Thursday, June 15, 2017

A "Commencement Speech" for my IB Juniors 2017

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

Yesterday marked the 100th day of #100happydaysforanne2017! I have participated in the 100 happy days challenge each spring since 2014 after seeing posts from a former student on Facebook or Instagram (I forget which. Maybe it was both). For 100 days in a row Josh shared photos and experiences from his daily life, noting one sight, memory, or reflection that had brightened his 24 hours. It was the first spring without my Dad and after reading up on the movement (go to 100 to read more about it), I decided to give the challenge a try.

I could say more about my first three years of participating in the challenge but let me quickly say that this activity has positively affected my perspective in life. It is no exaggeration to say that the challenge has also improved my overall health and well being and has guided my daily choices. I had the rug pulled out from underneath me in 2013 when my Dad died. The two years prior to that had not been easy either. But losing Dad was so profound a loss that I had to start over again.  This challenge of the 100 happy days saved me.

So yesterday on my 100th day, I wore a pretty dress. I celebrated at Dunkin Donuts by picking up the tab of the stranger behind me and at school I was commended by my principal for my flexibility, positivity, and wisdom which was awfully nice to hear. I spent my lunch break assisting a colleague who has also experienced a great loss recently and as we focused upon a creative project of hers, it felt wonderful to contribute and aid her.

Yesterday I also tried to write a commencement speech for you. I wanted to get it written before Emma (Woods) left so she could hear me speak from the heart. I was tired however and I could not find inspiration. But then came today. Okay. So I apologize for doing what I ordinarily never do—-and for what I would be aghast if YOU did—to write a year end speech during the TAKE FIFTEEN time immediately beforehand….WHAT?!?!?! But even the number there is significant…fifteen…

You see, June 15th is the day my father had a heart attack and died four years ago. It’s the day that rug was pulled. And each June 15th since I have allowed the day to come without holding on to any expectation. Some June 15ths I cry. Some June 15ths I am so happy. Today is June 15th and I don’t know what the day will bring. But I’m alive and I am grateful and I am the daughter of the most beautiful man in the whole wide world.

Dad’s dying words were shared with us children. As he was air lifted, with Life Flight, Dad looked out the window of the helicopter to see the bright blue sky and the following words came out of his mouth.

“It’s a beautiful day”.

It’s June 15th 2017. It is day 101.  And whether tears fall or laughter makes my sides hurt, it is indeed a beautiful day.

And I wish that for all of you—for the yesterdays, for today, tomorrow… and forever more.