January Reflections: The Cruelest Month
January is almost over.
I can’t really bring myself to write about resumes and LinkedIn profiles today. Don’t get me wrong: Over the past few weeks, The Essay Expert has written many career documents. I have personally edited multiple drafts and updated several resumes we’ve written for past clients. I was even on WBBM radio talking about college application essays. I’m proud of that work and of the results our clients are getting.
But today, sitting down to write my blog, my thoughts are elsewhere.
I’m thinking of my dad, who died on January 31st 21 years ago—the last day of the month well-known to be the deadliest one of the year.
And my thoughts are also with a friend whose mom died unexpectedly last week. An avid union organizer her entire life and up to her last hours, she encouraged the woman taking her food order at the hospital to take advantage of the opportunities of the 1109 Union advancement program.
My thoughts are also with my 83-year-old uncle, who fell last week and broke his shoulder. As I write, I’m in his home “on call” for the night in case his health care worker needs a family member’s presence. Being here for him helps me feel like I’m being useful, as difficult as it is to see him in pain.
This time of year can be a trying one for anyone who has family facing health issues. Perhaps you are one of those who is caring for a loved one now, or who just lost someone dear to you. I think it’s so important to take some time to take care of yourself as we face these challenges.
When my dad died after a week in the hospital with pneumonia, I was 27 and in my second year of law school. Every day, unfailingly, I would go swimming or get exercise of some kind. Thankfully my family understood my compulsion. That’s how I kept my equilibrium through the most painful experience of my life.
We need time to reflect and to feel.
My friend who just lost his mom is a yoga teacher. After losing his mom, he didn’t do yoga for a week. Getting back to his practice made him feel more in touch with himself.
I’ve been looking at old pictures of my dad and feeling for myself how much I miss him. Even after so many years, it’s important for me to remember.
It’s uplifting to be in the presence of children, too. On my trip to NYC last week, I spent time with an 8- and a 5-year-old who were full of love and laughter (with a few lively tantrums thrown in for good balance!). And just last night, I was watching videos of my cousin’s adorably toddling 2-year-old in Israel. It’s good to be reminded that life, joy and silliness continue on.
It’s Sunday night as I write, and tomorrow I will get back to scheduling resume review and LinkedIn profile review sessions and matching up new clients with writers. It will be more or less business as usual. But I’ll also be thinking of those who have passed, and of the people who care for them, and of the never-ending cycles of life.