Days of Life

Life is like an hourglass. It needs to be flipped over every now and then.

I used a variation of that title phrase in a recent email to a friend. Funny, ever since then it’s been bouncing around in my gray matter and made me remember several red-letter days in my life and what about the day made them memorable to me.

With the first few days that popped up, I didn’t see what the connecting thread was. However, this morning, it dawned on me–sort of like the sunrise that wasn’t this morning. You got it–another dreary day. We still have the lights on.

But I digress.

You’re probably asking and rightly so, “What’s the connection?”

Nothing earth-shattering when I tell you–life changing.

Yes, that’s the connection. In some way those days changed me, my life, my family, my world. Maybe even others beyond my immediate sphere.

Think about it for a minute. I’ll give you a few examples.

The late evening conversation I had with the man who called to ask me for a date. He ultimately became my husband; we’ve been married over 30 years. Understand this–at the time I firmly believed I’d never marry again. Been there, done that, it was a disaster. The experience gave me wisdom beyond measure and a better knowledge of myself. I was sure that staying single was my best option.

One of our first trips to Carmel and a favorite day.

On that theme, the late afternoon conversation with this same man who I’d known about 6 weeks. Talking turned into an argument over a workers’ strike that had gained national attention. He infuriated me with his views so different from mine. I walked away from him when we couldn’t agree to disagree. Before I did that, I told him not to bother to stay in touch.

He didn’t. But a few days later he showed up at my front door. We talked again–on the front porch–in view of all the neighbors. We continued the discussion after he admitted he enjoyed playing devil’s advocate. He liked that we could have disagreements and differing opinions. He respected my right to my beliefs, but he expected the same from me. And he didn’t intend to walk away.

I learned this was a man I could argue with and he wouldn’t get angry. I did respect him. Needless to say, we’ve enjoyed some friendly bickering ever since.

Other days of my life I hold dear for many different reasons. My college graduations, the births of my children, my wedding day, the few moments of consciousness before my two life threatening/altering surgeries, the day my husband “died” 3 times during a 12 hour surgery, the days my two sons died. And many more.

Another favorite day in my life in another place I love.

They have become my life of days.

Do you have some? Please share one.

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15 Comments on “Days of Life”

  1. Teri Constant Says:

    You always make us think, MJ. I am actually thinking about Carmel…part of my California life where my first daughter was born and my husband received his orders for Vietnam duty. Life changing as you say.


  2. Beautiful post! Days of my life…like you, the births of my three children are a given, along with my wedding day. Others that come to mind…the day I saw two pink lines, the day I went to my first RWA meeting, the day I got the call my mother was in the hospital (she made it and is better than ever), and more recently the day I found out my cousin who’d been through more than most in his life had cancer and wasn’t expected to live long (he died Christmas day). It’s a reminder to cherish each day, whether good or bad, because we are here. Hug your loved ones every day, family and great friends alike. (Which is what made this past Wednesday special too!)

  3. Love the picture of you and your hubby, too!!

  4. Stacey,

    Love your special days.

    Actually, this post could have been a book. Thank goodness it wasn’t.

    Wednesday was a special day also and parts of it will always be one of those memories you pull out and treasure.

    Ah, yes, the photo of my hubby and me. In our younger years when he pretended to like smoking a pipe but mostly just held it in his hand as he’s doing in that photo, and I wore my hair long and flowing and it looked great. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Teri,

    Ahh, Carmel, Big Sur, Monterey–all such very special places and for you filled with good memories and ones not so happy–like seeing your hubby pack for duty in Nam. Those were frightening times then, even worse these days for our military families.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Edie Ramer Says:

    MJ, you always go deep. I can remember when I was 5 and my father died. That was a life-changing day. My sister, who was 8 felt it more than I did, and I remember that, too.

    There were other days, but that was the first.

    And you do look great in the picture with your long, flowing hair!

  7. Edie,

    I go deep. If I do, it’s because that’s my undoing. I always want to analyze and find the meaning.

    I remember the day my dad died also but I was older. My sisters were very young and their memories are different. After Dad died, my mom and I became like partners keeping the family, my little sisters and my sons together. While my sisters were aunts they were more like my sons sisters they were so close in age. My dad was too young to die and yours was too.

    Ah, yes, I loved that hair. Thanks for offering your special day of life.

  8. Is it Mary Jo or Casey? To both of you I say … we come to a time when those days accumulate and we wonder, how the hell did I live through that to get here? Strange and yet somehow beautiful, we decided to bring my father home to die after a four year battle with cancer. I was there at the moment of his death, and like the scene in a movie, we four were around a bed … he looked to each of his sons, to me and then with her hands in his to my mom, took his last breath and left us. I was seventeen. There were some before and too many after, both happy and sad … yet that one day, the day my father died, is the sadest and most beautiful I have ever known.

  9. Ramblings,

    MJ is my personal name. Casey my pen name. I answer to both and love both elements of me.

    Your memory of your father’s death reminds me of my mother’s. Again on of those days of life we put in our memory banks and stay with us forever.

    Thanks for sharing your day and for stopping by. I appreciate it.

  10. Hi, Casey! Your post has triggered some special moments for me. I’ve used many of them in my stories, but this one hasn’t quite made it yet. I visited my only sibling, big brother Bill, in the hospital after his successful surgery for aneurisms. He was hurting, but we could talk. That night while his wife was tending his son in another state, I was the only one nearby to get the call that he was in trouble and needed more surgery. The next day I was with him in intensive care. He couldn’t talk because of the trach tube, but scribbled words to me. Before I left, he added “I love you, little Annie.”
    You guessed it. I left for home the next day. He had a heart attack and died. I was so glad I was there for him!

  11. Anne,

    Another powerful memory! Thank you for sharing. I’m sure that wasn’t easy or you might have written it in some manner already. We so often have those little moments and become very powerful to us much later. It reminds us always to tell those we love that we do love them as we never know if we will be able to do so again.

  12. Powerful post, Casey. “Life of Days.” I kind of see my life that way–a string of days, some certainly more memorable (for different reasons) than others, but all important on this magical journey I’m on.

    The day I had brain surgery, the day Phil and I met in the library 30 years ago, the day Scrappy and I found each other… oh I could go on. Most of these days are in my blog.

  13. virginia mccullough Says:

    Thanks Mary Jo–I loved the photo of you and Jim in Carmel and those days you picked are very special.

    I must say that the day I sold my first nonfiction book, back in the 80s, changed everything and allowed me to build a writing business that opened doors, not just professionally. It gave me a portable business and great freedom to move around as I pleased. In the 90s I moved to Asheville, NC to help my elderly parents. Lived near them for eight years and helped them stay independent. This gets me to another day in March 2001, when my mother died while I was holding her hand. Like giving birth and picking up my son at the adoption agency, this experience was all about the flow of life. A few months later, I moved to Green Bay, joined WisRWA, and began writing fiction in a focused way, and then I met you, Mary Jo, and many other dear friends. Plus, I’m closer to my daughter and son. These special days connect with each other in ways I don’t think about every day.

    Thanks for sparking the memories and connections.

  14. Lorna,

    Yes, I noticed that when you mentioned these specific days, you had used them in some way on your blog. Don’t we all as writers? Our lives become fodder for our muses.

    May you continue on your magical journey.

    Thanks for offering your days of life.

  15. Virginia,

    Thank you for sharing your special days and making the connections. I love seeing how many of us mention the same event but we each have our different spin on it.

    You are a remarkable role model for those who know you as you’ve made your living with your writing all these years.

    And the day I first met you in the hall outside a meeting at the Atlanta RWA conference was a memorable day. I knew it at the moment that you would be instrumental in my life journey. And you have been and are!

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