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Snowflakes, chills, blustery winds, snow melts, water puddles, and muddy snow shoes, these are the sights that welcomed me back in Orland Park.
I just came back from a flight from a tropical island in Asia. I try to paint a smile on my cold, blushing cheeks. Winters are not my cup of tea—I dislike them down to my core. That's one thing I hate about vacations, getting back to reality. It's not just the amount of laundry that you have to put up with or the routine of eating the leftover from the refrigerator or picking up after yourself, it's the feeling like you never left! To make matters worse, it's adjusting to the idea that one part of my daily routine will be missed—getting up early every morning to go to work. That's right, I lost my job. It's not that I was axed but a matter of choice. I took a risk, now I am wallowing to myself whether it was worth the fall. I looked out the window, still in my pajamas yet it was three in the afternoon. I never had so much time in my life. All this day dreaming, meditation and spiritual connection is almost giving me a levitating experience that is making my mind go in different arenas. All the chores are done yet I wonder what it's like to be out there. Oh... I miss work.
Then it just occurred to me to make a phone call. One phone call to my friend and former assistant, Katy. I may have known Katy only for two years but she has become like a younger sister to me and she considers me as her mentor. She was glad to hear from me yet I sense distance in her voice and I know something is wrong.
"Is everything okay?" I asked. With controlled gasps Katy said, "My mom is dying, she was diagnosed with a stage four cancer of the colon a month ago. She has been in and out of the hospital and now the doctors gave up on her." Though I dread the thoughts of driving in this kind of weather in the city, I asked Katy whether I can come over during visiting hours. Then Katy said, "Oh, my mom is home, and we live close to you. We are in Huntington Court in Orland Park. "It must have been an out of body experience when I heard that she was ten minutes away from my house. Hurriedly, I packed a decent lunch for Katy and I came over.
That was twelve noon. It was the first time I saw Katy's mom. Katy told me it has been her ninth day unconscious. I sat at Katy's mom right side feeling an unmistakable touch of grace. I closed my eyes and as I held her hand I offered my prayer. Then I noticed a tear dropped at the corner of her eye. I told Katy about it and then she wiped it with a tissue. At 12:55, I witnessed as she took her last breath on the planet earth.
As I gathered myself, I looked once again to the window next to the bed. Their swing set broken, untouched and covered with snow. I gazed for a long. I felt I was called to get an answer, for my probing question, "what's like to be out there?" Just as every curious thought has a story, I painted a sincere smile with a gratitude to the heavens for I was blessed to get an answer. For today, I intend to stop chasing my tomorrows. I will let the thoughts of my past to slip away because I might miss my today. It's my NOW that I have a chance to embrace.

Submitted by Anonymous


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