day. I’m still trying to figure out what people want. Plans and presents should be closer to finalized in another week.

My biggest accomplishment was baking some traditional Christmas goodies that Lucy (primarily) and I would make every year. I managed to do so without burning the house down, having a profanity-laced tirade, or creating a hazardous materials incident. I made enough to share with Julie and Suzy. None of us required emergency care after ingesting the piirakkas or red velvet cupcakes. I do have to admit that for the cupcakes I broke down and bought Betty Crocker Buttery Frosting rather than make a creme cheese frosting. I’ll chalk it up as a win. Hey, they’re still talking to me…I think (just kidding!)

Take some time during the hubbub of the season to rejoice in the ordinary. Be thankful for a routine and navigating a familiar landscape. Life can still be an adventure that does not need exotic surroundings. Give your loved ones a meaningful hug and thank you for your time.

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