Monday, December 8, 2008

Looking For Good In One Very Bad Year

I hadn’t planned on writing an end of the year post, certainly not while December was still in its early stages. But, more often than not, life gets in the way of many of our best laid plans. And, sad to say, death does too.

2008 has not been a good year. For me, personally, and for most of the world, it seems that this year is one for the books in terms of bad news.

My wife and I, like millions of others (dare I say, billions?), have seen our net worth reduced by numbers too large and ugly to put into print. Yet we both remain employed, still have the wherewithal to earn decent livings, and are thankful for that. But millions of others are unemployed, and from all the forecasts things will certainly get worse before they get better.

But even though those are big challenges to overcome, it’s only money, right? At least you have your health…right?

2008 has been a trying year health-wise for me. My left shoulder began acting up early in the year, to the point where it needed to be surgically repaired, and still is far from one hundred percent. Yet I am thankful that the rest of me is okay. But that’s just me. And it’s only a sore shoulder. Things could be worse.

What if that sore shoulder turned out to be something bigger? It’s not, but, again, that’s just me--I got lucky. Sadly, my brother and his new bride did not.

One of my best memories of this past year was being asked to participate in my brother‘s wedding. In a year often filled with gloom and doom, this joyous event was a nice respite from the darkness. Yet for all its happiness, that day had a foreboding shrouding the event. My new sister-in-law, a lovely bride and the sparkle in my brother’s eye, was sick. They pushed up their nuptials by several months to accommodate her illness. Life and its paradoxes. 2008, that dreadful, yet wonderful, year.

They remain deeply in love and are hanging in there, both doing all that they can to make the best of their situation, doing what we humans often do when facing adversity: persevere, deal and cope, live life.

Life.

And death.

The reason I am writing this post today is due to having to fly Back East in a few days to attend a funeral. My step-father, one of the kindest, nicest men I have had the pleasure to meet, and a wonderful companion for my mother over the past eleven years, succumbed to illness and age on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor invasion. This is significant given that he fought in that war, returned with a wound and a determination to live life to its fullest every day. Which he did for eighty-eight years. My entire family are better people for having known him. And my mom? She’s tough, a survivor. But recovering from losing your love, that person with whom you share your daily existence, takes time.

It will take well into next year, and possibly the next, to fully recover from the many loses felt during this trying year. And that is what this post is really about, what livelife365.com is all about.

Living your life
Every day
Every way
Not letting anyone (or anything)
Stand in your way.

In memory of my step-father, in honor of my mother, with love to my brother, his wife, and the rest of my family (especially my wife and my son [Happy Birthday, Kiddo!]), and to all those who lost someone or something dear to them during this troubling year, I offer you my latest song, "livelife365":




I hope this inspires you, as it does me, to live your life to its fullest every day. And while 2008 has not been one of the better years in recent memory, it has been a year in your life. Good or bad, it’s your life. Your year. And it should be remembered for that.

Until next time…

peace,

Mike

51 comments:

PaulsHealthblog.com said...

Mike - Thanks for sharing. Because we live in a fallen world, life has its ups and downs, indeed. Our view of these events is determined by many things, including our faith.

I talked to my mother this past weekend. She called to wish me a happy birthday. During our conversation, she informed me that a friend of mine had died in his sleep. He was just thirty-seven years young. Until they get back the autopsy report, they will not know the cause of death, be it an aneurysm or possibly carbon monoxide poisoning.

So life goes on. Some things we are not meant to understand this side of heaven. We just do the best we can, with what we've got, and as you so eloquently put it, live life 365.

Have a safe trip and hope all goes well with you and your family.

God bless you,

Paul

Wayne John said...

Great post Mike, sorry to hear about all those issues and I hope you find things much better in 2009.

Safe travels friend, catch you on the flipside.

Peace!

Gandalf and Grayson said...

Our condolences to you and your Mom on the loss of your stepdad. It has been a year of challenges. We hope next year will bring you joys and contentment.

Catatonic Kid said...

Beautiful, if sad, post, Mike. You and yours have my condolences.

On a slightly more upbeat note, it sure seems like you have your priorities right and that's a great thing.

Debbie said...

Mike,

You are meeting life's challenges with a great attitude, humor and care. I will keep you (and your family)in my thoughts and prayers.

Dan Brantley said...

Mike,
Life continues.
Thanks for a source of ideas to help continue it well.
My condolences on your losses, and my congratulations on your gains this year.
Vaya con dios my friend!

orient-lodge.com said...

Let me add my voice to those of others acknowledging what a hard year it has been for so many and expressing appreciation for your writing and helping all of us keep things in perspective.

My prayers will be with you and your family during this time of mourning.

Peace

Urban Panther said...

Beautiful song, Mike! Sorry to here about the challenges and loss faced by your family this year. Here's to a brighter tomorrow.

LUCKYLADY said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you, It's hard but I think you will get through it all, you seem like a person who so understands lifes ups and down with love to all your family

Daisy said...

My sincerest sympathies to you and your family on the loss of your stepfather.

Jacqueline said...

Hang in there Mike.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

What an inspirational post Mike. You are right about living life to its fullest. We aren't guaranteed the next minute of it so we might as well live it to the fullest.

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad your mom had your step-father as a soul mate though.

Have a terrific day. Happy Birthday to your son. Big hug. :)

Da Old Man said...

My sincerest condolences to you and your family, Mike.

debsylee said...

Thank you for posting, Mike; your message is filled with sorrow and yet inspirational in terms of your outlook.

Sadly I know so many people who have suffered this year, and not necessarily purely for financial reasons; I feel certain that next year will bring better tidings for us all.

Sincerest condolences on the loss of your stepfather, and my very best wishes to your bother and sister-in-law.

Your message to live life to the full is so valid; I read the other day "live your life as if your days are numbered, because they are." I know many may find that morbid, but it drums the message home to me!

Take care of yourself and each other,

Deborah

David & Jan said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings, Mike, it help us to deal with ours. And it seems so much harder to lose someone at this time of the year. Thoughts and prayers from both of us.

Anna said...

Happiness and prayers to the newlyweds, sympathy for your loss and good thoughts for your mom. Live each moment in hope...it's all we have.

On The Verge said...

What a great post, Mike. My family has had a very hard year. I am looking forward to the year ahead. I am so sorry for your loss. We lost my father-in-law four months ago and we are all still struggling. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Tom Thorne said...

A mixed year definitely. One good thing that has happened for me is that the recurring migraine headaches that I had had for about 40 years have decreased by approx 80% - 85%. That is a great blessing that I am very thankful for. Like many other, my net worth has decreased but not as much as others. I guess that's probably because I didn't have as much to start.

Waterrose said...

I read your blog often, but perhaps have never commented. Warm wishes to you and your family through this trying time.

Mike Foster said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful and kind comments and words of encouragment. Yes, 2008 has been a tough year for most of us, filled with ups and downs, good and bad, but that's the way life is. No matter what, we have to live each day the best we can, finding the little enjoyments while dealing with the disappointments.

peace,
Mike

Jennifer said...

Mike -- I am sorry to hear about your stepfather.

And here's looking forward to 2009.

House Home Garden said...

Mike,
Thank you for enabling your readers to put things into perspective.
Life has highs and lows and we should live it to the fullest. Very inspiring and real.
Thanks,
Lucinda

Cat in the Foxgloves said...

I have to agree that 2008 hasn't been the best year for me either. I've had serious health issues one after the other, unemployment, divorce, death of family members, etc....

I too, like so many others, am looking forward to 2009 with hope and optimism

Martin in Bulgaria said...

Hi Mike,
One year is only a drop in the ocean to the years you've had, a little blip in yur life. Condolences sent iro of you step father. Many thinks happen that are bad focussing on the good things such as your brither's wedding is good therapy. As for your health, we are built in suchg as way that things get better, we heal - look forward to that.
Chin up my dear chap.

Vanessa said...

Very nice post. My prayers are with your family. Keep your chin up.

Evelyn Lim said...

I read your post with much sadness. I'm sorry to learn that so much negative stuff has happened this year for you. My condolences too, about your stepdad!

Do focus on the bright sparks. When you live in thankfulness for what you have, you can turn your life around. Hope next year will be a better one for you!!

Love, peace and happiness to you Always!

Barry said...

More than many years, 2008 has left its mark on all of us.

I mourn your losses and your hardships and my own. They are part of life and living, like them or not.

I wish us all a healthier and more prosperous 2009.

Dwacon® said...

My condolences on your loss. I remember when my dad went... I miss him every day. God bless you.

Wanda said...

Thank you for your post about this year. You really said it all for most of us. It has been a really hard year for chilly and myself too.
You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers during this time.
Take care...

krizcpec said...

thanks for sharing.

Kevin Touhey said...

Thanks for sharing Mike. My heart goes out to you and your entire family. Your stepfather's story is extremely inspiring. Thanks again for sharing.

Kathy said...

Mike - I'm sorry for the loss of your stepfather. Prayers to you. The year is tough for many. I'm thankful to have my job and all the problems that come with it. The alternative is much worse.

I loved the Life365 song. It gave me chills and lots to think about. Thank you for sharing.

Laura-Junkfoodaholic.com said...

Hey, Mike. I'm sorry to hear about your step-father. I know the coming months (years?) will be tough for your mom. Life is hard. I think when we go through tough times, we grow in character and it also makes us appreciate the good times that much more. Hopefully, 2009 will be a better year for all of us.

Dwacon® said...

Chin up.

Stiff upper lip.

Pip pip.

Cheerio...

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

well I wouldnt call 2008 a bad year. I did well professionally and personally. But yes the year had lots of bad things happen. But then which year doesnt? But all this I am writing as a first reaction to what I read here.

Your post made me think and I am leaving here with lots of thoughts in my mind about how to classify the events that took place in my life.

Dori said...

Mike,
I'm a few days late to this post, but I just wanted to send my condolences about your stepfather. And also I wanted to thank you for such an insightful post about 2008. You are so right...we have to live life 365.

MAC said...

I'm sorry to hear about your step-father. I lost my Dad this year in May and I miss him dearly. But I did spend the last 3 months of his life taking care of him and enjoying his company.
Martha

suedonim said...

I'm sorry to hear about your step-father. Please accept my condolences.
Thanks for sharing both your good and bad memories of 2008. We all have our share of those.
God bless.

Mark said...

I hope you are doing well! Stay strong! :)

Mike Foster said...

Thanks for all of the kind and caring words on this post, it means a lot. I write this while still in the semi-frozen tundra of New England, a few days away from my return to California. The services were very nice and my mom is doing very well. And while the year has been tough on a lot of us, it has also been quite good in many ways. It is up to us to look for the good inside the bad, words of wisdom that my stepfather lived by, and my mother still, and has always, lived by.

Remember: livelife365, every day, every way...

peace,
mike
livelife365 song

mincognita said...

Sorry to learn of your loss Mike. You and your family are in my thoughts.

Bill Kenny said...

Mike- My thoughts go to your Mother, Brother and his wife. I find your blog interesting and thought provoking. Peace and have a wonderful 2009.

Robin said...

Hi Mike,
I am sorry for your loss of your step dad. May God help your mom get through this. God Bless your family and always cherish the happy memories. Take care!

SortaFlowering Designs said...

Dear Mike. Your entrecard was on one of my blogs today and I clicked through to see what you were up to, I enjoyed your vegetarian post last time I stopped by. Well you stopped me in my tracks today, and I thank you so much for sharing, and am amazed that while you are dealing with personal loss you are able to transform it into compassion, and hope to give to others. I had to send your link to my Aunt today who's Husband recently passed away.And I also listened to your song and followed your links to your sound click page, what a great open heart and mind you have- thanks for being such a blessing to those around you, even the ones who only know you by virtual association! Wishing you and your family the warmest and best holiday season possible. Jenelle

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

Wonderful post and I am inspired by your attitude in the face of adversity. I am very sorry about your stepdad and what a nice memorial to him.

betchai said...

i am sorry to hear about your stepfather, but i admire everything that you wrote, what a postive attitude towards life, thanks for all the inspiration. i too healthwise the year 2008 was not as good as this year i had been downed too many time with allergies, but at least, that's just it and there are still too many to enjoy in life :)

thanks for all your sharing.

my condolences to your family,God bless.

gengen said...

Hubby and I also have a rough year and we tried to deal with it even its really hard. But its our life bad or good we accept it. Thanks for following my blog and I followed back. You have an insightful blog just keep it going. TC

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

My condolences, Mike. Hopefully next year will be better for you.

Marketing Business Review said...

Hi Mike,

My condolences for your loss.

Im also sure this economical turmoil have to have an end, we can survive and we will, like your site just Live life 365.

Mike Foster said...

Back on the west coast, greeted by not sunshine and warmth, but more of the same cold weather that I visited Back East...it's that time of year. Thanks again for all of the kind words and prayers for me and my family, that are all appreciated. New blog post coming very soon...

Happy Holidays.

peace,
mike

luccy said...

A whole array of anti-obesity pills and medicines are available in the market that helps you to trigger off successful weight loss but the weight loss diet pill Xenical is somewhat different as it prevents around 30% of the fat you take from being absorbed in your system. This further leads to less fat accumulation and ultimately weight loss becomes a reality. For more details on Xenical, visit the website http://www.weight-loss-truths.com