This time, BETWEEN THE PAGES goes into my personal journey for a six-month limited run as I work with growth and change coming out of some major events in my life. This month we start with A NEW BEGINNING.

The whole world shut down for a couple of years, and I have no desire to dwell on that. However, it is important to know that for me, my world took a major shift not all that long before when my mother died in 2019. Less than six months after that, as I am trying to figure out where and how to center my life, it changed for everyone. Before I can talk about the now, I do need to summarize the last couple years.

Over the course of the next year and a half, the farthest I ever got was the next county over, and even those times were extremely rare as advisories would drop and ramp up again. My husband’s family, the only other family I have in the state, lived that far from us. Sometimes a level advisory between counties could suddenly turn into it being a world away.

Things relaxed a bit but were far from easy by summer of 2021. However, by then, it had been quite some time since I last saw my father – my husband and I flew up the day after Christmas and flew back early New Year’s Eve so we could be with his parents, to spend a few days with my Dad in December 2019. We had no idea that it would be August 2021 before we would see him again and celebrate his birthday with him.

When it came to my sister, the plan had been to see her again after Mom died on her birthday, March 21, 2020, and then my father was working on a memorial service for Memorial Day weekend. Needless to say, neither happened. As of April 2022, I have yet to see my sister again, and a memorial service for Mom remains on indefinite hold. I have faith that both of these will resolve at some point, but I can’t dwell on it.

My work’s response to the events was to go all remote, with the eventual intent to return to office that ultimately became a hybrid return to office situation for many, including myself. Finally, the day after President’s Day 2022 was settled on for Return to Office. Just a couple weeks before that big date, I received word that someone I considered one of my closest work friends (bear in mind I didn’t really hang with anyone from the office after-hours, though) passed away unexpectedly. It would be several weeks before we found a way to have a small memorial for her at work on the rooftop, which I did speak at. Her family invited us to another service Easter Weekend at the Hollywood Forever cemetery over Easter weekend. There, at the Fairbanks reflecting pool in the shadow of Paramount Studios, I had planned to redo the speech I had done at work, but after hearing other pieces of her life, discovered we had more in common than I knew and once I found myself in front of the microphone I shifted to a place of vulnerability and the wider vision of how we don’t know all the pieces of everyone’s story. Some days, it still feels like a dream and didn’t happen, but I know it is all real.

That took place just a couple of weeks ago. There’s still a lot that’s freshly going on, and a lot of things still at play.

There is one major event I haven’t discussed yet for a reason. It deserves a deep dive all its own, and that’s where we’re going next.

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