Murphy’s Law states that “anything that CAN go wrong, WILL go wrong”.
Robert Burns said “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.
The French say, “c’est la vie” which translates to “that’s life” in English.
King Nebuchadnezzar said, “I have dreamed a dream and now that dream is gone from me”.
You know what? I believe all of those phrases. Because no matter how hard you try, despite all of your perfect planning, things can blow up in your face, or at least, fall short of your expectations.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that I’m doomed to fail in all of my endeavors. In fact, my hard work and dedication have yielded great success in many areas of my life over the years.
That is until recently.
My faithful and longtime readers have read the ups and downs since I’ve started blogging back in December of 2018. And many of you should remember the promising turns in my life that I’ve shared. I especially couldn’t wait until 2020 to share how things have developed since my initial plans, but alas, Things Fell Apart – and not necessarily through any fault of my own. Let’s recap my plans and what happened.
- The great weight loss campaign. I had high hopes for this because everything was in place and the stage was set. What I hadn’t anticipated was the reaction to the new medications I was given. First, I took ill and gained weight. Then the car accident. I thought I could bounce back from that until I discovered that I couldn’t stand, let alone, walk, for more than 5-10 minutes without experiencing agonizing pain. That gummed up the works for jogging/walking, field photography, etc.
The pandemic also closed the gym, so the euro-cycle was out. Of course, my depression didn’t do anything positive for my eating habits shortly after either. As a result, not only did I gain the dreaded “COVID 30” (pounds) like many people since the pandemic began, but an additional 15! I’m not making excuses because when it comes to health, there IS no excuse. Just telling you what happened.
- Speaking of the pandemic and Photography – wow. I was so excited about all of the business opportunities I had in my pocket in early 2020. I literally had events lined up for the duration of spring and summer: weddings, parties, senior photos, sports events, a family reunion, etc. Then bang! Better yet, The Big Bang (Pt. 2).
Every – single – customer canceled on me because the world all but shut down. Not their fault, I know. But wow. I had to refund all of those deposits because these cancelations were beyond ALL of our control. I’m not one to put all of my eggs in one basket, but some of that money was already invested in new camera equipment. Income = zero.
- The Funk Preservation Society. Remember the music group I was forming? Man, I was so fueled and optimistic about this assembly of old(er) fogies getting together to jam and put together several songs I’d written over the years, essentially, “bringing back the funk”. Yup! COVID Strikes Again!!! By the time we were able to talk about practicing “safely”, the keyboard player had a mild stroke. Since then, my bass player passed away (may he rest in peace). His buddy (lead guitar and trumpet player), who was joining with him, lost interest after that. Can’t say that I blame him.
The rest of the group agreed to let things be and decided to not only call it a day, but “call it a life”. I haven’t lost the dream, but it seems that dream will have to see a complete recasting and frankly, I don’t know if I can get an ensemble like that again.
- My mother has dementia. It’s been growing for the past few years, but it’s at an all-time high now. She currently lives in a nursing home with pictures of her children around her bed as a reminder. I got to visit her once before the pandemic began but since then, she’s been locked away from us as part of their protocol to protect their residents. Yes, I understand and agree, but not being able to see her has been heartbreaking. It was doubly painful because when I talked to her on the phone, she really didn’t know who I was/am. She registers that she’s talking to “her son”, but she honestly doesn’t know me. Not like she used to.
My sister has been kind enough to coordinate zoom chats with all of our family members, including her, but that’s not the woman I know. Just listening to her talk, you can hear a childish innocence in her, devoid of life’s problematic episodes and memories (there is a funny story about my visit to see her. Maybe I’ll blog about it. It should cheer me up to talk about it).
Just recently, they’ve made visitation possible, but lo’ and behold, guess who tested positive for COVID 19? Momma. She’ recovering now, thank God. I’ll be seeing her as winter breaks.
- The loss of family and friends. Over the past few years, I’ve lost an unbelievable amount of relatives and lifelong cohorts. Old age, heart attack, diabetes complications, accidents, violence and suicide. I guess that at this age I should be prepared for anything because you tend to spend more time reading about the people in the obituary than the new family additions. I even lost some close friendships. It’s amazing how this past presidential election and recent social events have created such a fine line, with people scurrying to opposite sides. I’ll say this much though, it didn’t take long to realize where certain people were positioned racially, either.
- My saddest news. My son’s girlfriend lost the grandchild I was so happy to blog about months back. If you’ve been following, you remember the grand announcement and then my post, “A Parent’s Nightmare”, about almost losing him (my oldest) to an infection that put him in the Intensive Care Unit. Well, I suppose the emotional stress and trauma was more than any mother-to-be could bear, as she lost their child about a week after his release.
I was told that it was a boy, to be named, “Kenny”. I hope you all can forgive me for not posting it on social media, but I’m sure you understand that I didn’t deem it at all appropriate. All I could do was answer, via private message, anyone that asked me for updates on my first grandchild. One as recently as yesterday. The majority of my friends still have no clue and believe that the child is arlready here.
- My book. I can’t blame the preceding experience, but when my son told us that they lost the baby, I shut down, mentally and emotionally. My heart broke for them, but I was devastated as well. I was so happy to have my very own grandson coming that I never considered the thought that something could happen to him. I think I cried in private every night for two weeks. They told me they’d keep working on a grandson for me, but I told them that their efforts should be for them; not me or anyone else. I appreciate them thinking of me, knowing how much I crave to be “RoboPopPop” or “G-Pa”, but this is about them.
Still, even when I began the healing process, I lost the desire to continue the book. Blogging wasn’t as much an issue because most of what I wrote was unrelated to my personal life and a lot of it had already been written and waiting/scheduled to post. But to talk about my life, knowing that my family and its future had changed… Well, I’m sure you can understand. I just ask that you not comment about it on social media. I will have no choice but to delete it.
So what now? Or to quote the song title, “Where do we go from here?” I honestly don’t know. What I DO know is that I’m not giving up. True, I’m down, but I’ll be damned if I admit that I’m out. I had done my best in many situations, but even though the center DID hold, things fell apart.
- I’ve gotten back on a proper eating plan and have been receiving treatment for my injury. I’ve got an aerobic step and am doing as many minutes as I can, few as they are. The sooner I lose the weight, no matter how small the increments, the better my back will be. The better my back, the more I can exercise. The more I exercise and diet, the more weight I lose. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.
- I’ve begun shooting again (with a camera, you nincompoops!). People know my condition and that I have to use a chair in my home photography studio. I’ve even taken a chair out to my first outdoor shoot, a few months ago. It was fun to watch. Unfortunately, I had to stand and walk often, but we got the job done.
- The music will hold, for now. I’m not rushing to put together a band of replacements. It took time to find the right guys and it will take significant time to find new ones. We had cohesion and I liked our chances. But I promise, the dream won’t die. Let’s just hope I don’t either. At least anytime soon.
- I will continue to make the most of my time with momma. I know she will continue to get worse. She’s lost so much weight because she actually forgets to eat and has to be told to do so. I will continue to contact her, tell her who I am, multiple times throughout the conversation, and never stop loving her. I’m just grateful for the time I DO still have with her.
- I will continue to love and embrace family and friends. Nothing in life is certain. Not even tomorrow. All I can do is get up when the alarm goes off or when my bladder fails (whichever comes first) and get it started. I read that “Moving on doesn’t mean you forget about things. It just means you have to accept what happened and continue living.”. I’ll keep on loving the ones I’ve lost, whether they’re dead or alive.
- My grandbabies-to-be. They’ll come, in time. We’ve embraced my son’s girlfriend and she knows that she’s got the ultimate support system. We’ve accepted her a long time ago and we know that either they or the other boys will bring me plenty of grandchildren. Hopefully not before THEY’RE ready. But when they do, hopefully I will have shaken the “COVID 30” and many more pounds.
- My book ain’t going anywhere. I had made great progress before I stopped and I won’t forget what I’m supposed to write. They were real-life events that have already been plotted in the draft. All that remains is that they be creatively fleshed out. When my spirit has lifted and the humor finds its way back into my writing, I will continue.
- Finally, although I haven’t mentioned it before, I need to put and keep God first. He is the reason I made it this far and I need to thank Him, not just for the blessings He has bestowed upon me, not just for the help and peace He has given me when I asked, but being there, period. For gifting me with family, friends, life, talent, strength, health…
…and a bunch of loyal and loving readers.
So I press on, even when things fall apart. Through God and perseverance, the center will hold.
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and
everywhere the ceremony of innocence is lost
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
are filled with passionate intensity.”