RHIA STEELE photograph

Holiday Inner Reflections by Rhia Steele

It seems impossible that the holiday season is just around the corner again. My how time starts to fly by the older we get!!!

I can remember how it seemed like years and years before Thanksgiving and Christmas came around when I was small. Now, it seems like within a breath's space, a year comes and goes. I look at my life, and at 45, realize so many days, that over half of my life has been lived. It really hit me after Dad passing away this past Easter Sunday, he lived a full life and at 82 years old, left us to go on and be with his family that had passed away before him. My Dad lost his own Father when he was 16 years old. Then, about the time he was 21, his Mom was very ill, and she passed away at that time. I have been so very lucky, for I had my Dad until I was 45, my Mom seems to be doing well under the circumstances and she turned 70 in August. I had my grandparent's on my Mom side also for many years, and they took care of me until I started school, Mom quit work and they got to see my two children, then my Grandfather passed away when my daughter was 2 (she is now 21)...and my Grandmother lived almost another 17 years, and finally after breaking a hip, she left us 2 years ago, at the age of 92.

Life has never truly been easy for me, and I have come to realize, that many of us have so many problems over the years, from the loss of those we love, to financial difficulties, bad relationships, illness, and all that life deems to throw our way. Yet, when I think back on my own childhood, and even though I lived in the pain of a horrible abuser for 17 years, and now illness seems to plague me at times with horrible pain, still I have a wonderful life. I have family that is just awesome, and whether it be on line friends, or the few I have in person, I treasure the friendships that I have. Now, after many years of searching, hoping and trying to have faith that someone was out there for me...Jim blew into my life like a fresh breath of Spring Air three years ago, and so much of the past nightmare's and pain, continue to melt away. This will be our 3rd holiday season together, and each moment is such a blessing with him. I could not ask for more love, more hope, trust, faith, support, friendship, and intimacy than I have with him.

What we share is so precious, and so rare these days. I think most of my life; I truly wanted what I felt my own parents had. I watched them go through life hand in hand, through thick and thin, and no matter what happened they always loved, cared and stood by one another, until the moment my Dad took his last breath. For that and watching them, I learned what true love was all about.

When I think about it, my Dad did much of the same as I did. He married the first time at 19, and my half brother was born when Dad was 21.

I of course married the first time at 17, and my son was born when I was 19.

Dad divorced at around 24 or so, and stayed single until he was around 37 years old. My Mom was 13 years younger than him, and she was about 24 when I was born.

Oddly enough my Dad's parent's did almost the same, they had been married before, knew each other back in Tennessee when they were very young, both of their own spouses passed away, and years later they found each other again, and married...my Grandfather was 60 years old when my Dad was born, and my Grandmother was about 20 years younger than him. Back in those days, that were almost just unheard of, yet again true love always finds it way through it all, when you truly believe, and have faith that the right person is out there for you.

I learned a long time ago, even though I went through two bad marriages, which you cannot give up. My entire life, I wanted that love, the kind of love that I watched in my own Grandparents and parents, and even though it took me 43 years to finally find it, no matter the age, it can and does happen.

Now as my own daughter gets ready to have their first son here in just a few short days, and I have watched my own two kids become adults, I realize even through the rough times, I must have done something right as a parent. I am so proud of both my daughter and son, and I realize each day I raised them as survivors. Many people criticized me for some of the ways I taught my children, yet I have seen from their actions, and them continuing to be close to me, that I did something right with them. :)

As the old saying goes, Kids never come with an instruction manual, no two are alike, and you just do the best you can to give them the love and support they need, do lots of praying, and know in your heart, no matter the outcome, you as a parent did the best you could. I to this day have no regrets as to how I did and continue to do as a parent.

So, as the holidays roll in again so quickly, and I face another upcoming birthday in February, reflections of love, family, faith, hope, friendship and all that sustain us from life's up's and downs are within my heart.

I hope that all of you also can reflect upon the wonderful things life has given to you, and try to not lose sight of what life has to offer even when the black ink darkness of despair seems to come knocking when we least expect it.

Many song lyrics flow through my mind at this moment, but one song really holds true for me right now....

"When they carve my stone, may it read upon it, here once lived a woman who got everything she wanted, and can you tell me, than who could ask for more...than to be living in a moment ...you would die for" - (Living In A Moment, Ty Herndon).

For anything worth living for in this life to me, should be just as living in each moment that truly you feel you would die for....

I bid each of you love, life, friendship, faith and happiness, and may your holiday season and the upcoming year be filled and overflowing with all you would live ...to die for....

(In dedication to my Dad, for his love, support, and guidance, that he gave so freely to all, from family, friends, and co-workers. My Dad was a rare and precious gift, and he is dearly missed by all whose life he touched in his 82 years here.)

Rhia Steele

copyright 2005, Ria Steele

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