steffanie rivers & her mother gwen

Steffanie Rivers and her mother, Gwen Rivers

*Miraculously, and by the grace of God if you’re reading this, we’ve made it to yet another year.

Despite the fact that to many, 2012 brought illness, death, heart break, heart ache, loneliness, insecurities, disappointments of unfilled dreams and/or expectations; and the realization of the little known fact that some individuals really do come into our lives only to serve a particular purpose. When their designated assignment is completed, oddly enough, continued ongoing interaction with these individuals eventually drops off the radar and all too soon they ease their way out of our lives and move on.

It seems like only yesterday that we were introduced to the year 2000 and then suddenly and without warning, it was 2010, 2011, and then we got used to saying “2012”. Sadly, many of our loved ones and friends made it right up to the New Year and suddenly (for some) and expected (for others) those that they cared for were gone leaving only memories behind. We showed our human-ism when we prayed and asked God for His mercy to allow them to stay a while longer. . . no matter their medical condition or quality of life expectation. We showed our human side when we sat by their bedsides day in and day out and witnessed their pain, the countless pain-killing drugs they were given, and even the occasional periods of hallucination when they did not even recognize those of us holding vigilance at their bedside. Finally, we showed our humanity when we no longer wanted them to continue to suffer or lay there near comatose hour after hour with no hope of improvement. Although torn between desperately wanting them to stay with us and not willing to let them go, somewhere between wanting and willing, reluctantly, we gave in to the will of The Almighty. Yes, even in death there is dignity and each in our own way, we’ve given the sick in body and those pain-wracked souls permission to, mercifully, cross over.
So here we are at the onset of the year 2013. The future is here, it is ours, and so are the choices we make. We can make this year the absolute best ever as we make an effort to interact with our fellowmen in only positive ways; as we respect each other and in turn gain respect; and as we extend love and compassion to all and not think of either as a given. Still I wonder, where on earth did the time go?

Guest columnist Gwen Rivers is a published book author living in Knoxville, TN. For questions or comments email her at [email protected]